Wellness is becoming a common word that is spoken quite a bit lately. “Wellness” is something that every person wants but few truly achieve it. Nobody really wants to be sick having no energy, no vibrancy or loss of function. So why is it that wellness seems so hard to obtain? In order to achieve to wellness, we must first understand what wellness means and more importantly what is not. Wellness is not a lack of diagnosis or a lack of a symptom. Wellness is not just when you are feeling okay because you may just be dying on the inside. Dorland’s Medical Dictionary defines Wellness “as a state optimal health and well-being of an individual owing to maintaining of a balanced lifestyle with practices that promote health; usually considered to include both physical and mental/emotional components”.
We cannot solve health/wellness problems with sickness answers and we must start our healing process by first changing our paradigm on what health really means. Continuing with the thought process that bacteria and viruses make us sick, that asthma is due to a deficiency of steroids in the body, that ear infections are because of a deficiency of antibiotics and that medications and surgery make us healthier, is completely wrong. It is a thought process that is failing man kind. Human beings are the sickest species on the planet. The very real but scary statistics are that 50% of Americans will die from heart disease, 2/3rds of the other 50% will die from cancer and 1/3 will die from diabetes or obesity related illnesses. Human beings should be put on the endangered species list. Dying from “old age” and is not a common cause of death in the United States.
Let’s use an analogy to help understand what is currently happening in our health care system. This simple analogy may help understand why the World Health Organization ranks the United States 37th in health when we clearly spent the most money on health care and we consume well over half the worlds drugs.
Think of your body as your house. The fire department is the allopathic medical system. Let’s say your house is on fire and you are in crisis. Who are you going to call? The fire department of course, this is an emergency! The fire department comes into your house with their axes and fire hoses. They smash out your windows, doors and walls and then spray water and chemicals all over the place to put the fire out. If they got there in time, you may still have your house. You are forever grateful to them and should be. You still have your house but also have a huge mess to clean up.
Now if we reverse this scenario and instead of a fire in your house your body suffers an illness or acute injury. Who do you call? You call an ambulance, you visit the Emergency room, or call a specialist, or a surgeon, and you handle the emergency by whatever means necessary whether it is emergency drugs or surgery until you are out of the crisis or acute phase.
Now that you are out of the acute stage and your body needs to heal. Is it rational thinking to continue to bombard your body with more drugs and surgery? Is it rational thinking to continue to invite the fire department back every day to get your house back to normal? Of course not, first we need to understand that houses don’t spontaneously combust. Our bodies do not get sick because of bad luck and poor genetics or lack of medication. We get sick because of bad lifestyle choices and imbalance in our bodies eco system.
To bring your house back to a solid healthy structure you bring in carpenters, electricians and painters to help you rebuild your house. To bring your body back to a state of health or wellness you bring in Chiropractors, Nutritionists, Personal Trainers, Massage Therapists and others of the healing arts who are going to improve structure, improve immune function and work with the body’s innate ability to heal itself.
Our current health care system is based on reacting to crisis and focuses on symptom relief. If there are no symptoms then there is no problems right? If it cannot be picked up on blood tests or MRI, or CAT scans then should we assume that disease does not exist? Waiting for symptoms to show up while not being proactive in your health is a form of suicide, it’s too late. You have lost your health and your balance long ago. We all have heard of people who are given a clean bill of health after a physical only to die the very next day. People who are “well” just don’t die overnight. We need to look no further than heart disease and cancer to understand that a lack of symptoms doesn’t mean “health”. Sometimes the first symptom of heart disease is a Heart Attack!
Suppressing symptoms does not put you in a state of health like the pharmaceutical advertisements try to show. An obese man bellies up to a diner and orders greasy, fried food. His body sounds the alarm about his poor food choice and exhibits symptoms like heartburn and indigestion, gas and bloating. But if he takes these pills before he eats, his bodies built in alarm system is shut down and his symptoms are surpressed. He is literally committing suicide and the pharmaceutical companies are assisting!
