Health promotion and preventative care focuses on encouraging people to go from poor health to good health and preventing future illness or injury. It is turning away from disease to health. Wellness requires and focuses on individual responsibility it is the search for continued improvement in life, constantly striving to improve our function, to do better, to be better. It is a paradigm shift from our current system in which we wait for illness or dysfunction before seeking care. In our society today very few focus on continued improvement of their function. They are the performers; whether in sports, art or business those who consistently strive to improve performance and produce something more than they ever have before. This is the idea of wellness. Few understand this. The majority of people in this country have their basic needs met. Most of the people in the USA have a roof over their head and food to eat. The USA has about 8% unemployment, and that is not good, but that means over 90% employment. The vast majority of adults in this country are physically well enough to do a job, yet nearly 70% of Americans are regularly taking a drug of some sort.
Health promotion and prevention have their place as does emergency care, but the best way to promote health and prevent illness is to strive for constant betterment, or wellness. Wellness care is opposed to our current model of health care. Our current model would be out of business if everyone overcame their current malady and was able to stop taking medication.
A wellness model thrives when everyone feels fine, but wants to get even more out of life. Consider the aged patient who is not in pain and not sick, but wants to be able to function better so that he can play more with his grand kids. What treatment is available for the new mother who has no condition, but wants to have more energy and vitality, or the child who doesn’t have ADHD, but wants to be able to focus better in school. These are wellness dilemmas, and if you go to your primary care provider they will likely tell you that there is nothing that they can do for you. In fact it would be unethical if not illegal to prescribe medication for any of those reasons.
Chiropractic is a treatment option that works well from either model, but should strive for wellness.When you are injured chiropractic can help you to heal faster. Chiropractic can also increase range of motion, and improve the quality of life in healthy people. Pilot studies have begun to look at this in athletes such as golfers
Golfers improve their swing and drive the ball farther. Sprinters and Jumpers all improve their speed and jumps with chiropractic care. Football players show improved performances. General athletic ability improves more with chiropractic care than without. If it improves performance of athletes then also improves performance in daily activities that aren’t measured as often.
Chiropractors are in a unique position to promote wellness because of the benefit that our treatment has for healthy people as well as for those who are injured. Chiropractors can start by adopting a wellness attitude. They can find out some of parts of life that they can improve. For example a woman who wants to not just have a normal pregnancy, but an excellent one should see a chiropractor who would provide treatment to keep her body functioning at it’s peak. He could give a home exercise program and diet recommendations all before she even becomes pregnant to prepare her body for that process. Chiropractic care can support her body through the changes that pregnancy entails.
The overweight patient who has become determined to run a marathon will need counsel, guidance and structural care as his body changes to adapt to the weight loss and the new stresses that will be encountered.
The student who wants to improve concentration can begin by seeing a chiropractor to remove structural discomfort that can distract, and to receive nutritional counsel to provide adequate hydration and nutrition and even promote focus.
While our society has come along way and fought disease for centuries, perhaps the better way to fight disease is to focus on achieving the best health possible. That is Wellness!