We throw this word around sometimes, but what does it really mean? What do we mean when we use it? There are many definitions. I feel like our culture focuses purely on the physical aspect of health and defines a person as healthy if they have no named diseases and are not experiencing any symptoms. But is that really health?
In chiropractic, we define health as the ability to adapt to your internal and external environments. A great example of that is food poisoning – if you eat food that has gone bad and then you vomit, are you sick? The answer is no! Vomiting is the appropriate response by the body to remove poison as quickly as possible once it is identified.
The World Health Organization has a fantastic definition of health: Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. (Preamble to the Constitution of the World Health Organization as adopted by the International Health Conference, New York, 19 June – 22 July 1946; signed on 22 July 1946 by the representatives of 61 States (Official Records of the World Health Organization, no. 2, p. 100) and entered into force on 7 April 1948. The definition has not been amended since 1948.)
WHO’s definition is much closer to how I see health. Health has many different aspects and they are all intertwined, like the threads of a spider web. You can’t weaken or cut one thread and not affect the entire web. The aspects of health include physical health as well as financial, family, social, career, mental and spiritual health. You can’t have poor health in one aspect and expect the others to be perfect. They will affect each other and a weaker aspect will eventually weaken other aspects.