An article in the current issue of Organic Gardening magazine caught my attention. Yes, I'm avidly producing a garden this spring. But that's not the first thing that popped into my mind as I read.
What I found really fascinating is that they were talking about a principle I've considered many times over the years -- in relation to human health. Oooh. This is interesting!
I did a little Internet research, and there it was. The same principle. "The Disease Triangle." Without wandering off onto the little path of "if the gardening people get this, how come the human health paradigm is so slow to pick it up," let's get right down to details!
See, this has really interesting implications, not just in the garden, but for your personal health and well-being.
"'Plant diseases develop when three conditions align: There must be a susceptible host plant, a pathogen must be present, and the environment must be conducive. This is called the disease triangle,' explains Andreas Westphal, Ph.D., a plant pathologist at Purdue University. To covercome plant diseases in your garden, make the conditions as unfavorable for disease as possible."
Source: "Disease Defense" by Beth Huxta in Organic Gardening, June/July 2007, pg. 22. (Thanks to both Ms. Huxta and Dr. Westphal for sharing their expertise.)
Here's the way organic gardeners explain this. When you have healthy soil, you'll grow a healthy plant. Healthy plants resist diseases and pests much more readily than unhealthy ones do.
When an organic gardener follows this advice, he or she will knock out two legs of that disease triangle. The healthy plant will be a less susceptible host for disease, and the environment that made the plant healthy in the first place is the same environment that helps it further prevent disease problems.
A gardener, therefore, has some ability to influence two out of three legs of that disease triangle, just by building healthy soil. Truth is there are also a few things he can do to reduce the likelihood of having a pathogen present, but let's forget about the third leg for a moment and concentrate on the first two.
Remember the previous article in this series? We talked about the benefits of seeking out areas of life where we can have some influence over the results we get. A desirable spot to be in...
Well, in the garden, we've just found one set of actions (improving the soil) that will produce two separate angles on better results for our planty little friends. What if we could apply the same principles to human health?
I believe we can.
A healthy human body resists disease better than an unhealthy one. Common knowledge.
- If you've got a strong immune system, you'll fight off colds, flu, and even big-gun problems -- from some cancers to radiation poisioning.
- A structurally sound body is more tolerant of mechanical stress and strain than one less stable, resulting in fewer musculoskeletal injuries.
- Even likelihood of developing heart disease, not likely to be immune-related, can be minimized by conscious attention to creating health.
The same health-promoting activites and circumstances that create a strong immune system, create structural balance in the body, and make your circulatory system run well serve double duty in the human realm, too. They provide a healthier environment in which to enjoy life, thus making future encounters with disease less likely.
Notice I didn't say, "you'll absolutely, positively, never, ever get sick." I don't know anyone who's found the fountain of perpetual immortality. Plants have their season as well. But you can definitely skew the odds in your favor!
In the next article, we'll explore the variety of actions and circumstances you might want to consider when building that "healthy soil" that forms the landscape of your life.
Elizabeth Eckert can help you explore how simple everyday choices create health — or undermine even the best of intentions. With a background that ranges from energy medicine to structural bodywork to developmental psychology, this "Stick-To-It Coach" has the experience to support you in creating the healthiest possible expression of — you!
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