MENTAL, PHYSICAL and CHEMICAL- Most of you know that we believe regular care of the physical frame of the body contributes to overall health. To some people this can be confusing, because they think of health only in terms of internal body chemistry. High cholesterol, high blood pressure – these are internal parameters that to most people have relationship with the muscles and bones of the body.
The foods you eat, the toxins in the air, genetics… these are all things that influence health. But physical degeneration of the body is another influence. In fact, there are three main influences of health in the body – mental, physical and chemical.
THE PHYSICAL LINK- Since most of you most likely already know that stress and other mental factors can influence health, and that chemical influences like food and water and toxins can also affect health, we’re going to concentrate on the physical factors.
Everything in the body is linked, and every aspect of the body influences every other aspect. Here are a few of the main ways that physical structures can affect overall health.
(1) The spine houses and protects the spinal cord. The brain controls the body by sending messages that travel down the spinal cord, through the nerves and out to the organs of the body. If the spinal column (backbone) is not in the correct shape (straight up and down from the front, curved from the side), it can bend, stretch or contort the spinal cord within it causing a lessening of the health of the spinal cord and nerves, which in turn affects the organs they supply.
(2) When the joints of the spine are damaged, inflammation builds up along the damaged areas. Inflammatory chemicals are harsh, and irritate the nerves as they exit the spine. When the nerves are irritated, they pass this irritation on to the body parts they run, including the organs. (Kind of like a ‘short’ in an electrical circuit.)
(3) Complex reflexes are set up in the body where damage to specific muscles and joints can reflexively cause problems with the other parts of the body supplied by the same nerve that controls the damaged area. This seems to be one of the mechanisms through which acupuncture works – by stimulating skin, muscles and joints that are fed by the same nerves that are connected to an organ. By stimulating the same nerve, you indirectly treat the linked organ.
(4) The more physical damage there is to misaligned joints and trigger points built up in muscles, the more of the body’s attention and energy must be spent on these areas. This means there is less ‘attention’ available to be placed on the workings of the inner organs of the body. Try to notice that people with lots of physical problems are almost never healthy internally, and that people that are pretty healthy overall seem to have less aches and pains. This means that the more aches and pains you have, the more your body is concentrating on them instead of the inner workings it needs to be paying attention to.
MAINTENANCE- Anything you want to keep for a long time requires maintenance. If you don’t change the oil in your car, the engine will eventually seize. If you don’t brush your teeth they will eventually rot. Likewise, if you don’t maintain the alignment of your spine and the overall health of your physical structure, it too will degenerate. And since everything in the body is connected, physical degeneration will affect your overall health.
This is why we are so big on maintenance. We never, ever force maintenance on anybody, but it really is hard to watch people not taking care of their frame, and watching their overall vitality and health go down with the buildup of more and more structural problems.
Hope this helps,
Dr Matt and Dr Robin
This week’s bit of Useless Information: In Finland they call November “marraskuu” which translates as “month of the dead”.
This email is courtesy of Matthew Barnes, D.C. and Robin Barnes, D.C. Neither this nor any of our emails are intended to be medical advice and should not be taken as such. They are opinion and are for informational purposes only. None of the nutrients discussed here are meant to diagnose, treat, or cure any disease.