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 The Purification Process: Healing for Modern Times 
The following is one in an ongoing series of columns entitled Staying Healthy Tips by . View all columns in series
This is an article about thinking simply, in a new way, and using commonsense in your choices about your health. A choice I often recommend is cleaning up your act, your relationships, your planet, and supporting you to lighten up and heal. I encourage all of you to think about health and health care from the philosophy of Integrated Medicine. As a doctor, I view any problem from the deeper true causes, which most often have to do with our lifestyle choices – the way we live. This involves what we eat, our level of physical activity and how much we require during our in-body experience to keep our energy moving, getting the sleep we need to recharge our core systems, and how we create and manage our daily stress – all to see how things add up for or against our health. A basic philosophy of Integrated (Multidisciplinary) Medicine in regards to healing is: Lifestyle first, Natural Therapies next, and Drugs last.

When our overall attitude is one of enhancement, we will nurture this treasure of our life force – our vitality. Clearly, a balanced mind has a beneficial influence on our body and allows our heart and spirit to join in life's uplifting, full-of-potential moments. Health issues challenge us to grow and change for the better if we can claim our truth within our inner being.

I discuss here what I call "preventive challenges," making changes in advance, before you fall apart, and for the purpose of improving health and preventing disease. Ease can be the outcome of these healthful choices and dis-ease is the crisis created from years of bad habits, poor choices, and a lack of understanding of your personal needs within Nature's cycles. Won't you join me in this Quest for Health – keeping your body clean, available to your life, nourished and thankful for the changes you are able to make either through crisis or wiser prevention? For many though, health is a great lifetime challenge.

In most areas of the country now, we have farmer's markets, natural food stores, and our deck and yard gardens to produce plentiful produce during most of the year. Keeping clean shouldn't mean keeping you too far from dirt, the Earth – play in it, get in touch with where things come from and where they go. Be a human being, not just a human doing! Garden, shop, and prepare your meals with and for those you care about. If you need further tips on health and chemical – free shopping and eating, check out my book, The Staying Healthy Shopper's Guide (Celestial Arts, 1999).

The simplest way to understand symptoms and disease integrates Western linear (commonsense) thinking, Chinese medicine and its philosophy of yin and yang, and the naturopathic approach to health and illness. Problems in the body (and mind) often arise from (the duality of) either deficiency, where we are not acquiring sufficient necessary nutrients to meet our needs and body functions, or from congestion, where we are having excessive intake, both from reduced eliminative functions and the repetitive over-consumption of food or non-food substances, such as caffeine, alcohol, nicotine, refined sugar and food chemicals, as well as driving more than walking, and talking more than listening.

With yin and yang imbalances, it is not merely one or the other, but a mixture, meaning that most people have some deficiency along with their toxicity. Clearly, in these modern times of processed and treated foods, and the chemicals used in our environment, we all have exposures to these substances. This stresses our body. Along with that, food nutrient levels are lower from lack of soil minerals. With the typically poor choices of eating by most people and the many temptations of modern markets (even sweetened and processed foods in the best natural food stores), we just don't obtain all the necessary nutrients our bodies need to function optimally – vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and essential fatty acids. Nutritional supplements can help here in obtaining all of these vital nutrients.

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 About The Author
Elson M. Haas, MD is founder & Director of the Preventive Medical Center of Marin (since 1984), an Integrated Health Care Facility in San Rafael, CA and author of many books on Health and Nutrition, including ...moreElson Haas MD
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