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Why We Get Sick

Why We Get Sick - from the Oriental Perspective

Author: Stephen Lau

Copyright (c) 2009 Stephen Lau

In Western medicine, health is "absence of disease." Hence, without disease, you are deemed "healthy." However, from the Oriental perspective, "absence of disease" may not be an indicator of "good health."

Are you healthy? If absence of disease is health, then how does disease begin? If we know how disease begins, can we prevent it? If disease can be prevented, why do we get sick?

Disease begins with the mind, not the body. The mind and the body are two fully integrated features of life. As a result, disease of the mind is reflected as disease in the body.

How does disease begin in the mind? According to Oriental medicine, good health is a state of positive consciousness. If we are conscious of the true self: who we are and what we are, we make a conscious effort to keep us healthy, physically, mentally, and spiritually. This is mindfulness: mindfulness of eating, mindfulness of self and others. On the other hand, if we are conscious of the material things in this world, instead of self, our focus will be on what pleases the senses; our emotional and mental commitment to these things will create craving and attachment that ultimately brings imbalance and disharmony. From the Oriental perspective, all things are impermanent, and attachment is the source of anxiety and anguish, as well as emotional and mental disturbances.

We become what we think. A toxic mind brings about a toxic body. The body's ability to metabolize begins to deteriorate: this affects assimilation of nutrients from food to build healthy cells and tissues; metabolism of emotions, resulting in anger and stress. Poor metabolism also adversely affects elimination of toxins, leading to accumulation.

Another element of health and wellness is life nourishment, which has to do with the mind too. Thoughts of appreciation, generosity, compassion and love nourish not only the spirit but also the body. Mindfulness of positive thoughts enhances the immune system. On the other hand, anger, resentment, and fear elevate blood pressure and constrict the body's circulatory channels. According to Oriental medicine, the human body is a network of channels through which biological energy flows. Once the smooth flow of this internal life energy is obstructed, stagnation leads to production of toxins.

Accumulation of toxins is the initial stage of disease in the physical body. This stage may continue for some time without showing any physical symptoms. The individual may feel that he or she is healthy.

As the toxicity accumulation continues, distortion of normal functioning of body organs, cells and tissues begins to occur subtly and almost imperceptibly. Again, this may take some time.

At some point, however, the toxicity level may be elevated such that it can no longer be contained, with vague systemic symptoms such as chronic fatigue, headaches, or complaints of minor pain. With further aggravation, the toxic imbalance may manifest itself in the form of an infection in an area of the physiology where some weakness preexists.

If nothing is done to reverse the conditions of the body and the mind, disease may disrupt and become full-blown.

To add insult to injury, pharmaceutical drugs or invasive procedures are applied to remedy the conditions or to remove the symptoms of disease.

We all have the innate potential and power of self-healing provided by Nature. But Nature cannot be rushed, and, unfortunately, many of us have neither the patience to wait for Nature to run its course, nor the willpower to reconnect ourselves to the wholeness of the body and mind that we have lost at the pathogenesis of disease.

About the Author:

For more information on how to be healthy the Oriental way, go to Stephen Lau's websites: The Seven Pillars of Wisdom - Healthy Living; and Are You Healthy?. Stephen Lau is a writer and researcher with websites on longevity, eating disorders, mental depression, Chinese natural healing and Zen health.


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