In order to speak intelligently about health, one must examine the fundamental scientific truths regarding health and the lack of it (sickness).
1. All living things, including human beings, are composed of individual living cells working harmoniously together in a self-healing and self-regulating ecosystem to maintain homeostasis, health, and life.
2. Our cells are innately, or genetically, equipped from birth with all the necessary intelligence to function properly. Our cells are programmed for homeostasis and health and they never dysfunction without a physical, emotional, chemical, thermal, or spiritual stressor. “DNA evidence shows that genetically, humans have hardly changed at all (to be specific, the human genome has changed less than 0.02% in 40,000 years). . . Nature determined what our bodies needed thousands of years before civilization developed . . . built into our genes is a blueprint for optimal nutrition – a plan that spells out the foods that make us healthy, lean, and fit.” Cordain, Loren Ph.D. The Paleo Diet. John Wiley & Sons, Inc. New York 2002.
3. This genetic blueprint is our innate intelligence. To be healthy, we must eat and live congruently with this innate intelligence. We must provide it with sufficient amounts of the ingredients it needs and avoid the things that are toxic or interfering. Health, by definition, is a state of consistent homeostatic cell function.
4. Sickness, by definition, is a lack of consistent homeostatic cell function or a state of forced adaptive cell function (“the stress response” see The Stress of Life by Hans Selye). Because cells are born with all the required innate genetic intelligence for homeostasis and health, cells always function perfectly in relation to any given environment. Symptoms do not represent an error in the intelligence of cells. Symptoms represent important signals from cells telling you that there is something wrong, that there is a deficiency or a toxicity, and that they are under stress. Illnesses represent the body’s best ability to adapt to a chronic unhealthy environment, to chronic deficiency or toxicity, to chronic stressors. The cells never function pathologically or incorrectly, the environment in which they are in is pathological or unhealthy. It is unscientific to look at the cell as the problem; it is programmed for health and homeostasis and it will continue to move itself in that direction even as it adapts to the environment in which it finds itself.
5. The function of our cells determines our states of health and sickness. The cause of all non-homeostatic cell function is stressors. All health stressors can be divided into one of two categories:
A. Deficiencies in the required raw materials/ingredients for homeostatic cell function.
B. Toxicities that drive cell function away from homeostasis.
In order to function in balance and produce health, cells must have all requirements met and be free of toxicity. In other words, it is impossible to be 100% healthy by supplying cells with only some of the requirements or by eliminating only some toxins. The entire ecosystem of cells must be healthy for the ecosystem to be healthy. To try to treat a single symptom or address a single deficiency or toxicity, will fail to create an entire healthy ecosystem of cells. Plants cannot be healthy even if they have all the water and nutrients they require if they are missing sunlight. Even if they have all the required sunlight, water, and nutrients, but are being poisoned by some unrecognized toxin, they cannot be healthy. The same is true for human beings. All deficiencies must be identified and corrected, all toxins must be identified and removed, all required nutrients must be supplied in sufficient amounts for long enough so the system becomes sufficient and pure. This is how the expression of health and well-being occurs.
6. Wellness is a paradigm. It is a lens through which to see the world, a philosophical view which guides and defines both scientific and clinical intent. At the core of wellness are the concepts of homeostasis and holism. Simply put, the body-mind-spirit is innately intelligent, is self-healing and self-regulating and, therefore, always responds in the most appropriate way possible at any given time to any given environment. The intelligence of the body-mind-spirit is perfect. Only when it is interfered with, or there is failure to supply it with the required resources, does illness result.
7. Symptoms and “diseases” are simply signs that the intelligence of the body-mind-spirit is under stress and is being forced to try to adapt. Symptoms and illnesses are not indications that the body-mind-spirit is inherently prone to failures; they are signs that we are failing to provide the proper environment to support it.
8. The goal of wellness interventions is to support, or to stop chronic interference and stresses to, the perfect intelligence of the body-mind-spirit so that the normal state of homeostasis and health can be restored or maintained. Wellness scientists and practitioners consider an improvement in human ecosystem homeostasis and health a successful result.
Symptoms are seen as signals that the body-mind-spirit is under stress and crying out for appropriate environmental changes. Removing the ability of the body to send these signals without addressing the underlying cause is illogical within the wellness paradigm. Symptoms and disease are not present in states of homeostasis, so as homeostasis is restore they naturally fade away.
Importantly however, symptoms and signs of disease can be absent even with non-homeostatic cell function occurring and for this reason the goal of wellness intervention is always to restore homeostasis and not to relieve symptoms or treat disease.