© 2010-2015 Heinz R. Gisel
What Really Is Holistic Health?
If You Are Weak in One of the Six Components, You Are Not Healthy!
Health – Consensus on Needs – Gloominess on Action!
There is growing consensus that the World needs a paradigm change in the way we care for personal and public Health. Not only are the utterly Pharma-centric Health-care systems dysfunctional in that the population is getting sicker not healthier, also the systems are bankrupting afflicted Individuals as well as entire economies. Hereafter the consent dissolves and infinite debates go on how to approach change. This is the First in a series of Articles focusing on conditions that must set the stage for effecting change: explicit understanding of what is meant when we talk Health. Then, once we have an unequivocal definition and understanding what Health really is – Individuals may discover how they can effectively predict their own Health and prevent future Illness.
There are many Words in the English Language that we often use – but never peruse, in the common belief that their meaning evoke identical understanding with anyone at any time. Such words are, for example: Birth, Married, Children, Parent, Dead, and so on. But an infinite majority of the words we use have connotations which are dependent on the context, and that means these words are interpreted by the listener according to their present-day situation. Just consider words like Water, Pain, Fire, Taxes, Work, or Freedom. Now, the quote by the famous German Philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein starts making sense;
“How Do I Know What I Mean When I Say Something?”
If we could and would actually ponder this quote every time before we speak, we would live in a different World with at least a lot less misunderstandings. Let’s analyze the term “Health” to illustrate the huge personal, societal, political and economic impact the use and definition of a single Word can have.
What is Health really?
The implicit meaning of Health is plainly understood when we substitute the word with Vitality instead, because Vitality refers to the perception of the observer of a Healthy person’s Energy Field – or Aura. A person’s Energy Field is weak, when there is no balance of physical, mental, emotional, spiritual social and intellectual Health. Therefore, what we understand by a healthy person – is a person of great Vitality. Nevertheless we mostly use the word Healthy in its corrupted meaning of Not Sick, whenever there are no apparent symptoms of Illness. In other words, one might be coping with overwhelming problems, having lost a job, the house, the family and all hope, but in absence of perceivable symptoms of a physical illness – that person is deemed healthy – although there is clearly no Vitality!
Does ambiguity matter?
Indistinctness matters a lot, all are impacted by it, the person, the society, politics and economy. That person obviously needs help, but is there any? No, because the person is healthy, the health-care system only kicks-in when there are symptoms of physical illness. Though before long there will be symptoms because the Energy Field is in chaos. But as long as the person is healthy, there is no help and compassion and the person is labeled as hypochondriac or weirdo. It follows that our own sustained Vitality is subject to how the term Health is being defined for us.
Discrepancy of Health spoken – versus Health understood:
Colloquial usage, spoken “I am Healthy” intends to convey:
- I have no apparent, perceived symptoms of physical Illness!
Actual perception, what the listener hears depends on the oral Vitality by which the statement is presented: is the voice feeble and timid, or powerful and inspiring? In the latter case the hearer subconsciously relates the condition to mean a balance of
- Physical Health (Body)
- Mental Health (Mind)
- Emotional Health
- Spiritual Health
- Social Health
- Intellectual Health
Evidently, we need to differentiate Health more clearly if we want to care for it and protect it, before the symptoms of lost Health show up. The above six elements of Health in a balanced state – the equilibrium may be summarized as Vitality. But there is more to it, for example Aging: while Vitality is independent and unencumbered about Aging, Health is quite encumbered with it. Is the aging Individual relatively healthy? When and how are aging symptoms termed an Illness?
Holistic Health – the Definition
When we talk about Health, the implicit understanding is the Body’s Physical Health, which however is only a fractional aspect of the Well-being of an Individual, In contrast, the term Vitality evokes a tacit association with the other vital elements that together, in balanced combination comprise the so-called Holistic Health. But the concept of “Holistic Health” ipso facto lacks a clear definition, because no one really knows how to weigh and quantify each of the five non-physical elements: Mental Health, Emotional Health, Spiritual Health, Social Health and Intellectual Health – consequently benchmarks on which to build a scientific consensus do not exist.
Now let’s analyze how these constituents of Holistic Health compare:
- Physical Health – pertains to the Body’s evident or measurable symptoms expressed in Numbers relative to an assumed normative Standard
- Mental Health – pertains to the Mind and symptoms may neither be evident nor measurable, normative standards are elusive, subjective and relative
- Emotional Health – pertains to perceived body language, visible and audible expression of a subject’s immediate state of mind; valuation by perceiver is expressed as opinion, subjective, relative and volatile
- Spiritual Health – pertains to a person’s believes and action upon; ambiguity in definition and intervention, subjective, relative, culturally sensitive
- Social Health – pertains to a person’s ability to interact with society and not be subdued by it; subjectively perceived, definition relative, no benchmark for valuation
- Intellectual Health – pertains to a person’s inquisitive pursuit and independence; amorphous term and definition, subjective, relative, no benchmark for valuation
- Physical Health: A Verdict by the Numbers
Physical Health is the only one element of Health that is considered objectively measurable, but is it? Well, Physical Health is expressed in numbers and these numbers are correlated with a de facto normative standard. The standard is constituted by a “Normal range” of empirical vital signs measured values; these have been generally accepted by the Rockefeller’s allopathic medical community. Because these numbers claim to represent the only objective and reproducible Health indicators, it sounds scientifically compelling to use just these numbers to declare a person Healthy, or not Healthy. However, this conclusion is flawed for a number of reasons:
First: What physical signs should be included in a Health check, there is no agreement on the number of samples that comprise a Healthy verdict? In cost-slashing insurance covered Health-care the number of samples is reduced to a fraction of what is considered appropriate when the client pays in cash. In the latter case the notion is: if the doctors find you healthy, they haven’t done their job thoroughly!
Second: How is each sample valued by itself and against other samples? Again there is no agreement on this. Moreover, how are the values of one person related to others and by what standards? It is obvious that there are huge variables; for example blood tests are standardized in that blood is drawn in the morning following 12 hours fasting. However, there is no consensus on whether or not the fasting extends to water consumption, even though hydration or dehydration may result in very different analysis results. Moreover, the analyses reflect the nutrition, hydration and physical activity from the previous day, thus the next day analysis would show different results. Lab tests are just a single snap shot reflecting the instance of the needle prick, but they are presented like they were a movie. Lab test panels are limited, usually because of costs; they may include anywhere from 6 to 180 samples. Clearly, the results will be more conclusive with a higher number of analytes, but even at the high-end, parasites and toxic chemicals may not have been tested in absence of a specific suspicion.
Third: The applied standards for the “Normal range” are subject to debate, change – and manipulation by corruption. For example, one might wonder why the safe cholesterol levels keep declining as drugs appeared that claim to be able to reduce those cholesterol levels to below 100 – and these drugs would have to be taken until the end of life, too. The powerful Lobby efforts at work become visible when we consider the 2009 American Heart Journal published National study that found that the majority of heart attack patients admitted to hospitals had low LDL-cholesterol, indicating they were not at risk for heart problems. But while the average thinking person would conclude that cholesterol may not be a good indicator for predicting heart disease, the Lobby groups quickly construed that, because heart attack victims had low cholesterol, the safe level for cholesterol should be lowered even further.
Fourth: As conventional Health-care is limited to symptoms fixing in complete ignorance of the cause; the mental state of the patient is a non-issue and an emotional trauma that may be the underlying cause of the illness has no part in a Physical assessment. Although it is well known that there exists a Mind-Body interaction, and manifest physical symptoms are the expression of it – because there is no known method to define the phenomenon numerically, it is either ignored or discredited as unscientific.
Fifth: When an Illness becomes evident either by perception or measurement, it is in most cases the final stage of a long chain of degenerative actions following a traumatic event in distant history. For example it is now known that certain cancers can develop in the body for more than ten years before they become evident. It is also well known that the inability to relieve sustained intimidation, distress, depression, suppression, anger, being mocked and the like – precede degenerative disease. This is an important insight as it portrays the necessity to weigh-in all five non-physical elements before a physical health-check verdict is issued; and it further explains why prescription drugs can’t restore health but only remove the symptoms.
