It may be very obvious to some that
in order to achieve a state a health, wellness and happiness many
aspects of ones life have to be in balance. Many people in
our society have heard words of wisdom like this in the past, but
at the same time they may not really know how it should apply to
In recent years, I myself have found many great schools of thought
that point to the importance of balance and how it plays a major
role in ones health and well being. I guess one could say
philosophies of balance like macrobiotics have helped me balance
my curiosities and desire to help other people. OK, Ill try
to cut down a little on using the word balance as much as I can,
As a current graduate student of occupational therapy at Indiana
University, one of the major preventative health interventions we
have studied is helping individuals balance their occupations in
life. The philosophy suggests that when working with individuals
to help them perform occupations in life the occupational therapist
should also address the persons ability to perform desired
leisure activities as well as social activities in addition to their
desired work activities and self care tasks.
By doing so, the occupational therapist is enabling the person to
achieve a much more rewarding, healthy and yes balanced life regardless
of their disability or limitation.
I believe macrobiotic teachings point to natures
balance and how eating a diet thats in balance with our biological
design leads to optimal health. Just like the wolfs design
of sharp teeth, fast legs and a short digestive system enables them
to eat the raw meat of large animals; our design appears to enable
us to eat whole grains, vegetables, beans, nuts, fruits as well
as some small animals and fish.
Recently in my pathopysiology class, I heard a medical doctor talk
about how an imbalance between a persons HDL and LDL cholesterol
is the main cause of cardiovascular disease. If you didnt
already know, LDLs are the bad cholesterol that comes from animal
foods and HDLs are the good cholesterols that can come from exercise,
plant lipids and fish.
Just as important, eating what our local environment
can produce seems to also be very important for an individuals
health. Eating large amounts of tropical products like coffee and
sugar everyday may set us up to function pretty well down near the
equator but possibly not so hot up North.
In addition, eating large amounts of red meat everyday while living
an inactive lifestyle seems like it would be a pretty unlikely scenario
throughout the history of our species. I believe the food we eat
and the substances we put in our body become us and the characteristics
of local food helps us balance with the characteristics of the local
Being a student of science, I have often looked for
correlations between the yin/yang philosophy of macrobiotics and
the research of western medicine and often science just gives me
more motivation to live a macrobiotic, natural lifestyle.
Science has shown that more developed countries when compared to
third world countries tend to show a dramatic increase
in a large variety of diseases (or what I like to call imbalances)
that are thought to be influenced by lifestyle. The alarming occurrence
of what is labeled as late onset diseases like obesity, type II
diabetes, cancer, and heart disease continues to rise the more developed
With the addition of all the success stories I have read about macrobiotics
as well as the diets ability to keep me free of allergies,
acid reflex and sinus infections; I now stand as a firm believer
in the macrobiotic lifestyle and hope to help educate others about
A new and interesting example of the benefits of
living naturally can be seen by looking at the development and growing
popularity of a shoe that uses a design that stimulates barefoot
The owners of this fairly new shoe product claim to have gotten
their idea from observing African tribes who occupied much of their
time by walking on unleveled natural surfaces while barefoot. In
comparison to those who live in modern societies, they noticed that
this tribe experienced very rare occurrences of back pain or lower
So upon further study they concluded that the natural stimulation
provided by walking barefoot on natural surfaces leads to the natural
balance that our muscles and joints need to function properly. Consequently,
people in modern countries are trying these shoes out any many have
reported relief from their pains and dysfunction.
Similar ideas of muscle balance can be achieved through the practice
of yoga and the participation in a variety of stimulating activities
and occupations. A great book labeled Pain Free by Pete Egoscue
( Available from amazon.co.uk
describes these ideas of muscle balance in great detail as well
as provides exercises that actually return the bodies natural muscle
balance and relieves pain.
As important as living natural is, I have also learned
to respect the power of the mind and spirit just as much. Living
with a strong sense of love and peace for all undoubtedly affects
a persons well being.
Being able to do what interests and attracts you, enables one to
live a rich life full of happiness, well being and satisfaction.
Just like macrobiotics teaches, you really cannot separate the mind/body
and spirit. Every positive thought has a physiological effect on
our body, which can lead to a life of well being and yes of course
As a therapist, I hope to guide people to better
health using these foundational principles of macrobiotics as well
as all the foundational principals of my future profession of occupational
therapy. After my independent studies in health and wellness, I
feel like there needs to be a shift in the way we think about our
bodies, minds, environment and health.
However, I intend to stay compassionate and positive to all because
I know the power of love is capable of healing the body, mind and
spirit. Sooooooooo, if you want to stay intact, you should realize
life is one big balancing act!!
David Grabe has been studying macrobiotic's for
about two years and also holistic healthcare and prevention for
about four. He is also currently an occupational therapy student
and hopes that one day to guide other's to better health through
a variety of ways that can all be related to just living more naturally.
Being in the western medical world he said he often finds himself
relating different illnesses and "diseases" to imbalances
of yin and yang, but the hardest thing about it is sometimes he
feels he could help them better if only they were willing to learn