There are three paths to prevention: the healthy path, the direct path and the mystical path.
Improve your healthiness, optimize your health - and your body will be more able re-balance and fight imbalances and disease.
Direct action can address an imbalance before it becomes a disease.
Mystical preventatives? Do they work? Does red wine prevent heart disease? Does green tea prevent cancer? Does chocolate prevent stroke? Does yoga create healthiness, and prevent illness? Or are these just superstitions?
Mystical preventatives get the most news. Does green tea prevent cancer? We like mysticism in our news. Unusual reports, things that make us think. If it's not new and unusual, it's not news.
All disease is caused by deficiencies or excesses. No matter which path you choose to prevent illness, remember 'moderation'. Healthiness is about balance, excessive partaking of any preventative will lead to an illness of excess. A healthy diet is good for you. Too much healthy diet leads to many diseases. Exercise is good for you - to much exercise can damage your body. Stress is good for you - it's great to feel alive - but too much stress leads to many health problems.
Which path should you take? Which should you take first?
Take healthy path first, because we don't know what we are preventing. It is extremely difficult to know when we are deficient, or excessive - except in the most basic areas. Many diseases are named by their symptoms, not by the cause - so even knowing the name of your disease, or condition, might not tell you the cause. Doctors often don't even try to identify the cause - because treatment is a more urgent matter. A large number of diseases have poorly understood or unknown causes.
As we learn to create and improve healthiness - we will access the most powerful preventative.
Do we know how to create and improve healthiness? Advice is everywhere. Eat a healthy diet. Exercise. Reduce stress. This useless advice sounds great - but produces unhealthiness, just look around for evidence. It's no surprise. What is a healthy diet? Advice abounds, and conflicts. We know so much about food and so little about health. And healthy exercise? We're all different, but every huckster is selling the 'best exercise for your health'. Stress reduction? Or do we need to learn the joy of stress?
We don't measure healthiness scientifically. Until we practice and learn to measure healthiness scientifically - everyone who 'sells health', whether it be diet, exercise or stress relief will have a large unhealthy population to market their products.
The direct path is appropriate when you know the cause of an unhealthiness. It can also work very well when you 'think you know the cause'. Take the path and see what happens. If you are deficient in exercise, getting some exercise will improve your healthiness. But it will take time and effort. Healthiness does not come from a pill - it requires effort, persistence, time and sometimes pain. If you think your diet is deficient in vitamins, you can change your diet - or take a supplement. Either will take time. If you are very deficient in a specific nutrient, but not yet to the level of disease - you may see a change fairly quickly.
How can you know if the direct path is most appropriate? To be honest, it's mostly trial and error at present. You have leg cramps. Your doctor doesn't know what to recommend. Or maybe he, or someone else, suggests taking magnesium supplements. Are you deficient in magnesium? Take a supplement for a few months and see what happens. If it works, you might try to adjust your diet so you don't need to take a supplement every day - or maybe it's just easier to keep taking the supplement. If it doesn't work, you can make another guess. Doctors often use this technique when you are sick. You can use it yourself when you feel unhealthy. But take care. If you try everything at once - you won't learn what is important for you. It's personal.
When we can measure healthiness scientifically - we will, over time, get better at linking symptoms to causes, which lead us to direct actions that improve healthiness.
The mystical path? Personally I don't believe in mysticism. But I enjoy it. I love the taste of coffee - and a healthy excuse encourages me to enjoy it. Red wine sometimes gives me a headache, but it tastes great and I'm sure it's good for me, in moderation. Tai Chi is my meditation. Some people prefer the downward dog. And ice cream is good for me. I'm sure of that.
Which tea is the best cancer preventative? Variety.
The mystical path encourages us to explore our lives and our healthiness, to live a full, varied life. And that's healthy. And it's personal - as we each live, and love, and explore our own health - for as long as we may.
to your health, tracy
Personal Health Freedom
Tracy is the author of two book about healthicine: