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What is Health?
Health is the ease of flow. Health is a flow of items into and out of the body. We take in nutrients, water, air, minerals, amino acids, fats, carbohydrates, thoughts, ideas, friendship, love, respect, mental stimulation, spiritual stimulation and a host of other things. We excrete urine, breath, stool, toxins, mucus, sweat, menses, love, respect, bad feelings, thoughts, ideas, fixations, addictions, coercions, intimidations, fetishes, manias, compulsions, spiritual doubts, and a host of other things. Life is a cycle of intake: we breathe, drink, chew, absorb or reject, assimilate, produce toxins, detox and start anew. This is the need to survive. Add to this the need to socially interact and to reproduce. All of this results in a very complex flow of energies in and out of the body, in cycles.
A person is made up of different levels: the body, mind, spirit, social and environment. It is impossible to separate these levels or to know exactly where one starts and another stops. Thus these parts cannot be reduced or analyzed separately. When there is ease of flow through all of these levels the person is in health. Health is ease of flow.
What is Disease?
Disease starts when a stressor or intrusion causes a disruption in the flow. The ease becomes dis-ease. There are many things that can disrupt the flow. Examples are toxins, trauma, injury, pathogens, perverse energy, deficiency or excess of nutrients, mental factors, allergies, heredity, stress and lack of awareness. When these enter the body they disrupt the ease of flow. The body produces an alarm symptom to get rid of what is causing the disruption. We may sneeze, cough, have a fever, throw up, perspire, and so on. This is the healing process. Our body is trying to return to health. If the symptoms are not effective we may develop blockages throughout the various levels of our person which halt the cycles. We have lost our ease of flow. We are dis-eased.
We live in a world where we are confused about the difference between health and disease. A child is exposed to an intrusion, for example: bacteria. The body responds to this intrusion by developing a sore throat. This is a sign that disease is affecting the flow. The immune system needs help. Our current medical community focuses on the symptom. They fight the symptom by trying to block some other flow in the body. They use antipyretics for fever, MOA inhibitors for depression, serotonin uptake blockers for despair, calcium blockers for heart problems, antibiotics to attack the bacteria and so on.
This child may have a toxin or nutritional deficiency as a deeper cause of the sore throat. The body is attempting to detox and stimulate the immune system with the symptom. The body is trying to cure itself. Everything would be all right, but by an unfortunate twist of fate the child is taken to a doctor. He spots the symptom right off, and prescribes an antibiotic and an anti-inflammatory. The bodies own attempt for healing and detox are thwarted. The disease is driven deeper into the body. The symptom goes away but the cause lingers and another disease, more insidious than the first continues to develop in the body. This requires another allopathic remedy, and another, and another, till the life force and the body natural cannot adapt and fight on its own. Now degenerative disease kicks in. The downward spiral disease symptom, drug, disease symptom, drug continues on until death stops it. The average 70 year old is on eight drugs. The average 80 year old, ten.
What does this have to do with autism? I believe that autism is a situation in which we have the intrusions or blockages develop at a very young age, either in the womb or shortly thereafter. The first, of course, comes through heredity, which produces a vulnerable system. Assaults through viruses and other pathogens, toxins, stress, trauma and nutritional excesses or deficiency can come through the mother to the fetus. Assaults after birth often come directly through our medical system via vaccinations, antibiotics and so on but also may be connected to toxins from the environment and a lack of nutrition in the food we eat, trauma, injury and stress.
The body goes through a series of different reactions over time in reaction to the stressors that are experienced. This system was first outlined by Dr. Hans Selye. A healthy body produces an ALARM to deal with the incoming stress. As the symptoms are blocked and/or stress continues the body goes into the ADAPTATION phase. The symptoms no longer appear but the disease progresses. If the stressor continues the the body continues on to the EXHAUSTION phase. The organs begin to weaken. They make less, or excess hormones, enzymes and so on. This is called the functional phase of exhaustion. In time they will slip into the organic phase where they shrink (atrophy) or grow (hypertrophy). There is now physical disease blocking the flow. If the stressor continues the last phase results in DEATH: cellular death, organ death, organ system death, and finally the death the organism itself.
Being symptom free is not a sign of health. When I first started sharing the biomedical concerns with parents of children and adults with autism the claim often came that their child was never sick. This may be true if we only see sickness as the appearance of symptoms. However throughout my study of autism, I have noted other major factors:
1. The symptoms of autism often decrease significantly when a child or adult is "sick". This factor has been puzzled over and documented in autism literature since the 1940's. A high fever may lead to speech, ability to concentrate and share ones' knowledge in ways that are not apparent when the child is so called "healthy". These abilities disappear when the child returns to to what we define as "health".
2. One the common claims of autism is that we have the most beautiful children in the world and I believe that this is true. Children with a diagnosis of autism are incredibly beautiful. However, this beauty does not seem to carry over into adulthood very well. By the time our adults are 30 most of them look exhausted and much older than they are in years.
3. Many of my adult friends with autism are suddenly becoming very ill with chronic conditions or are dying suddenly in their 30's or 40's from "no known cause". This suggests that they were not "healthy, but instead in the exhaustion stage of health where symptoms do not appear because the body is not reacting to anything that assaults the system.
Somehow I think that these factors may hold a vital clue to autism and the importance of understanding exactly what health is, and how it can be maintained.