Well, let me ask you one basic question – What according to you is being healthy? I am certain that most people would answer as “free from diseases”. However what one fails to understand is that by being free from diseases only satisfies the physical well-being of an individual. Health, according to the World Health Organization [W.H.O] – the ultimate directing and coordinating authority within the United Nations system is much more than mere physical well-being. According W.H.O, health is defined as “a complete state of physical, mental and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity”. Therefore the definition of health is multi-dimensional taking physical, mental as well as social well-being into consideration. Although, there are many critiques who argue that this definition defines “happiness” more than health and that both are different life experiences, I tend to agree more with the W.H.O’s definition as it gives a complete picture of “being healthy”. Also, in my opinion happiness and health are not mutually exclusive and both of them do overlap when you compare the two in the context of life. To me, the word happiness comes as an intermediate and a short term concept. I place my argument in that to be “happy in life”; one must possess good health, good personal as well as social life. It is important to note here that I have not mentioned wealth as a factor for being happy in life – as it can work either ways. It is indeed really difficult to draw a line as to how much of that wealth is good or bad!. Over time, healthcare solutions have come of age and deservingly so, the “allopathic” methods are more dominant in the current healthcare industry. Thanks to the enormous scientific research in this segment, there have been some amazing advancements in both medicinal and surgical fields. Through advanced treatment, some of the serious health issues and conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, some forms immunological diseases and even some forms of cancer – which were once dreaded and thought of as incurable can now be treated with a commendable success rate. But let’s face it! Even with these advancements in the modern healthcare sciences the world is far from being disease-free. In fact, the prevalence and incidence of diseases is at an all-time high. The prevalence of diabetes has reached epidemic proportions. According to World Diabetes Foundation (WDF), an estimated 285 million people were reported to be suffering from diabetes in the year 2010. That’s a staggering 6.4% (approx.) of the adult population. By 2030, this number is expected to rise to 438 million or 7.8% (approx.) of the adult population! The situation is worse in the countries with majority of people falling under the low-medium income range, which account for about 70% of the current cases of diabetes. In India, the situation is especially bad with the report of 50.8 million people suffering from Diabetes – the highest in the world, and a report even worse is that one in every five among the urban population screened for the study was diagnosed with diabetes and three in every five were diagnosed with diabetes or hypertension or both. That’s definitely not a good sign for a country that is finally on its path to reclaiming the lost glory. It is then perhaps time to reflect and retrospect as to why we have reached such dangerous crossroads even as science continues to amaze itself through innovations and advancements and hilariously huge amounts of money being invested on research and development of medicines and treatments. The answer however seems straight forward. The modern lifestyle which is notoriously mechanical and way more demanding is undoubtedly the major culprit. Not only does it disturb the equilibrium and balance that one seeks from life, to a major extent it also prevents the people from being able to monitor their health. Instant remedies, altered and chemically treated food & water, higher alcohol consumptions, growing fast food options, alarming rates of pollution, deforestation have all sadly become accepted norms of life these days. This leads the diseases such as diabetes and hypertension to continue to be uncontrolled and in most cases undiagnosed in the first place! There has hardly been any major effort put forward so far with respect to treating such lifestyle related disorders.
So then, has the time gone past to control the situation? Absolutely not! Can we really realize the dream of leading a life that qualifies to satisfy the definition of ‘Health’ according to the W.H.O?
Certainly YES! Perhaps the big question then is HOW? Well, to begin with it is high time that we start respecting the nature inside and outside of the body and both equally! Instead of going against the nature, if we try to tune ourselves with nature it can definitely help us to lead happy and much healthier life. Although the solution sounds fairly simple, it is as difficult to follow. However the time has come where we must follow it willingly or unwillingly, or else the face the dire consequences of global health disaster. Lifestyle correction such as following a well-balanced diet and nutrition plan, a full body workout including mental relaxation and de-stress mechanisms have been proven to be game changer for many people suffering from lifestyle related disorders and most other conditions in general. Once these methods are adapted and most importantly followed passionately in order to go back to our natural state, automatically the world will seem to be a better place; we will truly feel the sense of being part of a greater cause than what we just see around us. I am the least of atheists, but to me spirituality is much more than going out to places of worships and following one particular faith. In my view, you are spiritual if you are able to appreciate your natural state and defeat the cognitive dissonance of contradicting your own beliefs and if you feel you are part of a world much greater than the concrete world you see around you! Therefore to me spiritual well-being is as important an aspect of being healthy as is any other pillar defined by the W.H.O. In my opinion it is a pity that the modern science has failed to help one connect to the spiritual side – one of the most important aspects of well-being, and it is in this cause that the field of Complementary and Alternative Medicines [C.A.M] has proven to be much more effective than modern sciences and bring about complete state of health in parallel to the modern scientific treatments. Yoga and Ayurveda are the most popular, well researched and most recommended forms of C.A.M and have proven to be extremely effective in treating many ailments and particularly lifestyle related disorders such as diabetes, hypertension and obesity etc., and chronic diseases including cardiovascular and orthopedic diseases to name a few.So for all those, who are looking to “be healthy” in all aspects (physical, mental, social and spiritual by my definition), please consider C.A.M seriously. In case you are suffering from serious conditions, kindly consult your doctor before starting any alternative treatments to eliminate any risk of cross nullification of treatments.