• slide-1
  • slide-2
  • slide-3
  • slide-4
  • slide-5
  • slide-6
  • slide-7
  • slide-8
  • slide-9
  • slide-10
  • slide-11

Health in the Modern Age

written by angelica singh / photography by jasper johal

Health in the modern ageunraveling the mixed messages

Imagine for a moment that after a blissful yoga class, your expanded being is shopping at Whole Foods Market. You make your way to the beauty supply aisle and drop in your basket a new line of organic shampoo and conditioner. As you round the corner, you select a variety of organic seasonal veggies. Anticipating the preparation of a nourishing consommé, you are absorbed in feelings of radiant health. You move into line, and notice that it is packed with other shoppers, carts and baskets. Minutes pass, and lo and behold a senior citizen in front is struggling with her payment method. The sweat on your midriff is by now cold, your stomach is growling, and the yoga calm is all but a faint memory. Time crawls as your impatience grows, until soon you are ready to jump out of your third eye and help the woman along her own spiritual journey by strangling her with your recycled, plastic veggie bag.

Of course, no one has ever been strangled in a Whole Foods Market for being slow, and yet this example serves to illustrate the paradoxes we often face in confronting notions of health, mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. As modern yogis, students of life, spiritual seekers, and human beings living in the Western world, we all have ideas of what health is and the images and expressions it conjures. But how do we define health in the modern age?

Until the late part of the 20th-century, Western concepts of health concerned themselves almost entirely with treating disease, infection, and injuries. However, deeper roots for defining and maintaining health lie in the ancient traditions of the East, including India’s Ayurveda and the Chinese medicine models, both of which are based on the fundamental elements of the Earth and the cosmos. Each system is unique, yet both aim to bring balance and harmony to the whole individual, quite unlike their western counterpart, whose aim is treating symptoms. We have certainly become more savvy in addressing health-related issues in the past decade by expanding our horizons, and by allowing in that which past generations might have shunned. Still, with the rapid influx of globalization and world market consumerism, the lay person, the modern yogi, and one-scope health practitioner alike are all left to discern answers to questions like ‘What is healthy in the modern age? Am I healthy?’ and ‘How do I find and define health for me?’

We live in a time in which we are constantly inundated by imagery and advertisements that purport to provide answers to these questions in the form of expensive skin care products, miracle shampoos, nutritional supplements, and a seemingly endless host of medications to resolve acid reflux, erectile dysfunction, hair loss, and constipation, to name just a few. None of these remedies address the internal disharmony that precipitates these symptoms. What emerges from an examination of this disharmony is the notion of balance – finding it and finessing it.

Despite the differences in the models of health from East to West, common ground exists, as knowledgeable and discerning practitioners who are themselves interested in healthy living and the wellness of the planet are blazing new trails, sharing  the wisdom from the collective field of which we are all a part. From this collective, certain approaches to finding balance and harmony  are emerging as we embrace the wisdom of the past and apply it to the technology and discoveries of today.

balancing brain & body chemistry

Having been trained in Western medicine as a medical doctor, as an acupuncturist, in homeopathy, and in psycho-spiritual dynamics and theory, Dr, David Allen M.D. from the Longevity Medical Center in Los Angeles utilizes his vast experience and training to assess and facilitate the achievement of optimum vitality. Dr. Allen explains that a key component for achieving optimal health is balancing brain and body chemistry. “Neurotransmitters such as serotonin, and dopamine, are natural ‘feel good’ chemicals, made from the building blocks of amino acids in our bodies. Many people are over stressed and do not get enough amino acids in their diets, which causes depletion of neurotransmitters. This often leads to symptoms such as insomnia, migraines, depression, fatigue, and anxiety to name a few.” In Western medicine, one might be treated with antidepressants, sedatives, or pain relievers. This treatment in no way addresses the depletion of amino acids, which are the precursors to neurotransmitter production. Amino acids and other supplements can greatly increase the production of  necessary chemicals, helping to harmonize our day-to-day lives.