Conclusion: Evidently, a Healthy or Unhealthy verdict based on allopathic physical examination alone is incomplete and arbitrary: a single point exam should never become a decision criterion for a life-changing intervention; this includes all surgeries, radiation and pharmaceuticals that are prescribed for life, such as anti-hypertension and statin drugs. But any sign of illness, even a common flu, a stomach upset or a skin rash, is the symptom of a disturbance in the complex 6-element system that comprises human health.
Health – is a term we use daily with the notion that it evokes the same meaning in everyone, according to its context. But it might actually be hugely beneficial to the intense Health-care debates, to ponder what conditions amount to a healthy person. In colloquial usage of Health we tacitly understand Health to mean Physical Health, because only Physical Health is measured and expressed by normative numerical standards in the realm of scientific consensus.
This makes us to all but ignore the fact well documented, that Physical Health, which is defined as the absence of detectable illness, is only that part of Health which can be easily articulated. But the symptoms of the evident loss of Physical Health is just the final stage of a disorder in one of the 5 non-physical health constituents, which in balanced combination comprise the so-called Holistic Health. However, the term “Holistic Health” (Whole-Health) lacks a universally acceptable definition, because no one really knows how to weigh, interrelate and quantify each of the five non-physical Health elements: Mental Health, Emotional Health, Spiritual Health, Social Health and Intellectual Health.
The subject of Mental Health has filled entire libraries; it is the most notable element of Total Health, or Optimal Health, next to Physical Health; yet its definition is far from unanimous. The WHO (World Health Organization) defines Mental Health as:
“a being of well-being in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community”.
This seems to be the result of a compromise after endless bickering of member nations. We may wonder about the practical use of such “Definitions”, but it drives home the point that Mental Health rarely evokes an identical common understanding even among people from the same culture. Just how subjective are terms like: “realizes his or her own abilities”? Is my rating of my abilities mirrored by society? Then: “can cope with the normal stresses of life” – who is there to define “normal”? Who is setting the standard for “productive and fruitful work”? And finally: what about “contribution to his or her community” – is there a benchmark and who is setting it?
The NIH (U.S. National Institute of Health) posts a refreshingly simple definition on its Medline Plus web site:
“Mental Health is how we think, feel and act as we cope with life. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others and make choices.”
But then comes the scary part as it continues:
“Mental illnesses are common – they affect about one in five families in the U.S. It is not your fault if you have one. These disorders – depression, phobias, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and many others – are real diseases”…
Really? Does that mean 20% of the U.S. population is mentally impaired? The “NIMH” (National Institute of Mental Health) may deliver an explanation, as they add to the above, conditions like Eating Disorders, Borderline Personality Disorders “BPD” (ever heard of that illness?), ADD and ADHD, and so on. In that light, 20% seems actually a low number. Scary nonetheless, if these are “clinically diagnosed” cases – who diagnosed them and by what measures? Could the pharmaceutical industry have something to do with this? What about the phenomenal growth rate of drugs like Prozac®, Ritalin®, or the amphetamines Adderal®, Dexedrine®, Benzedrine®, Desoxyn®? According to CESAR web site (Center for Substance Abuse Research) sales of Ritalin® in the U.S. increased by 500% in eight years! Antidepressants Prozac®, Zoloft® and Paxil® are among the top ten revenue generating drugs in the U.S. and if you turn on the TV you can witness aggressive direct to consumer advertising of “Mental Health” drugs. According to Science Daily (Aug.4, 2009)
“Antidepressants are now the most commonly prescribed class of medications in the United States. (…) Between 1996 and 2005, the rate of antidepressant treatment increased from 5.84 percent to 10.12 percent or from an estimated 13.3 million to 27 million individuals.”
While the scope of this article is the attempt to position Mental Health as a vital element of overall Health, better understood as Vitality, we have to consider the commercial interests that drive and subsequently distort the assessment of the individual Health elements. It is well known that drugs are prescribed to treat Physical illness, based on analyzed and diagnosed symptoms. The standards used for analysis are normative (see paragraph on Physical Health) at least to a degree that is reproducible and objective by numerical values produced by biochemistry analyzers.
