KISS – keep it simple stupid!

I often wondered why it is that most professions make life complicated? Is it because most professionals really believe their work is extraordinarily complex and it will be too much to expect others to understand their work? Is it because they have been convinced that with their long training and research it really is almost impossible for the public to understand all their field? The cynics might say it is protecting their profession; they don’t want the general public to believe they can manage without them! Others might just say it allows them to charge inflated fees.

My background has been quite odd. After gaining an economics degree with special statistics and accountancy I worked as a financial analyst with Ford UK factors, then moved to Hawker Siddeley as a management consultant, improving efficiency in the group’s companies with better operating systems and scientifically measured manpower planning. Later I joined their operational research section developing long-term forecasts of UK electricity demand. I then left big business to join my wife in a restaurant venture, that ten years on was in the top good food guides. However long hours, no private life and a growing desire to make another major career change led us to sell the business and move south for me to train as an osteopath at the European School of Osteopathy in Maidstone. On qualifying I joined a small management team that established the first holistic clinic in the south-east in 1981. I managed this operation while practising as an osteopath for two decades, when I established my own health centre – TotalHealthMatters! in Kent. My aim was to try to research all that has been achieved in the field of health promotion. This led me to train as a Buteyko Educator in 2004 and as a Whole Plant Nutritionist in 2015. At this stage I began to realise there could be a simple approach to health promotion based on what I considered were key factors; structural integrity and function, nutrition, breathing and mental state.

So with KISS in mind how does this work?

Put simply, good health equals good body, plus good food, plus good breathing, plus good mind.

The Body Connection
Like every other mechanical system it is vital that the body is arranged and functioning as designed – any maladjustment will impair our health.

The Food Connection
We are what we eat and a growing body of evidence suggests a whole plant-based diet promotes health and protects us from most serious illnesses.

The Breath Connection
Life begins with our first in breath and ends with our last outbreath, with over half a trillion breaths in between. Breathing should match needs – too little or too much leads to ill-health.

The Mind Connection
Our state of mind may one day be seen as the prime mover for health or disease. We are what we think or what our minds envisage. Our mind affects body posture, the digestive system, our breathing and perhaps even our very genes.

A future sustainable health system will be based on these simple concepts.

The structure will be supported through physical education and physical therapy that can reinstate normal mechanics and functioning; perhaps the most effective therapy being osteopathy, when correctly and intelligently applied, and many other physical therapies are capable of meeting this need.

Our diets based on a shift towards a whole plant-based diet that will protect our health and the health of the planet, since this would dramatically reduce the resources needed to produce sufficient food to feed us all, using far less energy, land and water.

Today in the West, chronic hyperventilation has reached almost epidemic proportions due in part to the stresses of modern living and to our excesses in diet. Drawing on the lifetime’s work of Professor Konstantin Buteyko, breathing will be an important factor in health promotion as it has been for thousands of years in the East. It takes less than a minute to check our breathing and it can take just a few weeks for an individual to retrain their breathing back to normal.

The mind presents greater problems for therapy: though since ancient times it has been recognised that a healthy body lays the foundation for a healthy mind. The latest research in this field shows that our brains are indeed plastic and the potential for healing with mind work may be remarkable. Already the work in this field using hypnotherapy, psychotherapy and meditation is showing very positive results.

So where does modern medicine fit into this new era of healthcare and health promotion? With the best will in the world only a small percentage of the population will change their lifestyle and seek to take responsibility for their own health as outlined above. We have had over half a century of education into thinking there is a pill for every ill and that the responsibility for our health rests with others and not ourselves. It will take almost as long to re-educate the population and health providers to rethinking what the fundamentals of health really are.

There is enormous inertia that prevents change, and there are powerful forces both professional and commercial that would seek to maintain the status quo. Whole industries are now built on caring for the sick, all offering easy fixes or magic bullets to relieve pain and disease. Our long-term vision should be that health can be the norm for the whole population, though many of us will fail from time to time in some way and need the support and therapy offered by modern medicine.

Today there is a widespread view that real medicine is what is now on offer from doctors or hospitals and that most of the above natural approaches to health are complementary to modern medicine.

Tomorrow’s medicine will involve a complete reversal of these roles. The mainstay of our health system will be education and provision of health promoting lifestyles complemented by the best of modern medicine.

Michael Lingard BSc. DO. BBEC