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Hello, welcome to podcast # 26 I’m Michael Lingard Orthopath, Buteyko Educator and Plantrician introducing perhaps the most important question for us all today,

What Is Health? Is It More Than an Absence of Disease?

Whenever I have asked an audience this question most people intuitively know that health is far more than freedom from diseases. Although health is a very difficult concept to define we do know what are the main causes of good health.
If you have ever wondered what are these key factors that determine our health and longevity and would like some practical, reliable, information on this subject then stay tuned to this podcast.
It is unfortunate that modern medicine has been primarily concerned with disease, illness and pathology for the past century and has not given the public much advice on health promotion. The main reason for this omission, is that doctors are not trained as health practitioners; they receive very little training in the fundamentals of health promotion: the need for good body mechanics, for good nutrition, for adequate exercise, good breathing, good relaxation, a healthy environment and a supportive community.
Because of this disease model of medical practice, the system is overloaded with a sick population that is creating increasingly impossible demands on finance and resources.
We also have trained an entire generation of the public to rely on their doctor to keep them well and have lost the sense of self-responsibility for their own health or are just unwilling to do anything to help them selves.
There is today a prevalent view that “It’s pointless worrying about our own health and quality of life or longevity, just carry on & enjoy yourself as we all have to die of something don’t we?” The truth is we can have a profound effect on our health and longevity and we can usually choose either a long healthy, active life or a chronically sick existence for many years maintained with increasing medical & surgical interventions.

If we follow the American lifestyle over the next few years we can expect the same outcomes; according to good medical authority we may be seeing parents routinely outliving their children for the first time in our history. It is now commonplace in America for young people to be suffering strokes or heart attacks and other chronic degenerative diseases that were usually found among the middle or old aged in the past. The major reason for this catastrophic decline in health and increased premature death appears to be largely due to diet, lack of exercise & an unhealthy lifestyle with increasing medical interventions with drugs and surgery.

After thirty-five years in the healthcare profession I have tried to find an answer to this question from past doctors who have devoted time to research this topic. A few years ago I decided to put all my findings into one small book called “Connection – Towards a better understanding of health in medicine.”

The conclusion I came to was that our health depends on almost everything! However there are just four factors we can all control ourselves. Let’s look at each of them now:

Our Body.
We must not forget that our body is an amazing mechanical structure that can suffer many of the problems that might affect any machine. It needs to be kept in fine adjustment to function optimally. We wouldn’t dream of driving a car with a twisted chassis or faulty wheel alignment, but most people happily try to get around with many mechanical problems in their spine. Luckily this is where your body is radically different from your car; it is able to compensate for many mechanical faults but at a cost of either pain or poor functioning. The first chapter of “Connection” explains the details of our body mechanics and what we can do to help ourselves.

Our Food.
We are what we eat, or “let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”.
Our diet is the most important factor underpinning health or laying the foundation for serious diseases for most of us in the West. I would heartily recommend you read an amazing best selling book giving the research behind this concept it is entitled “How Not To Die” by Dr. Michael Greger. My book “Connection” gives a very brief summary of some of the research findings that have led to these conclusions. Unfortunately the diet and nutrition industry has totally confused people and is driven by commercial interests that are very much like the drug industry. The truth seems to be that the most health promoting diet is the simplest and cheapest to follow. It is described as Whole Plant Nutrition and recommends you eat all you want of whole plant based foods and dishes and you will not need supplements (with just two possible exceptions), enzymes, special training or calorie counting. This diet drastically reduces the risk of developing most of the chronic diseases, normalizes your weight and will often reverse pathologies such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease and hypertension. This same diet may also be the fastest way of tackling global warming and the destruction of our planet if most of the world’s population followed it.

Our Breath.
Your doctor checked your blood pressure, your weight, your reflexes, your blood chemistry, your heart & lung sounds, you may have had Peak Flow tests, even given you X-rays or MRI scans but why didn’t he check your breathing rate?
We can live for three weeks without food, for three days without water but only three minutes without air. That life’s most fundamental activity, BREATHING, is not routinely checked by Western doctors (unless you are complaining of breathing difficulties like asthma, COPD or bronchitis) is a serious omission. If there were just one measure allowed when checking the health of a person I would suggest THEIR BREATHING would be the best choice. Why?
Firstly it’s a quick, easy and cheap test. It takes less than a minute, is none invasive and does not require special expensive equipment.
Secondly, many medical researchers have claimed dysfunctional breathing may be the cause of over a hundred modern diseases, so wouldn’t it make sense to at least diagnose it and then perhaps address this problem first?
Thirdly, although our breathing is normally automatic and unconscious – like our heart, liver, & kidney activity - we can take conscious control of it and change our bad breathing habits for good normal ones, with just a little training.
Fourthly, this route to better health and wellbeing empowers the patient and reduces their reliance on medical care and drugs. Surely a very desirable aim?
My third chapter of “Connection” explains how to check your own breathing and how most diseases are associated with poor breathing. You may decide to study my free podcast breath-training course. “Better Breathing Means Better Health” found on most podcast sites.

Our Mind.
Did you know that your brain tomorrow will be different from how it is today? This is the latest thinking of how our brain functions; it is about “the plastic brain”. The most amazing thing about the human brain is that it has the ability to grow, change, re-arrange all our thoughts and mental processing from birth to death. We have a plastic brain that can do remarkable things such as cope with a stroke and re-organized all the activities that were done in one area that is damaged and allow them to be done in another area. Areas of the brain that are normally associated with speech can be used for sight or hearing. The old thinking was that we were born with a brain divided up into little boxes, each was allocated a specific job, this has all changed with the latest research.
What does this mean to you and me?
The first lesson we need to learn is “never to say never!” We cannot tell what is possible and what is not possible.
The second lesson is that we can change the way we think, feel or behave in remarkable ways with a little help and effort.
The third lesson is that despite the fact that we function much of our waking time with habits learned since childhood (it would be tough to have to learn how to talk, walk or clean our teeth the new every day! ) all these habitually programmed activities can be reprogrammed. How we can do this is the subject of this section of my book. The phrase used today is “If it fires, it wires!” Repeated nerve signals create stronger pathways.
Did you know that every child, at birth, has a greater potential intelligence than Leonardo da Vinci ever used? That includes your own children and grandchildren. This finding is based on many years of clinical research and practical application by the mothers or fathers of tens of thousands of babies guided by Dr. Glen Domam and others.
Watch the video on YouTube entitled “Glenn Doman Introducing The Institutes (Part I) Working with Children for over 50 years.”
Finally, remember your mind is closely linked to all of the body activities and is perhaps the most significant connection discussed in my book. We are emerging from a long period of study and thinking based on reductionism, or the analysis and study of increasingly smaller and smaller parts of our whole, but now there is a move towards the more difficult task of understanding how every part is connected to every other part and every system is affecting every other system, this is Holism or Wholism. We must remember we need both reductionism and holism if we are to make any sense of the universe we live in.

My book “Connection” discusses other key factors related to our health including family, community and even cosmic factors! It also offers an alternative theory of the universe to deal with the awkward question “What happened before the Big Bang?”

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