New Zealand 917

Increasing ability versus decreasing disability

Hey Folks!

I am a healthcare practitioner that specializes in movement, nutrition and wellness.  My job is making people better.  That’s a very subjective goal, but it’s a crucial goal for sure.  Many people live their lives simply hoping they don’t encounter illness or disability.  Many hope it won’t “get” them.  I’m here to tell you, you can do more than hope.

In my practice I help people perform better.  I also help people experience less pain.  Some simply prefer to experience less pain and are happy with that much progress (it’s an easy progress indicator to gauge).  I’ve often been heard saying the perfect time to see a Chiropractor is 1 day before you start to notice any symptoms (whether they be as obvious as pain, or as subtle as less quality sleep or digestion).  This is a difficult goal – and in my opinion isn’t one we need to be concerned with.  So why do I use that example then?  Well…

Do we only eat well until we notice a change, and then stop and wait for the change to go away before eating well again?  Do we only go to the dentist when the pain is so bad we can’t handle it, then wait until that happens again to return?  How about learning piano or guitar – do we learn how to strum a couple chords and then stop, wait until we forget how, then re-learn, hoping to one day flawlessly perform “stairway to heaven”?  Or do we KNOW that it takes more diligence, more work, and more awareness than that?

Then why do we treat our spines (and therefore our nervous system) that way?  We go to the Chiropractor, and then don’t return until we’re in so much pain we can’t tie our own shoelaces.  It’s time to take some initiative and improve our situation.  It’s time to start taking the “moving well” out of eating, moving and thinking well a little more seriously.  Being in the gym is one way to do that.  Seeing a Chiropractor is the other.  They do not replace each other and both are crucial.

I’ve read literature showing Chiropractic improves high jumping, judo athletes grip strength, blood pressure, insulin sensitivity, our ability to withstand mental stress, and obviously, our range of motion (and therefore how our body moves).  It’s inspiring and frustrating (chiropractic controlled trials are hard to perform and therefore are hard to come across).  Once you’ve read the literature and learned the physiological mechanisms for said changes, it makes sense.

This is how most perceive Chiropractic works:

Chiro Dx

This is what actually happens:

Subluxation and Adjustment diagram 

–       Courtesy of James Chestnut DC CCWP

So, the effect goes from the joint, all the way up to the brain.  It communicates and moves on to numerous other structures in the nervous system and eventually the body.  So along with the improvement in how the joint is moving we experience lowered stress levels, improvements in heart health measurements (cholesterol, blood pressure, heart rate, vasodilation to the organs, etc.), a greater ability to learn (improved concentration), and tons of other benefits – all because your joints are moving the way they should be.

I’ve seen countless people come in grouchy, and leave far happier.  I’ve seen that happen on the Chiropractic table and I’ve seen it happen after training in the gym.  It comes from activating movement-pleasure pathways from the joints, to the brain.  When you receive that message through exercise, it is far more “clear” if your spine has access to its’ full range of motion.  Chiropractors (and some other manual therapists) are experts at providing you that range of motion.  The frequency with which you can benefit from an adjustment could be as little as once a week (after an initial phase of care), or as infrequent as once every 6 weeks.  Gauge your performance, your sleep, your digestion, your range of motion and even your mental clarity and mood – they’re all indications of your health status, and how your body is treating you.  It takes some trial and error, but you’ll find a frequency that works well for you.  For most living a fairly healthy lifestyle, this ends up being once every 2 weeks to once every 4 weeks.

For everything in life (and health) we live in a dynamic balance.  When we get cold we shiver, when we’re warm we sweat, when exercise or stress demands it, we raise our blood pressure.  Everything has a reason and everything has an effect.  Our ability to accommodate and then recover from stressors best demonstrates our level of health.  Chiropractic adjustments help us to address, and recover from the demands of our environment.

So as much as I love seeing people go from grimace to smile, I enjoy even more hearing that people are sleeping well, loving life and performing well at their hobbies.  Take care of yourself.  Eat well.  Spend time with your loved ones.  Exercise with purpose.  And see your Chiropractor.  Don’t live life from back twinge to back twinge – let me help you go from good to great – It would be my pleasure.

