The Triad of health requires balance of the bodies structural, physiological, and psychological systems. All the systems must be in balance and working together to allow us to have optimal health. We have previously discussed the structural and physiological aspects of health in the last two months. This month we well explore the psychological and energetic system of the body. This includes how our thoughts affect our body as well as how the acupuncture system and the way the energies move throughout our body will affect our health.
Thoughts are things! Thoughts in our mind are private and personal but they do affect our physiology. We often think that what goes on in our head stays between our ears but it really can have multiple affects on the rest of our body. Thoughts will affect our body chemistry as well as our structural system. For example if you have angry thoughts or stressful thoughts you will increase your body’s cortisol levels which is the stress hormone in the body. Hormones are chemical messengers, and with an increase in the cortisol your body goes into stress patterns that affect brain chemistry, your ability to sleep, the ability of your body to burn fat, and your energy pathways. It doesn’t stop there however. Thoughts will also affect your structural system through body language. There is a big difference between how a happy person carries their body and how a sad or angry person carries their body. A happy person keeps their head over their shoulders and back straight carrying their body more anatomically appropriately to fight gravity. A sad person who’s head is down, shoulders rounded and back slumped, causes gravity to pull them down, stressing their joints, muscles and ligaments of their spine.
Keeping good psychological health can be challenging in a world that is often full of negativity, especially on the news and television, and people always pointing out the bad instead of the good. What is important however is how we choose to respond to information or comments that we hear. Thoughts are choices, as much as choosing what we eat and how we spend our money are choices. Choices are what give us freedom. Learning to make choices that liberate us however can be challenging. We are often conditioned to react spontaneously to situations instead of stopping and letting our conscious brain process the facts and make a more calculated response that is often healthier and more logical then reactionary.
Brain and psychological health is also very physiologically related. Our brains work by passing signals from one nerve to another by neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters are very similar to hormones because they are both proteins that cause physiological reactions to take place. However neurotransmitters are very much affected by biochemistry and things that go on in our digestions. Serotonin, which is the “feel good” neurotransmitter, is primarily produced in the digestive tract. If you have an imbalance in your digestive tract because of a dysbiosis or a food sensitivity your brain will change. This will have far reaching impacts on your overall health.
The most sever nutritional problem associated with brain health however is our balance of good fats vs. bad fats; arachadonic acid (AA) vs. eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) which is the omega 3 found in fish oil. When we were caveman the ratio of AA:EPA was 1:1, at the turn of the 20th century it was 4:1. Now it is estimated that the average ratio is 20:1. This is primarily due to the consumption of far to many grains, trans fats, and animals that are eating grains instead of grass. This change in the ratio has severely altered brain chemistry and is one of the leading causes of neurodegeneration causing Alzheimer’s, dementia as well as ADD/ADHD and many other neurological imbalances including schizophrenia and Autism. Changing these problems is as easy as rebalancing your Omega 3 to Omega 6 ratio which can be evaluated simply with a blood test to see where your ratio is and supplementing with a high quality source of omega 3’s and avoiding to many Omega 6’s which primarily come from grains and animals consuming grains instead of their natural diets.
The acupuncture system is grouped into this aspect of the triad of health too. I often explain to patients that the acupuncture system can be related to the wireless Internet of the body. You can’t see it but you know its their when you turn on your smart phone. The acupuncture system is made up of channels of energy that help the body communicate. I often see skin irritations or pain patterns that will follow specific meridians, for example the large or small intestine. This is the body communicating that there are physiological problems going on in the inside of the body. Often identifying and treating the cause of the internal problem will resolve the problem on the outside very quickly.
The body is an amazing interconnected system that is constantly working to maintain homeostasis (balance). The body must be balanced structurally, physiologically, and psychologically to truly be healthy. The simple recipe for health is to think well, move well, and eat well. Thinking well requires both discipline and awareness of our thoughts and feeling to make choices on how we react to them. Moving well means keeping our bodies strong and flexible and using good ergonomics in our daily activities. Eating well relates to our physiology. By putting good things into our body, our body will respond with a good output, just like putting good fuel on a fire to make it burn. Working to create a lifestyle for yourself that is balanced on all three sides of the triad of health will allow you to live a life that is healthy, natural, and optimal!
Dr. Phil Cameron DC is the owner of the Bozeman Wellness Center. He is a Chiropractic Physician and Professional Applied Kinesiologist. He treats every patient based on his or her individual health care needs and strives to help each patient Live Healthy, Live Naturally, and Live Optimally. Visit www.bozemanwellnesscenter.com for more information.