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Hi, I'm Dr. Chalk, DC

What Is “Health?”

Suppose that I were to ask you to define the term “health.” What kind of answer would you give me?  There is a general opinion and consensus that good health is: (1) feeling “fine,” or (2) when everything is working okay, or (3) when there is an absence of pain.

All of these definitions are partial and are far from complete. Taber’s medical dictionary defines health as, “A condition in which all functions of the body and mind are normally active.” The World Health Organization defines health as a state of complete physical, mental or social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. So the next question to ask is how does one quantify health? In a sense then, health is equal to balance.  How do you determine balance? What are the determining factors in the balancing equation? To answer this we must first ask, what comprises the overall scheme of health?  Also, what kind of an overall gauge can be used to reflect back on the quality of health we experience or lack there of?

In order to get to the core of good health you need to start at the cellular level.  The balancing act begins there. You see the quality of your life is based on the quality of the life of your cells. Considering the fact that you are comprised of over 70 trillion cells, you can assume that when those cells are working optimally in perfect harmony with each other, you will have health. But again how does one quantify this?

 Now if health equals balance, then we can state that the opposite of health, which is not disease, but rather dis-ease meaning a lack of balance or ease.  It can also be said that the cells are not functioning correctly. 

Raymond Francis, a chemist and graduate of MIT, believes through his research that there is only one reason in which disease is created. That reason is simply due to cells not functioning properly. When you think about that statement, it makes sense. Now there are only two reasons why cells do not function appropriately.   They are:

  1. Cells are not receiving proper nutrition and/or
  2.  Cells are not eliminating their toxicity produced by the normal functioning of the cell. 

Now there are at the root many reasons why these cells can become dysfunctional. Those reasons are: 

  • Lack of appropriate levels of oxygen
  • Lack of nutrients
  • The inability to eliminate waste
  • Improper nerve impulse to the cell

To begin to understand this process let us quickly visit the stages of health. When one is conceived, we are given as a birthright the ability to express health effortlessly. However if there is a disturbance in the intimate relationship between the nervous system and the rest of the body, you will lose your efficient ability to express health. 

As we age, we experience the effects of the years initially only through a microscopic inspection. Long before we feel the effects of age, our cells are beginning to experience changes.  Cells are beginning to replicate less efficiently, and then one day we transition from the anabolic phase of life, which means that sufficient cells are replacing those that have just died, to a phase of catabolic metabolism, in which we have more cells that are dying than are being replaced. When we enter the catabolic stage, we must do everything within our power to slow it down. 

To better understand the process of health, it helps to understand the phases of health. The first phase is one of perfect balance or homeostasis. This is optimal health where everything is working the way it was designed to work. However, as we age, we begin to encounter emotional, physical, and chemical stresses in our lives to the point where we will enter into a phase of imbalance, lack of ease, or dis-ease. Health can easily be regained in this phase as long as we refocus our efforts on finding the cause of what brought us initially on that path of imbalance. If that is achieved, then we can regain a state of balance. 

However, if this phase is not dealt with appropriately, then we enter into a phase of discomfort, and dis-ease. This phase can have with it associated levels of pain, but not in all cases.  Sometime there are no visible or felt symptoms.  If we stay in this phase for any real amount of time, we begin to have dis-ease of more than one cell.   It begins to affect thousands and thousands of cells, to the point of reaching into the body’s tissues.  Left further without a reversal of the dis-ease, then it enters into a larger group of tissues which would then be affecting organs.  It then moves onto systems, and then ultimately it affects the entire being, and we then die. 

I’m not proposing that we can live forever. I am however saying that 90% of our medical expense is spent during the last 10% of our lives. People are no longer dying of natural causes. The majority of deaths in this country are related to degenerative processes. When one can minimize that process one can live a longer, higher quality of life.

Therefore, the key to overall health is to correctly determine the appropriate factors involved in health.  This means managing health at the cellular level.  Health is a consequence of choices one has made or not made. 

A Doctor’s Approach to Health

Imagine going to a doctor when you had nothing wrong with you.  Your blood pressure was fine, your cholesterol was reasonable, your weight was appropriate for your age and height.  What if at this visit you told the doctor that all you wanted to do was maintain this?  Hopefully he or she would say, “great,” but they may not be able to offer you much more in the way of maintenance than to say, “keep on doing whatever you are doing.” The point here is that that kind of advice would only work for so long.  That is because the medical system is at best designed for the early detection of disease, but not for the prevention.

How would you react to a mechanic that told you that all you need to do for your car is bring it in and have the oil changed when the car starts to give you problems?  We all know what that would do, don’t we? We know what the consequences of not getting an oil change on time does to our car, which incidentally we will only have for 10 years at best, and yet we don’t always give our bodies that we will hopefully have for many decades, the same kind of preventative care. 

Antibiotics & Dis-Ease

Why do we put so little effort into maintaining our bodies? That is because most people believe that there is a magic pill that will solve all of our problems. Again no medicine has ever cured anyone. The body does the healing; it happens no other way.