In health,

Dr. Adam Ball

If you’d like to book an appointment yourself, Click Here.  If you’d like to speak with me, send me an email through the contact form, or call the office at (705) 222-7213.

New Zealand 313

Research of the Day – Nov 22, 2012 – Fish versus Anxiety… Who wins???

Hey Folks!

Research of the Day!

Today’s Article:

Omega-3 Supplementation Lowers Inflammation and Anxiety in Medical Students: A Randomized Controlled Trial

What they did:

  • Split a group of medical school students up into groups that received either ~2.3g of EPA + DHA per day, or some capsules containing ~2.3g of a mixture of palm, olive, soy, canola and cocoa butter oils (to mimic the average fatty acid intake in western diets).
  • They then took their blood 6 times throughout the 12 week intervention, once during a non stressful time and right before an exam (high stress time) without any supplementation and then twice again AFTER supplementation (or fake supplementation) right before a major exam, or during a less stressful time (beginning of a new semester, with many weeks until an exam, etc.)
  • They performed physicals at the beginning and end of the study that also included measurements of central adiposity (fat around the waistline), a food frequency questionnaire, a measure of sleep quality, a measure of physical activity, and a health review (to ask if the person had been sick at all, etc. over the last 12 weeks)
  • They performed two other tests to screen for depressive symptoms as well as symptoms of anxiety (as they are not the same) at each of the 6 visits
  • THey collected blood from the subjects at each visit to test them for their fatty acid profiles
  • They also checked for inflammatory biomarkers (IL-6 and TNF-alpha)

What happened:

  • EPA and DHA in plasma and in peripheral blood mononuclear cells increased significantly in the supplemented group
  • IL-6 and TNF-alpha were lower in the treatment group versus control after supplementation, but not to a significant degree
  • Anxiety, but not depression was reduced in the treatment group over the control group relatively by 20% (We are reminded that all subjects are healthy, young volunteers, that had low anxiety scores to begin with… although there was still a reduction in the treatment group)
  • They took ALL the blood samples and checked their omega 6: omega 3 ratio to check for correlations with inflammatory markers and anxiety scores and found an inverse relationship

So what’s going on?

  • Supplementing with ~2.3g of EPA + DHA was associated with increases in their concentrations in plasma and in percipheral blood cells
  • This increase correlated with improved omega 6: omega 3 ratios
  • improvements in that ratio meant less inflammation at rest as well as less inflammation when inflammation was stimulated
  • Improvements in that ratio ALSO correlated well with less symptoms of anxiety at rest and during high stress environments (medical exams, in this case)

And thennnn:

  • I’m really glad they checked the Omega 6: omega 3 ratio… it was a smart move
  • It shows that you can’t cover up a crap diet with fish oil (the ratio probably wouldn’t have changed in this case), and that when you create sufficiency where deficiency exists AKA Improve that ratio, good things happen
  • The students weren’t overly concerned with ameliorating symptoms, other than maybe hoping to feel a little less stressed during exams and the fish oil has the potential to lower inflammation and reduce anxiety levels

Take away, Fish oil isn’t something you take to fix this problem, or cure that illness; You take it to create balance in your body and to provide the proper building blocks for health. No one is going to disagree that less baseline inflammation and less inflammation during stressful environments is a bad thing.

If you need some fish oil, and you all do (unless you already are taking some), ask me in the clinic OR at the gym – I have some of the best quality you can find available for a great price $42 for approximately 100 servings. That’s less than 50 cents a day to make a difference in your inflammatory pathways as well as to reduce any resting anxiety. If I can help you out let me know!

Stay Healthy Friends!

Dr. Adam Ball

p.s. As usual, if you’d like to book an appointment for Chiropractic Wellness & Lifestyle care, book an appointment here, or call me at (705) 586-7873


Research of the Day – Nov 19, 2012 – Colic & Chiro, they go together like bacon and just about anything…

Hey Folks!

I took the weekend off – My brother and Sister-in-law were up to visit so I had more fun things to do.

