â€œThe secret to good health is to eat onions.Â The trouble is to keep it a secret.â€Â 14,000 Quips & Quotes by E. C. McKenzie
Health is a word in every language of the world.Â In Spanish, it is salud; French, santÃ©; German, gesundheit, and in Italian, salute.Â The definition, however, is not universal, nor is it easy to understand.Â In many cultures, health is defined as the â€œabsenceâ€ of something, such as the absence of symptoms, illness or disease, or as determined by someone else, such as a health practitioner or societal norms.
It seemed almost impossible to determine what health was if not discussing the â€œabsenceâ€ of symptoms or illness.Â Looking at the various philosophies of natural healing methods, most discuss the cause of illness or disease processes, but not what is health.
Why the Absence of Symptoms Does Not Equal Health
Many people associate symptoms as being a bad thing, believing that symptoms equal disease or illness.Â In all actuality, however, symptoms equal health.Â Impossible?Â No, not really.Â Please considerâ€¦.
Let us use a cold virus as an example.Â The general symptoms of a cold are fever, aches and pains, stuffy nose, coughing, fatigue, and loss of appetite.Â What do the symptoms say?
Fever:Â an increase in body temperature slows the spread of a virus. Aches and pains:Â antibodies from the immune system are made in the bones; therefore, it is a sign that your immune system is working overtime (a good thing). Stuffy nose:Â the nose gets more congested trying to keep the virus contained. Coughing:Â when contaminants are in the lungs, the lungs remove them quickly by coughing them out and to prevent pneumonia. Fatigue:Â your body needs to put more energy towards fighting the infection. Loss of appetite:Â your body needs to use its energy to fight the infections, so digestion is considered not important.
What the average person does when they have this battery of symptoms is to take a cold capsule that lowers a fever, decreases pain, un-stuffs the nose, and calms the cough.Â Does this action help or harm the person?
The symptoms the person is feeling is saying that your body is doing what it needs to do to fight the invading virus.Â When the body does its job, the virus will be gone and the body can return to a healthier state.
But what if you take a substance that stops the body processes?Â If the fever is reduced, the virus can spread quicker.Â If the cough is suppressed, infected material can stay in the lungs, possibly leading to pneumonia. Â If you force yourself to work despite the fatigue, your body has to take some of its healing energy away from healing and put it into keeping you functional.
Which situation is healthier?
Many people have symptoms, however, without a known illness, such as chronic pain, chronic cough, asthma, and allergies, to name a few.Â It is true that some symptoms linger.Â However, homeopathy theory states that if suppressive treatments are not used, then the body can return to balance always.Â Sometimes lingering symptoms or prolonged illness are the result of suppressed symptoms.
No one can tell another person if they are healthy or not; itâ€™s very individualized.Â In nursing school, health was rarely discussed, but when it was, classmates varied on their responses to whether or not a person would be considered healthy as there is no one universal definition for â€œhealthâ€; therefore, it must be considered on an individual basis.
Leia was 30 when she came to see me.Â She had incredible difficulties with her sinuses:Â congestion, loss of smell, frequent infections, and having had sinus surgery twice in the past three years.Â However, despite her sinus difficulties, she was out-going, communicative, and not using any medications unless antibiotics were warranted, as determined by her physician.Â Would you consider Leia healthy?
Buddy was 65 when he came to see me with difficulty sleeping.Â He took no medications, had no medical diagnoses as he hadnâ€™t seen a doctor since before he could remember.Â He was looking for something natural to help him sleep.Â Is Buddy healthy?
Nicole was 20; she became a paraplegic three years earlier after an auto accident.Â She has no health concerns and is to be married next year.Â Is she healthy?
Would you be surprised to find that no one surveyed believed any of the three were considered healthy?Â Reasons:Â Leia has a health concern that affects her health daily; Buddy is over 60; and Nicole does not have full use of her body.Â What do you believe?
Am I Healthy?
Based on the above three people, would you say it is possible for anyone to be healthy if everyoneâ€™s health has to be determined by others?Â I believe it is possible for someone to be healthy even if they have a health concern that they are working to heal. Â Healing leads to health.
You need to determine if you are healthy.Â YOU.Â Not your neighbor, your doctor, your spouse, or your children.Â You.Â Whether or not you are healthy is based on your perception of yourself:Â your emotions, your thoughts, your being centered, and your physical body.Â Ask yourself a few questions:
*Â Are you comfortable with your emotions?
