The Wellness Approach
The main difference between wellness care and medical treatment is that wellness care stimulates the body’s natural healing abilities. Rather than adding something to the system (medication for example), it removes things that might interfere with normal function. The body has a wonderful innate ability to heal. A wellness approach simply supports this ability by looking for underlying causes of any disruption or disturbance (with or without accompanying symptoms) and makes gentle corrections or lifestyle adjustments. When the body is working properly, it tends to heal effectively.
Wellness requires you to be proactive- you can’t wait until your body hurts before taking care. Wellness is not just the absence of disease or the absence of symptoms. Many of the most common diseases today have no symptoms for many years. You don’t feel your arteries harden, for example, and one of the most common first symptoms of heart disease is a heart attack.
Remember that health is not merely the absence of disease. The body has an innate intelligence that runs a series of complex systems that rely on proper balance and coordination in order to function optimally.
When the body heals easily and maintains itself, then we reach another level of health: an open-ended opportunity for vitality and vibrancy, and an enhanced experience of life.
Posture, Movement, Strength and Balance: With proper alignment, our bones, not our muscles support our weight, reducing effort and strain. So, good posture helps us to feel healthier, have more energy and move gracefully. Ideally, our bones stack one upon the other; the head rests directly on top of the spine, which sits directly over the pelvis, which sits directly over the knees and ankles. If you spend hours each day sitting in a chair or hunch forward or balance your weight primarily on one leg, then your muscles have to carry the weight of the body rather than it being supported by the spine.
Most of us have seen people who have lost much of their mobility. This interferes with all of our activities. We need motion. When joints are “locked up”, other areas of the body overwork to compensate. This stresses these areas and leads to pain and inflammation. The non-moving joints will get tighter as ligaments and tendons shorten, and the muscles continue to tighten. This is NOT a normal consequence of the aging process. Maintaining mobility is critical to living a pain free life and can be accomplished through exercise, healthy alignment and proper body mechanics.
Muscles become stronger in response to demands placed on them (and the opposite is true). If we don’t use them, they are unable to keep us upright and correct minor postural imbalances throughout the day. We must do specific exercises to correct for postural stresses and other imbalances we encounter in our day to day lives.
Balance and coordination exist when the body is used for what it is designed for. Most exercises we do outdoors or at the gym help to improve muscle coordination. Activities such as deskwork, reading and watching TV do the opposite. Without realizing it, many people have extreme stress in their muscles because they are not moving.