MAXLIFE: The Definition of Wellness

Almost no one knows what the definition of health really is. Therefore that which they believe about health cannot be true. —Dr. Ian Grassam

As the American public continues to be disappointed with its current level of health, and more and more of the drugs people are taking are being removed from the market, these people are beginning to doubt the wisdom of traditional medicine and turn toward alternatives. A growing number are beginning to embrace a not-so-well-defined concept called “wellness.” While the notion of wellness is a shift in the right direction, has our current definition of wellness been working? Where has the present wellness paradigm taken us?

A History of the Wellness “Industry”

1961: Weight Watchers holds its first meeting.

1970: Cigarette ads are banned from TV and radio.

1978: The Soloflex is introduced.

1980: Going to the gym becomes popular.

1986: Suzanne Somers begins doing ThighMaster infomercials.

1986: Bowflex is introduced.

1987: Sheena Easton popularizes washboard abs.

1988: Healthy Choice releases its frozen-dinner line.

1990: Spandex becomes popular.

1995: ESPN launches the Body by Jake television workout show.

1997: Nordic Track unveils the Ellipse exercise machine.

1998: Tae-Bo is popularized.

1999–2004: Body for Life, Atkins, South Beach Diet, Dr. Phil, and various fitness and weight-loss programs take America by storm and “alternative medicine,” such as vitamins, herbs, foreign juices, and natural doctors, has found ever-increasing popularity.

Today: The idea of wellness is to get more fit and lose weight. On the contrary, obesity numbers have soared in the last three decades, tripling and even quadrupling for adults as well as children in the U.S. and abroad.

While record amounts of diet, exercise, and positive attitude books, infomercials, products, tapes, vitamins, and videos are being sold, we’re more overweight, out of shape, sick, tired, and unhappy than when the “wellness revolution” began. Our cell-phone, fast-food, fast-relief, double mocha latte-driven culture and cultural mentality still do not support health.

Real wellness is going to require actions that maximize life inside of your body by creating the kind of function and environment that allows health and peace of mind to flourish.

Wise is the one who sees with his own eyes and listens with his own heart —Albert Einstein

The Real Definition of Health

To have a true wellness revolution, you must first answer the question: What is wellness? The term has been badly abused. Clinics offering abortion often call themselves Women’s Wellness Centers, and doctors and hospitals offer “wellness visits” through which they provide expensive exams and tests in an effort to create “early detection” of disease. Unfortunately, “early” is still after the fact, and the treatments involve more prescriptions and surgery. Injectable drugs and prescriptions are given even to children and the elderly in the name of “wellness.”

To know what real wellness is, you have to first define what health really is. Most people would say they’re healthy when they have no pain, no runny nose, no headache. In other words: I’m healthy when I feel good. In today’s fad-diet-and-home-exercise-infomercial world, health has also come to mean losing weight or looking good.

There are three problems with this. First, when you think health is feeling good, what do you usually do when you feel bad? You take a drug to feel good and then assume you’re healthy. Yet, as you now know, you do not automatically become healthy when a drug eliminates your symptoms, and in fact, you may be even sicker.

Second, when my father died of a heart attack at the age of fifty-two, he died without prior symptoms of heart disease and had passed previous medical evaluation. His doctor told us that in more than two-thirds of people who have a heart problem, the first sign is a heart attack. Then, in two-thirds of those, the people die. Or, for the majority of people, the first sign that you have a heart problem is that you are dead. As my family discovered, that’s a little late to begin looking into it.

I could go on with story after story of people I’ve seen in my clinics who chose to not follow through with care based on the fact that they felt fine—only later to discover disease that was so far along by the time they discovered it, it was too late. By the time you actually know you have cancer, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, and other physical problems, these conditions have typically been ravaging your body for years. The same is true even for spine and extremity pain. By the time it hurts, MRIs and x-rays often show massive arthritic degeneration and/or disc damage that’s been developing for years.

Third, there’s the “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” myth. Thinking If I have no symptoms of a disease, then I don’t have to worry about disease is one of the most colossal errors in judgment you could ever make concerning your health. You might not have a diagnosed disease, but dis-ease can go on for years without warning before being discovered as disease. This type of thinking will, without argument, eventually shorten your life.

The following is a list from the Merck Manual of Medical Diagnosis. These are some of the most common diseases we face today and are all present in the body without any signs or symptoms noticeable to the victim.

  • Heart arrhythmia
  • Glomerulonephritis (Kidney disease)
  • Atherosclerosis (Plaque in arteries)
  • Hypertension (High blood pressure)
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Ovarian cancer
  • Benign prostatic hypertrophy
  • Ovarian cyst
  • Breast cancer
  • Paget’s (bone) disease
  • Cardiomyopathy
  • Spinal degeneration
  • Polyps of large bowel
  • Cervical cancer
  • Prostate cancer
  • Cholelithiasis*(Gall stones)
  • Pulmonary valve stenosis*
  • Renal calculi*(Kidney stones)
  • Coronary artery disease
  • Renal (kidney) failure (chronic)
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Retinoblastoma* (cancer of the eye)
  • Diverticular (colon) disease
  • Scoliosis (Curvature of the spine)
  • Emphysema (lung disease)
  • Tooth decay
  • Fibroid tumors of the uterus
  • Valvular heart disease

Seeking freedom from symptoms is easy to do and may even guarantee those results. The only thing it can never bring you, however, is health. In fact, as the Merck Manual shows us, being free from symptoms may just cover up signs of disease and keep you ignorant of your perilous predicament.

If you would like to explore what we believe the real definition of health needs to look like in your life please stop by a local Maximized Living Doctor in your area and let them walk you through our 5 essentials of health philosophy.