“We all labour against our own cure, for death is the cure for all diseases.” Thomas Browne
Cures are miracles. Anyone who can cure, is eligible for sainthood. Such is the mystique of cures and curing. At the same time, anyone who claims to cure any disease or medical condition is banished, treated more like the devil, or a ‘quack’, promoting ‘pseudo-science’. No self-respecting doctor would claim to cure. Training for nurses and other medical workers often advises “never use the word ‘cure'”. Cures are considered impossible, or at least very unlikely, suspicious even when they occur.
In truth, cures are commonplace. So common that many cures are invisible. Our health easily cures the common cold, the flu, and measles, given a bit of time, while modern medicine claims them to be incurable. Cuts and bruises, large and small, are healed by nature – no doctor can cure them. Many disabilities, perhaps they should have been named ‘inabilities’ are cured by a physical, mental, spiritual, or community jolt of reality. If you believe you cannot be cured, you are disabled. In some cases, when you think you can, and try, your disability is converted to an inability, which is then cured. But these cures, like most cures do not come from medicines, so they are ignored by the students and scientists of medicine, and by medicine marketers, or dismissed as ‘anecdotes’ and placebo effects.
Every cure is an anecdote. Every illness is a unique story with a cause, a course, and an ending.
If cures were not so common, we would all die at an early age. Yet cures remain a mystery. It’s easy to believe that cures are few and far between, even as we are surrounded by cures. We need to open our eyes to a simple, clear definition of cure.
Do not believe in miracle cures. A miracle cure leaps past any attempts to understand or address the cause of the illness. When the cause of the illness is not addressed – there can be no cure. When the cause of the illness is not understood, the cure will cannot be replicated. The fundamental truth of cure begins with cause.
Cause and Effect: Illness and cure are cause and effect. Every illness has a cause. The illness consists of the cause and the effect – the cause and the negative consequences. Every cured illness also has a cause, the cure action. An illness is cured by an action that addresses the cause. The cause of an illness might be a positive or a negative. Illness can be caused by deficiency or by excess of nutrition, of action, of rest, of body, mind, spirits, or community. The cause of an illness can be in the physical body, in the mind, in the spirits, or in the communities. Signs and symptoms of an illness might be seen in all of those areas – because all interconnected and related to each other.
There are currently many definitions and meanings of the word ‘cure’. Dictionaries define, agree, and disagree silently about cure, cures, cured, and incurable. Medical dictionaries and reference books, for the most part, abstain from making any statements about cure – while simultaneously claiming that many diseases, most especially chronic diseases, are incurable. When we believe cure is impossible, it’s easy to create a chronic, incurable diseases, or disabilities.
There are also many different definitions of illness, disease, medical condition and disability – and little consistency in the use of terms by different authors and publications. In healthicine, an illness is a negative medical condition with a cause. An illness can be cured, by addressing the cause. A disease, on the other hand, is a much broader concept, covering many conditions and concepts that might not be curable.
“Cure the disease and cure the patient.” Francis Bacon.
– actually, we cure illness, one illness at a time, not the disease, not the patient.
Cures can be simple, and complex. Cure is simple when the cause of the illness is simple. The cure is to address the cause. A person suffering from a dietary deficiency of Vitamin C, causing scurvy, is cured by changing to a diet that contains sufficient Vitamin C. A person suffering from Vitamin A toxicity, is cured when they stop consuming foods that contain high amounts of Vitamin A. Of course, in both cases, healing is required to complete the cure. These cures, like many cures, are so simple that they are ignored, dismissed, as if they are not a ‘real cures‘, because real cures are impossible to understand. Nonsense. Simple cures are simple. Every illness has a cause. Every cure has a cause. The causes must be linked, if the illness is to be cured.
But then complexity rises. Every ’cause’ might also have a cause. Which is the key cause? Which cause is the root cause? There are no root causes. The key cause is any cause that leads to a cure when addressed.
We can simplify cures, by simplifying illness to elemental illnesses. By breaking compound illnesses down, to understand the simple illnesses they are made of. An elemental illness has a single cause, or single train of causes. When we address the cause, the illness is cured. It seems too simple. It is simple, because we made the effort to simplify it. It’s simple in theory. We need to change the practice of medicine to match the theory.
Many diseases consist of complex, even multiple illnesses. When we treat these diseases, it’s easy to resort to treating symptoms, ignoring cause. Easy, and often seen as ‘successful’ by the patient, the doctor, and medical science, even as it fails to cure. This leads, predictably, to more complexities, potentially making each individual illness more difficult to cure. Eventually, the approach of treating symptoms leads to a lack of faith in cure, even when we are surrounded by cures. This is the state of medicine today:
Physicians of the utmost fame, were called at once; but when they came
They answered as they took their fees, ‘There is no cure for this disease.’ Hilaire Belloc
-maybe we would find more cures, if we only paid our doctors for cures.