*Â Do you pursue your dreams?
*Â Are you doing what you want for a career/job?
*Â Are you safe and content in your relationships?
*Â Do you eat a diet high in unprocessed foods and sweets?
*Â Do you avoid drugs, alcohol, tobacco and other addictive substances or behaviors?
*Â Do you get fresh air and exercise regularly?
*Â Are you engaged in some form of intellectual work?
*Â Are you satisfied with your financial status?
If you answered yes to all eight of these questions, then you are healthier than many of your peers, as if you answered no to any of these, then you are probably not as healthy as you could be.
Quality vs. Quantity
I see many people who want to live as long as possible, even if it means suffering for the next 10 years, just so long as they have those years.Â This is quantity of years.
Quality looks at how you live during the time you have.Â Many medical treatments available look at quantity, not quality. Â So many people do things they donâ€™t want to do so that they can maximize their years; but so many of these people sacrifice quality for those years.
Would you rather live 70 years and be active, happy, and healthy?Â Or would you rather live to be 85 and suffer in a nursing home or be disabled for the last 10 of those years just so you can have those years?
People rarely realize they are healthy until they â€œloseâ€ their health, or they perceive they lose their health.Â As defining health is individualized, so is keeping healthy.
Many recommendations are made for the general public:Â eating a certain diet, exercising a certain way, get annual physicals, etc.Â But not every general recommendation is for everyone.
Over the years, I have come up with a few recommendations for people in general.Â When working with an individual, these recommendations are considered, but are sometimes altered based on the person.
*Â Focus should be on unprocessed, raw foods, cooking as little as possible.
*Â Drink at least 6 glasses of unchemicalized water (e.g. tap water).
*Â Exercise daily if possible, even if it is a walk around the block.
*Â Keep stress low; if you work and/or live in a high-stress environment, have in place good stress-management techniques.
*Â Keep all relationships supportive and strengthening.
*Â Work at a job or
career that assists with your growth.
*Â Spend at least 20 minutes with nature daily getting sunshine.
*Â Have strong spiritual guidance and a strong emotional support system.
*Â Follow your dreams.
*Â Let symptoms be your guide to healing.
*Â Listen to all your emotions and work with them as they arise without repressing them.
*Â Unless it is a life or limb emergency, treat symptoms with diet and lifestyle changes and emotional, energetic and spiritual reconnecting first; homeopathic medicines second; natural supplements third and medical treatments last.
The guidelines above are generally what I use for myself and my family. Â Of course, these recommendations cause quite a stir because they are not the usual ones recommended by the medical community.Â It is not my intention to dissuade anyone from using medical services; I only wanted to list what I do to keep healthy and as a reference.
Returning to Health
Everywhere you look there are treatments and claims to help people get healthy again; many â€œmiracles in a bottleâ€.Â As with your perception of health, you need to determine if you are healthy again.Â There is no one universal healing modality for everyone.Â Chiropractic might help your neighborâ€™s back pain, but not yours.Â A famous actorâ€™s lung cancer mightâ€™ve been healed by altering his diet and lifestyle whereas another person might need Essiac Tea while another needs medical intervention.Â The special diet might have caused a woman to lose 50 pounds in three months, but not everyone wants to lose 50 pounds, and to do so might cause harm.
Everyone is unique in how they respond to healing measures.Â Sometimes a person just needs time.Â Another may need to change jobs.Â I frequently see people whose illness can be traced back to the emotional turmoil of their job, and once the job is changed, the person heals.
There are thousands of ways to heal.Â Never stop looking for that one thing that you need to do to heal and return to a state of healing that is right for you.Â If you donâ€™t like one, look at another.Â I truly believe that all healing is possible.
I also believe it is possible to die and be healthy.Â Bernie Siegel MD once said to healers:Â if you are trying to heal your patients so they wonâ€™t die, then youâ€™ll never heal anyone.Â Death occurs for us all, but it is possible to be healthy from birth to death.
Yours in health,
Dr. Ronda Behnke
Disclaimer:Â the information provided to you by Ronda Behnke ND, RN is for educational purposes only.Â It is not a substitute for medical advice and it is important that you not make medical decisions without first consulting with your personal physician or health care practitioner.