Ask the Vancouver Chiropractor: Are You Well on Your Way to Being Well?
In the wise words of Professor Benjamin Miller: "Your body is the one machine that is unconditionally guaranteed to last a lifetime. How long and good a life this will be depends a great deal on you, whether you neglect and abuse your body out of carelessness and ignorance or whether you treat it with the respect so wonderful and complicated an organism deserves."
The term health care has in the past acquired an expanded and somewhat novel meaning. Traditionally, health care has been used as a general term to refer to anything and everything people do to combat illness and injury. More recently its meaning has been appropriately widened to include more positive measures that may be undertaken to promote and maintain your health. It is in this broadened sense that health's companion term "Wellness" is employed.
The dictionary definition of wellness is to be in good, fortunate, comfortable, or satisfactory condition. In health care terms wellness is a proactive approach to maintaining and improving your health through the prevention of illness. It is a positive lifestyle choice and a way of living that dramatically improves individual health, quality of life, personal performance, and overall sense of well-being. It is a continuum moving from very sick all the way to optimal health. As the definition acknowledges, one of the most important tenets of wellness is that the prevention of disease is just as important as treating it, perhaps today even more important considering that chronic illnesses are increasingly being deemed incurable. It is also becoming clearly evident that at times even the most innovative and far-reaching of health care technology, while obviously aiming to be beneficial, is not adequate in the prevention of disease and the maintenance of our health.
As it stands, the principle of traditional care is when the body's working deviates from normal; an intrusive counteracting procedure should be and for the part is applied. For example: an alkaline for acid indigestion, a sleeping pill for insomnia, or a cold pack to reduce fever etc. What this has created is a system of health care, which more appropriately should be termed "sick care" that focuses only on clearing up the overt symptoms of disease. Consequently, as is seen in practice each day, these symptoms tend to resurface time and time again due to inattention to the underlying imbalance or problem and an overemphasis on symptom relief.
So then what is the solution? First and foremost it appears obvious that a shift in orientation is needed from reactive "sick care" to proactive wellness-oriented "health care" with an increasing emphasis on your own self-care. This new orientation encompasses the foremost principle of natural holistic health care. That is, recognizing that the human body has a unique, innate healing capacity which explains why most disease processes are self-limiting and go away without seeking treatment. The orientation involves taking on the responsibility to understand your body, to learn how it functions, what makes it dysfunction, and take the timely steps to prevent it dysfunction and promote its health. It also entails comprehending that in those instances when the body is not functioning optimally and sickness results, the primary cause is not the virus or bacteria as the traditional allopathic model holds but rather the body's unhealthy state in the first place that made it increasingly vulnerable to invasion by that virus or bacteria. Thus, instead of the focus being placed on the symptoms of the disease, the focus is put squarely on the shoulders of the individual and what is specifically needed to improve his or her health to markedly reduce the individual's susceptibility to the disease processes.
For obvious reasons the concept of wellness should not be considered a replacement for health care from a professional when you are ill. Health care providers have the ability to correctly diagnose and help alleviate and help cure many types of health problems. It is simply that there are many ways to greatly increase your chances to avoid illness and save yourself a lot, in terms of pain and suffering. The conclusion here is that we are not dependent upon technological breakthroughs to achieve health but instead, it is good health that depends on educated lifestyle choices we make each day to avoid disease and illness.