Thursday, January 29, 2015

Embracing Unhealthinesses

In Healthicine, a healthiness is a measure of health. Measures of illness are often direct measurements of signs or symptoms.  Measurements of healthiness are more complex.  A measurement of healthiness must, at the very least, contain a ratio.  

For example, height is not a measure of healthiness. Nor is weight.  When we combine the measure of height with the measure of weight in ratio – as we do when we calculate BMI (Body Mass Index), we begin create a crude measure of healthiness.

However, BMI is not a useful measure of healthiness without a goal. Different people have different BMI goals, and therefore one BMI result might be very healthy for one person, and not so healthy for another person.

When we have a goal, we can rank the health measurement against the goal, and create a percentage of healthiness. If my BMI goal is 20 and my BMI is 25, then my BMI health score might be calculated as 20/25 or 80 percent. Of course that calculation technique is arbitrary, and a different method of calculating might determine that my health score is actually only 65 percent.  At present, there are no standards for measuring or calculating health scores – and the field is very, very complex. We can expect that, as the science of healthicine advances, some calculating techniques will have more value than others. We need to learn to measure healthiness, and to calculate healthiness scores.

Once we can calculate a score for a specific healthiness, we can see that it has an inverse.  If you BMI health score is 65%, then the inverse is 35%.  What is the name of the ‘inverse’ of your healthiness score?

The inverse of the healthiness score, when the score is calculated as a percentage is your ‘potential for improvement in healthiness’. You can improve your BMI healthiness by 35%, and no more – because at that time your BMI healthiness will be 100 percent. Each different healthiness score gives a specific healthiness rating and a corresponding level or potential for improvement, a corresponding level of unhealthiness. 

There is another important term for ‘potential for improvement in healthiness’: unhealthiness.  When we measure healthiness, and map it to a percentage scale:

 the inverse of healthiness is ‘unhealthiness’.

Unhealthiness is not ‘bad’.  It is simply your potential for improvement.  This is an important concept of healthicine. If we do not have any unhealthiness, we have no room to improve our health. A very unlikely situation, less likely to last for any length of time. 

If we are to learn about health, to improve our health, we need to embrace the concept of 'unhealthiness', to recognize that we each have many levels of unhealthiness, many types of "room for improvement" in our health, We need to learn to use that room, that unhealthiness, to improve our health. When we do, many so called 'illnesses' and 'diseases' will be understood to be unhealthiness, which cannot be cured by medicine, only by health

Tracy is the author of two books about healthicine: