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An Integrated Approach to Healing and Wellness PDF Print E-mail
Written by Allen Lawrence, M.D.   
Wednesday, 14 December 2011 01:18
Clearly, wellness is the natural state of man. Unfortunately it doesn’t always look this way. As a physician we tend to primarily work with people who are sick, injured or emotionally compromised. If wellness is our natural state of being then why are so many people ill?

The answer to this question, while not always easy to understand, is best simplified by saying, “ We create our illness - often without even knowing it, from lack of maintaining and protecting our good health.” For thousands of years healers, physicians and scholars have pondered the question, “What is sickness about?”

The simplest answer is if your natural state is wellness, then we must be doing something in the process of living to create illness. Certainly you can say that genetics must play some part in creating illness, as does famine, pestilence, and natural disasters. Generally, however, these are beyond our control. As we learn more about how these affect us we have been creating mechanisms to prevent and reverse their effects-again suggesting that they are really in our control in the beginning and at the end.

In previous articles, I suggested that there are presently three main reasons for illness in our society: 1) nutrition, (excess or deficiency of palatable and nutritious foods), 2) stress and other human factors, and 3) toxic chemicals. Let’s look at these causes in a slightly different way.

Nutritional-Based Illnesses

We can generally chose what we eat, the quality and quantity of the foods, the types and combinations of foods. We also can either listen or not listen to our body, our addictions, our likes and dislikes. Today most nutritionally-based illness occur for three reasons: 1) lack of proper nutrients in the diet, 2) poor food choices, and 3) refined and proceed foods. This construct may be very different in Africa where people are starving from lack of available food to Beverly Hills where privileged children are eating diets made up of processed and refined foods that are wholly or partially deficient in essential nutrients. When the daily diet is lacking in nutrients essential for well-being, for providing essential nutrients, for providing nutrients needed to power the healing and repair systems of the body then illness is likely to occur.

This type of malnutrition is made worse because adults do not have the foggiest idea what adequate nutrition is, because food manufacturers are more involved in making money than providing nutrition and because the media and schools are disorganized providing inadequate or confusing information, no information, or false information to facilitate product sales rather than individual health.

Most sources of foods labeled fresh are on the average picked weeks to months before they reach fruition and full nutrient capacity. Picked “green” they are stored with their inadequate nutrients until they look like they are ripe then shipped and sold as “ripe, fresh fruits and vegetables. In fact they often are neither ripe nor fresh and the parent who eats these foods or feeds it to their child is participating in undermining their own long term health and well-being and that of their children.

Many foods are over cooked, radiated, and come from genetically modified seeds where the nutrient end point may or may not be sufficient to provide what is expected of this food. In the section under toxic chemicals we will discuss food additives, dyes, coloring and tag along chemicals from the artificial fertilizers, pesticides and other chemicals used to process our foods.

Stress As A Cause of Illness

Stress can be caused by a number of factors underlying what we think, how we live our life, what we pay attention to, the decisions we make and those we do not make, how we chose people in our life, who we chose, how we treat them, and how they treat us. Stress is frequently created by unfulfilled aspirations and expectations, by the work we chose to do, and once again by what we chose not to do, whether we are ready for and finally find our highest and best self or simply slide by in life. In our sections on Stress-Related Disorders we discuss this topic in much greater detail.

Toxic Chemicals And Illness

Exposure to toxic chemicals relates to our jobs, diet and the types of food we eat, where we live, the chemicals we use in our life, addictions to drugs, the medications and the frequency of use of medications, air quality, water quality and much more. While many of these factors are out of our control many are not. In many cases information and education can go a long way to reducing exposure to toxic chemicals. We could expand this category to go past ingested, inhaled or exposed to chemicals and include a host of other environmental factors such as sound waves, radiation, radio waves, TV waves and other forms of energy that interfere, injure or change our body chemistry and the way our body physiology works.

In the end most of what we do and do not do as well as our chosen lifestyle are really under our control in one way or another. When we live the “right” life we preserve our health. Illness is there for caused by a composite of our choices (good and bad, right and wrong) that either increase our health or diminish it.

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Healing is at its deepest level the process of returning to health by first finding, than undoing those factors and forces which create or have already created illness. A simple model for understanding this is:

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If you are already ill, the longer you wait to intervene in your illness process, the more radical and in a sense “unnatural” the level of the treatment will ultimately be needed to return you to wellness. To activate wellness, healing starts with thinking and breathing. Thinking correctly making appropriate decision and choosing wisely, reduces stress, increases sense of self-value, self-esteem and self-nurturing (taking care of yourself).

Breathing healthfully not only decreases stress but also brings life giving oxygen into our body to better burn foods and detoxify toxic chemicals and hence allows our body to function normally once again.

Dealing with conflicted or negative thoughts allows us to find negative thoughts such as guilt, fear anger, rage, anxiety, which acts to block us and our immune system from functioning normally and resolving them, hence unblocking our body and its healing mechanisms.

Dealing with our thoughts, breathing, and eating a healthy appropriate diet, living a positive life, and healthy lifestyle are proactive - that is, they not only prevent disease and illness, but they act to heal our mind, emotions, body and spirit. On the other hand, the use of foods as medicine, herbs for eliminating symptoms or the use of medications and surgery are reactive, that is they are our reaction to existing or persisting or increasing illness.

Next  A Broad Look At Illness