Concept of Health

baby_rishiConcept of Health is a theme commonly found in all the communities around the world. A variety of definitions are used to describe the concept but the most common, still in use and probably the oldest one is the, ” Absence of the disease”.

Some people believe it to be being at peace with the self, the community, God and Cosmos.
Ancient Indian and Greek Philosophers share this concept and attribute disease to disturbances in bodily equilibrium of what they call ” Humors or Basic Doshas”.

The major drawback of Modern medicine’s outlook to this concept is with preoccupation with the study of the disease and neglect of the study of Health. The following point clarifies it more –

  • Health determinants are not yet clear.
  • Health definitions used currently are elusive.
  • There is no single yardstick for exact and correct measurement of Health.
    “Health is always taken for granted and its value is not fully understood until it is lost.”
    Slowly, health is now is been viewed with a new perspective. There is a worldwide re-awakening of this concept with regards the following goals –
  • Health as a Fundamental human right essential to the satisfaction of basic human needs.
  • Improved quality of life attained by all the people.
    Health, while being an end in itself, has also became a major instrument of overall socio-economic development and the creation of a new social order.

    Changing concepts:

    The basis for healthcare services lies in proper understanding of health. Unfortunately, all members of the community including various professional groups (Bio-medical, Social Science, Health Administrators, Ecologists etc.) do not perceive it the same way. This adds to the already existing confusion.

    New concepts which are based on new patterns of thought are bound to arise in a process of continuous change.
    With the process of evolution over the centuries the concept of health has changed from an Individual concern to a World wide social goal encompassing whole quality of life.

    1.Bio-medical concept:

    The core of the, ” Bio- medical concept” is that one who is free from disease is healthy.
    i.e. Health = absence of disease.
    Germ theory of the disease evolves from this concept that dominates 20th century medicine.
    This concept has a narrow view in which the body is looked upon as a machine and the Doctor’s work is to repair. Ultimately, this concept is criticized because of minimized role of determinants of health like environmental, social, psychological and cultural.
    It is also not adequate to solve the problems like malnutrition, chronic diseases, accidents, drug-abuse, mental illness, pollution, increasing population etc. to name a few.

    2.Ecological concept:

    The criticism to the Bio-medical concept had led to the Ecological concept.
    It visualizes Health as a dynamic equilibrium between man and his environment and disease is the maladjustment to it.
    Good human adaptation to natural environment increases life expectancy and a better quality of life even in absence of modern health services.

    3.Psychological concept:

    This concept is evolved due to increase in social awareness. Health is influenced by social, psychological, cultural, economic, and political aspects-
    Thus Health = Biological + Social Phenomena

    4.Holistic concept:

    This concept is the synthesis of all the above concepts. It recognizes the importance of Multidimensional aspects like social, economic, political and environmental involving whole person in context to the environment.


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