It is important to distinguish clearly between healthiness and illness in order to improve our understanding of both and to improve our status in both. We begin with healthiness.
Each person’s healthiness has many factors, from genetics to nutrition to mind, spirit and community. We can view many of the individual factors of healthiness by reviewing the hierarchy of healthicine. Most individuals are deficient in some aspects of healthiness, normal in most, although not optimal in any individual factor. Deficiencies and excesses are the root cause of all illnesses, but they often exist without causing illness. Our bodies, minds and spirits are remarkably good at re-balancing to compensate for individual deficiencies and excesses.
It is important to distinguish between unhealthiness and illness. It is possible to be very unhealthy, very unbalanced, without being sick. Illness requires a diagnosis.
Unhealthiness is the inverse of healthiness. If you are 80 percent healthy, you are 20 percent unhealthy. If you are only 30 percent healthy in a healthiness measurement, then you are 70 percent ‘unhealthy’ in that measurement. Note: Unhealthiness is often viewed as ‘bad’ or to be avoided. However, it is important to understand that whenever we define or measure healthiness, we also define or measure healthiness.
Illness, or sickness, is something different.
The image of illness ranges from wellness, or absence of illness – to death from an illness. Most of us have some minor ails, not diagnosed as illness. Some of us have one or more illnesses that have been diagnosed. A diagnosis typically defines the seriousness or depth – towards death, and the breadth – the amount of bodily systems and functions the illness affects. Of course illnesses do wax and wane over time. We can see from this diagram that an illness might grow quite wide and thus serious before it is diagnosed. It is also important to note that an illness might cause death before it is diagnosed, although in some cases diagnosis might come after death.
All illness arises from one or more causes – and each cause is an imbalance, a deficiency or an excess. The imbalance might be an imbalance in a health factor, a deficiency of nutrients for example, or it might be an excess of an external factor – like a bacterial infection or a gunshot wound.
Thus, unhealthiness can lead to illness – but so can other factors which are independent of healthiness.
Overall healthiness is a superset of the factors of health, and our illnesses. To view the complete healthiness image of a person, we can combine the two diagrams into one.
This diagram clearly shows the distinction between our healthinesses and our illnesses. The illnesses are in red. They can cross many different aspects of healthiness. We can see that it is possible to be healthy in many dimensions, and also have one or more specific illnesses.
Representing healthiness, unhealthiness, illness and wellness in this fashion facilitates a more clear understanding of their independence and will help us to attain better healthiness and better control over our illnesses.
Medicines can work in different ways. Preferred: by improving our healthiness – thus removing the illness or helping our body to fight illness. If you are deficient in a health factor, increase your intake to remove the illness it caused. Medicines can also work by attacking the illness, if you are attacked by a bacteria – but there is always danger that our bodies will be attacked as well. Some medicines work by trying to ‘trick’ our bodies, for example – that we don’t feel what is really happening (pain, irritation, inflammation, etc) – but there is always danger in health trickery. Side effects result from trickery, or from medicines that attack our bodies as well as the illness. Only medicines that work by improving our healthiness have no side effects.
When we study healthicines – which includes all of the treatments we use on illnesses, it is important to study their effects on our healthinesses as well as their effects on our illnesses to obtain a complete picture.
to your health, tracy