Todays article

Efficacy of Chiropractic Manual Therapy on Infant Colic: A Pragmatic Single-Blind, Randomized Controlled Trial

I don’t have the full text (yet), but I couldn’t rob you of this one…

What they did:

  • Split groups of babies into 1 – Treated and the parents knew, 2 – Treated and the parents DIDN’T know, 3 – not treated and the parents knew
  • I’m not sure why they didn’t include the fourth group (something the full text would elucidate I’m sure…) but oh well
  • Followed up with parents to see if there was any less crying in the colicky babies
  • A significant amount of less crying was quantified as 2 hours less
  • The two treatment groups were made to see if results were based on parents thinking their child got better because they were treated versus them actually being better

What they found:

  • The treated babies cried significantly less than the un-treated babies regardless of whether the parents observed the treatment or not.

What does it mean:

  • It suggests Chiropractic care may help with Colic in infants. Total time spent crying was reduced, which I’m sure would mean a lot to parents.
  • The results were not based on the parents hoping their children were better as even the parents who didn’t know their child was treated or not (but they were) reported less crying.

And so:

  • Chiropractic care with infants is extremely gentle, very low force and not what most would think of when they consider “Chiropractic care”
  • Ensuring proper movement in the spine and therefore better communication between brain and body in infants is less invasive and far more safe an intervention than drugs or surgery to prevent colic
  • I don’t have the full study, I don’t have children, and I’m a Chiropractor (and therefore have built in bias that can’t be avoided) but I believe Chiropractic care for infants should be the mandatory first step in addressing Colic (among other physiological perturbations) in children as it is the least invasive and introduces nothing novel into the digestive tract or blood supply of the infant.
  • I don’t suggest that it will work for all children as health is far more multifactorial than that, but to reduce the patient load on Medical Doctors/Pediatricians and to prevent unnecessary medication usage it only makes sense to have infants checked for movement restriction in their spine and the downstream effects it can have on the nervous system.

Stay healthy, Friends!

Dr. Adam Ball

p.s. If you don’t currently see a Doctor of Chiropractic and You or your loved ones are interested in making an appointment, you can book online here, or call my office at (705) 586-7873


Research of the Day – Nov 14, 2012 – Exercise… It’s good for you… Surprise!

Hey Folks!
I’ve skimmed about a dozen articles today and can’t really find a topic or good quality article I feel like reading, so I chose an easy and semi-boring one, in my opinion. Either way, here it is:

Todays Article:

Resistance Training and Older Adults with Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus: Strength of the Evidence

What did they do:

  • Searched far and wide for articles regarding resistance training and type 2 diabetes outcomes, musculoskeletal outcomes and body composition outcomes between the years of 2000 and 2011.
  • Combined the results from all those studies into a meta-analysis to glean more accurate results than any one study on its’ own

What did they find:

  • 3 studies met the criteria! Not very many and not enough to create statistical significance that wasn’t already found in the original studies, but if you’re the author, you’ve already worked hard to find the info, so you combine it and analyze it anyway… Then it gives people like me an “ok” article to link to and say resistance exercise is good.
  • Resistance training was associated with better muscle strength, functionality and size
  • Resistance training had a favourable but non-significant (meaning it could have been chance) effect on HbA1C (a measure of how high and low your blood sugar gets over a period of time)
  • Moderate and small effects were also favourable for blood pressure and LDL cholesterol, respectively
  • Body composition was unchanged

What it means:

  • Exercise is good for you – could potentially reduce the signs and symptoms of type 2 diabetes (and metabolic syndrome – associated with cardiovascular disease)
  • People got stronger before their body composition changed AKA You are going to get stronger FIRST, and THEN you’ll lose weight and look “cut”, “toned” or whatever other silly adjective you’d like to use for functionally designed
  • Blood pressure, cholesterol, and many other markers that are regularly measured to gauge health will improve when you exercise, but it takes time.

Not overly life changing findings, I know. But a nice reminder to keep up with the great efforts on the gym – If it’s important, do it every day.

Stay healthy, Friends!

Dr. Adam Ball


Research of the Day – Nov 13, 2012 – Weightlifting and injuries, so You’re saying there’s a chance…

Hey Folks!
Research of the day! I’m out a limb here – examining a paper reporting injury rates among Olympic Weightlifters. No one ever learned anything by turning a blind eye to the things they love just because they love them!

