Self-defence against illness

  • Business
  • Sunday, 11 Jul 2004

MANY people today suffer from varying degrees of deteriorating health or impairments. Some of the more common symptoms are headaches, muscle aches, stomach disorders, constipation, skin disorders, joint pains, fatigue, anxiety, depression, irritability, insomnia, foggy mind, among others. 

Doctors may say these are normal ailments for a modern man or woman. 

Far from being “normal”, these are signals of complaint sent by your body. All symptoms have their causes; symptoms do not manifest without a (root) cause. Focusing on symptoms alone could lead you on a medical “merry-go-round”. 

People become sick by “default”, not by design, as a result of ignorance, faulty thinking, stress, poor nutrition, substance abuse, environmental pollution, and so on. 

Being sick does not only refer to physiological conditions, but also mental and emotional disturbances that are often overlooked. 

For example, the Malaysian Psychiatric Association has declared that 15% of our population is mentally ill, out of which 80% suffer from depression and anxiety. 

Even more shocking is the European scenario where about 30% of its population suffers from some form or degree of mental illness. 

In the US, 50% of its citizens will contract cardiovascular diseases in their lifetime, followed by 30% from cancer and 10% from diabetes (and on the rise). 

Children are not spared either, exhibiting learning and behavioural disorders. 

Consider the number of inhuman crimes, practically unheard of not too many years ago but now being reported with increasing frequency. 

Very often we hear of criminals confessing that they could not control their actions, instinct and sudden outburst of anger in the heat of the moment. Surely these physical, mental and emotional upheavals are not random incidents. Genes may not be the only culprit here. 

Diseases do not happen by accident, but follow a definite pathway – or the law of cause and effect.  

If we sow durian seeds, we expect to harvest durians. Similarly, if we practice healthy lifestyles, we expect to be not as susceptible to diseases. 

Attitude: Optimal health does not belong to a select few, but to all who choose to be healthy in mind and body. The pursuit of optimal health is not a complex or complicated process. 

The Bantu tribesmen in Africa have some of the cleanest arteries in the world. And the Hunza people of the Pakistani Himalayas play volleyball – those aged 70 and above pitting their skills against younger clansmen. 

On the other hand, advanced nations like the United States is a lowly 70+ in world health rankings. Sophisticated technology and lifestyles pale when it comes to achieving optimal health and wellness. 

Every person has a right to natural health. It’s a basic human instinct. Even children can grasp its principles. There are few absolutes. 

When people claim that a physical condition cannot be cured, most of the time it’s not true. Today’s “no” may become tomorrow’s “yes”.  

After all, man knows too little about the power that lies within the human mind and body, but attempts to “play God” in trying to create the ultimate cure-all drug, dabbling with cloning, and genetically modifying organisms. 

Fitness is for the moment; but wellness (mind, emotion, body) is for life. 

Rest: If you spend more than 12 hours at work, consider cutting back an hour or two for rest and de-stressing. 

The Japanese experience tells us that long hours at the office will take its toll on our health, because the body is subjected to prolonged periods of stress. 

As a result, high levels of stress hormones are constantly produced to cope with the internal physical stress. Given time, these hormones will harm vital organs. 

As we put our minds on overdrive, the body generates coping chemicals that can be harmful over a period of time. This is a habitual and unhealthy way to stir up adrenalin, which in turn induces over-production of insulin and cholesterol. 

Learn to let go and let God take control. “Never waste your time worrying. Ninety-five per cent of what we worry about never happens anyway, and the 5% that does, we can't do anything about”, said a 100-year-old retired teacher from New York. 

People often say they are very busy. We should be busy, but for the right reasons. Perhaps adopting a purpose-driven life will significantly reduce the overtly busy lifestyle for some people. 

How would you like to be remembered if you were to die tomorrow? May I suggest that you write down your purpose statements (in very simple lines) that focus on areas like family, faith, finances, friends and future development. 

Regular rest and de-stressing is a must if you wish to remain well and fit. This is where we have to exercise our will. 

The important things will demand all that you have – time, sacrifices and concentration. These priorities contribute to the outcome of your purpose or “big picture” in life – the exact reasons for your living and striving every day. 

With that defined, the not-so-important issues can wait and perhaps be forgotten as time passes. 

We have about four or five hours left after work to attend to family and personal needs before sleep. Make sure you get sufficient sleep every night. 

If you wake up in the morning and still want to sleep or take some time to “warm up”, then you are not getting enough rest. Lack of sleep will deplete your vitality and compromise the immune system. 


Nutrition: At birth, our bodies were like well-tuned cars that required compatible “fuel”. Feed it the wrong fuel (food) and it will go out of tune. 

Go for unprocessed, natural foods as much as possible. Natural foods are “nature’s packets” offered in the right combination of carbohydrates, protein, fats laced with vitamins, minerals and enriched with enzymes. All nutrients are supplied to our cells at one go. 

We cannot feed our body cells by instalments: some pure sugar or starch now, then some enriched vitamins or minerals, with the remaining nutrients later. Isolated sugars, proteins, starch, vitamins or minerals are called “artifacts”. As they are manufactured, the body cannot digest them all, because the ratio of combined nutrients in its natural state has been altered. 

Where possible, avoid “white stuff” such as flour, sugar, salt, and milk. Incidentally, most fast foods contain these items and added fat. 

Foods can be divided into four categories: 1) Meat, poultry, and fish; 2) Dairy products and eggs; 3) Cereals, seeds and nuts; and 4) Vegetables and fruits. 

I suggest Ratio-Eating: 25% of categories 1, 2 & 3 combined and 75% of category 4. By adopting this ratio, your body will get the proper combination of nutrients. You may take health supplements if you wish. 

Exercise: The body is meant to move about all day. Regular exercise enables the body to repair and renew its tissues while eliminating waste products. Brisk walking, jogging and swimming are good forms of exercise. 

Most exercises involve contra-lateral movements: alternating simultaneous movement of right arm and left leg with left arm and right leg.Regular exercising strengthens the heart-lung complex, blood vessels, lymphatic system, vital organs and neurological system. 

Adopt a “back to nature” approach – enjoy the sunshine, fresh air, and flora and fauna. Sunlight nourishes the body, revitalizes the skin and increases surface blood circulation while manufacturing vitamin D, needed for calcium absorption. 

Sunlight also excites and stimulates other cells and tissues, directly affecting our mood, growth, glandular system, metabolism and nervous system. 

Chemicals & heavy metals: Beware of additives such as colouring, preservatives and artificial flavours that are used to make food look attractive, last longer and taste good. Experts estimate that an average person consumes about 2kg of additives per year. 

Heavy metal toxicity is an invisible killer. Heavy metals such as mercury, lead, aluminium, cadmium and arsenic are commonly found in a wide range of home and office products. 

Out of every 10 cases I have dealt with, seven or eight usually relate to heavy metal poisoning. One patient had aluminium poisoning from factory dust, while another had inhaled chemical dust and fumes from her fashion design class. 

Because of our body’s inability to excrete or flush out these chemicals and heavy metals, they accumulate in our organs, hair, skin and bones. 

I wish you peace, wellness, and happiness as you begin the journey to optimal health. 


  • Andrew Leong is a natural health counsellor, offering training programmes for WIM. He will be giving a talk on ‘The Art of Self-Defence against Disease’ at Wisma WIM on July 24. Those interested may contact Jenny Nip at 03-77250268/ 0288 or email: 

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