rebooting our view of what health is

rebooting our view of what health is

The World Health Organization, not exactly a wide eyed whacko group of incense burning rolfers (not that there’s anything wrong with that) define health as “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”(1)

Most of us define health as the absence of something bad instead of the presence of something good. Maybe it’s time for a health tweak or tune up, not of our own health (not that there’s anything wrong with that either) but of how we define what health is.

You may be thinking, as I did, that the WHO’s definition of health has been updated recently due to our new more holistic way of viewing health. And you would be wrong. Here is another quotation from the WHO website -- "The definition has not been amended since 1948.”(2)

So is it out of date? Not really. More like it was ahead of its time. Sixty years later we are starting to catch up with whoever wrote this definition.

During the Ottawa Charter for Health Promotion in 1986, the WHO said that health is:

"a resource for everyday life, not the objective of living. Health is a positive concept emphasizing social and personal resources, as well as physical capacities."(3)

So how do doctors define health? According to Andrew Weil, to say health is simply the absence of disease is like saying that wealth is merely the absence of poverty. In an article he wrote for the Huffington Post, the Harvard educated doctor and best selling author said, “I define health as a positive state of wholeness and balance in which an organism functions efficiently and interacts smoothly with its environment." (4)

Hmmm. A positive state of wholeness and balance. That sounds more mental than physical to me.

Dr. Christiane Northrup, an expert on women's health issues, has this to say about health: “It’s being physically and emotionally able to live joyfully and in alignment with your deepest self. You have the ability to build health every day. Just be open to new ideas and to adopting new habits.”(5)

Again, sounds mental to me. And by mental, I don’t mean crazy. Just the opposite. A far more sane approach to good health is defining it first as thought-based. Like when you go to a movie and the film is out of focus. They don’t adjust the screen, or even the film. The problem is usually with the projector.

Our thinking can be compared to a movie projector. And our body is like the projection screen. So what you see in or on the body, often begins in your thinking. To change your body, and your health, change your thinking first.

Sounds good you say, but how? Ah there’s the rub. How do we change our thinking? Step one, want to. You’d be amazed, or maybe you wouldn’t, how many people don’t want to change the way they think. And so they go around and around, thinking the same thoughts, feeling the same way.

Step two, focus on good. You want to feel good, right? Well think good, of yourself, your friends, your home, your job, even the people, places and things that bug you. And how do you do that? Well, what if good was another name for God? What if God were the source of all good? And by God I don’t mean a brand name, copyrighted by one religion or another. I mean God as the source of all health, for all people and all living things. Desmond Tutu once wrote, “Our God would be too small if he was not also the God of Gandhi.”(6)

Good health. Give it some thought.




(2)“The correct bibliographic citation for the definition is:

Preamble to the Constitution of the World Health Organization as adopted by the International Health Conference, New York, 19-22 June, 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.





To read the definition of Good in "Science and Health" by Mary Baker Eddy, click on this link -

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