Todays Paper:

Injury Rates and Profiles of Elite Competitive Weightlifters

What they did:

  • They took data from USA weightlifting training camps (where the athletes train to prepare for world championships, olympics and other important competitions in weightlifting) regarding training hours, injury location, injury severity and injury nature
  • The weightlifting teams medical staff (MDs, physios, chiros, etc.) provided their information about any injuries that ocurred to the athletes while they were at the training camp with regard to type of injury (strain, sprain, contusion, fracture, etc.) location (knee, hip, elbow, etc.) nature (acute, chronic, recurring) and severity (time recommended to miss from training)
  • They took this data from 1990-1995

What they found:

  • Over the 6 years there were 560 injuries, of which 326 were located in the low back, knee or shoulder
  • 459 of those 560 injuries were considered a strain, sprain or tendonitis
  • 507 of the 560 injuries resulted in a recommendation of missing less than 1 day of training

What does it mean:

  • It means being competitive at Olympic Weightlifting carries about the same risk of injury as playing just about any other sport.
  • The authors suggest the injuries sustained are less severe as there isn’t any off centered or lateral movement during the weightlifting movements – lateral movements or off centered movements that are often attributed to causing stability injuries to soccer, football, and other sports players.
  • Rates of injuries and complaints in later life were similar to non-weightlifters, but not as bad as retired wrestlers.

What do I think:

  • We have the benefit of diversifying our training, and so not being exposed to the same movements every day (imagine training the snatch, clean and/or jerk, 6 times a day… THAT is repetition) – something that increases the chances of injury
  • We have the disadvantage of not being elite level athletes with thousands of hours of training and familiarity with the movements – something that would reduce the chances of injury
  • The point being… There’s ALWAYS risk to living life (and training). Daring to be great, pushing your comfort zone boundaries and endeavoring to be in better physical condition requires stresses being placed on the tissues of the body, which always carries a risk.
  • The question you can ask yourself is whether or not the risk is worth having better bone density, greater muscle mass and better insulin sensitivity, all things that are related to greater quality of life as well as greater longevity. You all know where I stand on this issue.
  • What we CAN do, is make sure we’re aiming for perfect form, that we’re making an effort to maintain a neutral spine at all times, that we’re keeping our shoulders in healthy positions when pulling or overhead, and that we’re pressurizing the trunk properly when bracing for a lift. THESE THINGS ARE IMPORTANT.
  • It’s also good to know that I’m not alone when my knees are a little achy after a heavy oly lifting session.

Stay healthy, Friends!

Dr. Adam Ball

New Zealand 999

Research of the Day – Nov 12, 2012 – Fish oil can help your liver… but it isn’t magical

Hey Folks!

Research of the Day time! Todays research is brought to you by my homework as well as the fact that I got a bunch of fish oil in at the office last week and am hoping to dish it out to whoever needs the best fish oil money can buy! Great price too – but if you’d prefer not to buy from me, that’s fine too, I’ll get through them all myself eventually otherwise.

Todays article:

Omega-3 fatty acids for the treatment of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease

What they did:

  • Reviewed they literature regarding the use of Omega 3 fatty acids in the management of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)

What they reported:

  • Omega 3 fats EPA and DHA are associated with greater oxidation of fat (using it for enegy) in the liver… meaning less accumulation.
  • Reduced inflammatory markers and increased non-inflammatory markers in the liver
  • They inhibited liver glycolysis and lipogenesis by reducing the expression of genes involved with activating those pathways (YOU MEAN THE ENVIRONMENT AFFECTED THE GENES???)
  • Diets high in cholesterol, sucrose or fructose fed to mice eventually led to NAFLD
  • They tested rats with deficiency of Omega 3 fatty acids for NAFLD, which they developed (along with insulin resistance), and then treated them with omega 3’s and they got better
  • They found when they changed their diet to a high fat diet with omega 3s they halted or REVERSED their NAFLD.
  • This even worked when the rats were leptin resistant too (a hormone that tells you when you’re satisfied AKA had enough food)
  • Omega 3 fats made the rats livers more resilient to injury then those rats without an omega 3 sufficient diet
  • Insulin sensitivity went up, inflammatory cytokines went down.

What does it mean???