Equally important to our sense of wellness are our hormones. Our hormone production becomes depleted as we enter our thirties. Estrogen, testosterone, DHEA, growth hormone, thyroid, and adrenal hormones  play important roles in maintaining optimal health and vitality. Dr. Allen explains, “In an orchestra, we want all of the instruments tuned and harmonized, to play optimally in synch with each other. This is also true for our hormones. Supplementing only one hormone can be dangerous, but balancing them all simultaneously contributes greatly to our longevity.” Hormones can be measured through blood tests and a qualified health practitioner can track these numbers over the course of a person’s life in order to suit an individual’s needs in whatever stage of life they may be living in.

detoxifying the body of heavy metals & regular cleansing

Most markets now post signs for pregnant or breastfeeding women that warn against eating certain fish because of the mercury content. Mercury is not just found in fish, however: it is also found in the environment and in some dental fillings. Other heavy metals such as cadmium and lead, also toxic to the body, are used in many consumer products and are found in the environment, including the water we drink. Dr. Mikio Sankey PhD has been a licensed acupuncturist for over 15 years. He is the author of three books on acupuncture, including “Esoteric Acupuncture,” which he currently practices along with nutritional counseling with his patients. “There is tremendous electromagnetic radiation that we are absorbing every day from all of the electronic equipment being used, the cell phones, computers, planes, microwaves, just think of all the radiation coming off from just those machines. It is vital that we eat as organic as possible so that we can give our bodies the opportunity to cleanse itself of these presently unavoidable toxins in the environment.” Dr. Sankey also encourages regular cleansing. “Everything revolves around the health of the colon. Cleansing both the liver and the colon can keep the body working efficiently so that is able to absorb nutrients effectively and produce energy.”

“If the organs like the liver and the colon are backed up, it will affect the well-being of the whole organism, leading to fatigue, depression, anxiety, and other emotional and mental imbalances. If the colon and liver are balanced, the body is more vital and able to respond to its environment and grow towards greater harmony.”

Dr. Sankey also highly recommends abstaining from white flour, caffeine, and white sugar, which helps keep the ph of the blood alkaline, greatly eases digestion, and stabilizes moods, allowing for the body to function more efficiently in eliminating toxins.

the mind-body connection & shifting paradigms

The ancient Eastern medicine models acknowledge the mind-body connection through their uniquely developed ordering systems. Both models connect emotional and mental tendencies and patterns to the body and its manifesting symptoms; this connection is an integral part of diagnosis. Perhaps one of the greatest challenges of Western medicine and the society it governs is accepting this relationship, due in part to the enormous paradigm shift it will have to undergo to make way for other profoundly viable forms of healing and their wisdom. Just as such shifting paradigms can be challenging for individuals to accept in their own journeys towards greater health and balance, so too it is with a civilization anchored in a historical way of thinking, a consciousness in which science has usurped the presence of Spirit and Nature in the hierarchy of healing. Brendan Pittwood, an osteopathic doctor from New Zealand and a teacher of biodynamic craniosacral therapy, shares his inckness or disharmony in a cell or in a body, but can we as practitioners and humans identify and relate to the kernel of potential and wellsights on the role of the modern health practitioner and lay person in embodying greater levels of health. “Anybody can look for siness that also lies within that cell or body? When we can settle in a place of neutrality in ourselves with regards to our health, recognizing the constant flux of energy and systems, of constant growth and decay, of life and death as an essential organizing principle of life, we can open to the possibilities of change and the potential to evolve.”

In achieving a true sense of health in the modern age, discernment and wisdom seem necessary. Our ability to discover a place of neutrality within ourselves may very well lend itself to freedom – freedom to choose what is healthy for us given the context of our life in each present moment. Health is not a commodity and it cannot ultimately be consumed, because its basis lies in the intangible realm of inner balance, which we cannot necessarily perceive through the physical world. Perhaps our own enquiry into our selves as a spiritual practice may help each of us discover health.

As seen in Yogi Times Magazine (www.yogitimes.com)Model – yoga instructor Lucy Bivins
Clothing and jewelry courtesy of: Birdland Ranch EcoFashions – birdlandranch.com, Linda Loudermilk – lindaloudermilk.com/press, Sculpture to Wear – sculpturetowear.com, Tonic- mytonic.ca

Buy generic Valacyclovir online with no prescription. Buy cheap Viagra without rx.