…and why they are vital to understand if you want to reclaim your health
The most important thing about health is creating the conditions for health to exist
We learn at a young age the basis of growing a plant. You need to make sure you water it, put it in the sunshine, and have the right soil. If you want to grow a healthy plant, you need to create the conditions for it to be healthy. The parallels you can draw from this example apply directly to any living creature including us. If you lived in a musty basement, devoid of sunshine, clean air, clean water, nutritious food, etc. it would only be a matter of time before you started to feel ill. Know that some people will be able to handle this environment that breeds disease better than others, but if exposed for long enough it would only be a matter of time until everyone in that environment becomes ill. Also note, just like there is an environment that breeds health, there is an environment that breeds disease. Sadly what most people believe is “normal” (such as the average or common diet or lifestyle habits) is not in reality normal, but average. In reality what we believe is normal is usually the result of successful marketing campaigns that marketed to your parents, peers, and self what you should believe is normal. If it was normal, we wouldn’t be seeing an increase in chronic illness especially in younger ages. The fact is the standard 1st world lifestyle (especially in North America) is full of unhealthy habits that breed an environment for disease to exist.
A health savings account
Many do not even think much about their health or take it for granted until one day something changes. When this happens most don’t consider their lifestyle actually being a causative factor. They had the same lifestyle habits for years so how could that be the cause? In reality, we are all born with a certain amount of health similar to how we all may be born into families with a certain amount of wealth. We may not realize all the decisions we make from how we think to what we eat can have an impact on our personal level of health or our “health savings account”. Just like a real bank account that grows with deposits and depletes with withdrawals, your level of health does the same. We now know what mom and dad eat (even up to 7 years prior to birth) can have an impact on the health of the baby. Other factors like the level of stress the expecting mother is under during the pregnancy and even if there is an argument in the home (baby can hear you after 16 weeks) has a potential to have an impact on the baby’s overall health.
The higher the level of health deposits or “cushion” you have in your health savings account, the more resilient you will be when a “rainy day” comes. Life happens and there will be times you will have to take unexpected withdrawals because of work or family obligations. During those times you can’t eat perfect, don’t get enough sleep, or experience various forms of stress. All of this will deplete your “health savings”. The bigger the cushion you have to start with, the less susceptible you will be to falling into “health debt” or experience the negative consequences of infections or disease.
Another avenue that will be discussed more in the future is the impact your thoughts and words can have on your health savings. It is very real, and evidence is piling up that this area may be the future of medicine.
Principles and laws
There are laws that govern everything in the universe including our health. If you want the blessing of landing on the moon you have to be obedient to the laws of physics, aerodynamics, chemistry, etc. If you want to be a successful artist there are laws that govern beautiful (symmetry, aspects, ratios, color combinations, etc.). Likewise, in order to restore the body to a healthy state we must respect and follow the natural laws that govern it. Following these laws is how we increase our “health savings account”. These laws (which could also be stated as rules or commandments of health) are a framework we create to understand the processes of nature and its connected framework of principles. These laws are not created, but statements of truth that reflect our understanding of cause and effect. When we consistently observe or experience the same results from the same actions (over and over), we are better able to understand these laws that govern health and the true principles they are connected to.
One of the best ways we can understand if an action is based on a true principle or a false principle is to observe the seeds and fruits of a particular action. An action based in true principles ultimately meets one of our basic needs in life (to live, to love and feel loved, to feel important, and to have variety). An action based in a false principle will only seem to meet our needs temporarily but ultimately is digging a hole for our unmet needs. For example what happens when someone smokes? When you smoke it does in fact temporarily relieve stress and gives you a false sense of calmness. If someone plants that seed and continues to “water” it by continuously applying the action of smoking for decades what are the fruits? Numerous health problems and a deeper sense of stress than they had prior. This is the test. What are the fruits of this action? What I am describing is the first part of what we call “the scientific method” To Observe… based on those observations we come up with a theory. Then we test the theory by looking for cases where that principle has been applied in nature or create the conditions in a study.
There is much more to say about our basic needs in life which drives our decisions and behavior (guided by the principles we believe and their connected laws). This will be discussed further another time. For the purpose of this article, I wanted to finish by listed some of the basic laws of health. By being obedient to these laws and applying them into your life you will help create an environment that invites healing and help build your health savings account. These basic laws below are far more powerful and necessary than you may have previously realized. If you follow these laws, it will support balance in all of your systems and achieve a greater sense of wellness.
Natural Law – A statement of truth with consistent observed consequences.
