How Spirituality Affects Your Physical Health

“The world’s best doctor and healer is none other than you! Every person possesses an innate healing force. Good health is our natural birthright, and the power to be in good health and to enjoy life to the full lies within us. More effective than any pill or scientific advancement is the understanding of the power of knowledge, faith, love, and action. Holistic health care means taking full responsibility of your whole being”.

These lines are from the first chapter of “A Gift of Health” by Mariandy A. Fricke. I spent a lovely afternoon with her a few weeks ago chatting about the principles that have guided her work for more than twelve years in the field of holistic wellness.

Her recently launched book is a compilation of her holistic health studies and practices that go way back to 1994 when she first opened Andyways Holistic Health Center in BF Homes, Paranaque.

Since then she has gotten a masters degree in Education Guidance and Counseling and has taken further studies in Social Education and Holistic Health Consultancy.

She defines holistic health as a law of nature wherein the whole is made up of interdependent parts. She writes, “The earth is made up of different systems like air, land, water, plants, and animals. In order to sustain life, these cannot be separated because what happens to one system has an effect on the rest.

“Similarly, an individual is a whole made up of interdependent parts: physical, mental + emotional = spirituality, and chemical. When one part is not working perfectly, the others are affected. In addition, you, as a whole person, are in constant interaction with your environment. Which is why one can have a migraine or an upset stomach due to anxiety over a job interview”.

Many people have written about the importance of exercise , nutrition (“chemical” is her term for nutrition), and stress management on physical health. But Andy also talks
about how spirituality (or lack of it) can affect your health.

She explains, “Being spiritually healthy means being intimately connected with your spouse, partner, family, friends, and community – a connection that gives you innate joy and satisfaction. Through a harmonious relationship with people in your life, you learn to give and receive unconditional love.”

And philandering husbands, be careful. Your extra-curricular activities could be the source of your health problems. Andy writes, “A mind filled with guilt, fear, or negative feelings is disturbed and can affect all the physiological and biological processes of the body.

“For example, a married man engaged in an illicit affair learns to hide things from his wife and family. The fear of being caught haunts him and brings about negative stress on the body.

“Fear metabolizes the bodily acids that can lower the immune system. Exposure to such constant stress will take its toll on the body, while living a clean and righteous life helps the body processes work smoothly, helping it heal on its own.”

Andy points out that self-centeredness and egoism can lead to daily stress and constantly being in a state of “fight or flight” because of the obsession to protect one’s selfish interests.

She says, “What usually disrupts our ‘feel-good’ state is discord among family members, friends or colleagues. Conflict brings in chaos and loads of negative feelings that may have psychosomatic manifestations”.

Preliminary scientific research has validated Andy’s belief that that physical health is affected by spiritual health. According to the Harvard Women’s Health Watch, mentally nursing a grudge makes your muscles tense and your blood pressure rise. Meanwhile, a study found that people who forgave those who betrayed them experienced improvements in blood pressure and heart rate and a decreased workload for the heart.

Another study suggests that people with vengeful personalities and a chronic desire to retaliate might have a higher risk of dying early due to cardiovascular problems.

In her book, Andy lists some ‘exercises’ to improve your ‘spiritual fitness’:

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