The job of an MD is to ask (and answer) the questions, “What diagnosis does this person have?” and “What is the appropriate treatment?” These are important questions and have guided medical care for a long time. However, over 20 years ago when I began to dive deeper into the root cause of my patients’ symptoms, I realized that these questions were insufficient to assist my patients at the level I wanted to assist them. I wanted more for my patients than to simply be free from symptoms. I wanted them to achieve their maximum wellness – their MaxWell. I needed new questions.
Of the many new questions I’ve been asking, the most powerful has been What creates health (or MaxWell)? The first time that I thought of this question, it was like a conversion experience for me. It is a question that has opened my mind and the minds of my patients to an entirely new set of possibilities.
The short answer to “What Creates Health?” is The Body’s inner intelligence.
We are everyday miracles of complex self-adaptive potential walking around living life while being injured from the inside out and the outside in. Our body must constantly heal the damage as we pour acid into our stomach during digestion, as we burn fuel inside our cells, as we injure the inside of our bowel as we extract nutrients, as we scrape our skin against the outside world, and insult our lungs with smog and allergens and the reactive and toxic molecule called oxygen. We must heal every moment of every day in every cell.
The amazing intelligence which made the body is what heals the body – we are programmed to survive, and even thrive IF SUPPORTED WELL.
It is our body that creates health, that enables function. Understanding that our state of optimal function can be described as MaxWell, we recognize that anything less than fully functional is dysfunction.
We recognize dysfunction in our well-being by symptoms such as not feeling our best, decreased memory, energy, mood, stamina or increased pain and fatigue. We also can know that dysfunction exists by laboratory testing. This is very helpful because often silent biochemical dysfunction precedes any type of symptom. It is imperative in a proactive medicine environment to regularly check your body’s biochemistry from multiple angles to find early dysfunction and nip it in the bud with the safest potential intervention possible.
Again, anything less than MaxWell is dysfunction. Once dysfunction has been allowed to proceed unchecked, it progresses to a severity that it deserves its own name, and now it gets called a disease. If it is a disease that is accepted by the current authorities that make the international classification of disease code set (ICD-10), it may even get its own code.
If this severe dysfunction called disease is allowed to persist, then we start getting disintegration and, literally things falling apart little by little, cells starting to degenerate, tissues degenerating, hopes, dreams, memories. This a process of slow death.
Disintegration leads to eventual disability. Disability is a very challenging state of decreased freedom, increased dependency upon others and increased effort to attain and enjoy the maximum capacity of life possible.
When disability and disintegration continue to proceed, we have death.
Your state of health is then understood as a point on a continuum from MaxWell at one end to death at the other. Once we recognize that all aspects of our health rest on a continuum of function, we no longer view our health simply as either having a disease or not having a disease. Looking at health through the eyes of function gives us power. It restores our capacity to regenerate. It causes us to ask better questions. And better questions lead to better answers!