Towards Integral Health

19.02.2021 - Buenos Aires, Argentina - REHUNO - Red Humanista de Noticias en Salud

This post is also available in: Spanish

Towards Integral Health

By Jorge Pompei

If we understand the human being as a multidimensional being where the biological, the psychological and the spiritual form a unit, in structure with a natural and social environment, then health will be the result of a dynamic balance in all these dimensions.

This dynamic equilibrium manifests itself as the capacity to return to a situation of equilibrium each time an imbalance occurs.

On the other hand, this equilibrium will permanently seek to evolve by improving the increasingly adaptive responses it gives on each occasion.

In this context, when we speak of integral health, we refer to a view that considers health in its multiple aspects: biological, psychological, social, environmental and spiritual, and consequently seeks an approach that takes into account all these factors, going beyond the exclusive biological view.

Furthermore, our approach does not focus on illness and death, organising its activities in an attempt to avoid them, but rather builds on health and works to consolidate it and make it grow.

In every situation there will be a percentage of health, risk and illness, and the proportions present in the structure will determine its state.

Thus health, risk and disease, with their different degrees, are the scale that measures the vitality and response capacity of an organism to increasingly adapt.

Therefore, pain, suffering and meaninglessness, far from being enemies to be fought, silenced or eliminated, are signals to be heeded and understood in their message, because they indicate when we are moving away from the situation of dynamic equilibrium in which life is affirmed.

Pain occurs when an internal or external factor injures the body, endangering its physical integrity.

Suffering, on the other hand, is expressed in the consciousness when its integrity is threatened by internal or external reasons, remembered, perceived or imagined.

Meaninglessness, on the other hand, is a clear register of loss of direction in life that generates disorientation and alerts us to the need to change the direction of our lives.

And all these are indicators that should be considered as warning signs to modify and improve responses.

In this sense, the responses we propose are organised biologically, strengthening structure and functionality through nutrition, hydration, breathing, rest and movement. Psychologically, with non-violent treatment of oneself and others, overcoming contradictions and caring for the community and the environment in which we develop.

On the other hand, and studying the responses given by the health system in relation to health, we can observe two different strategies in the approach to health-related problems.

On the one hand, we find the vision that identifies quality of care with care according to speciality and with a growing technological component. This modality implies that the care of each case is carried out by an increasing number of specialists through which one must pass in order to reach a diagnosis or carry out a treatment. All these interventions, theoretically based on scientific medicine, have increasing costs and limited access according to economic capacity. This situation is made even more critical by the increasing age of the population, which makes the need for care by several specialities common, with the consequent polypharmacy. This modality is oriented towards an in-depth but fragmented study of individuals.

On the other hand, there is a strategy that does not differentiate, at least in the first stage, according to the speciality of the person consulted, but involves a more general approach to the person consulting. In this case, the first line of care will try to provide a more comprehensive response and is made up of general practitioners with a preferably territorial approach, as proposed by Primary Health Care.

It should also be noted that parallel to the aforementioned system, there are other concepts and practices from the traditions of different cultures (Chinese, Hindu, Tibetan, American, etc.) and other more modern ones that have been created on the basis of knowledge not developed by scientific medicine (homeopathy, neural therapy, biomagnetic, natural medicine, etc.).

In this respect, it should be noted that there is a growing number of people seeking consultation or assistance with these other approaches, showing a new interest in these traditional and complementary therapies that have fewer adverse effects than allopathic therapies, are more accessible and are based on other visions of health.

Finally, it is necessary to mention two fundamental aspects that accompany health care in modern society and that will have to be incorporated for a holistic view of the subject.

On the one hand, the increasing costs of illness and health care and, on the other hand, the growing recognition of the rights of all people to be assisted not only in illness but also in health without any kind of discrimination.

In short, when we speak of integral health, we speak of a conception and a praxis. We conceive health as a balance in structure and harmonious relationship with the body, the psyche, the spirit, the community and the environment, and a praxis that, beyond the techniques used, must always aim, without any kind of discrimination, to improve the living conditions of the person and his or her community.

Categories: Health, International, Opinions


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