Guest Writer for Wake Up World
Heathicine is the study of health and healthiness. The diagram below shows the gradient of healthiness, to unhealthiness, to illness. Healthiness drops due to deficiencies or excesses, and all illness is caused by deficiencies or excesses. Your healthiness is complex and multi-dimensional. Each layer in your hierarchy of healthiness (genetics, nutrients, cells, tissues, organs, systems, body, mind, spirit and community) can change and move, suddenly or over time, up or down the scale. So can individual health components. The healthiness of your liver, your pancreas, your circulatory system, your spirit health, etc. is changing all of the time, moving up and down the gradient, becoming healthier, unhealthier and sometimes ill.
When we study disease we use symptoms to differentiate between different diseases. Some of the same or similar symptoms can occur from many different diseases. I believe all diseases should be named by their cause – to avoid this confusion.
However, for some diseases we do not know the cause – and need to resort to other methods.
Sometimes, we have symptoms of healing. If you break your leg, or cut your arm, or bruise your face, you may observe specific symptoms of healing, most commonly an itch, or a tingling sensation. If you have a bad flu, or infection, you might find that your body feels ‘different’ for a while, after that passes. The symptoms of healing might be skin eruptions or allergic type reactions, itching, and discomfort, as your body and your immune system fights and recovers from illness.
How can we tell between symptoms of illness and symptoms of healing?
When we have an illness, we might take a drug to help fight the illness. Drugs have ‘side effects’ on the label. We take it for granted that when we take a medicine, we will have ‘other symptoms’ as a result of the medicine’s toxicity.
What about taking a healthicine? If we are deficient in some nutrient, and we suddenly start taking lots of that nutrient – what are the symptoms of healing? What are the symptoms of recovery?
We know that, sometimes, people stop taking a medicine, because the side effects are worse than the illness.
But do we understand that sometimes people stop healthy actions, because the ‘health effects’ create strange symptoms?
In many cases, we might ‘suffer symptoms’ that are actually symptoms of health and healing. But we don’t know. We barely study health, and healthiness, even less, the minute we enter the doctors office. Doctors study, diagnose and treat illness. If you have symptoms – their job is to identify the illness. If they can’t find an illness they are more likely to say “it’s all in your mind”, or “try this and see if it helps”, rather than say, “maybe it’s a symptom of healing.”
Let’s suppose you are ‘unhealthy’, but not ‘sick’. Healthiness is a scale, as seen above, and it is very possible to be in unhealthy state without having a diagnose-able illness. Now let’s suppose you deliberately (or even accidently) take some action that increases your healthiness. You might have many different ‘symptoms’ as your healthiness increases. This can happen very slowly, over the course of several months, or very suddenly, over a few days.
If you have a cut and you put on some anti-bacterial cream, you expect some itching as it heals.
If you haven’t exercised for a while, and you go out for a run. The next day you wake up stiff. Is this a sign of healthiness? or Unhealthiness? Stiffness can be a symptom of arthritis, or a symptom of healthy recovery from a healthy activity.
More complicated, what if you have an unhealthy digestive system? So, you try to eat something to make it healthier. What will you ‘feel’ if it is getting healthier? The digestive system is very complex. But many people, when they ‘feel’ discomfort in their stomach, might feel ‘hungry’. It’s natural to associate stomach pains with hunger pangs. Or you might feel that the ‘healthy food’ made you feel ‘sick’. How can you tell if your symptoms are symptoms of healing, or symptoms of illness? It’s not easy.
If you are trying to understand your symptoms, and they are symptoms of healthiness – you might search for a long time. There are many internet sites where you can search by symptom. You will find many symptoms attributed to many illnesses. But you probably won’t find symptoms attributed to healthiness and none will lead you to the illness called ‘healing’.
If your spirit is healing, you might find yourself overwhelmed by memories, sensations, and feelings. You might think you are ‘mentally ill’, because your symptoms are so strange. It’s difficult to tell sensations of illness from sensations of healing.
A more complex, but not necessarily uncommon example. Let’s suppose you change your diet to improve your healthiness, because it’s spring and you want to be healthy for the summer. But you find that you wake up in the morning with dry, itchy red eyes. You might blame the diet change when the actual cause is spring pollen allergies. Your body might even be reacting more this year – because your immune system is healthier than last year.
A healing crisis can occur when you detox your body, as it becomes overwhelmed by the release of toxins. Many doctors, conventional and alternative, believe that an individual in the process of getting well will undergo some sort of healing reaction. A similar event, the Herxheimer reaction, can occur when you take an antibiotic and your systems are temporarily overwhelmed by dead bacteria. These symptoms are not illness, the are the result of initiation of healing.
What does it feel like if your liver is healing, recovering from prescription drugs? What does it feel like if your muscles are healing from a heavy exercise routine? What does it feel like when your lungs are healing after you quit smoking? How long does it take to heal?
Our lives are very complex. It’s easy to imagine many different situations where we believe something is “unhealthy for us”, because we remember some associated events. Our natural systems protect us from toxins by helping us to remember what made us feel sick. But sometimes they guess wrong. Then we learn and remember the wrong thing for a very long time.
It’s very difficult to differentiate between the symptoms of illness and the symptoms of healing. But there’s an even more challenging question:
What are the symptoms of healthiness? What does it feel like to be really healthy, from genetics, to diet, through every cell, tissue, organ, bodily system, body, mind, spirit and community? What are the symptoms of healthiness – and why don’t we know?
Maybe we can come close to answering those questions someday – as we study healthicine.
Everyone has a right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of healthiness.
to your health, Tracy
About the Author
Tracy Kolenchuk, author of Healthicine: The Arts and Sciences of Health and Healthiness is a retired Canadian computer geek, health nut, arts photographer, cyclist, swimmer, world traveler, dog and horse lover, chess-player and tai chi practitioner who is passionate about everything he does.
He is not a doctor. He is Chief Cook and Bottle Washer of the blog PersonalHealthFreedom.blogspot.com and the site Healthicine.org, where he expects to change the way the world defines and looks at health, healthiness and healthicine. He has written posts for GreenMedInfo.com and now WakeUpWorld.com.