If someone asked us to choose between good health and great wealth, most of us would pick good health, without a question. However, if asked to define “health,” we might have trouble putting into words what this concept means to us. For some of us health might mean absence of illness, disease and pain. For others good health might mean a more positive state of being, including strong bones and teeth, shiny hair and eyes, strong muscles, appropriate weight, etc.
One thing we all agree on: we want good health. But this goal may be difficult to reach with a health system focused primarily on treatment, rather than prevention of illness and disease. Though we have extensive research about the illnesses of the body and treatment of symptoms, what have we studied about creating wellness within the body to prevent health problems before they happen?
For heart patients, heart bypasses and angioplasty do not address the underlying cause of the heart problem. Surgery merely treats the existing problem, which sometimes returns if the patient doesn’t also make a lifestyle change. When patients make comprehensive life changes consistent with a healthy heart, the patient has a good chance of improving. This reality is being proven through research.
Many times a patient is hospitalized with an end-stage illness that has taken years to develop. During previous years the person has eaten donuts, salami, french fries and ice cream every day. The patient may ask, “What’s wrong with me, Doc?” The doctor replies, “I don’t know, we’ll have to run more tests.”
The reality is that we can look at the whole person and his or her lifestyle over the years, and the illness will be written all over the body.
Wouldn’t it make more sense to study what causes the body to be healthy? Unfortunately, only 20 percent of today’s research is spent on preventative health care. Part of the problem might be that it is harder to study prevention than it is to study treatment for illness and disease.
Some researchers examining the factors that help keep the body healthy are becoming increasingly convinced of the importance of the mind/body connection as a critical factor in health. This factor is an important reason more people are turning to chiropractic health care as part of their health building strategies.
Chiropractic care works directly with the mind/body connection for health. The brain contains all the information to run the body correctly. The nervous system is a channel of communication from the brain to each tissue cell in the body. We all understand the function of the skull in protecting the brain. In similar fashion, the spinal column houses and protects the nervous system.
We understand brain functions can be affected unless we keep it safe and free from serious trauma. The same is true for the spine and proper nervous system function. When the spine is traumatized and the spinal cord (bundle of nerves) becomes severed, the body can become paralyzed because the brain can no longer communicate with the rest of the body. This principle also applies when trauma to the spine is on a smaller scale, resulting in misalignment of spinal bones and pressure on nerve function. Spinal misalignment results in a partial communication breakdown, leading to an incomplete connection between mind and body. When this happens, the body loses much of its ability to maintain health.
We know lifestyle factors are important in building health. We know we need proper rest, good nutrition, exercise and a positive mental attitude; we may not fully understand the importance of a fully functioning nervous system.
Building health within the body – wellness – is ultimately the path we all must discover for ourselves. It is not something a doctor can give us. It is something we give ourselves because healing and health are natural states, and we have the power to control our decisions.
B.J. Palmer, developer of chiropractic, said, “In the future, chiropractic will be valued for its preventative qualities as much as for relieving and adjusting the cause of many ailments.” The future is now because chiropractic is no longer alternative but the mainstream choice of millions who have turned to chiropractic for natural health and wellness care. Chiropractic is now covered by many insurance companies.
Doctors of chiropractic are committed to educating their patients about healthy lifestyle and their patients express appreciation for it. We need to be involved with our health by asking questions and beginning our own quest to discover just what “good health” is, and how it can be obtained.