How is Mental Health analyzed and expressed, what are the objective standards that determine depression? How can a person be mentally screened by the definition of the WHO? What then are the standardized criteria that lead to a Healthy versus Non-Healthy decision? But even the NIH definition fails to give us confidence: “how we think, feel and act as we cope with life” – is obviously a highly volatile condition that can change daily. To base a judgment on a single day’s feeling and action is akin to deciding on a surgery based on a single blood sample – with potentially far reaching consequences. While we generally accept the Medical Doctor as the authority to decide over Physical Health, in Mental Health the authority question becomes murky: will the Medical Doctor, the Psychiatrist, the Psychologist and the Theologian agree on the same analysis method and diagnosis, let alone therapy?
These questions give a whole new meaning to Holistic Health and Mind-Body interaction, a term which is commonly understood to refer to: the person being treated as one or a “whole being”, where body, mind and spirit constitute the wholeness. In light of the ambiguities, it is little surprising that even the term Holistic Health is now stigmatized. No one doubts the existence of mind-body interaction, but in absence of an acceptable normative assessment, Holistic Health can’t be established as a Health-care discipline. Then – again – there is the impediment of commercial interests’ interference and distortion: First, the prescription drugs that are taken for Physical symptoms, often cause adverse effects on the person’s Mental state. If the Mental Health of a person on prescription drugs is assessed, it is most assuredly different. Second, the pharmaceutical industry has discovered Mental Health as an unlimited revenue source, and is frolicking over the lack of normative definitions. Analysis of pharmaceutical sales statistics imply that a lot of people are being treated that a few years ago would have been considered perfectly Healthy. It is not far-fetched to suspect the industry lobby to have invented some of the “Mental pathologies” that were completely unknown just a few generations ago.
It follows that Mental Health should never be analyzed without considering the other 5 constituents that comprise a person’s Health and Vitality as these are highly interdependent. In addition, we have to consider the person’s lifestyle, in particular the exposure to electro-smog (EMF) and toxic chemicals in food, water, air, household and workplace; as these are known to have profound effects on Body and Mind.
Finally, one may be declared Healthy for the absence of Physical Symptoms, while being depressed or otherwise mentally challenged. But unresolved mental trauma will eventually manifest in physical symptoms. A person who is inflicted by mental distress can usually be recognized by a lack of Vitality. In contrast, if we acknowledge a vivacious person’s great Vitality, we infer a “great state of mind” even if the person may battle a physical illness; and there are plenty of studies that confirm the valuable healing effects of a great state of mind.
- How Your Emotions Make You Healthy
In everyday conversing about Health, we clearly understand Health to mean Physical Health, because only Physical Health is measured and expressed by normative standards set by scientific consensus. Nevertheless Physical Health is not only just a fractional aspect of the Well-being of an Individual, symptoms of Illness are commonly the final exposition of a an earlier event that caused a disturbance in the body’s Energy Field. This is an essential consideration in the realm of Preventive-care, or Sustainable Health, where effectiveness is proportional to its earlier detection. Consequently, what is now called “Preventive-care” does not mean forestalling Illness per se, as it is limited to analyzing Physical Health and therefore should be more aptly termed “early Symptoms detection”. In order to preempt disease and keep the Individual healthy, we need to extend our Health Analysis to all its 6 constituents, namely Physical Health, Mental Health, Emotional Health, Spiritual Health, Social Health and Intellectual Health.
These 6 modules are deeply intertwined with a profound effect on one another, while together they amount to “Whole Health”, commonly understood as Holistic Health. These elements are constantly vying for dominance in our Wholeness and account for our volatility as Human beings. Now the question is: We have analyzed each component in its own separately, and here we ask: How is Emotional Health different from Mental Health, are they not both the same? At least many dictionaries define Emotional and Mental Health as the same thing, and in everyday parlance both terms are – wrongly – used interchangeably.
Emotional versus Mental Health
Even though the dictionaries are missing the distinction in definition, the significant difference evolves when we define the terms emotions and mind.. Emotion roots in the French word for move or excite, implying that emotions are spontaneous and ever-changing. Emotions are the person-specific non-conscious reactions to a situation that may result in feelings, such as anger, joy, sadness, love or hate. Expressed emotions typically include crying, yelling, laughing, shouting, trembling, stumbling or even fainting. In contrast, Mind can be defined as: that which is responsible for one’s thoughts and feelings; the seat of the faculty of reason. The terms are also distinctive in our daily lives and how we are perceived in society. We can say: I changed my mind, while saying: I changed my emotions, is nonsensical, because emotions happen, they are not made. Many definitions purport that Emotions are part of Mental Health while the opposite does not apply. However, in the context of assessment of the Whole Health of a person, the Holistic Health, we have to analyze Emotions as a separate element. It is well known that Emotions may have a profound effect on the Individual’s Mental Health and eventually manifest in Physical Illness.