It’s crazy what we have accepted as health in this country. Americans consume more pills than any other country and we are dying from it. More drugs and better chemistry cannot bring balance and better physiology.
We are also being convinced that early detection of disease is disease prevention. Mammograms and prostate checks do detect illness earlier so treatment can begin earlier but disease is already there and has been for years! How is that prevention?
Our system is failing and will continue to fail because the current solution is part of the problem. Crisis/Emergency care will never help us regain health and wellness. It is our personal responsibility to change our paradigm, change the questions we are asking, change the way we see health and wellness, and make healthier lifestyle choices. It will not be solved by pharmaceutical companies, politicians in Washington, or corporate America.
The human body is its own perfect Eco system – 75-100 trillion cells that all work together to create life and maintain health. The body knows the perfect amount of chemicals to produce, in the perfect amounts, at the perfect time. The body can heal a cut and mend a broken bone. The body heals itself from above-down, and inside-out, through the power of the nervous system. The body has an innate intelligence that far surpasses anything man can convince. Each moment of each day the body is either working towards “balance” or working away from “balance”. Simply put we are either moving towards potential or away from potential. A fall from health is not due to genetics, (our genetics have not changed for 40,000 years) or lack of health insurance or not enough prescriptions. Heredity is a tendency; not a death sentence. Sickness is a lack of balance. We need to change our thought process and begin to ask the proper questions when we are facing a health issue. There are two reasons why one’s body is not in balance: the body is toxic of something not sustainable for life, and a deficiency of something that is essential for life. In today’s society toxins are abundant, smoking, alcohol, processed foods, negative thoughts, pollution, etc. There are 4 essentials for life, healthy food (not touched by man), clean water, oxygen and proper nerve supply.
Are you smoking, drinking, or eating processed foods? Are you deficient in Omega-3 essential fatty acids, calcium, and protein?
Are you putting the proper nutrients into your body? Are you drinking enough water? Are you getting oxygen into your body to nourish your cells? Is your nervous system free from interference? Are you moving?
What can you do to help regain your health? Health is not something that goes away overnight and it will not return overnight. We cannot change all of our bad lifestyle choices in one day. If we try to make too many changes at once, it will just be too hard. If we simply focus on doing 1% better for ourselves each day, at the end of the year you will be a much healthier person.
Ask yourself: what am I putting into my body that is toxic for my health? What is my body deficient in? Adding something is easier than taking something away. Add something good. Let’s say you love chocolate and you are not willing to give it up, add an apple BEFORE you have chocolate. Add a piece of fruit BEFORE you have a bagel. Add salad BEFORE you eat your potatoes.
Make sure to stay hydrated with clean water. Just like with food, it’s easier to add the healthy drink than to take away something that is not as good for you but that you enjoy. Before you drink your coffee, soda, juice, or beer drink a glass of water. Try to drink a glass of water before you grab your next favorite beverage. Our bodies are 85% water, dehydration is a very real and serious health issue. By drinking water before, and in addition to your favorite beverages you have a better chance of staying hydrated.
Movement is key to health, especially movement of the spine. Not only is movement of the spine healthy for joint and disc function, but proprioception and the kinesthetic firing pattern is reinforced. Sitting behind a computer or at a desk for 7 – 8 hours a day was not our creator’s intentions. Our nervous system controls everything in our body but it needs sensory input from joint proprioception to function at 100%, so MOVE.
Ask yourself….am I thinking healthy. Do I love myself; do I love others around me? Do I see the glass as half full or half empty or just a glass with water in it? Ask how healthy are my thoughts throughout the day?
Just 1% better each day makes you 365% better in one year. There is no doubt you’ll be working towards balance and potential.
We hope that you choose to make healthier lifestyle choices. Health is a personal responsibility, not a government or insurance company responsibility. Please don’t let your health drift away because you think it is someone else’s job.
Remember to eat healthy, exercise, and think positively!
Wtitten by Dr. Holly Ruocco DC – Sept. 2009