Are you healthy if you feel good? If you said, “Yes,” ask yourself if you ever felt good one day and then came down with a cold, the flu or some other condition the next. You probably felt fine the day before you got sick, but were you healthy?
Most likely your resistance was low—perhaps your stress levels were too high or you were pushing yourself too much. What about people who “feel good” one moment and have a heart attack or stroke the next? Or those who “feel good” walking into a doctor’s office and are diagnosed with cancer or some other serious health condition?
It’s obvious that health is much more than how you feel; it’s much deeper than that. So what is health? Health is your ability to handle physical, chemical and emotional stress without losing your physical, chemical and emotional balance.
So many forms of stress threaten your balance: heat, cold, wind and rain; bacteria, viruses, pollen, mold and fungi in the air; cancer cells, with their deranged genetic instructions that constantly arise within; pollution and chemicals; cuts, bumps and bruises; school, work, marriage, babies, bills, a mortgage—and you must adapt to them all. For if you did not …… a hot summer day would boil your brain; a winter night would freeze you solid; every inhalation would bring massive infection; tumors would overwhelm you; a small cut would drain all your blood. Without adaptation, your heart would continue pounding after a workout; alcohol and other drugs would never break down, and you’d stay intoxicated for life; an adrenaline high or a moment’s anxiety would last a lifetime. Thankfully, you usually adapt to life’s stresses because many mechanisms are built into you for this purpose. They’re as simple as shivering when cold and as elaborate as your immune system engulfing bacteria. They are as dramatic as an adrenaline rush when confronting danger, or as ungraceful as gagging. They all say the same thing: Survive! Survive changes in the weather; survive bacterial invasion; survive pollution; survive emotional heartbreak; survive excitement; survive work; survive in the big city—and thrive!
Viewed from this perspective, symptoms such as fevers, chills, vomiting, fatigue, sneezing and pain—although unpleasant—aren’t bad; rather, they are signs that your body is struggling to regain health and balance. Nobel Prize winner Rene Dubos said it well: “Good health is a process of continuous adaptation to the myriad microbes, irritants, pressures and problems which daily challenge man.”
Your Innate Intelligence
What does adaptation look like inside you?
It’s thousands of different chemicals being balanced every second, millions of cells dying every second, millions being born every second and billions of nerves firing messages to every part of your body every second.
Your lunch is somehow turned into eye, muscle, heart, bone, skin and blood; damaged tissues are being repaired; blood vessel linings are being smoothed; germs and tumors are being destroyed; and all the things that your cells produce are being monitored and balanced while you read a book, sleep or run a race.
What keeps track of all this activity?
A wondrous intelligence. As Lewis Thomas, M.D. writes in The Medusa and the Snail, “(There is) a kind of super intelligence that exists in each of us, infinitely smarter and possessed of technical knowledge far beyond our present understanding.’’
This idea is echoed by Deepak Chopra, M.D., in Ageless Body, Timeless Mind: “Intelligence is present everywhere in our bodies… our own inner intelligence is far superior to any we can try to substitute from the outside.”
Chiropractic refers to your body’s organizational ability as its innate (inborn) intelligence.
Your innate intelligence organizes your body into a complicated, living, adapting, growing being—without it, you would be no more than a few dollars worth of chemicals.
Where Does Your Inner Wisdom Come From?
There is a part of your body that is especially intimate with your inner wisdom: your nervous system, composed of your brain, spinal cord and the billions of nerves that emerge from them.
Your nervous system touches every nook and cranny of your body, and your body wisdom uses this vast communications system to organize your billions of parts into a healthy, adapting, living being.
True health or adaptation can only emerge when your innate intelligence can communicate without interference or “static.”
A complete break in that communication results in death; a partial break results in a general deterioration of health—or “dis-ease”—you are less alive and less able to cope with life’s stresses.
Eventually a dis-eased state turns into disease conditions.
This understanding is ancient—it has been the heart and soul of Empirical or Vitalistic healthcare for thousands of years and is the basic philosophical premise of natural healing systems including chiropractic, homeopathy, classical osteopathy, traditional Chinese medicine and Ayurvedic (Indian) medicine.
Subluxations, a common, often painless condition, stress your structural system and nervous system and interfere with the proper flow of information and energy through your body, causing a state of disease.
Doctors of Chiropractic spend years of training learning how to locate and correct your Subluxations, freeing your body from disease and helping you better reconnect to your inner healer.
Dr. David Strickler is employed with Cadogan Chiropractic in Clinton.