It is though obedience to these laws that we receive consistent blessings. Natural laws help us to identify and understand the processes of nature and the principles that bind all truth together.
Here are some of the most basic understood natural laws that are the foundation for you to build your health.
Law of Light/Sunshine: We need to be exposed to light daily to be healthy. There are systemic benefits to having exposure to the full visible and invisible light spectrum that comes from our sun.
Application: In general try to outside at least 30 minutes per day and that isn’t just for vitamin D. Our modern lifestyles have made it easy for us dwell in buildings all day. In our busy schedules we tend to forget to take time and connect with nature and forfeit the benefits that come that connection. Yes, adequate vitamin D helps us to have an optimal mood, immune response, and energy level, but recent research has shown sunlight lowers inflammation, lessens the risk for heart disease, auto-immune diseases, and even asthma. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24770340/
Law of Hydration: You have probably heard most of the human body is made of water. That is because water is the medium that allows the new nutrition to be brought into our cells and the junk (metabolic and environmental wastes) to be disposed of. If we don’t have enough water, it’s like trying to get a supply ship or barge to port when the channel or dock has dried up. This is a large reason why you can only go a few days without water. When you are 3% dehydrated you feel thirsty. When you are only 1% dehydrated your brain, function is decreased.
Application: It’s generally a good recommendation to drink 40-60% of your body weight in ounces a day. There are lots of debates on what the best water is. Just do your best to make sure you water is filtered even if is from a well and avoid drinking out of any type of plastic or soft metal. If it is reverse osmosis water, you might want to consider adding in mineral drops to replenish the minerals that were taken out.
Law of Breathing: It is impossible to stay alive without breathing as we need adequate oxygen for cellular function but also for so much more. Those who breathe short and shallow breaths end up with more anxiety, lower immune function, brain fog, and poor sleep. Also breathing deeply helps us process grief (grief is the emotion of the lungs in Chinese medicine).
Application: Taking 100 deep breaths per day will help to increase oxygen, decrease toxic CO2, and reduce stress. This can easily be done any time of day and is most beneficial when you first wake up, before meals, in the middle of your workday, and before bed. I like to recommend “belly breaths” which is where you put your hand over your abdomen and make sure it is rising slowly when you breathe in and deflating when you breathe out. This helps ensure you are using all 5 lobes of your lungs instead of just the top 2 that are common with chest breathing.
Law of Digestion: You cannot digest properly if you are not in a parasympathetic state. We have a nervous system with 2 modes, either sympathetic (SNS) “fight or flight” mode, or parasympathetic (PNS) “rest and digest” mode. It is like a light switch; you cannot be in both modes at the same time. When the SNS is active the electric micro-currents or focus of the body is in the muscles, senses, and cardiovascular system so you are ready to fight or flee. When this energy and focus is centralized to the digestive organs the PSNS is active which allows us to make digestive juices such as stomach acid, enzymes, and bile to help break down our foods. It also helps the gastrointestinal system move at a proper rate of speed.
Application: The Vegas nerve (which is cranial nerve number ten that runs from the brainstem to the intestines) is the key to stimulating a parasympathetic nervous system state. Vegas means “wanderer” and that’s exactly what this nerve does, it wanders by the vocal cords and though the diaphragm on the way to the gastrointestinal system. Anything that can stimulate the Vegas nerve (anywhere along its path) can help relax the body and put you in a PNS state. The easiest and least awkward way to do this is to remember to take several deep breaths which will stretch the diaphragm more than normal and stimulate the Vegas nerve. Other less convenient (and somewhat humorous) ways of stimulating the Vegas nerve can include putting cold water on your face and neck, singing a song, yelling (maybe into a pillow) before meals. (Note: isn’t it interesting that after people yell and scream, they have an easier time calming down? Almost as if we were made by intelligent design). Also try to eat smaller portions and avoid eating after 8pm.
Even with the “perfect” diet and the most expensive supplements, you will not be able to absorb them effectively if you are not creating an environment that promotes proper digestion. Before you eat, it is so vital to relax and as often as possible, take time to crew and enjoy your food. If you do not create the conditions for proper digestion to exist even the healthiest food can cause gas, bloating, indigestion, and overall inflammation and toxemia. I have seen patients on the strictest diets be so frustrated because their problems were only getting worse. It wasn’t until they understood often it has less to do with what you eat and more to do with the environment you are creating to digest that their chronic/mystery problems were resolved.
