Annapolis Integrative Medicine
1819 Bay Ridge Avenue
Annapolis, MD 21403
Well-Being In the Modern World
Throughout history, different cultures and healing traditions have viewed and defined health in unique ways, though there is common ground in each view.
Sushruta Samhita, a physician and surgeon from 6th Century B.C. India, said, “A person whose basic emotional and physical tendencies are in balance, whose digestive power is balanced, whose bodily tissues, elimination functions and activities are in balance, and whose mind, senses and soul are filled with vitality, that person is said to be healthy”.
If you were to ask those around you the question, how do you know if you are healthy, people will often say that being healthy means you feel good and have the energy to carry out tasks and fulfill commitments, while having enough energy to enjoy life and the people around us.
Modern medicine has made amazing strides in treating acute and life threatening illnesses. Cancers, which were likely death sentences not long ago, are being successfully treated and often cured. Patients arriving in emergency rooms with massive heart attacks can now be saved and often returned to a good quality of life.
However, there is another side of the modern picture. In the United States and much of the “developed” world, there is an epidemic of chronic degenerative diseases that dont necessarily immediately threaten ones life but do have an enormous impact on ones experience of wellness.
The prevalence of diabetes and obesity has reached near-epidemic proportions, as have chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, premature heart disease, and breast cancer. There are many people who struggle just to get through the day, achy and tired, like the walking wounded, for whom modern medicine has no real answers, because there is no specific illness to treat.
Why, given our immense resources and knowledge, is this happening?
One thing that has not changed substantially is our DNA. The genetic code that determines so much about us has not greatly altered over the last 10,000 years.
What has changed is our environment and the world we have created and live in. We carry genes that evolved when human beings had to function in a world of hunting and gathering and regular periods of scarcity.
Our current environment does not call for us to be well. Our genetic makeup is not designed to have us thrive in a world where you do not have to leave your couch to have a 2000 calorie meal delivered to you.
While our genes contribute to our picture of health, they mostly do not absolutely determine health. What does determine our health is an interactive dance between our genes and what we eat and assimilate, the levels of stress and toxins we are exposed to, and our experience of life and the possibilities it holds.
Real, sustained well-being is only possible when each of these elements-genetic predispositions, nutritional and hormonal deficiencies, stress, toxin exposure, and having a life you love are addressed, and a life style and environment are designed that support us in creating continuing health and well-being.