Redefining health and illness

 HEALTH

For centuries the very concept of the human body was  seen in an almost violent division, which made us perceive the various body systems separate from one another. This is how it was taught in our textbooks. We studied the individual parts of the body without understanding that they were functioning as a unified system, in constant and mutual interrelation. Our body is a completely united organism in which every part communicates with the others. It is the unity of the organs that forms the organism. There is no single part of the body that functions independently, there’s an indivisible functional organic unit. Alterations, even small, in any part of the system, such as a particular physical, emotional, mental or spiritual state, affects the function of the body in all other parts.

Our body is a perfect work of moving and living “engineering”, whether it is the smallest cell or the largest bone. The wonderful anatomy and innate intelligence of the human body is made of rhythms, pulsations and fluidity. On average 70% of us is water. The cell biologist J. Oshman defines our body  a “liquid crystal”. Pulsations and energy flows are constantly moving through the body: fluctuation of blood, lymph, cerebral-spinal fluid, the rhythmic pulse of the heart, contraction and expansion of the breath, the peristaltic movements and many other more subtle movements. Like an orchestra, each part plays its role.

The human body, like other living organisms, has a specific purpose to satisfy: stay alive, sustain itself, self-preservation and always try to restore the state of equilibrium of homeostasis, whenever it is lost.

After all, isn’t this our existence,? A non-linear process of balance, disorder and chaos and the movement back to order and balance

What happens when we cut ourselves? All parts of the body rush to repair the wound. The body in its natural cycle of birth, development and decay is able to self-regulate and self-cure. A vital force in all of us wants to live and aims to maintain health. The body uses an innate protective, self-healing self-repairing mechanism, when injuries and traumas occur.                                                                                         

Taking care of our health, it  means protecting and stimulating these internal natural mechanisms of self-regulation and self-healing to do the job. The 2018 Nobel Prize for Medicine has been awarded to two researchers who achieved success in fighting cancer in patients in an advanced state, by stimulating the natural defences of the immune system. Health is keeping ourselves in a state of flow and resonance with the interior and the outside stimuli. In physical terms it means allowing the pulsatory functions, the fluids, to flow if interferences and  contractions intervene. In emotional and spiritual terms it means being in resonance with oneself and others, not being imprisoned by the fear of being oneself, remaining aligned, true, authentic and acting congruently.

For each of us it is a question of going beneath the defences, the insecurities, the  fragility and errors to that innate, natural spontaneous, fluid, pulsating life force. Unearthing the core, the essence, the Self that feels secure and confident. We all possess this internally, but is often blocked, lost and disconnected.

Pain and Illness: The Fracture of the Unit and Flow on the Organism

In the body when a part is hurting, it could be physical, emotional or existential pain, the whole body suffers. The imbalance of one part affects the others. Apart from inherited genetic mechanical alterations or abnormalities in the embryonic development, if the functioning of the vital, primary rhythmic pulsations is interfered or blocked, due to a physical or emotional trauma, dissonance with a difficult or hostile external environment, to survive the body must organize the defences protect itself and readjust. Physically the tissues contract, harden and become dehydrated. Emotionally fear fragments and divides the unity of the organism, it disconnects us from feelings and as a result, the spirit loses hope. This defence process repeated over time creates chronic dysfunction. The flows, the obstructed pulsations become blocks, physical and mental pathologies and people identify with the disorders. Today many people are getting sick, but the sickness is also an alarm clock, a wake-up call, it is a clear message that there is an obstruction in the body and that we are going on the wrong path. In a paradox, the illness becomes an almost necessary step for the resolution of the crisis to change path.

We are not in a constant state of wellness and health. We are healthy and we are sick, we are whole and broken. We are happy ,thriving and we are heartbroken and on the floor. Disease exists, it is a fact, as exists life and death. It is the most real thing that happens to any person. The illness brings us back to the humility of our human condition. The fundamental fact is, our reoccurring impotence and vulnerability in relation to nature and many life events. We will never control everything.

The questions are how can we prevent or deal with the disease and illness? How can we keep the energy flowing and restore the healing response, when life is challenging, hard and difficult?

Core changes are possible. If we are tuned in and listen to the body’s signals and practice self-care, we can rebalance our biology and physiology, in the same way we can change our feelings . We don’t have to keep responding to life from our primitive traumatised brain, waiting for dangers and overreacting. The overloaded stressful responses, the pressure we put ourselves under, can be turned off. New information, calmer feelings and experiences can be installed in the body. Hidden resources and resilience can be found in our system. The body is an immense source of unexplored energy with potent innate healing capacities, unknown to most of us, because we have disconnected from it.

If the disease is not ignored neglected and allowed to reach its terminal phase, each individual has the necessary resources and tools to reactivate the personal healing process.

Medicine, to which we give credit for its great contribution to diagnosis, to treatment of many pathologies and increasingly precise and sophisticated surgery, has reduced the disease to a chemical imbalance or defective mechanical parts. The treatment has become a chemical or mechanical intervention from the outside. Psychiatry and classical psychotherapies also have focused on pathology, looking mainly at dysfunctions, multiplying the classifications of “disorders” in the  diagnostic manuals, intervening on behavioural symptoms .                                  

It is a real pity, because the immense knowledge of medicine, if it would abandon the mechanistic view, could be put together and integrated with all the other expertise regarding the health of the human being, in an all-encompassing vision.

(February 2018)