What’s the main difference between wellness care and standard
medical care? Wellness care seeks to turn on the natural healing
ability, not by adding something to the system, but by removing
anything that might interfere with normal function, trusting that
the body would know what to do if nothing were interfering with it.
Standard medical care, on the other hand, seeks to treat a symptom
by adding something from the outside – a medication, a surgery or
Inside Out vs. Outside In
If a patient has high blood pressure, a standard medical approach
would be to choose a drug that lowers blood pressure, and ask the
patient to take the drug. This may serve to lower the blood
pressure, but ignores the underlying cause that is making the blood
pressure high, and runs the risk of side effects complicating the
person’s recovery. Whether it’s a nutritional issue, faulty control
by the nerve system or a manifestation of stress, the medication
could decrease the blood pressure, leaving the problem causing the
symptom of high blood pressure unaddressed.
The Wellness Approach
Wellness is a state of optimal conditions for normal function… and
then some. The wellness approach is to look for underlying causes of
any disturbance or disruption (which may or may not be causing
symptoms at the time) and make whatever interventions and lifestyle
adjustments would optimize the conditions for normal function. That
environment encourages natural healing, and minimizes the need for
invasive treatment, which should be administered only when
absolutely necessary. When the body is working properly, it tends to
heal effectively, no matter what the condition. When the body heals
well and maintains itself well, then there is another level of
health that goes beyond “asymptomatic” or “pain-free” which reveals
an open-ended opportunity for vitality, vibrant health, and an
enhanced experience of life.This is true for mental and emotional
health as well as physical health. While some people may suffer
psychological disorders, creating an atmosphere of mental and
emotional wellness will address all but the most serious problems.
Try this simple posture "reality check" the next time you
are standing in front of a full-length mirror:
is one of the best preventative measures you can take to
ensure a healthy spine. Good posture means maintaining your
spine in a neutral position. This means standing or sitting
so that your spine keeps its three natural curves-the small
hollow at the base of the neck, a small roundness at the
middle back, and a small hollow in the lower back.
- Are your
knees and ankles straight (i.e., not angled inward or
- Are your
shoulders and hips level?
- As you
stand sideways, does your lower back have a natural
curve in it?
- Do the
spaces between your arms and sides seem equal?
- Is your
chin level, or parallel, to the floor?
- Is your
Proper posture is the result of good musculoskeletal
balance, which helps protect the joints in your spine from
undue stress and guards against injury and deformity. It
requires diligence and awareness on your part. Most of us
need to gently prod ourselves mentally to ensure we are
walking and sitting correctly.
Poor posture can result from regularly carrying excessive
weights, or hunching over when working at a computer or
watching television. It also has been linked to chronic
headaches, shoulder pain, and TMJ dysfunction. It also can
lead to such problems as: fatigue (from over-taxed muscles
supporting a misaligned spine); muscle aches in your neck,
back, arms, and legs; and stiff, painful joints (which may
eventually lead to conditions such as degenerative
Sometimes, poor posture is something that cannot be helped.
For example, people with degenerative nerve or skeletal
problems find it difficult, if not impossible, to obtain a
Here are some posture tips for various positions and
activities throughout the day.
ears, shoulders, hips, knees and ankles align in one
straight line. (If you hung a string with a ball bearing
at the end from your ear lobe, the string would dissect
the middle of your anklebone.)
level but slightly tucked, shoulders slightly back and
level, pelvis shifted forward (this allows your hips to
align with your ankles).
- Feet are
shoulder width apart.
Breastbone lifted (this requires moving your shoulder
blades down and in toward each other).
- Jaw and
neck muscles relaxed.
resting on the floor with knees and hips bent 90
- Arch in
your lower back is maintained. A "lumbar roll," a small,
inexpensive padded "pillow-like" device, can be used to
help ensure this.
touching the back of the chair.
blades in toward each other. This helps push out your
breastbone and keeps your rib cage a safe distance from
your hips. It also improves your breathing while
up, walk around and take frequent breaks from prolonged
periods of sitting.
your head to make contact with the headreast. This keeps
your chin level and your neck properly aligned.
shrug your shoulders.
that your knees are slightly higher than your hips.
that you car seat allows you to keep your back in a
vertical, not angled position.
Exercises to help posture
investing in a cervical roll or similar pillow specially
designed to keep your neck supported and in natural
alignment with your head and upper back.
- One of
the best positions is on your side, with knees slightly
bent and a pillow between your knees. Place a pillow
under your knees if you are a back sleeper; this helps
maintain the curve in your lower back. If you are a
stomach sleeper and sleep with your head on an oversized
pillow, it sometimes forces your lower back to curve
excessively, putting pressure on your diaphragm and
tuck-Sit or stand erect while gently pulling your chin
back to a comfortable position. Do reps of 10 several
times a day.
squeeze-Bring your elbows behind you while squeezing
your shoulder blades together. Do reps of 10 or 20 while
holding the squeeze for a five count.
hyper-extending your neck to peer over an obstacle for
long periods of time.
carry excess body baggage. Maintain a healthy weight.
"Beer bellies" or "spare tires," for example, act like
bag of cement, making it difficult for you to stand or
walk erect. Even trying to walk correctly can place
undue strain on your spine and muscles.
regularly to keep your muscles flexible and toned
routine eye exams to ensure poor eyesight isn't keeping
you off balance when you sit or walk.
soundly in a good quality box spring and mattress.
good ergonomics when sitting in front of a computer,
watching television, or driving.
sound lifting techniques.