The patients I see enjoying the biggest changes are those who have made a commitment to build a better life. Who realise the vital role health plays in having a great life and understand how easy is when they apply strong foundation concepts.
You may have experienced times when health was easy, and times when it was less so. When you understand what’s driving these experiences you can build the results you want. It’s often as simple as changing how we look at things, and knowing where focus our attention.
In this series of articles we’ll shake off harmful misconceptions, discover insider knowledge and lay the important groundwork for making that great life easier to achieve.
What isn’t health…
Even though we spend more resources every year on hospital beds, drugs and surgery, as a society we are becoming less healthy. Why is that? Maybe it’s because the way we think about health is the very thing stopping us from having it.
Many people in the modern world (including healthcare professionals) believe that as long as you don’t have pain or ‘symptoms’, you must be healthy. This dangerous misconception disconnects us from experiencing real health and the great life it allows.
Back in the dark ages the authorities enforced a belief that the sun revolved around the earth. People who understood the real science and saw a bigger picture were silenced. We now look back on those times as unenlightened and a little bit sad.
Fortunately, reason and logic eventually triumphed over the politics of the time. In the future we may look back at current misconceptions about health in a similar manner.
The first thing to understand is pain and ‘symptoms’ may indicate a lack of health, but a lack of these things doesn’t automatically indicate you are healthy.
‘Symptoms’ are actually Secondary Conditions
This is another important clarification that needs to be cleared up before we can proceed. We are led to believe that ‘symptoms’ are the problem with our health. That if we can just fix the ‘symptom’ then we are magically healthy. Symptoms (pain, tension, fatigue, anxiousness etc) are seen as the CAUSE of the problem, but this simply isn’t true.
Symptoms are the Secondary result of a Primary underlying Condition. An important step toward enjoying health is to stop using the word ‘symptom’, Instead call these things what they really are, ‘Secondary Conditions’. Then focus your attention on addressing the Primary Condition that is causing them.
What IS health?
It’s difficult to obtain something without an awareness of what you are seeking. The World Health Organisation’s (WHO) definition can help us with this. It tells us that:
“Health is a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity”.
That’s an interesting ““not merely the absence of disease or infirmity”. Instead, health is, “Complete well-being”. The WHO definition isn’t some new-age idea. It was actually agreed upon and established back in 1946.
Why the illusion that ‘no pain’ equals ‘health’ can be harmful.
You’ve heard that backwards saying, “If it aint broke, don’t fix it”. People who follow this rule spend a lot of time fixing broken things, and living with things that are about to break. There is a better way.
Is it smarter to maintain your car and keep it in tune, or wait for it to break down? If a warning light appears on the dashboard, you don’t just cover it up and pretend everything’s going to be ok. That warning light means you’re long overdue for a tune up.
Covering up the warning light won’t make the problem go away. You still have a poor performing vehicle that is going to let you down at the worst possible time. Keeping your vehicle in good tune not only avoids warning lights, inconvenient break downs and expensive repair bills… More importantly, it makes the journey more enjoyable.
This is the same for your health. Secondary Conditions are a ‘warning light on the dashboard’ letting you know that you’re long overdue for a tune up. If your journey through life isn’t running smoothly as you want, then you need to be more proactive about staying in tune.
Secondary Conditions are a ‘late stage strategy’ for the body.
Think about this example for a moment…
Cardiovascular disease is one of our major killers. It develops over a long time. But often the first ‘warning light’ is the severe (and sometimes fatal) secondary condition called a heart attack.
A week before someone has a heart attack, when they ‘feel ok’, do you think they’re in a condition of complete well-being? No, they’ve probably been in an unhealthy state for a long time.
How about a week later, when the crushing pain of the heart attack has passed and they ‘feel better’? No, they’re a long way from complete well-being and have a lot of repair work to do.
You will NEVER build a great life by sitting back and only taking action when the ‘warning lights’ appear. A pro-active approach is the only sensible option.
Health requires self-organisation.
Unlike a car, your body has the ability to ‘self-organise’. That’s what your nervous system does. A healthy nervous system should automatically keep you in tune, without you even being aware of it.
However, your nervous system evolved in nature. The daily wear and tear of modern life can make you go ‘out of tune’. Many aspects of the modern world overpower, exhaust or confuse your natural nervous system’s ability to self-organise and keep you in tune. Any reduction in self-organisation can lead to a Neuro-Structural Shift.
Neuro-Structural Shifts are a Primary Condition and can lead to many Secondary Conditions. Neuro-Structural Shifts can be detected by chronic tension patterns, shifts in structure and movement, changes in the body’s behaviour and perception of sensory input. These are some of the indicators we assess for during our thorough Neuro-Structural examination and it’s what we re-assess before and after every visit.
A foundation of health for the Northern Beaches.
The WHO definition speaks of health as ‘complete well-being’. From a very basic perspective, a human can be described as 37 trillion cells organised in a manner that supports life.
Without the self-organisation there’s no life. Just a bunch of cells. Your nervous system is responsible for the organising. The health you enjoy and the quality of life you are currently living is directly proportional to the level of organisation your nervous system can sustain.
A clear, robust nervous system, unencumbered by Neuro-Structural Shifts is the foundation on which we build a better life.
Recap of the foundation concepts:
Health isn’t just removing pain and covering ‘symptoms’. In fact the correct term for ‘symptoms’ is Secondary Conditions.
Health is complete well-being and relies on self-organisation. Your nervous system is responsible for self-organisation.
Neuro-Structural Shifts reduce the nervous system’s level of organisation. A clear, robust nervous system is your foundation for a better life.
The next article in this series is a (shorter) discussion about necessity of healthy ‘response ability’ and the world’s Easiest Spring Clean..