What really is Holistic Health?
When we talk about Health, the implicit understanding is the Body’s Physical Health, which however is only a fractional aspect of the Well-being of an Individual, In contrast, the term Vitality evokes a tacit association with the other vital elements that together, in balanced combination comprise the so-called Holistic (Wholistic) Health. But the concept of “Holistic Health” ipso facto lacks a clear definition, because no one really knows how to weigh and quantify each of the five non-physical elements: Mental Health, Emotional Health, Spiritual Health, Social Health and Intellectual Health – consequently benchmarks on which to build a scientific consensus don’t exist.
Now let’s analyze how these constituents of Holistic Health compare:
- Physical Health – pertains to the Body’s evident or measurable symptoms expressed in Numbers relative to an assumed normative Standard
- Mental Health – pertains to the Mind and symptoms may neither be evident nor measurable, normative standards are elusive, subjective and relative
- Emotional Health – pertains to perceived body language, visible and audible expression of a subject’s immediate state of mind; valuation by perceiver is expressed as opinion, subjective, relative and volatile
- Spiritual Health – pertains to a person’s believes and action upon; ambiguity in definition and intervention, subjective, relative, culturally sensitive
- Social Health – pertains to a person’s ability to interact with society and not be subdued by it; subjectively perceived, definition relative, no benchmark for valuation
- Intellectual Health – pertains to a person’s inquisitive pursuit and independence; amorphous term and definition, subjective, relative, no benchmark for valuation
Physical Health: A Verdict by the Numbers
Physical Health is the only one element of Health that is considered objectively measurable, but is it? Well, Physical Health is expressed in numbers and these numbers are correlated with a de facto normative standard. The standard is constituted by a “Normal range” of empirical vital signs measured values; these have been generally accepted by the medical community. Because these numbers may represent the only objective and reproducible Health indicators, it sounds scientifically compelling to use just these numbers to declare a person Healthy, or not Healthy. However, this conclusion is flawed for a number of reasons:
First: What physical signs should be included in a Health check, there is no agreement on the number of samples that comprise a Healthy verdict? In cost-slashing insurance covered Health-care the number of samples is reduced to a fraction of what is considered appropriate when the client pays in cash. There, In fact, the notion is: if the doctors find you healthy, they haven’t done their job thoroughly!
Second: How is each sample valued by it and against other samples? Again there is no agreement on this. Moreover, how are the values of one person related to others and by what standards? It is obvious that there are huge variables; for example blood tests are standardized in that blood is drawn in the morning after 12 hours fasting. However, there is no consensus on whether or not the fasting extends to water consumption, even though hydration or dehydration may result in very different analysis results. Moreover, the analysis reflect the nutrition and hydration from the previous day, thus the next day analysis would show different results. Lab tests are just a single snap shot reflecting the instance, but they are presented like they were a movie. Lab test panels are limited, usually because of costs; they may include anywhere from 6 to 180 samples. Clearly, the results will be more conclusive with a higher number of analytes, but even at the high-end, parasites and toxic chemicals may not have been tested in absence of a specific suspicion.
Third: The applied standards for the “Normal range” are subject to debate, change – and manipulation by corruption. For example, one might wonder why the safe cholesterol levels keep declining as drugs appeared that claim to be able to reduce those cholesterol levels to below 100 – and these drugs would have to be taken until the end of life, too. The powerful Lobby efforts at work become visible when we consider the 2009 American Heart Journal published National study that found that the majority of heart attack patients admitted to hospitals had low LDL-cholesterol, indicating they were not at risk for heart problems. But while the average thinking person would conclude that cholesterol may not be a good indicator for predicting heart disease, the Lobby groups quickly construed that, because heart attack victims had low cholesterol, the safe level for cholesterol should be lowered even further.
Fourth: As conventional Health-care is limited to symptoms fixing without asking for the cause; the mental state of the patient plays no role and an emotional trauma that may be the underlying cause of the illness is not part of a Physical assessment. However, it is well known that there exists a Mind-Body interaction, but as there is no known method to express the phenomenon numerically, it is either ignored or discredited as unscientific.
Fifth: When an Illness becomes evident either by perception or measurement, it is in most cases the final stage of a long chain of degenerative actions following a traumatic event in distant history. For example it is now known that certain cancers can develop in the body for more than ten years before they become evident. It is also well known that the inability to relieve sustained intimidation, distress, depression, supression, anger, being mocked and the like – precede degenerative disease. This is an important insight as it portrays the necessity to weigh-in all five non-physical elements before a physical health-check verdict is issued; and it further explains why prescription drugs can’t restore health but only remove the symptoms.
Conclusion: Evidently, a Healthy or Unhealthy verdict based on physical examination alone is incomplete and arbitrary: a single point exam should never become a decision criterion for a life-changing intervention; this includes all pharmaceuticals that are prescribed for life, such as anti-hypertension and statin drugs. But any sign of illness, even a common flu, a stomach upset or a skin rash, is the symptom of a disturbance in the complex 6-element system that forms human health. The other 5 Health constituents have been subject to analysis is separate articles.