In my last post on Crohn's I pointed towards the relationship of stress and gastrointestinal problems. The questions begs to be asked: What is stress? Why do we have a stress response? What happens to the body during the stress response? In the following posts I will try to draw a picture why alternative and complementary medicine have different approaches to disease and illness. Lets start with our current, the allopathic, model of healthcare in the United States which states that the absence of organic disease determines length an quality of life. However, medical models in other parts of the world stress the importance of illness, defined as the discomfort or symptoms the patient experiences. The saying goes that an illness is what the patient has on the way to the doctor's office. ("I have pain all over and feel really sick.") A disease is what the patient has after the doctor's visit. ("I have the flu.")
Back to my favorite definition, which I make the guiding principle in my personal pursuit of health, the World Health Organization's definition of health:
Health is a State of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not simply the absence of disease and infirmity. (1)
Needless to say, practitioners of complementary and alternative medicine use this model most often. This is exactly the purpose of complementary and alternative medicine. To encourage a state of physical, mental, and social well being, as well the absence of disease. Let me point out the difference between our current healthcare system and alternative medicine again. Our healthcare system focuses merely on the absence of organic disease. That is it! It is automatically assumed, that with the absence of organic disease, a person is completely healthy. Well Alternative and complementary medicine recognize the fact that there are more factors to health and in order to achieve this objective alternative medicine determines which tools are available to achieve this objective.
The mind is by far the most potent tool in order to achieve this goal of health because it will help us to define how to manage our health. Not only that, but the mind is also our most powerful weapon in the combat for health because of the phenomenon known as MIND-BODY DIALOG. It has been referred to as both healer and slayer of disease because of what we recognize, discern and surmise has deep-seated implications on health and longevity. We can either assist our body in healing, we can worsen or bring into being illness with what we express through the mind. This faculty of the mind is NOT an overestimate. Of course we can not deny the importance of genetics, or exposure to certain viral or bacterial elements in the occurrence of certain infectious illness. Nonetheless disease is able to prevail in loam pruned to its liking. What we think and feel can regulate the body as "soil" in supporting disease or health.
Next: Mind Body Communication continued
1.Preamble to the Constitution of the World Health Organization as adopted by the International Health Conference, New York, 19-22 June, 1946; signed on 22 July 1946 by the representatives of 61 States (Official Records of the World Health Organization, no. 2, p. 100) and entered into force on 7 April 1948.