Glowing, radiant, and vital health is one of the high levels of well being. This kind of health was the goal of many of the world’s traditional healthcare systems. Wellness comes about by applying universal principles of balance and harmony to the different aspects of our lives, including diet, relationships, environment, activities, healing, thinking and above all our understanding. Known by different names this way of dynamic living is today entitled “macrobiotics”  or  “the macrobiotic way”. These  “Elements of Health” are essential parts of a healthy lifestyle.

Green City Challenge contributor John Kosinski, allowed us to reprint the following article from his website www.macrobiotic.com.

My consultations, seminars and classes focus on two basic arenas; how to apply the “Elements of Health” to recover from illness, and promote and maintain a more vital state of well being , and how to understand the underlying principles of balance to live a full and dynamic life. I believe the philosophy of balance as applied to the “Elements of Health” is the gateway to a satisfying and fulfilling life.

Food
All animals are designed to eat particular foods that create optimum health and well being. When it comes to the human animal, this fact has been forgotten. In my consultations and seminars, I teach people how to eat according to the human design and the seven practices of natural eating The seven practices of natural eating have been followed by the majority of cultures throughout the world.

When paying heed to the human design and the seven practices of natural eating, a person’s diet consists of primarily whole natural foods such as grains, soups, vegetables, beans, sea vegetables, fish, fruit, nuts, seeds, mild natural sweeteners and seasonings, and non- aromatic beverages. This kind of diet is known as the macrobiotic way of eating.

Environment
Traditional people around the world were aware of the environment’s impact on health and well being. Most of the past concerns, cold, heat, dampness and other factors, have to a large extent been alleviated. The impact of environmental pollution on human health is the number one concern for those alive today.

Three important areas are addressed in the teaching of this element

  • How to minimize and protect your self from air, and water pollution.
  • The importance of having contact with nature within and outside of your home.
  • How to protect oneself from negative effects of electronic machines and appliances in the home and office.

Activities
Today, there doesn’t seem to be enough time to do all the things that we think we need to, want to, or should do. Obviously, some things are more important to do than others, but how do we choose. In teaching people about the elements of health, I often point out that by making healthy changes in your diet and lifestyle, a person’s ability to judge and prioritize what is really important improves. Areas that are addressed in personalized health consultations, classes and seminars include:

  • Exercise: Under this element, the importance of the different types of exercise is explained. Eastern therapeutic exercises; Yoga, Chi Kung and Do-in are taught to improve vitality and aid in healing
  • Work and Play: Fulfilling work and enriching recreational activities that promote growth and development are essential for a full and rich life.
  • Rest and Rejuvenation: Rest and sleep are essential in order to preserve and build up one’s vitality. Students and clients are taught how to understand and/ or become aware on each person’s differing needs. Without this knowledge, people often burn the candle at both ends; leading to burn-out and sickness.

Through classes and workshop, these vital aspects of life are explored. Practical suggestions in how to handle and minimize stress at home and in the workplace are explained. The role of continuing education and the development of artistic skills will be discussed.

Body Care
It is important to take care of the body on the inside and out. Teachings regarding the care of the body as part of “The Elements” include from basic fundamentals such as the importance of keeping the body clean to the use of cotton clothing near the skin, and the daily body scrub. As with the other elements, the rhyme and reason behind daily health practices are important to know.

Mind and Attitude
Every choice that affects our lives is made by our minds. An age old Chinese saying in the martial arts states where the mind leads the body follows. A clear orientation in life, which includes an understanding of balance, and the role it plays in all of our lives is necessary in order to have vibrant health. The traditional understanding of a balance of opposite qualities and forces in life is a fundamental macrobiotic teaching that spans many cultures. Bringing balance to our lives requires a reflection on the principles of change, and is a basic part of my classes and seminars.

Since an awareness or focus in the right direction brings it to our attention, I often talk about the importance of the development of character traits such as patience, self –discipline and compassion as being essential to the development of health and the healing process.

Since modern people deal with more emotional and psychological stresses than people living in traditional cultures, it is also important to learn both the effects and practical solutions to counter the negative effects of daily stresses.

The Way of Eating
How we eat food is very important in assuring that we are getting the most from natural, macrobiotic foods. In this element, I teach people about the importance of chewing , regular meals, eating in moderation and offering grace. In studying and of course practicing these things, you will find that you can get much more energy from the same foods. In teaching about the how of eating , my hope is that the art of eating can again be rediscovered and valued in our fast food culture.

Natural Healing
The macrobiotic approach to natural healing is unique in bringing a sensibility to divergent views of healing and the body from the east and west, and the traditional and modern. In essence, the macrobiotic approach is a practical philosophy that can open you up to the simplicity of health through adopting the elements of health as our way of life.

-John Kozinski