Ounce of Prevention: Health - Your Greatest Wealth
"If we could give every individual the right amount of nourishment and exercise, not too little, and not too much, we would have found the safest way to health."
THE GREEK physician Hippocrates often reminded his patients that 'Your health is your greatest wealth'. Few people, however, give much thought to their health until they get ill. Real health is not just an absence of any diagnosed illness. No, it is something positive. The World Health Organization made this very clear, over half-a-century ago in its classic definition of health.
Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. - World Health Organization, 1948.
My own belief is that the human body was designed to be healthy. When the good book says that we are fearfully and wonderfully made, it is not just a nice-sounding phrase, it really is true.
Our bodies have an incredible capacity to heal and repair itself. Illness and disease are reflections of our failure to take proper care of our bodies and mind.
As a doctor, I have come to understand that I cannot really heal anyone. Healing is something that happens from within. Your body is the healer and the doctor's role is to provide the support and assistance to facilitate the healing process. Until we, as a society, fully accept this concept, we will continue to face the dilemma of 'more medicines, less health'.
From my experience, there are four basic concepts that underpin and support real health. I call them the 'Four Pillars of Wellness' - nutrition, exercise, detoxification and stress management.
These four simple but powerful processes form the basis of my approach to virtually all the common lifestyle-related disorders that compromise our health.
This is the first and probably most critical pillar, because you literally are what you eat. Your body is composed of trillions of cells, the building blocks of the body. Your body is constantly repairing and renewing itself as, each day, millions of old damaged cells die and new ones are created to replace them. Your body is a work in progress.
The quality and vitality of new cells being created in your body, as you read this article, depends on the quality of the food you have been eating. Garbage in will produce garbage out. You literally are what you eat. Medical experts believe that as much as two-thirds of today's health problems are related to our unhealthy diet.
For more than 20 years, I have used and recommended a concept and programme called cellular nutrition for my patients and myself to enjoy the very best nutrition. The idea is simple. Give the cells of the body the nutrients that they need and they know how to heal mend and repair. It works!
As the old saying goes, use it or lose it. The human body can be compared to a high-performance motor car. It needs high-quality fuel in the gas tank. That's the nutritional part. If you do not drive your car, leaving it parked all the time, the engine will eventually seize up and the body begin to rust away.
Similarly, many people are, in fact, suffering from 'seize up' and 'rust down' because of inactivity. The body is designed to be active. If you don't use it, muscles get weak, joints get stiff, heart and lungs lose their efficiency, and tension and stress overwhelm your mind. The research shows that as little as 20 to 30 minutes of exercise, three to four times per week, can have amazing benefits to your physical and mental health. Try it.
Not only do we live in a polluted world with chemicals and impurities in the food we eat, the water we drink and bathe in, and the air we breathe, but just as the car's engine produces toxic exhaust fumes, so our body's metabolism produces toxic wastes. Sadly, our body's natural pathways for elimination of these poisons are often blocked and function poorly. We all carry a toxic burden.
The body normally detoxifies itself via the bowels, the liver, the kidneys, the skin and the breath. Several simple natural techniques are available to assist the body to get rid of accumulated impurities. These are referred to as cleansing or detoxification programmes.
Stress is a poorly understood concept. It is not a thing or person or circumstance. Those 'things' are called stressors. Stress is a reaction, your internal reaction to the stressor. Understanding this is critical, because, often, we cannot change our stressors e.g. our spouse or boss, but we can always learn to change the way we react to them. In essence, stress management is self-management.
Sadly, many so-called stress-management programmes really focus on stressor management. Real stress management is a skill that can be taught and learnt, just like how we can learn to swim or ride a bicycle. Stress is, indeed, the enemy within!
So make your four pillars of wellness strong and solid. You will enjoy true health and wellness.
n You may email Dr Vendryes at firstname.lastname@example.org or listen to 'An Ounce of Prevention' on POWER106FM on Fridays at 8:15 p.m. Details of his new book, 'An Ounce of Prevention - Particularly for Men', is available on his website, www.tonyvendryes.com.