Before you answer the question, let me give you a definition to consider. The World Health Organization defines health as “… a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”
Health is positive vitality, not just getting by.
Health is our default state of being when all systems of the body are running optimally. Health is marked by a sense of ‘lightness,’ energy and joy that animates us as we go throughout our day.
Here are some commons symptoms that may indicate that you are in the “just not sick” camp:
- Insomnia – you lay there at night praying to fall asleep, but you don’t. It seems that you just can’t stop the thoughts from pouring through you brain.
- Fatigue – many times this goes with insomnia, but not always. You wake up in a fog; slumber to the coffee pot to get your a.m. jumpstart, only to crash in the mid afternoon.
- Aches and pains – its no big deal, just my back and neck hurt every day. Why?
- Digestive issues – you find yourself thinking way too much about your digestive functions. I hope I can go “number two” today. If not I will be miserable.
- Mood disorders – you may find yourself worrying all day or possibly you just don’t want to get out of bed.
- Skin issues – Where did these bumps come from? I have no idea why I have these darn hives!
As you read the above list, I can hear you now, “Yeah, everyone has those.” That may be true, but just because they are common does not make them normal.
The disease model of health care has conditioned us to treat the symptom as if it were the problem. Think about it for a second: have you ever had a headache caused by lack of Tylenol coursing through your blood stream?
Symptoms are our body’s alarm system telling us that something is wrong. What is your first action you take when the fire alarm goes off in your house? Well, that depends on what is causing the alarm sound…
Some possible problems that may be sounding the alarm include:
- A weak battery
- Someone is burning toast, or
- The kitchen is on fire.
Each possible scenario requires a unique and specific solution. You would feel pretty silly by calling 911 only to find out that there is no fire or smoke in your kitchen, just a dead Duracell. Or how about fanning the detector in response to a grease fire!
Ignoring symptoms can lead to more serious problems. Don’t take the symptom at face value; dig deeper. Asking the question “Why?” is the first step required to solve any health challenge. When you ask better questions, you will get better answers.
Many think that health can be acquired through various external means. An “outside-in” approach will never lead to true health. In fact, the state of ‘health’ is a by-product of taking the right actions. I use the D.R.E.A.M. acronym to teach the main areas to focus on in order to attain better health.
D: diet, nutrients, digestion
R: rest, quality sleep
E: exercise- in the right amount and intensity
A: alignment (structural and functional)
M: mental health- stress management, time management, relationships
As we begin to address each component of DREAM, I ask two questions about each area.
1. Is there anything that needs to be removed from this person in order to achieve higher levels of health?
For example, if we consider the “D,” I would want to know how much sugar is the patient consuming? Gluten? Caffeine? Alcohol?
If we address the “A,” Does the patient have any misalignment that is causing pain and or joint damage? Are there any muscle imbalances that need to be addressed to allow them to move pain-free?
2. Does this person have some individual unmet need?
Again let’s consider both “D” and “A.” Let’s add more plant power into their diet. Maybe there is a specific micronutrient deficiency in their body. We also need to improve their spinal range of motion with specific spinal adjustments.
By addressing and improving each component of the DREAM model, you will begin to experience improved health.
One last thing to consider: Health is your most precious asset and for many it is also the most neglected. Your health is in a constant state of flux. The actions that you take, or fail to take, are either leading you to a future of improved health and vitality or down a path of dis-ease. It’s your future…be there healthy!