First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.
Recently I was emailing a friend of mine, Chris Johnson, who travels the country speaking to corporations about health and wellness. He is a friend with a strong mission and purpose to teach the basic principles of wellness.
One line in our email exchange really stuck with me. In the email, Chris asked:
“Why is prevention so difficult for most corporations and people to grasp?”
Instantly, I could understand the frustration he was experiencing as anyone trying to introduce a new idea runs into this problem during their mission.
Below, I would like to share an excerpt of my response to Chris and expand on why someone people just don’t get it, and what we can do about it.
In my opinion, the reason people “don’t get it” is they are looking at “health” through the wrong paradigm.
1. technical a typical example or pattern of something; a model: there is a new paradigm for public art in this country.
* A worldview underlying the theories and methodology of a particular scientific subject: the discovery of universal gravitation became the paradigm of successful science.
They are looking at it through the paradigm of disease and medicine because they truly don’t understand what the paradigm of health and wellness would, could or does look like.
If you ask the wrong questions, the answers don’t matter. So many, as you know, are asking the wrong questions.
My goals for the next few years or the next 40 years are to create and bring into existence a new global paradigm in the area of health. Get more people asking the right questions so they can find the right answers.
Quite a mission! To begin to understand what the future of healthcare will look like, let’s first look at the current paradigm of “health care”.
1) Medical paradigm – You have a disease or symptom and take a drug or surgery to address the symptom or mask the problem. For example, you have high blood pressure, you take a pill to lower your blood pressure.
This is now evolving into a more optimum paradigm of health, the paradigm of functional medicine.
2) Functional Medicine – This paradigm of health takes into account the whole body and while recognizing that blood pressure is high, would use blood work and other diagnostic testing to look for the underlying cause of the high blood pressure such as stress, chronic inflammation or food intolerances.
Then, the functional medicine practitioner would use natural therapies to treat the underlying cause of the disease.
While this is a huge step forward, in my opinion, from the medical view of the world, it leaves a lot to be desired.
Finally, the next step, will be the real revolution in medicine. The adoption of the paradigm of yransformation wellness.
3) Transformational Wellness – This is a term, I believe, I have coined to describe the paradigm that recognizes the interconnection of Spirit, mind and body and acknowledges that improving someone’s level of wellness can and does positively affect other areas of their life and, consequently, changes (either positive or negative) in other areas of someone life can and do have a reciprocal affect on their level of health or wellness.
A key distinction between the paradigm of functional medicine and transformational wellness is that while the paradigm of functional medicine looks for the underlying cause of symptoms and diseases and looks to treat or correct them in a more natural way, the paradigm of Transformational Wellness acknowledges that the ultimate goal is not to eliminate symptoms or disease but rather to work toward an optimum state of function called health.
Its principles and practice are true to the maxim that health will never be achieved by aiming to eliminate symptoms and suppress disease but rather by duplicating and applying the fundamental basics of health so that optimal wellness is achieved.
What are the key principles of Transformational Wellness?
I believe it will be based on these 6 fundamental truths:
Spiritualism – This principle recognizes the relationship between the individual pieces of man (or woman), Spirit, mind and body. It recognizes each in their orders of importance and honors the connection and flow from Spirit to mind to body.
Holism – This principle recognizes that, as Aristotle said centuries ago, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Our body cannot simply be reduced to a collection of organs, tissues and cells. The basic operating premise is everything affects everything and because of this, the whole must be considered when addressing any single symptom even though a symptom may seemingly appear in isolation.
Personal Responsibility – We each are responsible for our own health. Gone are the days where we could take our health problems to a doctor to resolve for us. We now, with the increasing flow of information, availability of knowledge on the web and importance of factors only we can control, can and must make our health our responsibility. The growth of the quantified self movement, self-tracking increasing amounts of data points about our own health, is an outgrowth of this principle.
To further this, paying for our healthcare is not the responsibility of the government, insurance company or any other third party. It is ultimately our responsibility and, as market forces and direct payments by patients (as opposed to Medicare and private insurance footing the bill) are reintroduced into the market for health care, the result will be better outcomes with less cost and a higher levels of patient and doctor satisfaction.
Decentralization of Power and Knowledge – The old medical paradigm had the doctor at the center and recognized that anything he or she said was the truth and must be obeyed. Because of the changing dynamics and economics of health care, many doctors no longer have the time and attention to preform this function.
With the growth of quality health information on the internet as well as the abundance of seminars, webinars, books and articles, we can now easily be as informed or more informed than doctor about ourselves and our health.
Obviously, a key skill to maximize the value of this principle is the ability to differentiate correct knowledge from incorrect knowledge and then to apply the correct knowledge and disregard the incorrect.
The correct application of correct knowledge applied in life ALWAYS results in life getting better. If the application of an idea does not result in that area getting better, it is either a sign of incorrect knowledge or non optimum application.
Right answers result in better lives.
Vitalism – This principle states we are not simply a collection of organs, muscles, tissues and cells but instead are the life-force which animates our body. This principle recognizes the truism that the difference between a live body and a dead body is us, the Spirit, the energizer and it is us who direct animate and give life to our body. DD Palmer used the phrase “Innate Intelligence” to describe this vitalistic force that organizes, maintains and heals the body.
Individualization – This principle recognizes an one size fits all solutions are a thing of the past. Individualization recognizes that the specific and exact cause of a symptom in one person can be totally different from the specific and exact cause of the same symptom in another. In the future we will have a way to measure and test these individualities and then make specific recommendations as appropriate.
In my opinion, these are the six pillars of the future health care paradigm.
It has been said that disease is not caused by the presence of something, but by the absence of something else. I totally agree, disease is not caused by the presence of signs or symptoms but rather by the absence of health.
A body, that is healthy, by definition, is not sick. So rather than focusing our time, energy, attention and money on the elimination of symptoms, we are better served to focus on achieving optimum function. This will allow us to express more optimum health and better accomplish our goals, dreams, visions and intentions for life.
As we transition to the acceptance and utilization of these principles, we will solve the current health care crises and evolve to new level of health and wellness. This will result in more ease, vitality, harmony, healthier eating patterns and a higher level of fitness for all who adopt this paradigm.
While many great practitioners are using parts or all of these principles in isolation, great, lasting transformation will come as the acceptance and utilization of these ideas reach critical mass.
The result will revolutionize health care on this planet.