There are no incurable illnesses. Modern medicine, makes the same mistake as the Oxford Dictionary, defining ‘incurable‘ as ‘incapable of being cured by medicine or medical skill‘, forgetting that most illnesses are not cured by medicine, nor medical skill, but by health. It is not possible to prove that an illness cannot be cured, without calling it a disability – not an illness. It is often possible to prove that a disability was an illness, by curing, by converting it to an illness.
“Life is an incurable disease.“ Abraham Cowley.
– Illness, on the other hand, is curable, by definition
“But love’s a malady without a cure.” Geoffrey Chaucer. “There ain’t no cure for love.” Leonard Cohen. Mistaking ‘love’ (or lost love) for an illness is a common error that results in an interesting quote, but not any useful medical advice.
In this article, I offer a clear, complete definition of cure, from a healthicine perspective, in the hope that we can move towards a useful, scientific definition of cure, understood by all, to the improvement of our health.
The intent of this post is to cure illness.
“The cure for this ill is not to sit still,
Or frowst with a book by the fire;
But to take a large hoe and a shovel also,
And dig till you gently perspire.” Rudyard Kipling
Definitions of Cure
Cure: n. A cure is the end of an illness. ( Reference: 1)
Cure: v. To bring about the end of an illness by addressing the cause.
Illness: n. An illness is a negative condition, consisting of a cause, which might be in the body, the mind, the spirit, or the community of the patient, and the consequences, signs and symptoms, which affect the body, the mind, the spirits and the communities of the patient.
Cures: There are four distinct types of cures: curing, healing, transformation, and prevention.
Types of Cures
1. Curing: bringing about the end of an active illness in the body, the mind, the spirits, or the community, by addressing the cause. An illness is the intersection of a cause and negative consequences, signs and symptoms of illness. It is cured when the cause has been successfully addressed. Corollary: The cause of an active illness has been successfully addressed when the illness is cured.
A partial cure occurs when the cause of an illness is partially addressed, or when a single cause of a compound illness, with multiple causes, is addressed.
A temporary cure occurs when the cause of an illness is temporarily addressed. Temporary cures can lead to chronic illness if the cycle is repeated.
While an illness is not cured, it creates injuries.
2. Healing is an ongoing curative process that is present before, during, and after the illness. (Reference 2, 3, 4). Injuries are healed. An injury might come from an illness, or from an external event. Healing is seldom perfect, and imperfect healing can lead to blockage or disability, which might only be curable by a transformation.
3. Transformation: Removing, and thus curing, physical (body), mental (mind), spiritual (spirits), and community blockage or disability. (Reference 4) Surgical cures are transformation, although most of the time, less severe transformations, physical changes to body, or changes to mental, spiritual or community states are sufficient. Removal of blockage often necessitates healing. Not all blockages can be cured – a blockage that cannot be cured is a disability.
4. Preventative cures address causes before illness can arise.
The definition presented here is a healthicine definition of the word cure. It is not based on historical usage. It is designed to present a comprehensive, cohesive definition of cure for all types of illnesses. It is based on the concept of cure as the end to an illness. Treatments for signs and symptoms of illness, that do not address cause, are symptomicines, not cures. Treatments for signs and symptoms can often lead to new illnesses (which we might mistakenly call side-effects).
There are many definitions of ‘cure’ to be found in standard dictionaries. Dictionaries must document all usage, including historical usage, not just medical or scientific usage. There is currently no ‘useful’ medical view of cure, that is recognized and accepted by the many practices of medicine to be found in any medical reference. Many medical dictionaries and medical reference texts do not define cure and actively avoid use of the word cure.
Types of Illness
Illness is invisible. Every illness is the invisible intersection of a cause and the consequences. We might see or know the cause. We might see or feel the consequences, the signs and symptoms. But neither cause nor consequences alone are the illness. Illness only exists when cause and consequences are linked.
Illness is a judgement, a negative judgement. Sometimes, perhaps often, the illness is clearly understood and defined, and the patient, the doctor, and the community agree that an illness is present, and which cause is active. Sometimes, it is not so clear. Sometimes the patient believes there is an illness, but the doctor does not. Sometimes, the doctor believes there is an illness, but the patient does not. This can be natural, even healthy, because of the natural integration and gradation between healthiness and illness. Illness can sometimes appear due to a negative judgement – by the patient or an external person. Sometimes it can disappear due to a contrary, positive judgement. This too can be natural and healthy.
An elementary, or elemental illness is the intersection of a single cause and negative consequences of that cause. Elementary illnesses are cured by addressing the elementary cause. We can often identify a train of causes, by asking both “what is the cause of this cause”, and “what is the consequence of this cause”. If the train of causes is truly linked, then addressing any single cause in the train will lead to a cure.
