That is an awesome promise, but what is health exactly? Is it a matter of training hard in the gym and only eating fruits and vegetables to be healthy?
No, that certainly does not include everything about health, as health is a very broad and complex concept. There are so many different opinions that explain health in many different ways. From different angles and insights from studies, we have made a summary of how health is described and how to test your own health. Because by being healthy your way, you will experience a certain sense of freedom.
How do you describe HEALTH?
According to the WHO (World Health Organization) health definition defined in 1948, almost no one is healthy. You shouldn't even have a wart on your toe. The definition literally reads: "Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not just the absence of disease or disability."
This description is no longer very topical at this current time. At that time, the world was mainly about fighting infectious diseases. Nowadays people are getting older and we have to be particularly concerned about lifestyle diseases such as: cancer, obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. But it may well be that when someone has a chronic illness such as diabetes, they still could experience a high quality of life.
According to the definition of the WHO, you keep on treatment until the ideal condition is reached, this also encourages the use of medicines unfortunately.
Based on a large-scale research in health care by the Dutch researcher Machteld Huber in 2011, the definition of "health" was redefined:
“The ability to adapt and take control, in the light of the physical, emotional and social challenges in life”.
This description of health is not only based on illness and complaints, but in this definition health is mainly described as the ability to adapt and take control, looking at functioning, quality of life and self-image. With this definition, people can be healthy even when having a disease.
Traditional Chinese medicine
This perspective has, of course, long been central to the concept of health in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), which further encompasses spiritual fulfilment and a sense of individual well-being.
TCM usually diagnoses patients using concepts based on the relationship between signs and symptoms obtained through asking, listening, feeling, visual inspection and smelling. In Western style, on the other hand, modern medicine has mainly used a number of so called biomarkers to describe disease states, for example, diagnosing type 2 diabetes by measuring glucose levels. But there is an increasing realization in the West that biomarkers alone are not enough. A better approach is to look at patterns of biomarker responses to a challenge. These data will provide insight into the resilience of allostatic mechanisms, and thus into the health of a person, an approach unlike the principles of TCM.
A broader view of health
The Institute For Positive Health has created a model in which health is not only about how you feel physically, but also how you live mentally and socially. Anyone can fill in this spider web model, where grades are given to six different issues. This allows you to map out how your health is doing.
- Body functions; feeling healthy, fitness, complaints and pain, sleeping, food, condition, moving
- Mental well-being; remember, concentrate, communicate, be cheerful, accepting yourself, dealing with change, feeling of control
- Meaning; meaningful living, lust for life, want to achieve ideals, have confidence, accept, gratitude, continue to learn
- Quality of life; enjoy, be happy, feel comfortable in your own skin, balance, feeling safe, how you live, making ends meet with your money
- Participate; social contacts, be taken seriously, doing fun things together, support from others, belonging, do meaningful things, interest in society
- Daily functioning; taking care of yourself, knowing your limits, knowledge of health, dealing with time, dealing with money, able to work, being able to ask for help
After completing the questions belonging to the model, it provides insight into how healthy you feel. And where there is reason for a conversation, you can discuss it with the relevant specialist as you probably had a good thought about yourself already.
Test your own understanding of health
If you have already come this far with reading, it will only become really interesting now, because now you can get started with the model yourself. Completing the Positive Health questionnaire helps you choose and experience how healthy you are or feel.
Fill out this easy questionnaire (PDF download) and use the Positive Health model to see how your physical, mental and social health is doing.
TAKE YOUR HEALTH IN YOUR OWN HANDS AND GET YOUR FREEDOM!
Perspective: All systems go | Nature