Becoming healthy can seem daunting and even complex to someone who suddenly decides that they need to dramatically turn the direction of their life around, for whatever reason. At whatever stage someone is working on their health, I always recommend small incremental baby steps on their journey from point ‘A’ to point ‘Z’. Like a physical building, our health can be thought of in terms of more foundational aspects, and then higher-up add-ons which build on top of that. To lay out some of the most foundational elements of health, here are three of the most significant items an absolute beginner in healthy living can start to incorporate into their life. I’ve chosen the three issues which tend to be ignored mosts commonly, and contribute to some of the greatest long-term health consequences. These are three of the fundamental areas which anyone can benefit from in their health, even before we begin with any homeopathic treatments. Medical Heilkunst is a system where we talk about the patient being qualified for medicine by first correcting their own regimen:
- Hydration – We have surely all heard it any number of ways, but “drink more water” is an imperative which has room for improvement for most people. The issues of quantity and quality have a bearing on this requirement. How much water is required? This will vary quite a bit with different ages, lifestyles, body weight, and so on, but a good rule of thumb to begin with is to seek a consistency in the urine of a very pale straw-like colour. Any darker of a colour in the urine indicates a state of chronic dehydration, and the foundation of numerous chronic health issues. The book Your Body’s Many Cries for Water illustrates some of the possible health consequences of this widespread issue with regimen. The quality of the water taken in deserves a whole study in itself, but to keep it basic at this point, hydration is almost entirely a function of drinking pure water, and not any other beverage (including pop, tea, coffee, or juices), which mainly have dehydrating properties and generally count against our goal of hyrdration.
- Breathing – Of course, it goes without saying that if we are not breathing, then we are no longer alive, but I am talking here about the issue of proper deep breathing. Most people, without even realizing it, are incredibly shallow breathers, and actually creating and maintaing the mechanism for chronic health issues of all kinds. The causes of this are many, but there is often an emotional component behind this, in terms of underlying anxieties, or otherwise unresolved emotional content from earlier shocks or traumas in our life. There are many possible ways of intervening with this bad habit, including any number of conscious activities which focus directly or indirectly on proper breathing. This may include specific meditation or yoga practices, which deliberately focus on the breathing, or may include any number of sports or cardiovascular exercises which indirectly improve the breathing through forcing the expansion of our normal resting breathing habits.
- Sleep – Sleep is another issue with many complexities to it, but here I simply want to point out a couple of the basic aspects of it. First of all, many people abuse themselves in terms of not getting enough sleep, particularly in terms of staying up too late. Especially in climates which have a strong variation in the amount of daylight (the further away from the equator you live), the longer days of summer and the shorter days of winter dictate a greater or lesser need for sleep at different times of the year. The consequences of chronic suboptimal levels of sleep affect our health in so many ways, starting with the delicate and critical balance in our hormonal rhythms (this applies to men as well as women), which affect every aspect of our health. A related issue for sleep is the degree of darkness that is attained in our sleep environment – the closer we can get to creating 100% pure darkness for sleep, the deeper and more complete will be the rest that we attain from it. For further exploration of this concept, see T.S. Wiley’s Light’s Out: Sleep, Sugar, and Survival.