Health is important.
At the start of a new year we wish good health to our family, friends, acquaintances, colleagues, ... Or on someone's birthday. And we often add that it shouldn't be more than that. That we will take care of the rest ourselves.
Looks like we find health very important...
But what is health? What exactly do we wish for our nearest and dearest?
The World Health Organization gives this definition:
"Health is a state of physical, mental and social well-being. Health is MORE than the absence of disease".
You may be familiar with the joke from the medical world where the answer to the question "What is a healthy person?" is "Someone who has not yet been examined".
Health can best be explained by means of a triangle. The health triangle.
This figure simply shows that our health cannot be split up, but to which three important facets are important:
1. The biochemical side
The side we're very familiar with. Very early on we get vaccinations and maybe even medication. It is primarily doctors who are concerned with the biochemistry of each individual. They look for chemical imbalances and try to restore them as well and as quickly as possible by prescribing chemicals that we absorb through one or more body openings, including the skin.
What can we do ourselves to stay as healthy as possible? By paying attention to our diet, whether or not supplemented with food supplements.
Beware of chemical stress!
2. The mechanical side
This side is also well known. Most probably, the musculoskeletal system is thought of spontaneously. But all other tissues move as well, some of them without stopping until our death. Our heart, for instance.
Many health care practitioners are concerned with the mechanical well-being of each individual. It is only the academically trained osteopath who has the knowledge and skills to subject all tissues to a safe and efficient mechanical examination. The founder of osteopathy, Dr. Andrew Taylor Still, put it this way:
"Find health! Anyone can find disease!"
What can we do ourselves to stay as healthy as possible? Not only by exercising in a sensible way, in which flexibility, strength, stability, balance and endurance are central, but also by visiting an academically trained osteopath on average four times a year for a general check-up.
Beware of mechanical stress!
3. The "psy" side
The side of the soul, of the inner life, of the mind, of the behavior, of the emotions... The side that is still difficult to measure and to understand.
Many health care practitioners focus on this facet of health.
What can we do ourselves to keep our brain as healthy as possible? Sleep well!
More and more people are struggling with all kinds of sleep problems. Know that we die faster by not sleeping than by not drinking or eating. Keeping someone awake is one of the most widely used torture techniques...Using high-speed brain imaging, it has been shown that during sleep, the daily waste of proteins and other waste products, which could damage the brain, is washed away.
Beware of emotional stress!
It is clear that our health cannot be split up. The three sides are not separate. They constantly influence each other! The whole is more than the sum of its constituent parts. This is called holism.
In order to stay healthy, or to become healthier, it is important to ensure that our health triangle remains or becomes equilateral.
For the concept of health, several synonyms are possible, such as balance, harmony, energy, homeostasis, etc.
Our health is put to the test every day because we are who we are and live where we live. 24/7 we do everything we can to maintain our health. To adapt. To keep us in balance. To keep us alive...
Most of the time we do this unconsciously.
Perhaps the best definition of health is:
"Health is the ability to adapt."
as described in the article that appeared in The Lancet:
Grégoire Lason, MSc.Ost.