Sunday, December 9, 2012 -Posted by Fadi Bejjani
Does Wellness Trump Health?
With Christmas approaching, one cannot help but see a lot of Santa Clauses around with rosy cheeks and "full" figures. They do project happiness and wellness even though their vitals and blood works may be off. Italian mothers(-in-law) would certainly prefer their sons (-in-law) or daughters(-in-law-) to look more like Buddha then JC, and feed them accordingly, although they diligently pray to the latter.
I guess one could define health as having normal blood work, normal vitals, normal BMI, and no complaints, or in a nutshell somebody who need not go to the doctor. Whereas wellness can be defined as being happy, comfortable in one's skin, full of energy and positivity and well-adjusted to society and to one's environment. There are many reasons behind those rosy wellness cheeks and some are not considered healthy, e.g. alcohol intake. Surely many healthy people are also "well" and vice-versa so as usual moderation is the answer and the truth resides somewhere in the middle.
With people living so much longer, emphasis is no longer just on health but certainly more and more on wellness. The latter is considered is a key ingredient in the quest to remain healthy, meaning not needing to see a doctor. The wellness armamentarium is very vast and expanding every day.
In 1990, with Dr Mathew Lee, head of the Rusk Institute, we testified before the US Senate about the beneficial effects of MUSIC on AGING and the elderly. How Music decreases depression, enhances sleep and content n this population, and also in severely disabled patients like the residents of Goldwater Memorial in New York City. Music Therapy studies showed how music enhanced the immune system of patients with Crohn's disease among others. Simple wellness tool, very cheap yet quite beneficial.
Asians have always been very creative regarding wellness and well-being, maybe inspired by Buddha and his representation. Acupuncture is one of their tools but it involves sticking needles which is invasive. Feng Shui on the other hand is gaining a lot of momentum not just in the East but also in the West. It is not invasive at all as it endeavors to rearrange your environment primarily and your outlook in relation to it. It is like self-administred psychotherapy, based on numerology and anchored in reality and real objects, such as homes, location, furniture placement, etc. I was recently told the number 4 is very bad in Feng Shui that is why in Hong Kong buildings do not have a 4th floor. Of course in the west, buidlings often do not have a 13th floor but guess what: 1+3 = 4 and we are back to number 4. Of course my street address is number 4. I should have known before I moved in and prevented a lot of aggravation. It could have been a key to my wellness. There are remedies that can be used after the fact. Thank God!
I do not know about you but I know a large number of people who believe that wellness is attained via vitamins and supplements and they take a huge variety of those daily. Whether they have chronic arthritis, diabetes or obesity, or whether they simply refuse to age, they start swallowing these with a vengeance in their forties. The problem is that these supplements are of variable quality and the pills are very erratically absorbed in the intestine, thus unpredictable bio-availability, and not very gentle towards it. So popping these pills may not have the expected effect. Better take one LIQUID supplement daily containing all the possible nutrients, from a known US manufacturer. Liquids are much better absorbed and quickly bio-available. In this wellness category, we can place Bio-identical hormone replacement which is often essential in that same age group and would affect energy, mood and well-being but also libido, cardiovascular health and cancer prevention (refer to Pillpopper and PharmaEconomics blogs)
Of course as a wellness corollary we have the various exercise regimens out there: Pilates, bar method, spinning, aerobics, calisthenics, Yoga, etc. This is again ANOTHER CHEAP WAY to stay fit, healthy and also happy (via the endorphins secreted).
In conclusion, through Arts, Feng Shui, Nutrition and Exercise, focusing on Wellness is cheaper, more fun and more rewarding. For one it would make Health much less of an issue!