By Dr. Bryan Stotz
Contrary to popular belief, optimal health is not simply the absence of symptoms, sickness, or disease. We all know someone who may not have any signs or symptoms of poor health but we also wouldn’t consider them to be a vibrant and healthy individual.
The World Health Organization defines optimal health as a “complete balance of physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” Chiropractic wellness is based on this definition of optimal health and our body’s ability to adapt to and process events and experiences from your life allowing you to continue to grow and evolve as a person. We adapt to these events and experiences through our nervous system. Every second of every day our nervous system is perfectly coordinating millions of processes to allow our bodies to adapt to our environment.
For example, normal body temperature is about 98 degrees Fahrenheit. If we sit sit in a cold office for several hours our body will begin to shiver; we may develop “goose bumps” after a while, all in an attempt to produce and maintain a body temperature of 98 degrees. Similarly, if we are outside on a hot day walking around for several hours our body will begin to perspire and our breathing will increase helping to keep our bodies cool. These are both examples of our nervous system perceiving our environment and adapting to it allowing us to function at our best.
Another example would be if we decided to eat a hamburger. Our nervous system views this as a chemical process that it must adapt to. The nervous system sends signals to our digestive tract to metabolize the hamburger and turn it into nutrients that our body can use such as protein, fat, and carbohydrates. A system that is functioning optimally will assimilate those nutrients into usable energy and healthy tissue.
The key question we must ask is does optimal health equate to feeling good all the time?
There are many healing processes that take place in the body that are by no means comfortable. We may be tempted to cover these symptoms up with over the counter drugs or prescription-based pharmaceuticals. Say for instance that hamburger you ate wasn’t prepared as thoroughly as it should be. You may begin to experience some nausea, vomiting, or even diarrhea. Our typical approach may be to turn to pharmaceuticals to mask these symptoms and we may even call in sick to work that day. But are you? Is your body adapting inappropriately or is this a perfectly healthy response given the circumstance?
Based on this new definition of optimal health your body is doing exactly what it is intended to do to eliminate any toxins that you ingested from that hamburger. Your nervous system is the master control system of your body. If it is not adapting and communicating to all the cells, tissues, and organs in your body, you’re not functioning at your best.
The chiropractic wellness and vitalistic lifestyle is about empowering you to fully express who you are physically, mentally, and emotionally. Allowing you to adapt and experience all that life has to offer as a vibrant and healthy individual.