Phase Three: Wellness Care? Vitalism from the Inside Out
Many people who seek the help of alternative healthcare professionals, like chiropractors and acupuncturists, believe that they are dealing with their symptoms in a healthy way - one which supports their philosophy that health is looking at one's body as a whole, and not just the sum of its parts. It’s a vitalistic way of approaching how to manage their body’s health, and that healing comes from the inside out, not from the outside-in (relying on drugs and surgery to heal your symptoms). That means that symptoms like pain, inflammation, fatigue, headaches and allergies are probably not separate symptoms, but a part of a pattern. These patterns didn’t develop overnight, and the dis-ease that you feel now, may be a precursor to a disease that develops later.
Patterns are a group of symptoms that have the qualities of being stagnant, excessive, or deficient. A chiropractor, for example, will look at the stagnant or excessive qualities of the nervous system and how it’s related to proper nerve flow between the brain and vital organs, muscles, and tissues. If there is not proper nerve flow, symptoms like pain, decreased range of motion, inflammation, and tenderness to touch are commonly noticed.
Other symptoms that people notice are a feeling of sluggishness, difficulty concentrating, a weakened immune fighting system, and a general lack of wholeness. When you pay attention to how you are feeling, you will notice that your symptoms are your body’s way of communicating something. Most chiropractors agree that wellness visits are a great way to get your body in balance. One phrase I hear a lot is “I’m not bad, I’m just not good”. It’s the patient’s way of saying that wellness is important to them and regular adjustments keep them feeling better overall.
Pieces of the Pie
Living a wellness lifestyle includes making choices that may cost more now, but are worth it in the long run. The main elements of health are a balanced nutrition, physical exercise, sleep, and a positive emotional and mental outlook. You may have to spend more time cooking healthy, organic meals, but the trade-off is that you know exactly what you’re eating. Prioritizing time and money at the gym, or physical exercise of choice, might seem difficult, but the trade-off here is that you will develop healthy muscles, bones, blood pressure, decrease stress, increase stamina and energy. Having an upbeat attitude definitely helps decrease stress; investing in you now pays off in the long run.
In a perfect world, our bodies are strong enough that these four elements are you need to function at your optimum. In a chiropractic world, you need 100% nerve flow for all those other elements to work their best. Eating the healthiest diet in the world will allow you to change to a point, but without the help of proper nerve flow to your digestive organs like your stomach, intestines and liver, you may not experience your optimal potential. Same goes with exercise; weight training and stretching can give you a better toned body that burns fat and gives you energy, but imagine how much better you can use your muscles if the nerves that go to those muscles are fully charged and working great.
Other Pieces of the Pie
Wellness is not just how your physical body works; it also ties into your emotional, mental and spiritual well-being. That is why so many practitioners have an integrated approach towards health care. When you start feeling great in your physical body, you can’t help but feel it in all the other areas. Many patients take this opportunity to work on other aspects of their health. Sometimes removing one “block”, expedites the need to address the next “block”. Tune-in to what your body is saying to you and your potential will be expressed.
How can a person who lives a life of fast food, limited or no exercise, and negative thinking ever grow towards health, and have strong body and stress-free mind? Stressors are all around us: social, environmental, economic, just even juggling our everyday schedules. If your body is strong enough on the inside, the stressors in life won’t weaken your body. If your body does not adapt to the stressor, it will break down your immune system and other defenses and cause symptoms ranging from the common cold to heart disease and cancer.
Finding ways to help de-stress is one of the best things you can do for yourself. You can choose things that you love to do and lose your self in them. Listen to what your body is telling you; slow down, rest, meditate, pray, dance, sing, write, run, cook, play, or just howl at the moon.