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  • Writer's pictureJay Danto

Fostering Health

‘People come for treatment because their health pattern has become clouded over and it’s raining on them, but that doesn’t change the fact that above that cloud there is a sun still shining and health is still available. Osteopathic treatment finds the health pattern within the clouds and allows Health to be the only pattern left.’

-Rollin Becker, DO, “A Deep Ocean of Thought,” 1982

The Nature of Health is elusive, yet Health exists within each of us. Health with a capital “H” is not merely the absence of disease or illness. Health, in the sense that I am defining it, is the energetic spark that generates the aliveness within us and leads us to living our “best” life. One’s best life is unique to each individual and is comprised of 3 component parts: Body, Mind, or Spirit. For instance, eating broccoli is good for you because it’s full of nutrients, but not everyone likes the taste. George Bush, Sr., who admitted a dislike for broccoli, is one who Americans would not have wanted in a sour mood dealing with affairs of state. So, broccoli would not be a healthy choice for him to nurture his best self from a mind and spirit perspective. The point is that what may be Healthy for the Body is not always Health for the Mind and Spirit.

Additionally, Health is somewhat unique depending upon the individual. One does not attain Health completely through one’s efforts. Health is attained through a balance of effort and that which is effortless. Letting go of expectations, desires, and needs may be just as fulfilling as their attainment. Please do not confuse letting go with giving up. Giving up is to accept regression and letting go is to allow progress to proceed through the Flow of things. Letting go is to Surf the Wave of Life. In setting an exercise goal one may wish to stick to a strict daily regimen, but research has shown that rest and recuperation are needed components of training.

One achieves Health by making healthy choices and being Intentional in recognizing that choosing an un-Healthy choice may lead to illness. However, there are times when a relatively unhealthy choice is the Healthy choice. For instance, choosing to eat a not perfectly healthy meal in order to enjoy another’s companionship is a Healthy choice to embrace the benefits of Connection. On the other hand, making consistently unhealthy choices and rationalizing them as healthy compared to a variety of even unhealthier choices is, again, unhealthy.

On a day-to-day basis my job/career/calling has included the pursuit of Health for my patients. In recognition of this I embrace healthy choices because it fosters an abundance of Health within me to best meet the needs of my patients. Many osteopaths, including the founder of the Osteopathic profession (Dr. Still), discuss palpating and finding the Health within the tissues. “Find Health, anyone can find disease.” Is a quote of Dr. Still’s. What it currently means to me is after I’ve identified disease within the body through my physical exam, then my task turns towards normalizing and optimizing the function of the structures to enable the structure to again express Health.

In summary, Health and Thriving involves healthy choices that allow us to express Health in Body, Mind, and Spirit. It seems circular and obvious because it is: Make Healthy choices and live your best life. Sometimes you can’t fight the tide and you must swim or float with it. If you’re accepting of it, a wave may come along and carry you in the right direction. That wave may be in the form of a supportive friend, a beautiful day, a fulfilling meal, an inspiration story through worship, or a productive day at work. Enjoy the journey!

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