When Health Comes Together
Too often I hear people talk about how they “feel healthy” or “feel fine” (meaning healthy) while at the same time their capacity to enjoy life is hindered either in minor ways or in major ways! How can this be? And I’m not talking about not being able to run half-marathons or other athletic involving strength and fitness. I’m talking about how they “feel fine” and yet:
- They have had this cough for weeks,
- They are 20 (or 40 or 80+) pounds overweight and embarrassed and uncomfortable,
- They have high blood pressure,
- They are on cholesterol lowering medications,
- They are on any prescription medications,
- They hurt when they walk up stairs,
- They hurt when they get out of bed,
- They have no energy,
- Without over-the-counter pain pills they don’t know how they’d get through the day,
- Without coffee in the morning they literally can’t get going.
- This list is endless.
Everything we perceive, think and feel we do so from our very own unique perspective. Health may very well be the most subjective “thing” we feel of all. Yet, it doesn’t have to be this way. Health has a definition. Health is a condition not only lacking disease and symptoms, it is a condition of optimal physical, social and mental well-being.
Before I go further, I want to distinguish a few things. First, fitness does not equal health. One can be very fit and very unhealthy. One can be very healthy and not seem very fit, too. Additionally, I want to distinguish between health and happiness. Many people who are reasonably healthy (physically anyway), are quite unhappy. To the contrary, there are people who struggle tremendously with their physical health and yet, inconceivably to many, are very happy people.
Health is also described, at least in part, as every cell working optimally for the person’s survival. This isn’t really the case because every single cell of one’s body is ALWAYS doing EXACTLY the best it can to survive to the best of its ability…given the current circumstances. (Just like the people who are made up of the cells are always doing their best to survive given their circumstances. This is much more comprehensible when you understand that cells don’t make “thinking” choices, instead, everything they do is a mechanical (through chemistry) response to the environment.
THE KEY TO HEALTH LIVES IN THESE FOUR WORDS – given the current circumstances.
In the most positive interpretation of the phrase, “When it all comes together,” regarding health, on-going “current circumstances” are created such that vim, vigor, vitality and no-disease are the on-going norm for a person. Please note that nowhere in the definition of health or in the above description is the idea of “pain free” as part of health expressed. Anyone, everyone, for whom health all comes together will still experience pain. It’s part of our human experience. And as much as we are sold on the idea that we should not have to live with any pain or discomfort so that we buy products, that has nothing to do with health.
“What,” you may ask, “are ‘the current circumstances’ that lead to health?” The circumstances for health, which I call The Foundations of Health, are of three categories; Structure, Condition and Sustain.
Like a car, when all the pieces of your body are in the right places and there is no adverse twisting or torquing or compression, etc (which you would almost never notice physically) you have the possibility of working exactly right, of being healthy. Yet, having all the parts isn’t enough for a car. It has to have gas (or other “fuel”e.g. electricity), oil, water and a battery. For health, in addition to the condition of having your structure appropriately arranged, you need the right water and food to create the “current circumstances” that lead to health.
As much as we are told that certain foods are good and others bad (very conflicting ideas on many of these) the truth lies closer along the lines that it is the environment inside you that determines your need and not a food labeled as good. It is kind of like eating 10,000 calories/day for weeks in a row. Sounds like a really unhealthy idea, right? Unless you are racing in the Tour de France or urgently building levy’s to stop your town from flooding and you need that many calories to fuel your efforts and stay healthy. It always comes back to your specific and my specific circumstances, which are your INvironment.
The last category, In addition to getting your Structure and Sustain circumstances in the range of health, is Condition. How you use your body plays a large role in your health. Though rarely considered, if your structure has an ideal form and using it in certain ways breaks down that form (happens all the time sitting in bad posture, for example) then you can’t maintain good structure. If you want to improve the performance of your heart, for example, and your workouts don’t provide the right kind of good stress and you don’t get the right kind of recovery, you won’t make gains and you can be doing yourself harm. The circumstances you put yourself in when you Condition (use) your body are very important as well.
Improving any one of the three categories; Structure, Condition and Sustain, can make a tremendous improvement in your health and decrease discomfort you may have significantly. Yet, for lasting health to come together, you need all three to be as optimal as possible.
This comprehensive Foundations of Health™ model is unique to Align Wellness in Seattle where we work with clients, bringing all three categories together for them based on their unique circumstances.