What’s in it for me? This is a question we, as humans, love to ask. It appears to be a selfish question at first, but we have not just survived all these years as a species–we have thrived–as a result of this very question.
This is a question we like to ask when it comes to making healthier lifestyle choices. We want to know what benefits we will get when choosing healthier foods, doing more exercise, engaging in breathwork, meditation, yoga, or getting acupuncture or going to the chiropractor. And most people embark on these wellness initiatives in response to some health-related issue.
The good news is that when you do healthy things, there is always a benefit. There may not be a direct effect on the condition you trying to correct, but there will be an indirect effect.
The medical community often fails to acknowledge the power and impact natural, holistic therapies and initiatives can have on whatever condition is being treated. Patients are often told that what they eat doesn’t matter, that exercise won’t fix their condition, or supplements can’t correct their ailment. While these things may not be the sole solution, they can have a tremendous impact. Most health conditions do not have a single remedy. There usually isn’t one thing that will miraculously cure you.
The key is to get the body into a state that it has the best chance possible to heal as best it can.
It’s important to remember that the body itself is what heals the conditions, not the testing, not the medication, not the surgery, and surely not the doctor.
So, when I am asked if I take care of patients with multiple sclerosis, dementia, or cancer, my answer is absolutely. But chiropractic care surely cannot cure those conditions. So, why take care of those people? Because we are not “treating those conditions.” We are improving the overall health and function of the patient.
When it comes to any condition, the care that we provide can impact the nerve supply to the affected areas, having a direct positive affect on those areas, and thus that condition. But even if it does not have a direct effect on that area, by improving any nerve function, the result is that the body has to exert less energy and attention on that issue, thus allowing it to apply more attention and energy on whatever condition it is they are suffering from.
For the patients I see with cancer, for instance, the chiropractic adjustment I give them may not have a direct effect on the cancer itself, but with improved spinal function, nerve function, range of motion, and less pain, their bodies can put more attention on fighting the cancer. It may impact how fast they heal, and how well they respond to treatment, and may help mitigate side effects from the medical treatment. So, are we treating the cancer? NO! We are helping the body to be at its best so it can heal, perform, and function at its best.
This is why it can be sometimes hard to quantify or prove the benefits of holistic interventions like massage, acupuncture, chiropractic, herbs, exercise, etc. While there is ample research out there substantiating the benefits of all of those therapies, we can never prove ALL of the benefits they offer. Indirect effects are not studied. But when you give the body more of the it needs, and get rid of the stuff that is bad for it, it will ALWAYS be a good thing. Measurable or not.
That’s why I love the philosophy that drives my practice and lifestyle. I do as much good as I can for the body, knowing that no matter what condition you have or illness you’ve been diagnosed with, these interventions boost the body’s ability to heal itself.
Of course, there are direct effects from most of these healthy interventions, but do not forget about the indirect benefits. Anything that helps the body function better will absolutely have an effect on whatever condition you are trying to correct. Don’t just measure the success of a particular health initiative on whether or not it corrects a condition. If you do enough healthy stuff, the body gets its best chance to do what it does best… heal itself.