A compound illness consists of a number of elementary illnesses with similar consequences. A compound illness, therefore, has many causes. It is compound with respect to being cured. Any case of a disease that has multiple causes is a compound illness. A compound illness is cured one elementary illness at a time, by addressing each of the elementary causes. Curing an elementary illness that is part of a compound illness will a partial cure. Cure sequencing might be an important factor, because illnesses caused by illness might not be cured out of sequence.
A chronic illness is an illness with a chronic cause. It can only be cured by addressing the chronic nature of the cause. Every chronic illness is also a compound illness, because in its simplest form, it consists of a series of elemental illnesses, and the chronic illness as well. It requires two actions to be cured, to address the cause, and its chronic nature.
A chronic compound illness is a compound illness with chronic causes. It can only be totally cured by addressing each of the chronic causes. A chronic disease is often a compound chronic illness.
Chronic illnesses often emerge when we fail, or give up our attempts to cure, and resort to medicines that treat symptoms – symptomicines. Medicines that treat symptoms often have side effects, and because the medicine is intended to be ‘chronic’, to be taken over extended periods of time, these side effects become chronic illnesses, caused by chronic medication.
Progression of Illness
This diagram presents the transitions from illness, to injury, to blockage, to disability.
Illness can lead to injury, and injury can cause illness. Injury can lead to blockage – and a blockage can cause injury. A blockage that is incurable is a disability. When a disability is cured, we can know that it was really just a blockage.
Cure is the END of an illness. When a cure is accomplished, medicines that were used to treat symptoms of the illness are no longer needed. One goal of cures is to remove the dependence on medicines.
- A cure of an active illness, comes about when the cause is addressed, and the activity of the illness is stopped.
- Healing damage done by injury or illness is a cure that comes to an end when healing is completed. When healing is completed, the medicine used to treat symptoms is no longer needed.
- Transformation cures disability or blockage, although transformation often requires healing to complete the process.
This diagram completes the transitions from illness to injury to blockage and disability, by adding the techniques to cure each condition.
Cures come from Health
Who cures? Cures are only accomplished by the health of the patient, although the cure might be aided by other people:
- A cure addresses an active illness, an illness with an active cause. Active causes can come from external life forms (parasites), or the patient’s life activities. Medicines can sometimes address a parasitic illnesses, but no medicine can make a change in the activities of the patient. Only the patient can cure an illness that is not caused by a parasite. Many parasitic illnesses are cured naturally, by the health of the patient, often before they are consciously noticed as illnesses.
- Healing is accomplished by the healthy body, mind, spirit and community of the patient. No external person or doctor can ‘heal’ the damage of an injury. Healing can be aided by healthiness, by proper diet, physical, mental, spiritual and community exercise, and other actions.Healing is part of growth, which is always active, even when no illness is present. The immune system is a healing system and also a powerful curing system.
- Transformation can come about when the patient becomes aware of the blockage that is the disability and changes themselves. In some cases, a change can come about without awareness of the blockage. Transformation can also be induced with the help of an external person by physical, mental, spiritual, or community manipulation to identify, remove, and cure the blockage. Disabilities and blockages that persist over time are chronic causes. They often diagnosed as chronic diseases. If a blockage cannot be cured, it is not an illness, it is a permanent disability. A permanent disability can be converted to a ‘was a blockage’ by curing it. A blockage can be converted to a permanent disability by giving up.
- Preventative cures contain risk. It is often said that “prevention is the best medicine“, even “prevention is the best cure“. However, there are two types of preventatives. It is possible to prevent illness by improving healthiness – the best medicine, the best cure. But it is also possible to prevent illness by never taking any risks, by decreasing healthiness. Crossing the street can lead to injury and illness. But choosing to never cross the street is not the best medicine, it diminishes healthiness. Crossing at the crosswalk, after looking out for traffic, is a healthy prevention.
- Placebo cures – can a placebo cure? Actually, yes, although the exploration of that concept is an entire discussion in itself. We typically think of a placebo as a symptomicine, addressing symptoms, but not attempting to cure. However, the prescription of a placebo can sometimes cause a transformation in the mind, the spirits, or the community of the patient, leading to a cure. Also, many so called ‘placebos’ and ‘placebo effects’ are simply cases where we do not understand.
- Webster’s: Cure: 3. “a complete or permanent solution or remedy.
- Oxford: Cure: 7. “A means of healing”.
- Stedman’s Medical Dictionary: 1. “To heal, to make well“
- Oxford: Cure II 4. “To treat surgically or medically, with the purpose of healing“
References that do not define CURE:
The Oxford Concise Medical Dictionary, Ninth Edition, 2015
The Bantam Medical Dictionary, Sixth Edition, 2009
Barron’s Dictionary of Medical Terms, Sixth Edition, 2013
Medical Terminology for Dummies, Second Edition