The Hierarchy of Healthicine is the hierarchy of life. Life begins when genetics and nutrients combine to reproduce. Life rises in complexity to create cells, cell masses, and then tissues, the first organs, organ systems, and body.
Cells and then the body, develop senses to identify food and danger, and develop mobility to move towards food and away from danger. These senses become more and more rich, developing into brains. Brains combine to create a mind. Minds work together with the body to create spirits. Throughout the hierarchy cooperation and competition creates communities. Genetic communities create cells. Cellular communities create tissues. Sensory and nervous system communities create the body’s brains and the brains rise in complexity and cooperation to create the mind.
Each layer in the hierarchy is a meta, a whole that is more than the sum of parts in the lower layers. Bodies, minds, and spirits work together to create communities of humans – from families to tribes to religions, corporations, unions, governments – and communities of communities like the United Nations, the World Bank etc.
Primary Disciplines of Healthicine
When we study healthicine, we look at this fundamental hierarchy from a ‘health view’, in order to learn more about health, the determinants of health and the causes of illness. One set of primary disciplines of healthicine are the layers in the hierarchy. Many of these layers are disciplines of medicine today – but we do not study health with the same energy that we study medicine. The layer of mind is hardly studied by medicine – it’s easier to drug the brain than to study the mind. The top two layers, spirits and community, are almost totally ignored by studies of medicine.
There is another set of primary disciplines in the hierarchy of healthicine – the processes. There are seven key processes that act throughout the hierarchy: structure, assimilation and elimination, energy, communications and cooperation, defense, transport, and detoxification. Some processes are not present in lower layers, where components and function are simpler, but from the cellular level upwards – all of these processes are important aspects of healthiness in every layer. The processes become more complex and more sophisticated as we rise up the hierarchy.
Secondary Disciplines of Healthicine
Each layer of the hierarchy can be combined with every other layer to create second level disciplines of health, as seen in the diagram. Many of these second level disciplines are also disciplines of current medical theory. Some are clearly absent from medical theory – a simple example being spirit-genetics.
The Hierarchy of Healthicine was first explored via the blog Personal Health Freedom in an attempt to understand and define health.
The first post was titled A Hierarchy of Health, was published in July 2010. It defined the basic layers of the hierarchy. I designed and wrote the initial hierarchy of health out of frustration with the few definitions of health that existed, and the weaknesses of those definitions. The main definition of health is currently the definition published by the World Health Organization in 1948. It has not been updated since 1948. The WHO definition “Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” has two primary weaknesses. It is perfection based: “a state of complete…. well being”, thus not subject to measurement and it is illness based “the absence of disease or infirmity.” According to the WHO definition, health is perfection, nothing less. This definition is a very weak tool in any attempts to understand and improve health. This is illustrated by many subsequent surveys of health by WHO, which rely exclusively on the ‘presence of illness’ to measure health.
I needed something to recognize the complexity of health. Health is not just the absence of illness, and is more than the wholeness that is often articulated by alternative health practitioners. But how much more? Gradually I realized that the definition of health is to be found in the hierarchy of life, which starts with genetics and nutrients, and rises through cells, tissues, organs, systems, body, minds, spirits and communities.
Over several years, I have explored the hierarchy of healthicine in many posts, and continue to use the hierarchy as a foundation for a better understanding of both healthiness and illness. Here are links to some of the historical and exploratory posts:
Hierarchy of Health – Primary and Secondary Disciplines, October 27, 2011 just over a year after the initial post, I created an updated post about the hierarchy, with a more detailed look at each layer.
Hierarchy of Healthiness, later renamed as the Hierarchy of Healthicine, April 2012 – written for Wakeup-World.com. This post was re-published by several sites, including the Health Freedom Alliance. It was also published on the sister site to Healthicine.org, Personal Health Freedom in September 201212.
Hierarchy of Healthicine: Sources of Healthiness and Causes of Illness, June 2013 – in which I explored the layers of the hierarchy that we can use to improve our health and prevent illness from arising.
After about two years, I consolidated information from Healthicine posts on both sites, into a book.