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Nothing Looks as Good as Healthy Feels - Dr. Glenn discusses Salutogenesis

Family Cycling 11530312_sBeing involved in healthcare, either studying or practising, for nearly two decades, I have come to learn that good health should be cherished and we should all be encouraged to live in a way that supports our health. More and more, society is recognising the wide ranging benefits for maintaining good health. This positive approach to health follows a theory called salutogenesis. Rather than focusing on pathology (disease/condition) first, the priority of salutogenesis, literally “birth of health”, is to help the individual pursue wellness mentally and physically with the hope of preventing ill health and supporting overall well-being.

Certainly the cultural norm previously (and still practised by many today) was taking our health for granted, only reacting to a health crisis when we noticed another aspect of our life become affected. Until then, the age old saying of “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” remained in force. Perhaps our attitude towards health comes from generations past where we had less understanding of health. Perhaps it also has something to do with the fact that nearly all health care disciplines only offer a service for people who have a health problem; if you popped into your GP and said, “hey, I’m feeling great, can you help me stay in top form?”, the GP would most likely be stumped and wouldn’t have anything in their tool kit to offer you. The reactive approach to health is known as a ‘pathogenic’ approach and is one where the focus is on the cause of disease and what can be done to counteract it (treatment). This reactive approach is present in all healing art forms, regardless of whether it is conventional western medicine, Chinese medicine or natural approaches like chiropractic, naturopathy and homeopathy.

When you consider that most people are born with an amazingly high level of health, then it should make sense to try and keep it. With knowledge and support, it should be easier to nurture that high level of health so that we can thrive throughout our lifetime and age graciously instead of wear out and suffer. I often think of my grandparents who were lucky to all live into their 80’s and consider the quality of life that they experienced in their final 10 or 20 years. I would certainly love to match or exceed their years on this planet but my mission is to ensure the quality of my final years surpasses theirs and I hope my children’s exceed mine. I believe it should be this way because with each generation, we gain more and more knowledge about how to live more healthily. In the end, the interactions between ourselves and the outside environment are going to determine whether we are going to keep our scales balanced in terms of health. After all, every decision we make will move us either towards wellness or towards disease.

Vitalistic chiropractic care is perfectly positioned to be part of a positive (salutogenic) health approach because of the way that we care for your nervous system. The way we as humans interact with the environment is one of adaptation. It happens continuously and we have to be able to sense what is changing accurately. Of course the system that does this in our body is the nervous system and it is at work constantly receiving, processing and sending messages to all other parts of the body so that we can create the most optimally functioning body, suited to the environment in which we live.

Failure to adapt to the environment, or mal-adapting, can be seen as a compromise to good health. Whether it be an injury, a disease or a condition, mal-adapting could be seen as a failure to truly thrive and your level of health may be affected.

A vertebral subluxation will cause enough obstruction to the flow of normal nerve impulses to distort the messages that are passing through the spinal nerves to and from the body. This distortion to communication will mean that the brain can no longer make 100% accurate decisions on how best to adapt to the environment and thus a mal-adaptation will occur. While the initial reason for becoming subluxated may have been to protect the body from greater harm, the effect of that subluxation remaining in the body long term is the result of a body no longer functioning at its best. Having your spine assessed regularly for subluxations is the key to ensuring that your spine remains healthy and your nervous system can function without fault or obstruction. Doing this before you have signs or symptoms will enhance your nervous system function rather than simply repairing it.

“Every decision we make will move us either towards wellness or towards disease”.

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