The birth of medicine could be attributed to the time when Robert Koch postulated the germ theory in 1860. Once this discovery took place, it was therefore emphasized and widely believed that microbes were the cause of disease.  It was also widely accepted that the key to health was to destroy those foreign enemies.

  This theory has resulted in the overuse of antibiotics to the point that we are now dealing with super-strains of bacteria and viruses. These microbes are becoming more and more resistant to all of the antibiotics originally created to fight them off. 

Alternative Health Options

People today are becoming more and more aware of alternatives. They are sick and tired of being sick and tired and they want options.  They want to know why they are sick or why they are feeling a certain way. They are sick and tired of hearing obscure explanations on what they have and why taking a “magic pill” will solve all their problems. 

We are getting smarter. In the United States in the year 2001 there were more visits to Alternative Health Care practitioners than traditional allopathic medical doctors. It may have started with the baby boomers who wanted to create and maintain health, not just mask their problems with drugs and surgery. We are not being attacked by the flu. We are not innocent victims being chosen by microbes. We are in fact creating the very environment for these bacteria and viruses to feast upon a body that is full of toxicity — the perfect environment in which bacteria and viruses thrive.

Anyone can change their attitude and approach to health.  If you continue to look at your body the same way you have in the past, you will continue to get what you have gotten in the past.  However, if you want to change things, start with your mindset. You must prioritize your health as not something that should be tolerated, but something that must be maintained and even improved.  In life, it seems we only do consistently that which we find important enough to make a priority.  It is important, therefore, to look at your health as something that is so important that it becomes top priority. 

To make your health a priority you must realize that there are a variety of different choices we make everyday that can be categorized into two broad areas: Doing things that are important and urgent; and doing things that are important and not urgent. 

Everything in your life that adds meaning to your life and fulfillment to it, such as spending time with your family, spending time giving thanks to your creator, working out, eating the right foods, spending quality time with your significant other, are all under the category of things that are important but not urgent. In order for you to create the highest level of health possible, you must consistently focus on doing things in the area of health that are important for you. 

The question to ask your self is, “What can I do today to start on a path of wellness?”  I recommend that my patients make the changes that are very easy to do.  For example, I had a patient who had not exercised in many, many years.  I asked her if she could spend 5 minutes a day just stretching.  Of course that sounded very easy to do.  Before long, that 5 minute stretch turned into 10 minutes.  Next, she realized that the stretching really felt good and added some light resistance to her routine with some hand weights.  By the end of a month, she had added the cardiovascular to the routine and was up to a half hour of exercising.  It felt so good that the habit was one she intended on maintaining.

You see once you create a habit, you can expand upon it, but you will set yourself up for failure if you start too big. The most important thing that I want you to get out of this chapter is the subtle consequences our choices have on our health.  There are small decisions we make everyday that can make the difference between being completely well or not.

If you would like to test out this theory for yourself, I have an assignment for you.  First, get yourself a health journal.  It can be any small notebook that you can keep with you.  Next, write down the following on the inside cover or first page of your journal:

“I hereby grant myself permission to bring my health to the highest level I was meant to experience, by nurturing myself, by taking care of myself, and by forgiving myself as I would a loved one. I declare today, a day that I will never forget, for it is the day that my life and health was changed forever.”

Your health journal should begin with a list of goals. These can categorized as physical, mental and spiritual.  You may want to eat better, so be specific and list the types of foods you will avoid to obtain better health.  If you want to learn a new skill or improve a relationship, list specific actions you can take and over which you have complete control.  The more specific you are the more successful you will be.

Each day, record in your journal or notebook the small steps you have taken.  Record even your set backs and shortcomings because those will help you see the progress you are making over time.

How can chiropractic care effect your health?

The biggest way Chiropractic can help you is by number one not focusing on symptoms, but rather on the body’s ability to regain health. If you always chase symptoms, you will never truly regain your body’s health potential.   You will always be days or months away from your next symptom, and you will be focused on relieving those symptoms as quickly as possible. 

Being under chiropractic care allows you to change your perception of going to the doctor only when there is a problem to going to the chiropractor because you don’t want to have any problems in the future. 

Where would we be if we had a health care system in which the doctors were only paid based on how healthy their patients are? Sound crazy? That’s exactly what is happening in Japan. Doctor’s get paid based on how healthy their patients are. It does not impress me whatsoever, when a doctor says that it’s a good thing that you came in because we just found some major problems in you, and we need to go in immediately for a bypass, or something equally invasive. Problems like that just don’t appear out of nowhere. It takes years and years for conditions to develop and get to that point. Again we have technology within the medical community that emphasizes early detection at best and very little, if any, prevention.

You can’t just blame the doctors here either.  It is the responsibility of each individual to care for themselves and to take action to prevent disease.  It is the responsibility of every parent to see that their children are on a path of good, life long health through preventative care.

