Oliver's Blog

Thursday 2nd February 2017

Prevention is better than cure


The origins of macrobiotics lies in Far Eastern philosophy and medicine, which has long held that we can enjoy vital health through our whole lifetime, by paying attention to our daily diet, lifestyle and positive social interactions. In fact, in some places doctors were paid while their clients were well, and payment stopped when people became ill!

To be able to take care of our own health we need a triangle of three things - a system of understanding how the body functions, some simple ways of assessing our internal health, and knowledge of how our daily food, activity, emotions and thoughts affect our body. I am constantly amazed by just how well these work together.

Take, for example, headaches. While western medicine has no explanation for 95 per cent of headaches and therefore offers mainly painkillers, Far Eastern and macrobiotic medicine has a detailed understanding of the internal imbalances in the body causing different kinds of headaches, and how simple changes in diet, lifestyle and thinking can be used to heal this condition. Of course, western medicine is invaluable in the small number of cases where headaches are caused by physical changes such as tumours, and we may well then want to use western treatments. However the vast majority of headaches and migraines are functional, and are within our own hands to heal.

Macrobiotics has enabled me to take good care of my own and my family’s health over the last 36 years, and I have seen thousands of students and clients take their health into their own hands to experience remarkable improvements in health, including healing long-standing illnesses. For me it has worked well, I am seldom ill, I have not had flu for 36 years, during which time I have made two visits to a doctor, the last to confirm that the pain in my side from being punched by my martial arts instructor was from cracked ribs!

This is all in stark contrast to what is happening in modern society, where there is little knowledge of how we can keep ourselves well, and so we have a system of waiting until people become ill, and then attempting to fix the problem. This approach not only creates far more pain and suffering, it is also very expensive on a social level.

Those of you living in the UK will be familiar with hearing about the crisis in the NHS – the latest being the Red Cross reporting a ‘humanitarian crisis’ in hospitals, and politicians arguing about who is going to give the most money to rescue an ailing health service.

The whole debate is missing the main point! The real issue is not a lack of money, but that the ‘wait until people become ill and then spend money on treating the illnesses’ approach to health has become prohibitively expensive. Long-term, we need a change in approach to investing in health and keeping people well, and then the costs of treating illness could be reduced rather than increased. (For myself, I have used NHS services for around 20 minutes in 36 years - using my macrobiotic knowledge I have created little drain on its resources!)


Here at the International Macrobiotic School we work hard to fulfil the macrobiotic dream of creating health and happiness for all. Macrobiotics was started by George and Lima Ohsawa in the first half of the twentieth century, as a way of using the Far Eastern approach to making a healthy and fulfilling life available to everyone. It uses yin and yang to understand how nature and ourselves work, has some neat methods of assessing our own health by looking at the face, hands, hair and other outward signs, and a thorough knowledge of how to change our internal condition with specific changes in diet, exercise, and life style changes.

If you are looking for ways of getting healthier, healing present health problems, or getting in touch with the deeper purpose of your life, we would love to see you on one of our short courses. If you would like to go on a journey of discovery into your own health and would love to guide others on their path to greater health and happiness, then please consider our three year training programme.

Wishing good health and happiness to you all in 2017,

Oliver Cowmeadow