The Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine, 3rd Ed.




Health is a term that is difficult to define; a definition somehow tends to place unnecessary boundaries on its meaning. While health is often viewed as simply the absence of disease, the World Health Organization defines it as “a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being, not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” This definition provides for a positive range of health well beyond the absence of sickness.

The question of health or disease often comes down to individual responsibility. In this context, responsibility means choosing a healthful alternative over a less healthful one. If you want to be healthy, simply make healthful choices and take the appropriate action to achieve the results you desire.

Achieving and maintaining health will usually be quite easy if you focus on strengthening what we refer to as the four cornerstones of good health. You can liken these cornerstones to the four legs on a chair or table. If you want that chair or table to remain upright when stress is placed upon it, the four legs must be intact and strong. Likewise, if you want to have good—or, better yet, ideal—health, it is essential that the following four areas be strong:

• A positive mental attitude

• A healthful lifestyle: exercise, sleep, and health habits

• A health-promoting diet

• Supplementary measures

The principles and recommendations given in Section II are absolutely essential to incorporate into your life if you desire ideal health.