Components of Health

Kim's Components of Health Chart

So, let’s say one reason you’re reading this blog is that you are interested in practical and effective things you can do for your health. Perhaps you are proactive: taking steps in advance to reduce your risk of illness and injury. Perhaps something has already happened and you’d like tips for recovery. Or maybe you’d really like to experience full and radiant vitality.

Where do you start? What do you do? Here’s how it makes sense to me.

To support good health, you need to be in right relationship in three main areas of your life:

  • Bio-chemical
  • Movement
  • Social Relations

They all matter. If you skimp out on whole sections, I think you leave yourself vulnerable to trouble. Exquisite attention in all areas is not a magic charm to keep you absolutely problem-free, but it’s your best bet for a speedy comeback. I have several students who went in for surgery to repair damage from old injuries and then were kicked out early from follow-up physical therapy programs. Let’s consider each topic one at a time.

Bio-chemical

Taking care of yourself at a chemical level means setting your cells up for success. Eat to nourish yourself. Eat a good array of nutrient-dense foods. Avoid refined carbohydrates and refined sugars. Maintain healthy populations of beneficial bacteria and yeasts — they will help you to properly digest your food and some actually manufacture vitamins right in your intestines. Avoid ingesting toxins and GMOs. These activities provide your cells the basic materials they need to be healthy, support proper regulation of hormones and make your skin glow.

Movement

You might think I’m going to tell you to exercise — run, lift weights, stretch out your tight muscles. If you enjoy that sort of thing, go right ahead. What is much more significant to me is the quality of your movement. Learn to align and use yourself well so that you don’t cause degeneration by grinding your joints. Become acquainted with sitting and standing positions that are truly restful and don’t have you leaning on digestive organs, nerves and circulatory tubing. With a little attention, you can make peace with gravity and return to the easy flexibility and energy you had as a young child. From this state, you will enjoy being physically active and you’ll stand a much better chance of remaining active and capable as you age.

Social Relations

How do you meet the world and the other beings who share it with you? We are social creatures. Are you on good terms with your family? Do you have friends? Do you perform work that you enjoy and for which you are respected and appreciated? These things matter. And they matter to your health. There is something in each of us that wants to connect with the larger community. This may include your neighbors, the natural environment, the political arena, God. This is the realm in which your unique gifts can really shine — where you can enrich the rest of us with who you are.

Of course, they overlap. Some problems may require multiple approaches to resolve. And you will probably find that making a change in one area leads more or less directly into others. Some of my movement students arrive as much as twenty minutes early for class to socialize in the hallway. One of my friends went on anti-depressant medication. When she quit the job she hated, she forgot to take her meds for five days and felt just fine. My own commitment to eating good food has led me to buy direct from local farmers. As I become acquainted with the legal issues facing family farms, I get in touch with politicians.

Take a look at where you put your energy and attention to see whether or not it’s well distributed. In my years of interacting with people around the subject of health, I see many who devote a tremendous amount of time to one area and almost none to the others. It is not uncommon for a person to become very well-educated and dedicated to good nutrition while maintaining an amazingly slumpy, head-forward posture. (Of course you put good quality gas and oil in your car — from time to time you get the wheels aligned, too.) Others spend so much time managing what they eat and going to the gym that they seem to do little else with their lives. Good health is about more than this.

If you’ve got all of the above going for you, you’re probably going to be in pretty good shape most days. How do medical doctors fit in this picture? I’m glad you’ve asked.

Modern medicine can do some miraculous things in extraordinary circumstances. With access to good medical care, many people now survive serious accidents, complicated pregnancies, and life-threatening illnesses. We are all grateful for this. Medical doctors also have access to some fantastic diagnostic tools. If you have symptoms of pain or illness that don’t respond to rest and common sense, tell your doctor and get some tests run.

At this point, you are still an active player. You can choose to hand over all responsibility and decision-making to your doctor, but I don’t recommend it. If you’re up to it, get interested. Do some research and discuss what you find with your doctor. Take note of how your body responds to various treatments and factor that information into the mix, too.

Whatever health situation you might be facing, I bet it will be helped with good food, quality movement habits and a caring support network. Step up. Decide to be actively responsible for your good health. It can be a pleasant part of a happy life to learn a few recipes and cook your own food, to go for a walk on a nice day with a good friend.

If you’re still reading at this point, you’re probably wondering when I’m going to share those practical and effective tips I promised. Due to the length, I’ll split them into separate posts. I hope to have all of the following as active links soon.

Bio-chemical Resources

Movement Resources –  coming soon

Social Relations Resources – coming soon

What about you?

Any thoughts you’d like to share on any of this?

Any areas of your own health that you realize you’ve been shorting? Any idea why?

Any thoughts on why you’re so devoted in the areas in which you do invest?

Feb 08

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