Just back from a weekend of yoga, meditation and super nutritious organic food at the Avondale Retreat Centre in the heart of Wicklow. The wonderful Veronica Larsson took us through a series of exercises, meditations and postures to assist the body in restoration and healing. It was a great group of people and we had a lot in common. Our chats were wide and varied, but the topic of what it meant to be well recurred again and again.
“Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”
World Health Organization
When we define health in this way, we first see that it not only physical in nature but that, importantly, it also includes mental and social aspects. We also see that it does not merely mean the absence of disease. This is important to understand because it means that health is on a continuum. It is a process of change. Being free of pain or symptoms does not imply health. Sickness is often found in the absence of symptoms (e.g. cancer, cardiovascular disease etc). The body may also produce health in the presence of symptoms (e.g. fever, sweating, coughing etc).
We do not see energy moving through our body, but we do see the effect of this energy. Think of electricity and how it can brighten or dim a light bulb depending on the current. At the end of nerve cells are specialised organs which function much the same way. These are, for the most part, automatic and run in the background like an operating system on a computer, allowing us to breathe, move, digest food, stay warm or cool, fight infections and all the myriad of other incredible things that keep us in check.
The founders of chiropractic recognised the importance of the human nervous system in the maintenance of health. This principle of innate intelligence is what governs our ability to heal and fight disease. Our brain and spinal cord receive and transmit a steady stream of energy or life force. This same innate intelligence is working through all living matter.
Are we living to our full potential?
In the human body, the central nervous system is contained within the bones of the skull and the spine. Vertebral structures house the channels which distribute the innate intelligence throughout our living tissue. The alignment of our spine is therefore a vital component to the regulation of health. Chiropractors regard the nervous system as primary and will examine components of this system (e.g. the spine) when considering the ability of the body to function at it’s best.