For example, my own father was, what people call a “very emotional” person. He showed frequent outbursts of extreme anger to a degree that it threatened his job security. Aware and afraid of the situation, he stifled his emotions. But stifling didn’t change his choleric nature and he eventually came down with a massive heart attack from which he never recovered, even though he lived healthy, exercised, never smoked and had normal weight. He was never diagnosed with a Mental Health problem, but he clearly had an Emotional problem with Anger Management. It follows that Emotions can also have a positive effect on the Individual’s Well-being. A Lady Doctor friend of mine contracted a very aggressive form of Leukemia and her chances of survival were very low. But she has a personality characterized by very positive emotions, always laughing and charming with great charisma. During a lecture she fainted and was brought to the ICU, but before her colleges could rush to the site, she had disappeared. This happened many times for many years and today she is still alive – as a medical miracle. But she had such positive Emotions that beckoned to everyone: I absolutely refuse to give up and I don’t want to talk about it!
This example portrays that one can change mood simply by changing the thinking. The brain controls both mood and thoughts so it makes sense that what one thinks about can change emotions. Nevertheless, this is not the whole picture, for that we have to consider the other elements that play a role, such as the overarching Spiritual Health which may control our Social interactions and the Intellect. If one of these elements is in chaos, Physical symptoms will occur, and it’s not a question if, but how soon. That fact may indeed reveal why pharmaceutical drugs cannot restore Health, just temporarily relieve symptoms.
- Spiritual Health: Your Lack Of Faith Is The Thief Of Your Health
Why Believes Matter
Physical-, Mental-, Emotional-, Spiritual-, Social- and Intellectual Health are the 6 modules that are deeply intertwined with a profound effect on one another, but in perfect balanced state amount to the equilibrium known as Holistic Health. These constituents are constantly vying for dominance in our Wholeness and account for our volatility as Human beings. However, in conversational parlance on Health, we tacitly limit our understanding of Health to mean Physical Health only, because none other but Physical Health is measured and expressed by scientific consensus. Nevertheless Physical Health is nothing more than a fractional aspect of the Well-being; therefore the “Physical Health-check” is unable to determine the Health of a person, rather, it measures Illness. It can only detect symptoms and quantify the deviations from what is considered (or directed) a normal physical state.
But symptoms of Illness are commonly just the final exposition of a past traumatic event that caused a disturbance in the body’s energy field. Such a traumatic event immediately impacts the other 5 elements of Health, long before it becomes measurable at the physical level. This is an important observation in the realm of Preventive-care, or Sustainable Health-care, because forestalling Illness means detection at the level of a disrupted equilibrium between the 5-nonphysical elements, long before symptoms show up at the physical level. Consequently, what is commercially called “Preventive-care” is not preemptive care, as it is limited to analyzing Physical Health and therefore should be more aptly termed “early Symptoms detection”. In order to anticipate disease and keep the Individual healthy, we need to extend our Health Analysis to all its 6 elements: Physical Health; Mental Health, Emotional Health, Spiritual Health, Social Health, Intellectual Health.
While there is unequivocal consensus that Spiritual Health plays a major role in our Lives and Well-being, the consensus abruptly ends at the perpetual question of: what is Spiritual Health, how do we define Spirituality?
Spiritual Health – the futile search of a Definition
Searching the literature doesn’t reveal anything close to a universally acceptable definition; it is rather interesting to note that otherwise reputable institutions seem to flee from the issue. So in this light we are not surprised by the awkward WHO definition of Mental Health:
“a being of well-being in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community”.
Note that Spiritual Health is conspicuously absent; it was probably sacrificed on the altar of political correctness, after endless debates among nations, that the WHO entertained in 1979. The first WHO document to mention Spiritual Health is buried deep in the WHO-Africa web site as a paper from 2003 entitled: “The Bangkok Charter of Health Promotion in a Globalized World”, which states:
“The United Nations recognizes that the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health is one of the fundamental rights of every human being without discrimination. Health promotion is based on this critical human right and offers a positive and inclusive concept of health as a determinant of the quality of life and encompassing mental and spiritual well-being.”
