Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Healthicine: The Art and Science of Healthing

Healthicine is the art and science of healthing. The study and practice of health and healthiness.

Healthing, optimizing your health, is personal first, and then extends to your communities - your family, friends and any other community of which you are a member or have an interest.

Medicine is the art and science of healing. The study and practice of treating disease. Medicine is severely restricted in our western society. It is illegal to practice medicine without a license.

Healthicine is a superset of medicine, and includes the field of medicine. Medicine is only a small part of health and healthiness.

This diagram represents the field of healthicine including the field of medicine.

Healthiness is about balance.  For each essential nutrient, we must balance our intake in the healthy range. The RDA (Reference Daily Intake) and the UL (Upper Intake) are numbers identified by the FDA as points where imbalance starts to occur. If the imbalance becomes excessive - we might develop a medical condition. At which point, we may require medicine, the art and science of healing - to recover.

Your personal healthicine starts as your personal health freedoms. As we move to the borders of the healthicine range - our health becomes so unbalanced that we may require assistance to recover. And if we go farther, it is possible to tip - and break some aspect of our health - to the point where we might never recover completely.

There are thousands of balances in healthicine. The hierarchy of health provides a foundation to identify many of those balances.  Balanced nutrition is one area - consisting of hundreds of essential and non-essential nutrients.  We also seek a balance of healthy cells, tissues, organs and bodily systems.  And also balanced healthy body, mind and spirit.  And balanced, healthy communities. There are balances in things - and in processes.  We need to balance our Vitamin C intake - and we also need to balance our sleep and our exercise to optimize health.

Our bodies are remarkably good at compensating for imbalances. If the right leg is weaker than the left leg, in most cases - we can still walk.  A bit wobbly, but still mobile. If the right leg is broken due to excess of physical stress - we might hobble, maybe with crutches, until it heals, straight or not.  If it heals crooked - our muscles can develop to compensate and help balance  or at least facilitate walking.

Illness is defined where one or more of our healthicine balances tips so far - deficient or excessive, that a diagnosable medical problem arises.  If this happens because of a single imbalance (a primary illness) - it might be simple to identify and treat.  In may cases, our illness is the result of multiple imbalances in the healthicine (a complex or compound illness) - making it more difficult to identify causality, and more difficult to treat.

As a result of this complexity - medicine often resorts to treating symptoms.  A technique that can be more expeditious and effective than trying to identify the cause of illness. Many similar illnesses can be effectively treated with similar techniques - without specific reference to the underlying cause or imbalance. For some illnesses - a broken leg is one example, examining the underlying cause is only useful for prevention of future incidents, but of little use in treatment.

There are many healthicine balances outside of the hierarchy of health.

One of the most important is exercise.  Our bodies don't just exist - they move.  Health is facilitated by and depends on movement and activity.  A balance of exercise makes us healthier. A deficiency of exercise makes us unhealthy - as can an excess of exercise.  Of course the FDA does not provide an RDA or UL for exercise - it's much more personal.

Many healthicine balances appear to NOT have a minimum, or a maximum, or the minimum or maximum is so unlikely and infrequent that it can generally be ignored.

Some healthicine balances have a very wide balance point. The healthy range of Vitamin C, according to the FDA, is from 90 mg per day (the RDA) to 2000 mg per day (the UL).  An upper limit of more than 20 times larger than the minimum.

Most healthicine balances have an optimum range.  One of the challenges for the science of healthiness, is to determine most important health balances and identify their optimal ranges.

Some healthicine balances are maintained by the body - in absence of daily attention.  Vitamin A is stored in the liver, and you can stop consuming Vitamin A for many days without significant impact on your health.   Vitamin C, on the other hand, is not stored - and it is important to maintain an adequate daily intake, or suffer health consequences.

What is the optimal intake of Vitamin C?  Of protein?  Of essential fats?   What is the optimal amount of exercise? We don't know. What is the optimal composition of healthy blood?  Healthy muscle tissue? Do we know? Is a specific health balance best attended to daily?  Weekly?  Monthly?  Annually? Or at specific times in our lifetime?

Of course health consequences from a minor deficiency of a single nutrient, over a small period of time, are typically very small. Your body might in many cases, recover when the balance is restored. If your consumption of Vitamin C is zero for many days - you are unlikely to notice any difference.  Only a few nutrients, most notably oxygen and water - can have a severe effect from small periods of absence.

We have spent centuries studying medicine, and comparatively, scant few moments on the science of healthiness. I believe some of the intractable problems of medicine arise because we are treating them with medicine - when the preventative nature of healthicine is a more appropriate approach.

It's time to look more closely, thoroughly, deeply into the art and science of health.

You have a right to life, liberty and the pursuit of healthiness. You have a right to healthicine.

yours in health, tracy
Personal Health Freedom

This post has been revised as of Feb 21, 2012 from the original posting of December 3, 2011.
Tracy is the author of two book about healthicine: