When health is absent:
Wisdom cannot reveal itself,
Art cannot become manifest,
Strength cannot be exerted,
Wealth is useless, and
Reason is powerless.
Herophilus, 300 B.C.,
Greek physician, considered the father of anatomy
YOUR BODY HEARS WHAT YOUR MIND SAYS
The best wellness suggestion anyone can share is to intentionally create expectations of your body, be mindful of what your body is trying to tell you, and let common sense guide your health decisions.
Too often we surrender our body to the stewardship of a professional whose priorities and internal wisdom can never match our own. We should always make their recommendations pass the test of common sense, and get a second opinion if our gut tells us differently.
A totally healthy body has all it needs met. We are most aware of the obvious one we focus on daily: food. Our body screams at us when we don’t fulfill that need. However, unless we are really listening we might not hear our body telling us that it is deficient in the other vital needs: oxygen, water, and exercise.
Oxygen: Sure, we are breathing, but are we doing so in a way that provides the maximum amount of oxygen our body is designed to receive, or functions best with? Focus on your breath for a few minutes. How deeply do you inhale? Shallow breathing is a symptom of stress, and most of us are stressed, thus depriving our bodies of the oxygen that supports our brains and all healthy cells. Practice and see if you can get in the habit of breathing in and out slowly to the count of 8 or when you are relaxing, to the count of 10, pausing at the top of the in breath. Much has been written about the healing practice of proper breathing. See the following books: Breathing: The Master Key to Self Healing by Andrew Weil, M.D.; The Breathing Book: Vitality & Good Health Through Essential Breath Work by Donna Farhi. And as an added incentive, cancer thrives in an oxygen deprived environment, whereas it does not grow well in a well oxygenated terrain.
Water: You have all heard of the value of drinking enough water. You may have heard that it is recommended that we drink half our weight in ounces of water a day. We don’t always manage to do what we know we should however. Allow me to give you an image to illustrate the body’s need for water that may remind you of the consequences of dehydration. The body is made up of approximately 80% water. For your joints to be free moving and protected from injury, you need cartilage that is plump and cushiony rather than thin and dry. That means they have to be hydrated. Blood and lymph, two liquids of the body which need to flow, will get thick and sluggish when the body is dehydrated, compromising the function of your organs and muscles. Lymph, which carries the immune system’s first responders, is already the consistency of honey, and doesnt not have the benefit of a pump, so you don’t want to slow that down. Also, your cell walls when dehydrated, thin and weak, have a harder time stopping the penetration of unwanted invaders like viruses and bacteria, fungus and parasites.
Exercise: Well, I can’t tell you anything you don’t already know….just the age old saying…if you don’t use it, you lose it. Strength and flexibility of your muscles, ligaments, tendons, etc. are going to keep you viable when you get older, and keep you from falling. And the oxygenation of your brain, your blood, your organs and tissues are what keeps them working for you. My favorite suggestion: Along with some form of aerobic exercise, Yoga, for strength, flexibility and balance, relaxation/stress reduction, focus, breathing, and maybe as a step to meditation, which we will discuss sometime.