How can Chiropractic be a strategy to attain health? 

The science of chiropractic is in and of itself a fundamental strategy for good health.  When you are under chiropractic care, you work to reduce any stress or strain around the spine which in turn could affect the body’s ability to adapt to all that is thrown its way. 

You see, if there is any kind of  interference within or surrounding the nervous system it causes dis-ease or creates a situation where you are not completely well.  Often that interference can’t be felt.  There may no pain or pressure at all to tell you something isn’t right.  Rather the only thing you experience from this is the effects of it.  Sadly, it may take months or even years for the symptoms to manifest themselves. 

This might be easier to understand if you use the example of breast cancer.   Did you know that it takes years to create enough density within the breast tissue in order to see a tumor growth via X-ray? By that time it may be too late.

Chiropractic does not emphasize waiting for something to go wrong, and then coming in as the hero to only remove the symptom, doing very little about the actual cause of the problem. It focuses on maintaining your natural state of wellness at an optimal level of existence, so that you are at the highest level neurologically speaking. 

Think about it this way: if you applied the same rationale to your life in every aspect, would it make your life better or richer, or would it make it worse?  If you applied the preventative model to your finances, what would it do?  If you applied it to your relationship with your spouse, what would that do? All the areas of your life would see a marked improvement.  You would no longer be waiting for things to get to the point of being urgent.  You would be proactive instead of reactive.  You are prioritizing your health as being important while not waiting for a crisis to make changes.

How Chiropractic Can Change Your Life

The system I propose is based on a true mind body approach that I call the IE technology – or Information and Empowerment. You see with information and empowerment, you can truly make a difference in your life.   Here is a summary of the key factors needed to sustain health.  More details are provided in the chapters on nutrition and exercise.

The first aspect of the system involves beliefs.  You must first create the mental construct that will allow you to filter a reality with which you want to be congruent.  In other words, you must believe in things that you want to have happen. 

Next, is to understand the importance of exercise. You must exercise.  It is not an option, and you can’t justify not exercising because you already work hard at work, you already chase the kids around the house, and you already work in the garden.  All of these activities are a good start to movement, but do not constitute a real workout. You must have a cardiovascular workout for health – one that challenges and works your heart. Remember your heart is a muscle and it needs to pump a lot of blood through your entire body every day for a very long time.  You must challenge it so it can be as strong as possible. 

The third aspect of this equation is the importance of breathing correctly.  You must provide oxygen to the tissues of the body.  If you don’t, you will have problems because they will suffocate.   Oxygen supplies and nourishes not only the lungs, but every cell within the body.  The lungs are just the clearinghouse.

The fourth important factor is drinking water.  This is necessary in order to flush out toxins from the body.  After all your body is 75% water; not 75% coffee, or tea, or soda.  These drinks just give you an illusion of energy.  There is no sustaining power behind any of them, even though the caffeine addict may object to this statement. 

The next fundamental truth relates to greens.  Most people do not understand the magnitude of the importance of greens.  Eating enough green, leafy vegetables each week is one of the most powerful things you can do for yourself. Think about this, to understand why plants are so necessary to good health.  When plants are outside, they convert light into energy, in the process known as photosynthesis.  Through this amazing process, we are able to literally consume energy through the plants.

 Most importantly, you must consume some raw vegetables, or you are totally defeating the purpose.  Raw plants contain the necessary enzymes that are often destroyed by over cooking.  Enzymes are vital to good health.

The next nutrient that you need to have is antioxidants. Antioxidants allow you to minimize the ravaging effects of free radicals that are within us and increase in number as we age.  Free radicals are produced in times of stress, during injury, or during chemical processes that are taking place due to the consumption of processed foods.    Free radicals left to roam can cause damage right at the cellular level.  Damaged cells lead to a lowered immune system and increase the likelihood of infection and disease.

The next dietary items you need to have are fats and oils. Fats are needed to assure that your body has sufficient levels of oil to make the cell membrane of the cell. This outer layer of the cell is made of a double layer called a biphospholipid layer.

The problem with fats and oils in the diet is that many of us consume too much or the wrong type of fats. According to researchers, the average person is deficient in correct oil consumption by up to 90%! That is staggering considering the connection between low levels of essential oils in our diets and cardiovascular disease and the resulting list of degenerative disorders.  So, believe it or not, oils are by far the best preventative measure that you can take.   

 The last pro-active step you that you need to take is to maintain a healthy nervous system.  Think about this for a moment. If you were consuming everything that I recommended, and yet your nervous system was not functioning properly, how would the brain tell the cells what to do with the nutrients it just received?  How would the brain contact the cell to let it know when to remove waste? 

Consider this research from a professor by the name of Professor Tzu. He claims that pressure put on a nerve with the weight of only a dime can interfere with normal transmission of impulse by up to 60%! It is staggering how little pressure it takes to reduce you body’s own ability to send corrective, healing messages by so much.

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