  • It means fish oils are good for you. Especially if you’re deficient in them (like pretty much all of us are).
  • They increase insulin sensitivity (possibly by increasing cell membrane fluidity and by modulating gene expression)
  • They reduce inflammatory cytokines, which means less unnecessary inflammation.
  • They aren’t magic. You can’t cover up poop with perfume, so don’t take studies like these the wrong way and assume fish oil is the cure-all of the century. You still can’t eat like crap and just have some fish oil to fix it. Sorry.
  • You still need to exercise, sleep well, eat well, get your spine adjusted and take some vitamin D and fish oil to round out any deficiencies you may have. It just makes sense to create sufficiency where deficiency exists.

Have at it! If you’d like some fish oil from me, let me know – it’s in the office!

Stay healthy friends!

Dr. Adam Ball

New Zealand 068

Research of the Day – Nov 11, 2012 – Sleep your fat away!

Hey Folks!

Todays post will be short and sweet because I don’t have the full study (they cost money… a lot) and because I need to go to costco and then study.

Todays research paper:

Impaired Insulin Signaling in Human Adipocytes After Experimental Sleep Restriction: A Randomized, Crossover Study

What did they do:

  • They asked some patients to either sleep 4.5 hours or 8.5 hours per night for 4 days
  • Then they took some of their fat cells and measured the amount of insulin it took to Saturate the cells receptors to a certain degree
  • They also used an intravenous glucose tolerance test

What did they find:

  • They found the people in the sleep deprived group required almost 3 times as much insulin to cause the same glucose to go into the cell

What does it mean:

  • It means you can eat right, think right, and exercise your butt off, but if you aren’t sleeping well then you’re “peeing in the wind” as a previous blog post would suggest
  • Make sure you get GOOD sleep. NO lights. Cool room. 8-10 hours of sleep per night. Try taking some natural calm or your other magnesium supplement of choice (NOT magnesium oxide…. that stuff is just stones and you’ll poop them out the same way)
  • Your body secretes growth hormones and other sex hormones to aid in the repair of your body. It is CRUCIAL to great health AND!!!! it’s free! 🙂

Stay healthy Friends!

Dr. Adam Ball

RED Project – Nov 9th, 2012 – Our world is but our looking glass…

Hey Folks!

Ok, so we’re onto day 2 of the RED project. I changed the name. ROD sounds like a dude… RED sounds like a colour I have a hard time seeing (I’m colour blind). It stands for Research Every Day. Let’s see if it sticks – RED project does sound cooler than ROD project anyway. I’m excited about it!

Todays article…

Acute stress influences neural circuits of reward processing

What they did:

  • Put people in MRI machines and took functional MRIs (to see which areas of the brain were being activated at different times)
  • They showed them playing cards and had them guess if the next card would be higher or lower
  • If they got it right, they were rewarded with money (reward) if they got it wrong it cost them money (punishment) to varying degrees
  • Half of the people had their hand/wrist covered in an icy cold glove to make them uncomfortable before the card guessing – They did this to simulate being stressed out (The nerves for pain and temperature are REALLY just nerves carry the signal for stress, so they cause a similar effect on the brain… beside they can’t ACTUALLY cause the people real pain or the study wouldn’t be approved for funding)

What they found:

  • TOTAL cortisol (a stress hormone) was elevated in the cold hand AKA stressed group versus the control group but NOT immediate levels of cortisol
  • The control group responded with reward areas of the brain lighting up when they were rewarded and not as much when they were “punished”
  • The Stressed group didn’t respond significantly to the reward unless it was high in magnitude but DID respond more to punishment

What does it mean?

