Health: It's About Changing Your State Of Mind PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 08 November 2011 15:41
I read an interesting article by Jason Luban, a licensed acupuncturist, on why so many patients flock to alternative practitioners. Mr. Luban brought up an interesting question, “What is health?”

Is health simply the absence of disease?  If it is, there certainly aren’t very many healthy patients in my neck of the woods.  Most of the patients I take care of have something that’s not quite right.  I only know one perfect person and I married her.

In Mr. Luban’s article, he writes, “Health may simply be the flexibility to adapt to circumstances and to continue to have an acceptable quality of life.”  I instantly liked this definition.  If you change the spelling of the word, “disease” to dis-ease, then illness boils down to a lack of “ease” with your condition.

In the thirty some years I have been practicing medicine, I have seen patients with horrible illnesses who were healthy despite being ill.  These individuals had one thing in common:  they refused to allow their “disease” to put them into a state of dis-ease.  Mr. “Q” suffered from a neurologic disorder that had progressed to the point where he was confined to a wheelchair. 

Despite his crippling disease, Mr. “Q” lived life to its fullest, painting, joking with his friends and family, and running a successful computer business.  Mr. “Q” was at ease with his condition and therefore was healthy.   Over the years, I have met many patients who, despite having what should have been life changing illnesses, remained “healthy” due to their attitude.

I have always believed that, if you could make something good come out of something bad, the bad was not so bad after all.  On my last trip to Puerto Vallarta, I met an artist who was born with no arms.  His paintings were intricate and beautiful.  Each brush stroke was meticulously done by the artist while holding the brush in his mouth.  He was at ease with his physical condition, having found the gift in his otherwise disabling birth defect.

Unfortunately, I often see individuals who, while otherwise healthy, are not at ease with their human condition.  One common cause of dis-ease is weight.  I’m not talking about the patient who is 50 pounds overweight.  I’m talking about the young lady who is unhappy with her figure because she is not built like the models the media use to set societal standards.  Eating disorders represent a tragic example of dis-ease and the loss of “health” caused by not being at ease with your human condition.

Health should be defined as “the flexibility to adapt to circumstances and to continue to have an acceptable quality of life.”  Health is a state of mind.  Often, as we age, disease intervenes in our lives.  If it’s not our heart, then it’s our lungs, or kidneys, or diabetes, or sores.  Being at ease with whatever the affliction nature deals you makes all the difference in the world. 

As doctors, we need to help our patients find ease with their human condition.  That “ease” cannot be found in a pill!  Ease comes from knowledge and understanding.  Imparting knowledge and understanding takes time and, unfortunately, there is never enough time.  As doctors, we need to help our patients by providing them with reliable sources they can use to learn about their condition.  We need to provide our patients with counseling and understanding.  It all starts by defining what “health” truly is.

I normally end my articles with, Be Happy, Be Healthy!”  In the future, I will add, “And be at ease with life!”

Source: Segal, S. (2011), "Defining what health truly is", KevinMD.com; original article can be viewed here.

 
More articles :

» Laughter Can Stimulate a Dull Appetite

Laughing can boost the appetite in the same way that does, a finding that could help people eat more when they're sick or depressed, a researcher says."The value of the research is that it may provide those who are health-care providers with new...

» Colder Weather May Bring Added Discomfort For Raynaud's Sufferers

Colder weather triggers a painful and sometimes debilitating disorder for many who suffer from . Raynaud's is an autoimmune disorder in which spasms in the blood vessels can interrupt blood flow to the fingers, toes, nose and ears. Exposure to cold...

» Natural Alternatives for Dealing With Scleroderma

In a recent article, it was noted that conventional medicine attempts to treat the symptoms of with immunosuppressant drugs, NSAIDS and , but has no cure and little advice for prevention. It was noted however, that the world of natural healing has...

» Scientists and Clinicians Address Diagnosis and Treatment for Autoimmune and Autoinflammatory Diseases

Autoimmune and autoinflammatory diseases are a major health issue. The National Institutes of Health reports that up to 23.5 million Americans are afflicted. The American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association reports the number is closer to 50...

» Frequency of Sexual Dysfunction In Women With Rheumatic Diseases

Sexuality is part of human life and of quality of life, accounting for individual well-being. It relates not only to sexual intercourse itself, but also to a whole spectrum that ranges from self-image and self-valuing to relationship with the...

» Tips For Maintaining A Positive Attitude

According to, a positive attitude surely helps one to cope more easily with the daily affairs of life. It brings optimism into your life, and makes it easier to avoid worry and negative thinking. If you adopt thinking as a way of life, it will...