To Your Health
November, 2010 (Vol. 04, Issue 11)
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Finding True Wellness

These days, the term wellness is being overused and abused by a society that recognizes its importance but doesn't understand its application.

Marketing departments around the globe are throwing the word around because it's popular, but often it's simply being used as a gimmick to improve sales of products that have nothing to do with improved health and function.

True wellness is achieved when all of the body's systems are receiving their signals from the brain and are properly providing the body with what it needs to not only survive, but thrive. Too often, we mistake an absence of symptoms as the presence of health, when the reality is that the two are not even related.

We live in a society that's been conditioned to believe there's a medication or a surgical procedure to fix every problem. Is that really the way you want to live your life? Now that you understand wellness, start doing something to ensure you can enjoy it. Talk to your chiropractor to learn more.

What Wellness Is (and Isn't)

What is wellness? Many people think the absence of symptomatic disease means they are "well," but true wellness is actually quite different. If you're sick, and you take medication to mask the symptoms, it doesn't mean you get well; it just means the symptoms go away (at least temporarily). The root cause of the problem hasn't been addressed, and you may be no better off than when you started.

For example, do you have high cholesterol or know someone who does? If you're taking medication to regulate your cholesterol, it may work, but it won't address why you have high cholesterol in the first place. In many cases, it may be poor diet or lack of exercise. I think we can all agree that a person with high cholesterol, poor diet and a sedentary lifestyle who has to take medication is definitely not achieving a state of wellness.

lady with fruits - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark Wellness: Part Health Promotion, Part Disease Prevention

Think of wellness in terms of promoting better health and preventing disease. In that context, you don't wait until symptoms appear - back pain, a stomach ulcer, fatigue, shortness of breath, etc. - or a disease process takes hold (diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer) and then react; you proactively engage in behaviors that promote optimal health and reduce your risk of developing disease in the first place. Chiropractic adjustments, smoking cessation, a healthy, balanced diet, regular physical activity, and stress reduction tactics are among the many lifestyle modifications that can promote health, prevent disease and contribute to lifelong wellness.

Top Five Truths About Wellness Care

5. Symptoms are not the problem, but an alert to an underlying cause and should be heeded, not silenced with chemicals.

4. The body has an inborn ability to restore itself and will adapt to outside stressors, whether they are physical, emotional or chemical. When these stressors become too much, the body will eventually wear itself down trying to maintain balance; this results in an absence of health and wellness.

3. Wellness practitioners do not diagnose or treat conditions and diseases, but instead identify and remove outside stressors.

2. Wellness care focuses on improving function rather than hiding symptoms.

1. Doctors of chiropractic recognize the value of preventative care compared to symptom-based care. With regular adjustments, spinal health is maintained, encouraging proper nervous system function and allowing for the body to perform at its best.

Claudia Anrig, DC, practices in Fresno, Calif., and is on the board of directors of the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association, an organization that can answer your questions regarding the value of chiropractic care during and after pregnancy.