Defining Health and Healing
© Kenneth S. Cohen
I define health as connectedness. Scientific evidence demonstrates that in a state of optimal health all parts of the body work together (or communicate) mechanically (intelligent organization of posture, breathing, and movement, including factors such as relaxation, alignment, and flow), energetically (via bioelectric, biochemical, and biophoton signals), and in harmony with the physical, social, and spiritual environment. Healing is the realization, restoration, and/or expression of that state of connectedness, wholeness, and harmony.
Although aspects of healing may be measurable, the final goal of healing may not be, as it includes unity with the ineffable and mysterious. The process of healing fosters an interaction between persons (healer and patient), place, and time. Thus the following factors are important for healing: healing presence, compassion, placebo, ability of the healer, receptiveness of the patient, positive influence of place, and the correct timing of treatment. Because of so many unique factors, there are many non-standard or non-replicable conditions, and experiments in healing can only be suggestive, not conclusive.
Guan Yin: Buddhist symbol of compassion, from the Nelson Atkins Museum, Kansas City (photo by Ken Cohen)