(Emphasis mine). However, again, there is no definition of spiritual offered. As it is evidently a charged issue, it has been conveniently dodged by the bureaucrats. At the World Summit for Social Development, held in March 1995 in Copenhagen, Governments reached a new consensus on the need to put people at the center of development: governments of all European nations signed the Copenhagen Declaration on Social Development committing themselves to addressing the “spiritual” needs of their populations. Yet, with the exception of end-of-life intervention, this dimension is almost totally absent from discussions of public health and health promotion in Europe, whether it be in the discourse of public health professionals or policy-makers. Why is there so much dancing about the issue? asks the author of an article in the European Journal of Public Health (Vol..15 Issue 5 Pp 457). The answer:
‘Spiritual’ was, for a long time, considered indissociable from ‘religious’ and our lay society prefers to steer as far as possible away from discussions on religion, for fear of igniting latent conflicts or encroaching on a taboo subject. The archaic and sectarian attitude of some followers of religions and in particular some religious leaders no doubt play an important role in this state of affairs. There is also the practical difficulty of identifying, defining and measuring dimensions of ‘spiritual’ health.
Some scientists assert that “spirituality” can’t be defined:
“What might this spiritual dimension of health be? In spite of the various references to spiritual health over the past decades, one is at a loss to find an acceptable theoretical or working definition of what it might entail.”
(American Journal of Health Promotion, 1995,9, Pp 371-8).
Non-Governmental Organizations however are in good company in stifling the issue of defining Spiritual Health. Remarkably, a scan of Christian Ministry web sites that promise a definition, duck the real issue by wordy circumvention of the word “God”, resorting to euphemisms like energy, spiritual forces, emotional balance, etc. instead. It transpires from all the gingerly approaches to define spirituality, that this is clearly the most controversial definition within the 6 elements of Health.
Religion versus Faith
A lot of this cowardice may be due to the all too common mix-up of Faith and Religion. While everyone has a Belief, many are quick to say “I’m not religious“. Being religious has a stigma, no matter what the religion is. It is associated with a Dogma and religious people may impose their assertive doctrine upon us whenever they find an opportunity. Hence, in a subconscious attempt to self-protect the inner balanced state, many consider it wise to avoid the topic of religion altogether in any conversation so as to not get into an argument. However, our Creator did neither create nor mandate religion; therefore we can be Believers without being religious. Any person can believe in the existence of God and God’s law without joining any church or religious group; God’s promise of salvation doesn’t go to Churches, but only to those Individuals who believe in Him. The Divine Moral and Ethics laws in Scripture are delivered to all of us; in fact, the God of Abraham is the God of the Jews, Muslims and Christians alike. That explains why fundamentally the same laws of conduct apply in virtually all cultures and societies around the world. It also explains certain innate behaviors of mankind, such as our feeling of shame to be seen with no clothes on.
Every religion is characterized by its proprietary Doctrine which it more or less vigorously defends for the sake of self-preservation and expansion. It is such activism that is perceived as offensive by members of other denominations and non-believers. Some religions go ways beyond defending their doctrine; they are vigorously pursuing anyone who is not a member of their group. They are claiming – against Scriptural evidence – to act by the Will of God in faulting anyone who has not submitted to their dogma (e.g. Infidels); and they are using every situation to indoctrinate them, convinced that they hold the only Truth and Salvation. It’s this missionary zeal that stigmatizes religion and distorts the Image of the Creator. Sadly, this constant intimidation has turned many people away from seeking their inner peace in God, thus giving up Faith while they fear the demands for restraints that are imposed on them – not by Scripture, but by religious dogma. As an example, God never demanded abstinence from Alcohol – as many religions teach – he merely told us, not to get drunk. It is these unreasonable manmade impositions that drive people to seek their spirituality in Occult, Mysticism, Humanism and Atheism, Buddhism and esoteric gods. But it is not God that is intimidating; it is the religions that are teaching distorted scripture to better control people for their own purpose.