Law of Nutrition: Proper nutrition of micronutrients such as vitamins and minerals as well as macronutrients such as fats, proteins, and carbohydrates are essential for proper functioning of all your organ systems. (Remember this is half of the equation, as you have to be able to properly digest/absorb these nutrients as well.) One of the biggest obstacles we have today is our commercial farming and mono-crops have depleted the nutrition levels in foods. If you were to eat a cup of spinach in 1917, It would take 64 cups to get a similar amount of nutrition in 2005. I suspect it has only gotten worse since then.
Application: Eat a variety of nutrient dense food (in a relaxed environment). Rotate the basis of your diet every 3 months (eating foods in the seasons which they grow locally). Supplementing on and off with a high quality multivitamin/mineral, omega 3, etc. can be very beneficial for most people. Avoid processed and GMO foods (genetically modified). Organic can be helpful but doesn’t mean it has more nutrients. Look for the “dirty dozen” and “clean 15” lists from the Environmental Working Group https://www.ewg.org/consumer-guides/ewgs-dirty-dozen-guide-food-chemicals-top-12-avoid
Law of Movement: Movement is needed to help the body circulate the fluids that bring in nutrients and take away wastes/toxins throughout the body. For example, in your cardiovascular system, the venous side doesn’t move by pressure but by movement. To study the impact of not moving for various lengths of time, NASA (in preparation for the potential of deep space travel) was offering to pay people several thousand dollars to not move for several months.
Application: Depending on your fitness level and health your exercise regimen will differ. Most can benefit from walking 30 minutes per day. You can also try biking, yoga, Qi Gong or Tai Chi. If you have a job where you sit, try to get up and walk around every 30 minutes. Mini-rebounders are also very helpful for moving the circulation and lymph fluid throughout the body.
Law of Rest: Good sleep hygiene could be argued to be one of the most important aspects of health. When we sleep our body actively heals. Studies have consistently shown lacking in sleep lowers your immune system making you more susceptible to colds, flus, and general infections. Even more importantly than the amount of sleep you get is sleeping in the proper hours. Around 10:00PM – 2:00AM is the time period your body releases the proper amounts of certain hormones you need to stay healthy.
Application: Proper sleep hygiene includes being asleep by 10:00PM and getting on average 8 hours. Sleep in a cool dark room. Turn off WIFI, cell phones, and other electronics in or near the bedroom. Avoid watching screened devices for an hour before bed as the flash rate and color temperature can affect your body’s ability to produce adequate melatonin.
Law of Connection: This applies on multiple levels as feeling connected is critical to have some of our most basic needs met mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually. When our most basic needs are not met it is difficult to experience peace in life.
Application: Make sure you spend time with family and friends often. Spend time connecting with yourself and doing the things you enjoy. Another important connection basic we neglect is being connected to the earth. The health benefits that come from seeing nature, smelling nature, and touching nature are greatly unrecognized. There are many studies talking about all of these aspects. One simple thing you can do no matter where you live is to put your bare feet on the earth or even buy a “grounding mat” that plugs into your home and you can sleep, stand, or sit on it in the comfort of your home. This helps increase circulation, lower anxiety, and decrease inflammation in just 25-20 minutes.
Law of Joy: Stress is the real silent killer. Maybe you can think back to being a kid and the fun that came when you were not so burdened by the responsibilities of life.
Application: Remember to revitalize that childhood joy and do something fun every day. Learn new skills, and practice old ones. Be creative and take time for you!
Law of Attraction: There have been many books and even movies that have come out about this particular law in the last few decades. This is mainly because those who learned how to apply this law effectively changed their lives. It really boils down to “what you think about, is what you bring about” and secondary to that “what you verbalize you will actualize”. Your words have power too. You may be familiar with the experiment done in schools where the students take two plants and put them in separate rooms, and they all take turns daily verbally bullying one and verbally complimenting the other. The results are always the same, the bullied plant has its growth stunted compared to the plant that has been loved. If it works on a plant that doesn’t speak English, what impact do you think your words can have on you?
Application: Be nice to yourself. No one is perfect. Focus on gratitude daily. Keep a gratitude journal of the blessings you recognize in your life daily. It could be a compliment from a friend, a talent, an answer to a prayer, for learning something new, a gift, your pets etc. If you are in a funk practice saying positive affirmations. Your body literally can hear what you say. Give yourself permission to move forward, to forgive, to love and accept yourself for the imperfect person who you are even with all your faults and mistakes and keep on trying to be the best version of you.
In reality there are more laws of health to understand than I know. I’m continually observing to better understand the laws that govern health and the principles connected to them. I’m always searching for how to create a stronger environment of healing and as I discover more, I’ll be happy to share what I learn
- Travis Mowery NMD, VNMI