  • Stress affects your physiology in a way that is too long winded to explain here however, from what this study is saying, those who were stressed showed different decision making abilities than those who were NOT stressed
  • Stressed Folks were more likely to respond to negative stimulus, meaning when you’re stressed out, it’s easy to focus on the downside of things. Have you ever been upset and had someone “trying to cheer you up” and it didn’t work at all? I have. The positive stimulus doesn’t have as much of an effect as if you were happy
  • Think of this scenario. You’re not feeling fantastic when you wake up, maybe a cold is coming on, you think. Luckily the coffee is already made, since it was set on a timer last night, but as you roll over in bed you realize you’re 10 minutes later than you expected to be. This is aggravating and causes you to pick up your pace a bit, then WHAM! you stub your toe and it’s the worst pain you’ve ever felt. The pain is amplified so much more by the stress. You grab your things in a hurry and leave with a grunt in response to your spouse’s, “I love you! Have a great day!”
  • Now a contrasting scenario: It’s Wednesday evening and you’re just relaxing with a friend. You remember a “hilarious” youtube video you saw over the weekend and realize this person HAS to see it. You watch it together and it’s funny, but for some reason you and your friend aren’t rolling on the ground crying because you’re laughing so hard. You also haven’t been catching up and laughing before the video was shown, and you aren’t as excited about what else you’re going to do that friday/saturday night. All those positive emotions amplified how funny the video was – as well as feeding off each others laughter on the weekend, but not now.
  • The stress response to the cold wasn’t transient – like it would be if a bear wandered into the MRI room with the people… it was longer lived and I would suggest that it is more realistic to the stress we deal with in every day life… Low level and “annoying”… but we can “deal” with it.
  • THEN, the stressed people needed a greater magnitude of stimulus to respond. This sound like anything? Kids seeking “thrills”, people doing extreme things versus being able to appreciate the small things in life, or things being “The WORST thing in the world” versus “oh…. darn… oh well.”
  • These stressed out people seek greater stimulus…. Sounds like society today (playing Call of Duty) versus what people would consider “the good old days” (playing Tag, hide and seek or cards?)

It’s interesting to me, because it shows the state of physiology you’re in directly and dynamically affects the way you respond to information. The SAME information could then make you either happier or less happy, all depending on your mood.

It reminds me of my all time favourite book/quote by James Allen

Daily ROD (Research of the Day) – It’s not about how many calories you burn…

In an endeavour to keep myself up to date and always learning I’m going to try to take something out of James Chestnuts Book and read one journal article every day – Although we’ll see how frequently I get to it as I’ve made this promise to myself multiple times.

I will post brief thoughts and a summary/synopsis based on those articles. They’ll all be interesting to me (hopefully) and useful for you (in one way or another).

Todays Article:

Hunter-Gatherer Energetics and Human Obesity


They measured the energy expenditure (amount of calories burned throughout the entire day) of Hunter-Gatherers (the ones that still exist today) as well as matched controls in the western world.

What they found:

  • Hadza (hunter-gatherers/Foragers) and their western counterparts had the same total energy expenditure per day

So what?

  • As many hear, the obesity epidemic is due to “eating too much” and “moving too little” – not so according to this study as we burn the same TOTAL NUMBER of calories per day as those who have better chronic health markers
  • So how do we take this info? It means that what we’re putting in our mouths is very important. Hunter-Gatherers aren’t gathering wheat or beans. They gather tubers, roots, berries, and freshly killed animals (who happen to be the highest quality meat you could possibly find)
  • Energy expenditure was the same BUT, and it’s a huge BUT, the Hadza aren’t expending their calories the same way. They walk large distances, and occasionally sprint and lift heavy things (dang, I sound like Mark Sisson) – but overall, they also spend a lot of time relaxing.

Take what you will from this info (it IS only one study) but my takeaways are:

  1. If you don’t consider what’s going in your mouth, you’re losing precious ground that you shouldn’t be when it comes to health and performance
  2. Be intelligent with how you expend your energy – Sprint, lift heavy things, move slowly on a regular basis (Notice the lack of chronic 45 minute AMRAPs or 30-60 minute runs?)

Stay healthy, Friends!

Dr. Adam Ball

Blasting your mind… There is no spoon!

In search of providing the body with exactly what it needs – it isn’t hard to confuse yourself with all the recommendations IF we base our thought processes on the wrong paradigm.

While all these statements are true, if we fall into a, ‘eat this for that!’, or ‘you need THIS treatment for THAT complaint!’ pattern, we set ourselves up to be questioned and can eventually end up questioning our own intentions.

Once again, all true statements. So NOW who do you believe/which set of advice do you take???

We need to give up the, “it’s good because it has ______!”, and the “It’s bad because it has _______!” paradigm or all we’re going to do is confuse and frustrate ourselves. Being in health care, I’m not one to criticize something unless I have a better alternative. We need to base our recommendations (and more importantly, our choices) on the following question:

What is required to create and maintain a healthy human being?

Asking whether or not a particular treatment, or herb, or diet, can help with a particular injury, symptom or illness can create good research findings, but is inefficiency at its’ best (think about the number of studies this would require! Ok… fish helps with heart disease.; Does it help with stroke? does it help with cancer? Do we study its’ association with EVERY other state of physiology?).

