By: Jim Goetz
Health is just that. Health is health. It is not sickness or disease. Our society talk about health care often. Health care in America has been a highly discussed topic over the past decade. With the Affordable Care Act (also referred to as Obama Care), health care in America is often the most discussed topic across dinner table across the United States.
Let us first understand though what health care in our country really is. If health is health then why is health care utilized to treat sickness and disease? Our country focuses on sick care. When someone is sick and presents with dysfunction, they utilize the healthcare system designed for them Our healthcare system as designed is backwards. The terminology used versus the care received is applied backwards.
Considering many people still have no clue as to the differences between they're, their and there (if you are one of them look it up...seriously go look it up right now and then come back and finish this article); simply realizing healthcare is sick care and true healthcare is something you are responsible for champions you above the rest.
DD Palmer believed dis-ease was the result from one of a combination of factors. These factors are: physical, emotional, chemical and or mental causes. (1) If there is dysfunction in one of these aspects in ones life, the body is unable to achieve it's ultimate goal, which is homeostasis. (2)
The human body strives to ensure each cell within works together like a well oiled machine as we were designed. The cells in your body are designed to work as a highly advanced assembly line. Each worker on that assembly line, no matter how mundane the job appears to be, has a very important task in the big picture of overall function. If one worker dozes off or call in sick for the day, the entire operation will perform with undesirable results. The results could range anywhere from an inferior product to a deranged product that no one wants anything to do with. Translate the term, "product", to "cells in the body". An underperforming heart can lead to an unintended death because homeostasis was not achieved as a result of being deficient physically, mentally, emotionally and/ or chemically.
What does it mean then to be proficient physically, mentally, emotionally and chemically? I wish there were four magical beans you could trade in the family cow for, allowing you to grow very strong and large vines allowing you to forever flourish and b ein a 24/7/365 state of total homeostasis. Alas, education and good old fashioned hard work appears to once again be the key for success in life.
I like to call the aforementioned corners of health a pyramid of health. With enough weight applied and with time, a structures support pillars will crumble. With a pyramid though; even when age and weight are applied, a pyramid stand strong due to it's design.
The design of a pyramid on paper appears a triangle in a two dimensional scale. A two dimensional object in a three dimension world topples over with ease. A pyramid though is a three dimensional object. It has four corners in it's foundation. If you draw a straight line upwards from each corner, they connect at a point, creating a solid structure. In the case of optimal health, these four corners (physical, mental, emotional, and chemical), when properly laid down, unite at the top to form the pinnacle of optimal health.
Physical health is your bodily health. Your neuromusculoskeletal system and how it moves and functions as a whole, intertwined with the other corners of the pyramid; comprises physical health. They key to optimal physical health is exercise. By moving throughout the day and achieving 30-60 minutes of moderate exercise daily, your risks of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, osteoarthritis, depression and a plethora of other diseases is greatly reduced. Did you realize that the results of just one hour per day of exercise has the effects of taking zoloft for depression? (3) The side effects of exercise are far healthier than the side effects of the drug!
Mental health is the function of your mind. Is your brain properly interpreting the afferent signals from external stimuli, processing those signals properly and returning the correct efferent signals along the proper and uninterrupted synapses. Diseases such as Parkinsons, Alzheimers and a myriad of others indicates poor mental health. Mental health is closely tied to emotional health.
Emotional health is your mood. Are you melancholy, depressed or anxiety ridden? These are signs your emotional health needs to be addressed. How you feel is so important to your whole sense of self and activities of daily living. Typically, when your limbic system is underperforming, you are suffering in some manner and your emotional health needs to be addressed.
Chemical health has to do with the hormones and immunological constituents. For instance, if you
are deficient in iodine, you may not convert T4 to T3 (inactive to active thyroid hormone). As a result, you may end up fatigued, gaining weight, notice an increase in low density lipoproteins (LDL), experience "foggy brain", become melancholy, experience dry skin, thinner hair, brittle nails and experience myxedema.
Every single corner in the foundation of our pyramid of optimal health is extremely important. If one corner is omitted or neglected, the pyramid falls.
If each corner is properly functioning through, the pyramid holds solid and strong. Every single corner is also entwined and inter-related with every other corner as well. Low thyroid hormone (T3- chemical health), lowers our overall well-being (emotional health), decreases our cognitive function (mental health) and lowers our metabolism causing weight gain (physical health). Dysfunction of one single corner affects our entire body.
We have choices in all aspects of our optimal health pyramid. We can choose to wait until one corner becomes weak and effects the entire structure. Once the structure is weakened, we can seek out sick care and attempt to painstakingly patch ourselves up in reactive fashion. The other choice is to be pro- active in true healthcare and pay attention each and every day to our four corners. The solutions to ensuring the four corners are solid are not secret mystery, but if you would like to think of the following information as magic beans, then perhaps it might be easier to swallow.
A strong physical foundation involves 30-60 minutes of moderate exercise each day plus additional movement throughout the day. Movement means not sitting in any one place for greater than twenty minutes. Stand up and move. It will keep your joints lubricated, your blood vessels pliable and remove the stagnation of deoxygenated blood in your body.
A strong mental foundation involves using your brain. If you don't use it you lose it. In order to have good cognitive function, perform at your peak, perhaps even be a cerebral stud while staving off disease, you have to think. Being glued to the boob tube watching Jerry Springer and TMZ will not help form new synapses or strengthen your existing ones. If your brain does not have a need for the synapse, it eliminates it. (4)
A strong emotional foundation involves being comfortable with yourself, relationships you have formed, being mindful and being able to adapt to ever changing situations. By eliminating unnecessary stress in your life and experiencing happiness on a daily basis that you do not force, you are well on your way to securing a strong corner of emotional health.
A strong chemical foundation involves nutrition and detoxification of harmful chemicals from your environment. When foreign substances (antigens/ toxins) are ingested, or you come into contact with it and it is absorbed dermally; inflammation occurs. With this inflammation there occurs a cascade of events that lead to disease. By detoxing ones environment and allowing the body to naturally detoxify itself and nourishing ones self with easily digestible nutrient rich foods, one is well on their way to a strong chemical foundation.
The relationship between the four corners of optimal health are directly related. They work synergistically with one another. When they are all functioning optimally, homeostasis is achieved. By practicing true health care on a daily basis, we build and maintain our pyramid of optimal health. It is far easier (and cost effective) to be proactive and do something right the first time than to be reactive and live a life of doing patch work. The decision of how to live, be in it sickness or in health, is yours and yours alone to make. For myself, I choose proactive health care. What do you choose?
1. DD Palmer. The Chiropractors Adjuster. Portland Printing House Company. 1910
2. Alberts, Bruce (2002). Molecular biology of the cell (4. ed.). New York [u.a.]: Garland. pp. 1292–1293
3. Blumenthal JA, Babyak MA, Coaiswamy M. et al. Exercise and pharmacotherapy in the treatment of major depressive disorder. Psychosomatic Med. 2007; 587-96
4. Cowan, Sudhof, Stevens. Synapses. 2001. The Johns Hopkins University Press
James "Jim" Goetz, affectionately referred to as, "Dr. Daddy", is a leading global expert in the field of health, fitness and wellness having spent many years as a strength and conditioning coach, completing his national chiropractic board exams and authoring numerous articles on the subject. He currently explores the unknown in advancing human performance through scientific research.
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