George Russell, M.A., D.C. Newsletter
Prevention is not Health
January 2010


Prevention is not Health, and Health is not Prevention.


My friend Blair Voyvodic, an unorthodox general practitioner in darkest Canada, recently sent me an article he wrote.  Blair makes a claim that startled me:  that health maintenance is not about prevention.  I was shocked by this, but then he made me understand.


Keeping good health is not about prevention.  It's not about surgery.  It's not about bodywork and it's not about chiropractic care.  It's not about Lipitor ®.


Now, for those of you who haven't heard, life does involve suffering and adversity, and it does end in death.  If you are receiving this information for the first time, please feel free to sit down and take a moment for yourself.  If not, let's go on.


So health isn't about avoiding death or pain, though it is about extending the amount of healthy, happy living we can experience.  As we've heard, but seldom heed, maintaining our health happens in the moment and it's about quality of life, rather than quantity. In each moment, we have some power over how we experience and respond to our situation, and it's this response, as much as the external circumstance, that will determine our physiological, emotional, mental and spiritual health in the moment, even if we die a moment later.


Because life happens moment to moment, we have to make health an action (you might say a process), rather than a thing (as in the medical phrase "health status").  And to get the action going, we need to discern the parts of our selves and lives where we can make choices to improve health, and focus our energies in those areas.


We're born with certain genetic character that presets some of the ways our lives will play out.  Our environment, physical and social, past and present, molds and determines our health strengths and challenges. I have never asked a patient to move to Detroit to be healthy, but I do ask in my information form whether the patient would be willing to move to another state to be healthy.  Why?  Because it tells me how much of a priority health is for the patient and that changes the way I will treat the patient in our relationship. 


Although moving to Detroit is an option everyone should keep in mind, many aspects of our environment, from the family we were born into to the drastic changes humans have wrought on the planet and the effects of cheap housing credit on your IRA savings, cannot be significantly altered through our personal actions; and we can't change much about our DNA.  The main area where we have power is in the good choices we make no matter what life has come to, and to do that, we have to stay conscious, and be brave and disciplined.  Oh, by the way, that's hard.


Resilience and pro-active self-development are the main features of healthy living.

Dr. Jared Hanson, naturopath and acupuncturist, has this to say about winter health:


From the perspective of Chinese medicine, the taste associated with the lungs is "pungent" or spicy, so we think of hot peppers, horseradish and other radishes, ginger, garlic and other members of the onion family, and peppercorns. In Chinese medicine, peaches are also thought to be particularly good for the lungs.

From the perspective of clinical nutrition, vitamins C and E are important pulmonary anti-oxidants. Magnesium relaxes the smooth muscles of the bronchial tree, allowing us to breathe easier and if mucus has accumulated, the antioxidant NAC (N-acetyl-cysteine) can safely dissolve it.
Learn More at: Dr. Jared Hanson

Dance Performance:  I'm directing and performing in a dance concert on Thursday, January 28th - ONE NIGHT ONLY!  It's at the University Settlement House, 184 Eldridge Street at 8 PM, it won't be longer than an hour and a half (nothing should be longer than an hour and a half), and it is produced by de Facto Dance and SharkMother, co-directed by our own Jackie Danziger.  Please come... it won't be a party without you.
 Henry Pierre is a fascinating person and healing professional whom I'm working with on a new project to help people heal and stay well.  Like me, Henry is greatly influenced by the work of medical intuitive Carolyn Myss.  In his words, Henry "healed my blindness, beat death, walked out of a hospice and lived my dream by living fully in the moment."  Well, that sounds good!  Check out his website: Henry Pierre  His next introductory session is January 31st.
Writing the Great American Novel?  Jill Dearman teaches, coaches and writes regularly.  She has published several books and is a very supportive, funny and innovative teacher who helped me learn to write.Check her out:  Jill Dearman