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Expanding The Definition Of “Health”

Lissa Rankin's picture

health

Not only do I think we need to revolutionize the way we as patients and healers collaborate; I also think we need to redefine how we think about health.

It’s time to think BIG, baby. “Health” is simply too small, and you can’t cram us into little boxes that don’t even begin to contain the vast expansiveness of the brilliant beings we all are. We’ve gotta blow open the box and make room for all the parts of us that may be in need of healing.

Usually, health gets diminished to the well-being of the physical body - things like physical fitness, good nutrition, and the absence of disease. In some cases, the health of the mind is included, and the absence of mental illness is wrapped into the definition.

Spirit?

But what about the spirit? What about the Inner Pilot Light that resonates from within each of us and can shine forth, even when the body is sick? Many people are “healthy”, with no identifiable physical or mental ailment, and yet they’re still miserable. Not depressed. Not psychotic. Not suicidal. But drained of all joie de vivre. Lacking vitality. Not feeling whole.

In short, they’ve lost their mojo (which we at Owning Pink define as MOre JOy).

So clearly, while physical and mental health are important, they’re not enough. Whole health is way bigger than that. If we’re going to join together to transform the world of health care, if we really want to help people heal from the core, rather than just slapping a Band-Aid on something, we need to expand the definition of health.

Promoting health without encouraging others to seek wholeness is an exercise in futility. Not until we realize that our bodies are mirrors of our interpersonal, spiritual, professional, sexual, creative, financial, environmental, mental, and emotional health will we truly heal.

Oh yeah, baby. That's the ticket.

Redefining Health

The word “health” is so entrenched in our culture. Do we make up a new word? String together old words with new meaning?

Even more expansive phrases like “holistic health” or “integrative medicine” don’t cut it for me. Not to diss holistic health practitioners, but to most people, holistic health means you’re taking a boatload of supplements, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that your health care provider is helping you heal from the inside out.

And many integrative medicine practices I know aren’t integrative at all. To me, “integrative” means you’re integrating the work of many healing practitioners, as well as integrating all the facets of what makes you whole.

But in fact, many of these practices seem so fear-based that they’re afraid to refer out to other practitioners because they’re scared they’ll lose the client to another provider whose work resonates with them more. And if they do refer out so that the patient is being treated by a team of people, the team members rarely band together to collaborate on developing treatment plans.

I don’t mean to diminish the value of what we can learn from holistic health and integrative medicine models. In fact, the practice I just closed, the Owning Pink Center, was an integrative medicine practice, which boasted a large healing round table that included an MD, a naturopath, a group of acupuncturists, two nutritionists, a massage therapist, and a psychologist. We did collaborate, and we did make treatment plans together. We focused on the mind, body, and spirit, and we did it with great love. In fact, one of our office policies was that everybody got a hug when they walked in the door.

And the results were breathtaking.

But we still didn’t do it quite the way I dreamed we could.

Since closing my practice, I’ve been brainstorming to try to find a new word for “health.” What if health could be big enough to encompass everything I believe we need to tend in order to be truly whole, healthy, and vital?

What If Health Was So Expansive It Was World-Sized?

What do you think? What is a better term for “health” that incorporates, not just the physical body, but everything we talk about here at Owning Pink - creativity, spirituality, relationships, career/life purpose, sexuality, environment, finances, mental health - and all the rest?

Tell me what you think - and then stay tuned when I tell you my ideas for a new type of wellness model that incorporates it all! Join our band of Pink Medicine Revolutionaries as well for a FREE copy of the new Doctor-Patient Relationship. 

Redefining health,

Lissa Rankin, MD

Lissa Rankin, MD: Founder of OwningPink.comPink Medicine Revolutionarymotivational speaker, and author of What’s Up Down There? Questions You’d Only Ask Your Gynecologist If She Was Your Best Friend and Encaustic Art: The Complete Guide To Creating Fine Art With Wax.

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