Tag: health

seven dimensions of wellness

Understanding the seven dimensions of wellness

When someone mentions “wellness”, what comes to mind?

For many, they think of wellness as simply one’s physical health. Most of my patients think about eating right, exercising and getting enough sleep. While these are important, they are not the only aspects of wellness.

True wellness is a complex integration of components that all contribute to your total wellbeing. When one component is out of whack, it can affect how you feel both physically and mentally. Long-term, having a wellness component off-balance can impact your ability to thrive. As a chiropractic and wellness center, a holistic approach to wellness fits within our mission for our patients. The seven dimensions of “wellness” do a great job of articulating this approach – so let’s learn more about them.

Where the dimensions came from

The model of wellness was originally developed in 1976 by Dr. Bill Hettler, co-founder of the National Wellness Institute in the US. Hettler’s model included six dimensions, with a seventh dimension (environmental) added by researchers later. Some models even include an eighth dimension, financial. Later, researchers embraced the idea of a “wellness wheel” for assessing your personal wellness. I actually filled one of these out in a workshop once.

Download your own Wellness Wheel

Seven dimensions of wellness defined

Here is a quick explanation for each dimension and some tips for what you can do to focus on that dimension of wellness.

Physical – encompassing all the behaviors to keep your body healthy….nutrition, rest, exercise but also abstaining from harmful habits and getting regular medical checkups

Some things you can do:

  • Get adequate sleep for a person of your age and feel rested the next day
  • Eat a varied, healthy diet including anti-inflammatory foods
  • Monitor and maintain a healthy weight for your age and height
  • Stay active and exercise frequently each week
  • Monitor health through regular doctor visits and proactively deal with any health issues

Emotional – being aware of and managing your emotions, maintaining a mostly positive view of yourself and others and feeling equipped to deal with life’s challenges

Some things you can do:

  • Both search out support for yourself and provide support to others
  • Gain perspective and manage your feelings during stressful times
  • Express your feelings honestly but appropriately
  • Seek the positive and find joy in everyday life
  • Be open to self-improvement and reflection

Spiritual – holding a guiding set of principles that provide a sense of purpose or direction to your life

Some things you can do:

  • Spend time alone to reflect, pray or meditate regularly
  • Seek an overall sense of peace and wellbeing
  • Listen with your heart and live by your principles
  • Allow yourself and others the freedom to be who they are
  • Forgive yourself and others and let bygones be bygones

Environmental – an awareness of your world, how you interact with it and your impact to it

Some things you can do:

  • Focus on what you can do to care for and show respect for the environment
  • Continually work towards a more eco-friendly lifestyle
  • Educate yourself on environmental issues so you can do more to impact them
  • Take on new ways to reduce, recycle and reuse
  • Connect with nature…and appreciate what it has to offer

Intellectual – using your mind, stimulating your brain, learning, being creative and actively seeking out new information daily

Some things you can do:

  • Pursue mentally stimulating interests or hobbies
  • Seek out people who challenge you and expand your thinking
  • Learn new things through reading, taking a course or participating in a workshop
  • Commit time to professional and self-development
  • Set intellectual goals for yourself

Occupational – making use of your skills and talents in a profession that provides satisfaction, rewards, purpose and happiness in your life

Some things you can do:

  • Explore a variety of career options until you find a good fit
  • Map out a career vision for yourself, setting goals along the way
  • Create a balance between work and other areas of your life
  • Be open to career changes and learning new skills
  • Seek a career that suits your personality as well as skills and talents

Social – having relationships that allow you to feel connected, developing intimacy and creating a support network of family and friends

Some things you can do:

  • Increase the amount of time you spend in social settings
  • Communicate your thoughts, feelings and ideas courageously
  • Get involved in activities that create social opportunities with people
  • Practice respect and cultivate new, healthy relationships
  • Join groups to create a sense of belonging and comradery

Final thoughts

Most of these dimensions interact with and even overlap with one another. Your job is to check in with yourself to assess how you are doing on each dimension from time to time. You won’t always be in balance across all seven – that’s ok! However, by reflecting on all dimensions, you’ll be able to identify ones that you need to give more attention to. Our wellness wheel should help.

So make true wellness your goal! Understanding these dimensions and monitoring your balance is the first step. As always, Dr. A, myself and the staff of Life Care Chiropractic and Wellness are here to help in whatever way we can.

Dr. Sharman

brain and chiropractic

Chiropractic: Building a Healthier Brain

Most people come to me for chiropractic care hoping I can improve their physical pain – in their back, neck or extremities. I never have anyone show up saying, “Doc, can you help make my brain feel better?” But maybe they should!

Thanks to some groundbreaking research in chiropractic, we now have solid scientific facts to explain how an adjustment changes the way the brain works. Chiropractic care can actually benefit the brain – and getting adjustments on regular basis may actually enhance your mental health and the general function of your brain. Who doesn’t want that side benefit?!

This revelation came about due to the work of Dr. Heidi Haavik, a chiropractor and a neurophysiologist who has worked in the area of human neurophysiology for over 15 years. Her research work has built the base of scientific evidence for the efficacy of chiropractic care in improving people’s health and wellbeing. She led a ground-breaking study into the influence on the brain after a spinal adjustment. From this came a book, titled A Reality Check: Cracking Chiropractic – and more research.

 

Haavik’s Original Study

In this 2015 study, Haavik included participants who were NOT in any pain and had never had any chiropractic care before. Participants were divided into two groups, with one receiving an adjustment with brain activity recorded. The other group did not receive an adjustment (although they were placed on an adjustment table) but did have brain activity recorded.

The brains from the group of participants receiving the adjustment showed stimulation of the prefrontal cortex – indicating that the adjustment had a direct influence on the sensory input to the brain. The brains from the other group showed no changes.

We already knew that a vertebral subluxation interferes with the messages between the spinal cord and brain with the joints and surrounding muscles. A chiropractic adjustment removes interferences to the nervous system and improves brain function. Haavik’s study scientifically shows that chiropractic when treatment reduces your pain, not only do you physically feel better but your brain function gets better right alongside your body.

This YouTube video explains Haavik’s study in a very easy-to-understand manner:

A Bit About Our Brains

Your brain and nervous system are in the driver’s seat when it comes to controlling every function and organ of your body: attention, balance and posture, breathing, heart rate, blood pressure, digestion, sexual function, hormone production, and thousands of other functions.
When something needs to be done, it’s the brain sending the signal through the nervous system to make things happen. If the spine is unhealthy, this hinders communication and the resulting performance.

Thus, when your brain and nervous system function well, the rest of your body functions well.

As we age, we unfortunately experience what’s called negative neuroplasticity. This means that our brain function declines – and we may experience things like:

• Memory loss
• Hearing or vision loss
• A weakened immune system
• Challenges in concentration
• More depressed moods
• And other symptoms

While many think about chiropractic treatments as primarily for pain relief, the real goal is to have a positive effect on the brain’s neuroplasticity. By removing the stressors through adjustments, we remove the interference to normal health and healing – and improve neuroplasticity. Research has born this out in multiple studies, including many conducted by Haavik.

RELATED: The Importance of Chiropractic for Stress Relief

 

Our Approach at Life Care

Dr. A and I both feel that through the chiropractic care we provide, we can help with both pain symptoms and enhancing brain function. Of course, we always want our patients to be relieved of pain…but it’s really complete wellness that we seek. Our goal is that after adjustments – and by removing the vertebral subluxation that is impacting your wellness – you’ll experience improvement in memory, ability to process and think, moods and much more!

Want to hear more about Dr. Haavik’s philosophy and findings? Check out this podcast with her.

 

Dr. Sharman