If there was one word to describe optimal health, it would be “balance”. Balance, in every sense of the word, can define the relationship between the systems of any living organism that is experiencing optimal health. Even an inanimate object will lose its ability to function efficiently if it’s not built or used in a balanced fashion. A system in balance is a system that is resistant to environmental changes (some may describe “change” as “stress”).
Take a tall building for example; the foundation and walls have to be positioned in the right balance in order for the building to be free-standing and functional. All the materials like steel, cement, concrete, wood and brick have to be performing in their own way but also help support the materials around them. This same building must have the resiliency to withstand the forces of nature – floods, high winds and earth quakes. Because this building is balanced at it’s very foundation to withstand environmental changes (an inevitable occurrence), it may move and bend a little bit in response to the “stress” but will bounce back into a proper balanced alignment. Buildings that are not built in a balanced fashion will be affected by the environment in one of three ways: 1) the building may remain distorted after the stress is gone which would affect all efficiency, function and safety in the future. 2) The building may crumble. 3) The building may find its way back to its original balanced state.
Now take a living organism – a human being for example. We as humans, have the resiliency to be able to bounce back in response to environmental changes or stressors. We also have to ability to be controlled by the environment around us – but let’s not go there. Let us focus on how we can become balanced individuals and in turn become beings of optimal health. Just as the tall balanced building has various materials working together to support its function, the body has numerous systems working individually but all these systems have the greater task of working together with all other systems around it. If just one system is off, all systems and the body as whole can be affected.
Are we lost causes if we think our bodies have been forever distorted by environmental stressors over the years? Absolutely not – Humans are incredibly adaptable animals.
YOUR body is amazing and YOU are the most important factor in your road to recovery. Achieving a balance is multifaceted and consists of physical, mental, nutritional, spiritual, and interpersonal elements to name a few. Under the physical umbrella are the skeletal, muscular and nervous systems. As mentioned above, all these facets are interlinked - Improvement in one will overflow and lead to improvement in others. The journey of achieving and maintaining balance should be an ongoing educational, enjoyable and enlightening experience. There are many great avenues we can take as humans to help stimulate our bodies to heal and be well – One way is to integrate physiotherapy into our lives.
Scott Dunne - Physiotherapist