Recently one of my patients fell suddenly and very seriously ill from a virus. One day he was fine, the next day he felt like he had been hit by a truck: body an joint aches, exhaustion, fever, pounding migraine – all the good stuff.
A day later he was admitted to the hospital, and stayed there for a few days with classic markers of a vicious virus, including elevated liver enzymes and decreased white blood cells (these are the soldiers that comprise the front lines of battle; the decrease in WBC count meant that they were being killed off quickly by something vicious).
He was kept and monitored for several days, then when he improved enough, sent home to convalesce. When I saw him this past week, he was a bit tired, and very subluxated (in particular his upper neck) but on the mend.
If my patient had not already been quite healthy, how might this virus have affected him?
This patient eats very well, exercises, tries to keep stress down, drinks water, sleeps adequately, takes time to do things he loves, and he gets his spine checked for subluxations weekly and cleared out as appropriate. I certainly consider him quite healthy – he takes very good care of his body.
What if, instead, he was not so healthy when he was handed this health challenge, a potentially deadly virus, out of the blue?
What if he was chronically subluxated, a workaholic at a job he hated, never exercising, eating whatever was fast and convenient, and experiencing unresolved underlying health issues such as chronic inflammation (which presents as heart disease, cancer, arthritis, or autoimmune disorders like Crohn’s disease)?
Would his body have been in a strong enough position to mount a defensive immune system response against that virus? Or, might his body have failed him?
Also, remember the Signpost I shared with you about my friend Dr. Ed’s spinal injury. If his spine had not already been in great shape, regularly cared for and subluxation-free, what kind of damage might his spine have sustained in his accident?
Did having a healthy spine protect Dr. Ed, and did it determine the course of his healing?
Allow me to give you another example of the impact of proactively guarding and promoting your health and well-being. My friend Dena is a yoga instructor. She has her own studio, Yoga Redefined, near downtown Nashua.
Dena has her own health challenges, but she works hard to stay healthy. Nearly a year ago, Dena was involved in a very serious auto accident. She describes in her new book, Strong Enough (available on Amazon) that at the scene of the accident, the EMTs could not find a pulse.
Fast forward a year and inestimable skill of much trauma care later, Dena’s back to running, yoga, and caring for her husband and three girls, the youngest of whom is just now a year old.
Dena’s doctors told her flat out that the only reason she survived is that she was so healthy at the time of the accident. Dena’s dedication to her body’s optimal function certainly payed off – without it, her outcome might have been very different.
The concept of a “Health Tank” helps us to explore the difference between choices that make us healthier,and choices that make us sicker, and the concept of the health reserve we should maintain “just in case.”
You could think of it this simply, like asking yourself as you are about to chomp into that donut: is this going to fill my health tank, or deplete it? Or taking the stairs rather than the elevator.
Which one fills the tank, which depletes it? At the grocery store, use this analogy to make deliberate choices. Every day, when you are deciding between exercise and couch surfing, think about the long term effects of this decision. Getting your spine checked regularly and adjusted as necessary is the same thing.
If a person is not getting adjusted, their subluxated spine is deteriorating, much like teeth would decay without regular dental hygiene. If, however, a person takes proper care of his or her spine, it is in a continual state of repair and regeneration.
With everything you do, you will either either fill or deplete your health tank. That’s your choice. And you should note that the consequences are yours, too.
Don’t forget that your spine houses your nervous system, which is analogous to the computer, circuit breaker, and wiring that run the house that is your body. Is taking care of your spine important to the health of your body?
Well, is taking care of the computer system important to NASA? I think so.
So, is your “health tank” full enough that if you were to encounter a serious threat or challenge to your well being or survival, that you would have the reserves to surmount the challenge?
Think carefully about the answer to that question. And remember that health is not just about feeling good – it’s about enjoying physical, emotional, and social well being.
It’s about your body’s ability to adapt to environmental challenges, which requires optimal function of all of your body systems, most importantly the nervous system that governs your body (and executes you body’s adaptation to change).
How would you measure that function? And how does that impact your “health tank”?
If your nervous system function is compromised in any way, your health tank is depleted. It’s as simple as that. That’s why I get *my* spine checked and adjusted regularly.
Because while I can certainly be accused of allowing my car’s gas tank to ride below the E, I will not do that with my body. Getting stranded by running out of gas is an easily fixed inconvenience; getting caught with a depleted or empty health tank certainly might have different consequences.
The bottom line is that the time to be as healthy as possible is NOW, not when you can “make time” to make those pesky changes you know you need to make.
I’m happy to support you in this mission, and I aim to encourage you to stay on task by constantly presenting you with new information and challenges that help you to think about the health decisions you make every day. Information is power, and my goal is to empower you.
And, if you’re reading this and you’re not already a patient, I invite you to call us for an appointment to get started on your spinal health project. You never know when having a full health tank is going to come in handy… or absolutely necessary.
By Dr. Amy Louise Haas, PhD, DC, All Things Healing;