In healthicine, need to distinguish between illness, injury, and disability.
An illness has an active cause. Every illness is a connection of cause and consequences, of a cause with signs and symptoms of illness. An element of illness, or an elementary illness, has a single cause, although it might have many signs, symptoms, and consequences.
An illness might affect the body, the mind, the spirits, and the community of the patient. Illnesses are based in the body – when the cause is in the body. Illnesses are based in the mind when the cause is in the mind. An illness of spirit has a cause in the spirits of the patient. An illness can also be based in the community, when the cause is in the community, not in any individual.
An illness has negative signs, symptoms, and consequences. Signs, symptoms, and even consequences, are not in themselves negative – they might indicate healthiness as easily as illness.
Illness is defined as ‘negative’, and this is an important concept and distinction. Many of today’s diseases are healthy reactions to negative situations, and many of today’s diseases can result in increased healthiness in the long term. Life, health, and illness are not simple.
An illness can cause injury. In many cases, the cause of an injury is gone, but when an illness causes injury, the injury can be ongoing, or increasing. Injuries can come from illness of the body, of the mind, of the spirits or of the community, and can exist in the body, the mind, the spirits and the communities, and can cause damage to each layer. Injury to the body is physical damage; injury to the mind is mental damage; injury to the spirits is spirit damage; injury to the community is community damage. Take care. Injury to the brain is physical damage, which might also cause mental damage.
Injuries can, of course, have sources other than illness. A bone can break due to a fall, or a gunshot. A bruise can occur as a result of playing hard in sports or other activities. Injuries can even increase healthiness, in some cases – as we shall see when we consider disability.
A disability results when an injury cannot be healed. Like injuries, disabilities can result from illness, or from other events. A leg, or even an internal organ, might be lost due to an accident, or even due to a surgical procedure. Disabilities can exist in the body, the mind, the spirits or the communities.
Sometimes, it’s useful to view a disabilities as a ‘blockage’. Blocking the person’s body, mind, spirits or communities from healthy actions – sometimes, even blocking potentially unhealthy actions. Many blockages are healthy. We fall down the stairs, and learn to not ‘run’ down the stairs, or perhaps how to run down the stairs more effectively, more carefully, more safely, less randomly. We block dangerous actions deliberately. But many blockages are simple errors. I’m afraid of bees, because I was badly stung when I was 7 years old. It has taken me many years to lost much, but not all, of this mental blockage.
Types of Cures
What are the basics of ‘cure’? You won’t find the answer in any medical dictionary. In fact, many recently published medical dictionaries do not contain the words cure, cures, cured, nor incurable – such is the paucity of cures in medicine.
However, we can find the cures by analyzing illness, and the effects of illness: injury and disability. Illness causes injuries, which can lead to disabilities. There are cures that address illness – before, during and after. There are cures that address injuries caused by illness or other factors, and there are even cures, in many cases, for disabilities caused by illness or other factors.
We can expand the Illness>Injury>Disability diagram, adding information about cures.
This diagram shows three aspects of cure – stopping the cause of an illness, healing damage done by illness or injury, and repairing a disability.
An illness is cured when the cause is successfully addressed. In theory then, every illness can be cured. It’s a trivial concept in theory, complex in practice. How can we be certain of the cause of an illness? By curing it. How can we know we have cured the illness – because we addressed the cause. This logical circle only ends when the illness is ended.
In most, perhaps all cases, there are many cures for an illness, and the best cure for a specific case depends on the circumstances of the case, not on the ‘diagnosis of a disease’.
Healing: Curing Injury
An injury is cured by healing. However, healing is seldom perfect, and many injuries can hardly be healed at all. When an injury is not healed, the result is a disability.
This is the area where modern medicine excels, especially in emergency situations. Dangerous injuries are the reason for Emergency Wards, the busiest place in most hospitals. However, I believe we can do better, even here. Many injuries can be healed better than we are doing today – avoiding many disabilities.
Disabilities are cured by removing the blockage, which requires manipulation of body, mind, spirits, or community. Curing a disability also also requires healing, which, as noted, is seldom perfect.
Modern medicine often forgets that disabilities can be cured – except for surgeries. We know that cleft lip is cured by surgery. But we don’t seem to understand that a blocked tendon can be cured by massage, or that a blocked mind can be cured by experience, or that a blocked spirit can be cured by work that healths the spirits.
There is a fourth, important aspect of cure – prevention. Prevention of causes of illness, prevention of injuries and prevention of disabilities. Prevention of causes is an indirect cure, often presenting its own risk, as is prevention of injury. Prevention of disability requires curing illness before injury and disability arise, or ensuring adequate healing such that disability does not arise.
Illness > Injury > Disability > Cures
When we entirety of medicine, and categorize every medical problem into illness, injury, and disability, we can find our way to the best cures for each problem. However, we need to practice with this lens, this viewpoint. Illness is complicated, and a disease often seems to have no cause, or many causes, creating confusion.
How can we simplify the situation? We need to begin with illness, to create the concept of a ‘simple’ illness. What is a simple illness?
An elementary illness has a single cause. It is cured by addressing the elementary cause.
A compound illness is comprised of two or more elementary illnesses, with similar signs, symptoms and consequences. A compound illness can only be cured one elementary illness at a time.
About this Post
The author of this post, Tracy Kolenchuk, is not a doctor. It is perhaps unfortunate that ‘modern’ medicine makes no attempt to understand the theory and practice of ‘cures’, and has even gone so far as to remove definitions of cure, cures, cured and incurable from many medical dictionarie. It is perhaps strange, but true that in order to understand cures, we need to step out of the medical spotlight, away from the medical viewpoint, to find a healthy view – a healthicine view.
This post is a portion of a new book about Healthicine, Illness and Cures. The book title is still a work in progress. If you have thoughts or comments that will help contribute to the material, please leave a comment, or drop me a note at: firstname.lastname@example.org
to your health, tracy