It seems blatantly obvious that Spiritual Health cannot thrive in an environment of intimidation. If people feel bullied by religion and falsely believe it is God’s will that way – with Nothing Higher to turn to – their Spiritual Health takes an immense Hit. Once they have lost their core Belief, their certainty of Belonging and Purpose yields to the sense of emptiness and their life becomes meaningless. Naturally, this awareness impacts Emotional Health and Mental Health and, inevitably such structural disturbance of a person’s equilibrium, will result in symptoms of Physical Illness.
This is the classic illustration that symptom-fixing can’t get the person’s Health back, other symptoms will show up as long as the Spiritual-Emotional-Mental Trauma remains unattended. At the spiritual level it doesn’t matter what “the Facts” are, the only thing that matters is the person’s perception. Unlike in Physical Health-care, there are no sample analyzers that churn out numbers that compare against a benchmark. Analyzing Spiritual Health is not possible without cooperation and trust of the “patient”, and then there is no Healthy or Unhealthy verdict in Spiritual Health-care. Nevertheless, it is well known that spiritual chaos is the trigger for many degenerative diseases.
The concept of Spiritual Health, as a major and integrated driver of Total- or Holistic Health, has not even been adequately defined, let alone researched, grounded in theory, or integrated into the health education curriculum; Spiritual Health is also the least commercially contested and exploited of the 6 elements that comprise Health. Spiritual Health may be a core element that governs all of our thoughts and actions and thus influences our Emotional and Mental Health and how we interact with others, the Social and Intellectual Health. A disturbance of any of these modules will ultimately show up as a Physical symptom, and that fact may indeed reveal why pharmaceutical drugs cannot restore Health, just temporarily relieve symptoms.
- Need Better Health? – Exercise Your Social Skills!
Honestly, do you feel comfortable to start a conversation with complete strangers? How about talking in front of an audience, do you feel just a little nervous or are you running for shelter? Well, a little shyness seems perfectly normal and not spontaneously talking to strangers may just be considerate. Then what does my innate preference to socialize have to do with my Health, if anything?
“Social Health” is one of the 6 constituents that amount to a balanced state, or Holistic Health of a human being; and it has to be correlated in an assessment with the Physical-, Mental-, Emotional-, Spiritual- and Intellectual elements – when we want to forestall future loss of Health and Vitality, such as in Predictive and Preventive Health-care.
While the state of Physical Health is assessed and expressed by directed consensus in medical sciences, of what and how to include Biomarkers into a numerically normative standard – “Social Health” is ambiguous in terms and flatly ignored in contemporary Health assessments. It is noteworthy, however that the pharmaceutical industry is all but overlooking Social Health as revenue generator of significance. In order to prescribe medicine a disease condition must first be identified, thus we are now referring to “Social Anxiety Disorder”, and of course the “Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder” (ADHD).
What is Social Anxiety Disorder?
Social anxiety disorder is an anxiety disorder in which people fear social situations where they might be embarrassed or judged. When put in a social situation where they might become anxious sufferers have symptoms such as a racing heart, trembling, blushing or even sweating. This anxiety disorder is not uncommon in any culture and by any stretch of the imagination – some sources say it affects more than five million Americans any given year and 13.3% of the US population may meet criteria for social anxiety disorder at some point in their lifetime – that is 40 million people! (Source: SocialAnxietyDisorder.net).
But that’s not the only “Social Pathology” that we know, there is Panic Attacks, Agoraphobia, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Trichotilomania, posttraumatic stress disorder (PSTD), acute stress disorder, generalized anxiety disorder (or GAD), substance-induced anxiety disorder, and anxiety disorder not otherwise specified. Some common drugs that are typically prescribed in the Social Health arena are: Zoloft® (Sertraline), Paxil® (Paroxetine), Lexapro® (Excitalopram Oxalate), BuSpar® (Buspirone), Xanax® (Aprazolam), Effexor FR® (Venlafaxine), Adapin® (Doxepin) and Prozac® (Fluoxetine).
What about Depression?
