The Four Pillars of Health

Dr. Gueniot taught that there were four pillars of health. We at Barefoot Living Arts use this system to help meet the needs of our patients and to help them maintain balance in their lives. The Taoists see the optimal life as standing at a mid point between order and chaos. Our belief is that the loss of Self is the essence of disease. When our sense of Self is diminished, we enter into a state of pain, anger, fear, and sometimes shame and guilt. This loss of self encourages us to look for things outside of ourselves, such as alcohol, food, excessive exercise, excessive work, and unhealthy relationships to diminish or distract ourselves from this pain. This leads to consequences, such as low self esteem and more fragmentation of our direction.

The four pillars can be used as a tool so that we can help individuals balance themselves between order and chaos. The four pillars are:

  1. Nourishment
    • Connected to digestion, assimilation, and restoration
      • Can be from food, from sleep, fresh air, warmth of the sun, and time spent in nature
    • Nourishment allows the elaboration of the Self
  2. Mindset 
    • Management of the self or the story/narrative
    • Mindset relates to the impulses and tendencies that we've attached to our basic needs
    • The sensitivity in feelings which facilitate communication with our surroundings
    • Our reason and intellect which permits reflection, analyses and thoughts that result in actions
    • The mindset or narrative that we create either enhances self-esteem and sense of purpose or can create stuck-ness in our life
  3. Terrain/heredity
    • A person's terrain combines several factors
      • Genetic inheritance of their family
        • Effects their structure and physical limitations
      • Microbiome of their environment
        • Effects temperament and social/biological behaviors
      • Attachment theory/reaction mode as a result of their ancestral patterning
        • Determines their instinctual responses to the environment
  4. Flow/drainage
    • Sorting out and eliminating of non-Self elements
    • Implies movement and motion
    • How we walk, breathe, speak our truth, and how our body eliminates determines the health of what naturopathic medicine calls emunctories
    • Motion and therefore emotion are expressions of how we move through life

These four pillars are taken into consideration as we help our patients move to a greater understanding of self and health. In the same way that a short leg on a table can create an imbalance, so can a limitation in one of the pillars cause decreased health and disease. 

Mark Romano