Disease is a word that conjures up images of germs, discolored skin, clogged arteries, sickness, tumors, pain, weakness, coughing, being bed-ridden and similar unappealing states. Unfortunately for millions of people, disease, particularly chronic, degenerative disease is a part of everyday living.
B.J. Palmer, the developer of chiropractic put a different spin on the definition of disease. He actually wrote the word as dis-ease and pronounced it with emphasis on the dis. Dis before a word means “dysfunctional,” so dis-ease to Palmer describes a body that is not at ease; i.e. is not experiencing good health. What this does is focus the attention on why the body is not at ease and away from the disease process itself; hence, treating the cause and not the symptoms.
For example, let’s take Type 2 diabetes. This is a terrible chronic degenerative dis-ease that plagues millions of people, with thousands of new cases being diagnosed each day. Instead of focusing on medications to lower blood sugar, the focus would be on why the body is not utilizing glucose properly and how it got to be that way. For most cases of chronic disease, the origin can be traced to lifestyle choices. Correct the lifestyle choices that set the stage for the dis-ease to develop, and the body can recover on its own.
If you are currently healthy, consider yourself many steps ahead of those who are battling chronic disease. All you need to do is sharpen your “health hygiene” starting NOW and you may not need to visit a hospital until your last days of life on Earth. Sound crazy? Realize that there are already millions of healthy people all over the world who are doing it, and have been for decades; especially in those populations having limited access to hospitals such as in some parts of Africa, the Arctic and sub-tropical islands.
The human body, when functioning at an optimal level is highly effective in managing and maintaining itself– repairing tissue, fighting germs and getting rid of toxins. Only when we subject it to things for which it wasn’t designed do problems manifest prematurely. Those things include high-calorie, unnatural, low nutrition junk and processed food; frequent stress, pollution, voluntary toxin ingestion (alcohol, nicotine) and excess sitting/ inactivity– the bane of living in an industrialized, advanced and “wireless” society.
It is interesting to contemplate how long the human lifespan would be, on average, if everyone engaged in health-promoting activities and minimized health-destroying activities. This would reveal the true lifespan of the human body as it is designed. Many researchers believe this number to exceed 100 years, and I personally believe this to be true. Misawa Osaka was the oldest person on record when she died this month at age 117; Jeanne Louise Calment was the oldest living person when she died at age 122 in 1997. And mind you, I’m not talking of being old, sick and bed-ridden for decades; a misplaced fear that wrongly convinces many people that it’s best to not live too long. This is about living longer and thriving up until the end comes. It can be done, as Misawa and Jeanne proved with their lives.
Of course, there is the ideal world and the real world. It’s not easy; I understand especially in the area of stress and diet. That is why the average human lifespan is around 77 years and not 100. Stress affects everyone– financial stress, relationship stress, work stress and a ton of others, and it is not easy to escape. But, stress is also is not unconquerable or inescapable; the mind only makes it appear so. If stress is a big part of your life, it may take a transformational event to free you from it. The key is to do what you can with what you have, be consistent as best you can and stay focused on those sometimes elusive keys to health.
So what are the basic keys to good health and a long, thriving life?
They are eat well, stress less, move more, and love more. That’s the secret prescription that packs more health and longevity power than any drug that was ever created. And they are all under your control, not your doctor’s.
Dr. Dean Ornish, founder of the Preventive Medicine Research Institute offers the following counsel:
You have a spectrum of choices. What matters most is your overall way of eating and living. If you indulge yourself one day, eat healthier the next. If you don’t have time to exercise one day, do a little more the next. If you don’t have time to meditate for 30 minutes, do it for one minute. The more you change your lifestyle, the more you improve– at any age. And the only side effects are good ones.
Remember, don’t be too hard on yourself. Staying healthy in a life full of hundreds of things competing for your attention, and having only a fixed amount of hours in a day to do them is a challenge indeed. Instead of bemoaning no time in your schedule for an hour of exercise after work, try injecting exercise/movement during small pockets of time throughout your day (like those transitions between errands/ tasks); this can make it more manageable. The same thing goes for meditation. Once you develop this habit, you’ll notice some great side effects — more energy, better sleep, leaner body and more!
Here are four more simple tweaks to your daily routine that will go a long way to improving your health.
You’ve got only one body with a set of permanent, original parts. Make sure you do things to keep those parts healthy and running– it’s not like a car where you can swap out parts that wear out.