So then, how do we approach finding out what is needed to create and maintain a healthy human being. Well, we’re going to have to ask a series of questions to find that out.

  • How do we define health?
  • What is a healthy human being?
  • Are there any healthy human beings to model off?
  • What does a human need to provide what is needed to create health?
  • How do we avoid what may prevent health?

These are the driving questions behind how we should approach our health. There may be sub-sections that we want to dive more deeply into, but for now, we’ll build a solid starting point.

So, let’s define “Health”:

  • A state of optimal and appropriate cell function
    • Your cells are 100% capable of responding to the requests being made of them

For example – if you were to live at elevation, your physiology would need to make changes, right? There is less oxygen in the air the higher above sea level you go. Your tissues still need the same amount of oxygen to function optimally. Your red blood cells deliver the oxygen you take in via your lungs to the other cells/tissues in your body. So there are two options, get the red blood cells to carry more oxygen (not possible), or make more blood cells. Your body creates erythropoietin and you make more red blood cells (there is also an effect where your red blood cells become more likely to give up their oxygen). Problem solved. When you return to sea level, your body lowers its’ need for red blood cells, and you make less, maintaining the optimal amount.

So when your cells can respond to the demands placed upon them, you remain in good health.

“What is a Healthy Human Being?”

A healthy human being is one who experiences a normal rate of cell division, creating and maintaining health as they age. The maximum potential life span for a human is approximately 120 years. Stress, whether it comes from poor food choices, poor sleeping habits, poor physical condition or from mental origins, accelerates the rate at which your cells divide – meaning your life will become shorter than the 120 potential years. This means resources need to be devoted to creation, maintenance AND repair for the bodies’ cells. As we know with multi-tasking, it makes you able to do more things less effectively. It also means a shorter, less enjoyable life.

“Are there any healthy human beings to model off?”

Yes. Our ancestors, and existing hunter-gatherer tribes live a life where 80% of their population ISN’T dying of lifestyle illnesses. What DO they die of? Injury, infection (usually associated with injury), and starvation. With our luxury of abundant food and climate controlled, weather-proof shelter, we tend to avoid these causes of death. So, as with all things, let’s take what works (NOT having heart disease), and leave what doesn’t (getting mauled by a tiger), for our benefit.

So then, what is required to be sufficient and pure? Providing all those ingredients in the right amounts to create optimal wellness in a human being. To some degree it will depend on your goals, but will be based off:

If it were as easy as being sufficient and pure, health would be more abundant (which would be nice). Unfortunately we very frequently find ourselves encountering many stressors that cause us to express less than healthy physiology. These stressors include (but are not limited to):

  • Low confidence & poor self image
  • Abusive relationships (mentally as well as physically)
  • Subluxations (movement restrictions & their sequelae) in the spine and extremities
  • Lack of exercise OR too much exercise
  • A diet with a lack of nutrition, too many calories and foods unfit for human consumption
  • Poor sleep and other habits limiting recovery

So, WHY would you go through the trouble of doing all these things? Because, as of now, 80% of us (those living in western nations) will die of lifestyle illnesses. Because for the first time in decades, children have a SHORTER expected life span than those born before them. We are on more medications, receiving more surgeries, spending more money on nutraceuticals and miracle cure promises than any time in history and we are less healthy, less happy and sicker than ever before. We are the sickest species on the planet and there are NO shortcuts, NO secrets and NO magic fixes that will make us healthy other than eating, moving and thinking in ways that will support our health.

Before I finish this post, I need to thank Dr. James Chestnut. I’ve used some of his analogies and verbiage as I don’t believe in the need to “reinvent the wheel”. He has worked hard to make the wellness lifestyle paradigm easy to understand and explain. Much love and respect goes out to his continued work to help people live happier, healthier lives.

It is NEVER too late to start and your start can be as comprehensive or as gradual as you want to make it. If you would like, I am available as a resource to help your spine move better, to make great use of that movement, and to fuel your body to optimally support your athletic and fitness endeavours. Click this link, if you’d like to book an appointment with me, or to sign up for a class at CrossFit Sudbury!

In health,