Prevent - Reverse Poor Health

When it comes to preventing or reversing disease and optimising health, it is wise to ask some basic questions to ensure you find treatments that:

  • Are enjoyable and/or pleasurable – then there’s more likelihood you’ll                                                                                                                         maintain such approaches – eg find exercise or movement, an eating                                                                                                                                   regimen, a spiritual practice you find beneficial and you are more likely                                                                                                                          to keep it up.

  • Are evidence-based – check the facts not just for conventional                                                                                                                                  approaches but alternative, complimentary and natural ones also

  • Are safe –the side effects of medication, they often carry considerable                                                                                                                          risks and can be toxic

  • Do  not break the bank if paying privately

  • Get results - no matter how small at first

  • Have multiple benefits

  • Target the cause, not just the symptom … if you don’t weed out the                                                                                                                                 root completely chances are it will return

 

In short, ask yourself, is this treatment:-

 

  • One I would find enjoyable and/or  pleasurable?

  • Based on evidence? Does it work?

  • Safe? What are the risks?

  • Affordable? Can I afford this? What may be the ongoing financial commitments?

  • Going to get me results?

  • Known to have proven benefits? Which are the ones I am seeking?

  • Aimed at targeting the cause?

So yes, you are going to have to do some research. Or have someone do it for you. But the above, in general,  are the checks that should help you decide the interventions that will be the most sustainable and therefore have the biggest beneficial impact on your health and well-being.

Take exercise for example, done properly, most forms of exercise and movement are safe– unless you are taking up boxing or ballet dancing. It brings about numerous benefits (it improves metabolic, cardiovascular, neurological, and mental health, to name but a few), it’s extremely well-researched, and for most people, once they get over the initial resistance, it’s enjoyable whether done solo or in team or group.

 

Consider finance; it’s not just a question of whether you can afford to pay the first outlay, but are there follow on payments that may emerge? And sometimes we have to work out the costs – not always financial – of not taking a particular course of action. At times we have to re-prioritise how we spend.

Nutrition is another example. Eating nutrient-dense, non-processed, natural, whole-foods food is safe, unless you have an allergy or food sensitivity. It is the foundation of good health – who can forget Hippocrates, considered the father of modern medicine, and one of his most famous quotes  “Let food be thy medicine, and medicine be thy food”? Good nutrition improves just about everything, has evidenced benefits, and is also enjoyable and pleasurable especially if we resist  addictive junk that passes for the modern western diet of fast foods, processed foods, fizzy drinks, alcohol, and masses of carbs and sugar.

Spirituality, religion and health – why include this as a possible treatment intervention? Spirituality and /or religiosity (for you don’t have to be religious to be spiritual) as such is not necessarily an automatic, guarantee indicator for better health outcomes; the relationship between a person’s beliefs, practices and health can be negative or neutral as well as positive. The critical factor is not if someone is spiritual or religious or both, but in what way or how they practice it and how regularly. A little prayer or bit of meditation now and again is not the same as making prayer and meditation two parts of your daily routines.

 

A person’s practice may be influenced by a myriad of factors including personal inclination and motivation, culture, family ties and influences, social networks, and life events such as health crises, trauma, grief and loss of a loved one who has gone out of your life. Medical studies indicate that spiritual people are less prone to self-destructive behaviours (suicide, smoking, drug and alcohol abuse), and have less stress and greater life satisfaction.

Spiritual health can also consist of broader concepts, such as hope, purpose, meaning in life, and living peacefully.

Letting go of blame and negative feelings after a hurtful incident is a practice that is reflected by a number of spiritual and religious traditions, including Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, and Judaism. Science now confirms the health benefits of forgiveness: better immune function, longer lifespan, lowered blood pressure, improved cardiovascular health, and fewer feelings of anger or hurt or revenge.

Journaling is an often overlooked reflective and spiritual practice that can help you become more aware of your inner thoughts and feelings and to feel more connected to your life experiences and the world around you. Studies show that writing during difficult times may help you understand your situation from a different perspective and find meaning in life’s challenges and so become more resilient in the face of life's obstacles.

Sauna When I lived and worked in Germany in my 20s, relaxation often meant going with friends to a water centre, with swimming pools, machine-made waves, and keep-fit and of course their typical café with Bratwurst mit Pommes Frites! I didn’t indulge that latter little paradox (sausage and chips)but I did partake regularly their passion for sauna. These days I’ve come to recognise that sauna is a safe and natural treatment;  it has a wide range of positive benefits –

  • aids recovery after intense physical workouts

  • aids weight loss

  • reduces blood pressure

  • decreases cardiovascular risk

  • encourages healthier looking skin

  • flushes toxins via sweat

  • helps reduce stress

  • induces a deeper sleep

  • promotes social interaction and well-being

  • reduces incidence of Alzheimer’s by 65%

  • strengthens the immune system

 

Unfortunately, unlike Finland, where statistics show there is almost one sauna per household, we Scots are rather more reserved though you are likely to find that each town with a swimming complex will have a sauna (and steam room) at reasonable cost.

So add all of the above considerations to your basic health routine, including a clean diet, getting enough sleep and movement, managing stress, playing and having fun, connecting with others and your Higher Power, and help yourself increase the chances of  warding off or even reversing illness.

 

 

Sauna

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© 2017,2018,2019  by Andrew Hunter

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