Depression may come either as a cause or the result of a Social Health condition. A depressed person is typically not interested in socializing, but that doesn’t mean a non-gregarious person is also depressed. Depression is also a common Drug side effect; for example the stimulant drugs prescribed for abating ADHD, such as Ritalin®, Adderall®, and Dexedrine® can cause depression, in addition stimulant medication are well known to lead to nervous tics, hallucinations, and bizarre behavior – which seems to run counter to remediation of Social Health.
Social Competence and Skills
We consider Social Competence to be the antonym of Social Anxiety: a person that is not afraid of meeting with strangers and impromptu interactions with others. An individual having the ability to adapt to a specific audience and influence it to act according to his or her will, can certainly be described as socially competent. Social skills can be learned from early childhood throughout adult life (for example: Toastmasters). Social competence is an elusive concept however, when we try to define it within the individuals whole Health or Vitality. How is it measured and weighed against the highly intertwined Spiritual-, Emotional-, and Mental Health elements? Even if we could assess Social Health on its own, we would have to agree on some numerical normative standard, such as we use for cholesterol and blood pressure.
However vague the concept and the absence of a scientific paradigm and benchmark, it seems obvious that a “totally healthy individual” is also a socially competent person; while a socially phobic person is not completely healthy, even though the condition may be fixed with simple lifestyle adjustments such as balanced nutrition. Social competence and skills are not delivered or restored by any drugs, this is evidenced by the fact that none of the prescription drugs is known to cure the condition, they just depress the symptoms. The best therapy and enrichment in life may come from training and practicing social skills, interacting with Others positively impacts the Spiritual-, Emotional– and Mental Health elements and ultimately prevents the Body from developing disease symptoms.
- How Your Intellect Builds Strong Health
Have you ever been asked about your Intellect in the context of assessing your physical Health? We simply don’t relate Intellectual Health to Physical Health at all, but why not? The Intellectual element is one of the 6 constituents that comprise Whole Health, or Holistic Health; the other elements are Physical-, Mental-, Emotional-, Spiritual– and Social Health. We are referring to the academically literate as Intellectuals, meaning that society is turning to them for advice. Yet an Intellectually healthy person may be one that has never seen a University from the inside, it may simply mean a person with wisdom and common sense. Merriam Webster defines wisdom as “knowledge that is gained by having many experiences in life”; while the wisdom of Salomon means: insight into life and ways of dealing with its problems.
Now, by this definition we can connect the dots between Intellect and Mind, and with Mental Health being a known decisive component of a person’s Vitality, Intellectual Health-care may deserve some attention. Intellectual Health is the least known of the 6 intertwining Health Modules and it is the only one element that has not yet been exploited by the pharmaceutical industry.
While there is no scientific consensus on Intellectual Health definition, let alone the assessment and interpretation of it, we can deduce from its usage that the components of Intellectual health include: creativity, curiosity, general knowledge, eagerness to learn, wisdom and common sense. With that in mind, we can see how we can train and build-up our Intellectual Health. Like the gym can prevent our physical body from losing muscle tissue while shedding unnecessary fat, we can build intellectual muscles that spill over to the Mind, Emotions and Believes. And as with the physical body that ages rapidly by overeating and sedentary lifestyle, our Intellectual body deteriorates quickly by the lack of stimuli, inactivity and uncritical consumption.
Intellectually necrotic activities include, for example, the regular credulous utilization of TV-news and passing them on to others as truths without checking on the sources. In contrast, critical scrutiny of all information that is being presented to us is synonymous with Intellectual body-building. A person of strong Intellectual Health can be identified by the following actions: keen interest in learning new things, keep well informed ahead of the masses by careful selection of a variety of sources, likes mind-challenging games like bridge, chess or crossword puzzles, etc.; constantly works on refining reading and writing skills, actively seeks discourse with others on things that matter, and so on.
Intellectual Health-care is more important than ever, it is easy to self-administer, doesn’t require insurance and costs no money: everyone can afford it! We are being inundated with information and we are forced to choose, if we care where we are going, rather than just drifting along with the masses. For example, the main-stream media is financed by advertisers which it protects; as a result, if we consume their information as facts, unchallenged, we will soon come to believe that FastFood is good for our health, that the FDA is protecting our health and that prescription drugs make us healthy.
It follows that Intellectual body-building also builds a strong mind that controls the body, our sustained Physical Health may just root in the Intellect: a strong will and discipline to submit to our inherent curiosity.