One gets the feeling that as a society we are “missing the boat”when it comes to health.
Primarily this is because we take health for granted until we get sick. Once we are sick we seek a doctor who tries to force our bodies to behave. Ultimately this approach leads to chronic illnesses that completely rob us of our quality of life. The failure of this approach is seen most dramatically in elderly patients, who are often relegated to nursing homes where they can be kept “safe” as their quality of life slowly continues to erode.
The answer to the following questions demonstrates how we lack commitment to health?
- What is your health index? That is, how healthy are you at this moment. Can you objectively quantify this?
- What is your health derivative right now? Is your health improving or getting worse? Can you quantify your rate of health gain or loss over the last day, week or month?
- Do you have a way to measure your health on a daily basis and come up with a set of numbers that tells you at a glance how all of your bodily systems are doing?
- What is your health margin, that is, how strong are the barriers keeping you from illness?
The fact that you probably do not have objective answers to the questions above highlights the problem with our health care philosophy. Every complex piece of machinery that we design has a set of power up diagnostic tests that are executed every time the device is fired up to keep track of how each system is performing. For example when you power up your computer, the first thing it does is run power supply testing, processor testing, operating system testing, memory testing, communication path testing with peripherals, temperature testing, etc. However, most of us do not have access to a comprehensive self-test for our own health on a daily basis.
Many of us are too busy with a “work till you drop” mentality to take out time to listen to and care for the one miraculous thing we have, our bodies. We may have sedentary jobs that cause stagnation of lymph in our bodies which are designed such that continuous motion is essential to immune function. Often our bodies try to communicate when under duress in the form of headaches, body pains, or other symptoms but we just say, “shut up, not now” by popping some aspirin or pain killer. Many of us go to the gym but cannot really relate our performance to a health index. And this state of affairs is accepted as normal? Then we are surprised when disease takes hold in our bodies. Hello Emperor! Where are your clothes?
Another example of missing the health boat is this. Doctors toss out a study, because the effect was no greater than a placebo. However, the existence of the placebo effect is by far more interesting than the drug. It tells you something about your body’s ability to heal on its own. The placebo effect occurs when a person experiences improvement in symptoms due to a sham treatment.
Wikipedia adds that , “The placebo effect points to the importance of perception and the brain’s role in physical health.” Although there have been studies performed on the placebo effect, it seems that much more effort should be devoted to harnessing this power of the mind to heal the body. But will this happen? Is there much money to be made if people discover how to heal themselves?
Kris Carr was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer in 2003. On her website she states, “My wake-up call encouraged me to make a total lifestyle upgrade inside and out”. Her amazing story shows how it is possible for a person to connect with the placebo effect power inside in order to “take charge of their health” and find true healing.
Laurie Beck’s story was broadcast on 2/10/2013 on the Dr. Oz show. She was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and marginal cell leukemia and was given a grim prognosis in 2006. In 2009 the doctors could not find a trace of cancer. She had become her own health detective.
Stories like this inspire us to “take charge of our health” now, while we still have a chance. Paraphrasing my father who is currently battling with Parkinsonism, “if people only knew what’s coming they would not hesitate to make any changes necessary to preserve their health”.
In our future posts we will investigate health indexes, health derivatives and health margins in more depth as we work towards a proactive approach to health so please sign up for automatic email notifications.