As the U.S. continues to characterize exactly how to outline and implement the nation’s new healthcare, discussions and debates defining healthcare are getting a good deal of air time. The medical community recently has become more vocal or perhaps just more newsworthy, much of that discussion on healthcare now has shifted more heavily onto methodologies of care.
It seems a good time to weigh in.
Studies have revealed that the United States, although a leader in wealth and infrastructure, falls behind many other less fortunate nations in happiness. Feeling good is only one aspect of feeling whole, the foundation of happiness. Granted there are good, better and best ways to live one’s life and each of those carry consequential outcomes tied not only to genetics, chance, lifestyle, home life, culture and upbringing, but also to personal attitude, how informed we are, our particular surrounding environment, product availability, and the ever-changing state of personal economics. However, within the framework of what may be possible for each of us, difficult as it may be, we generally can make some choices in pursuit of our understanding of health. The real difficulty is in how to integrate those focused choices into practice, supported by community.
Our views on how to best implement health are changing — from a focus on the (pharma) fixes of physical functioning to a more holistic and integrative approach encompassing a broader perception which is inclusive of nutrition and lifestyle factors with more psychophysical and social inclusion. How we manage and facilitate the model of integrative health as defined at both federal and states’ level… we need to go further. There are baseline parameters to health which are not overt but can easily be overlooked in constructing health policies and practices, standards and regulations regarding health. Consider this…
While Primordial yogic movement can be characterized as a body-based psychotherapeutic practice, it is primarily a perceptual practice much like yoga. It’s foundation however, is based on dance movement therapies (DMT). Much of the research which constitutes the basis of PYM are from studies on embodiment and enactment in dance therapy. Studies which have shown that DMT benefits all of us — the aging, the depressed, the young, the addictive, the dis-associative, the traumatized, those with all sorts and types of fatigue, disorders and chronic conditions. There is much empirical evidence that dance/movement expression improves mood, awareness, energy, emotions, social and cultural perceptions, abilities to express, engagement and relations. While dance can be therapeutic, you might surmise that dancing to sense wellness may not be accessible and perhaps the last thing you feel like doing. Again, it comes down to whether you choose to move, as a health issue. There are always at least two sides to a coin and feeling some sense of wellness may, in fact, be necessary for the freedom to experience the dance of life.
For those of us who can appreciate some sense of wellness, a sense of wholeness may still not be accessible. For each of us there must be connection in some way to the immediacy of the world. Parity in the immediacy of the world may be felt simply in having a sense of being part of a community, in watching a flower close at night, in the lull of waves on a ship. Nothing can evolve on its’ own, we live in the world we sense. The reason indigenous peoples cling so hard to the old ways… they know intimately that who they are is based ultimately on their immediate physical connection to and conscious awareness of the natural ancestral world they were born to. One distinct way to keep in fresh, to feel the immediacy of connection to the earth has long been achieved in dance, a true psycho-physical experience which for many indigent peoples have made ritual.
Imagine if the human species could practice something to consciously perceive the many connections shared with all other life on earth. If so, would we continue to use and abuse mindlessly, without regard, the very miracle and privilege of a vital living existence? I doubt it.
Today there is more than a century of empirical, epidemiological, and anthropological research which supports that maintaining good health is always enabled, affected and shaped by social connection. Informed collective cohesion and societal self-efficacy are major determinant factors in the degree and rate of improvements in overall health and also conversely, in the spread of disease (Wilkinson & Marmot, 2003). Yet in the west, with the singular exception of specialized support groups, the policies and practices of medical healing interventions still do not cover, include or even recognize the immense benefits derived from DMT and other somatic practices to help people connect to one another other and to connect to the natural world. Furthermore, somatic practices often created to enhance connection through movement expression are frequently removed as accepted medicine and rarely even considered therapeutic methodology. As Yoda might say, “Blind we are”.
Wilkinson, R.G. & Marmot, M.(2003). The Social Determinants of Health: The solid facts. Presented in Copenhagen, Denmark: World Health Organization.