In today’s age, the word healthy is plastered everywhere, mainly as a marketing ploy. Everyone is selling “health.”
But what does it really mean to be “healthy”?
To us, healthy should mean more than just not being in pain or experiencing symptoms. We think that being healthy should describe how good you are at healing from the stress in your life.
In this article, we dive into why being healthy should be less about how we feel and more about how we heal. We will also touch on why using feeling as an indicator isn’t always accurate, and how we use this definition of health in our approach to helping our clients.
If you want to skip the reading and jump right into a real conversation, book a free 15-minute consultation, and we’ll start talking about how we can get you healing better.
Table of Contents
- The Problem With How Society Currently Defines Health
- Why Health is Actually About How We Heal And Not How We Feel
- How We Can Measure How Well Our Body Heals
- How We Support and Encourage “Health” Through Our Intervention Model
- How Taking Ownership Of Your Pain Can Lead To A Healthier You
- Ready To Heal Better, Not Just Feel Better?
The Problem With How Society Currently Defines Health
What would you say if someone asked you, “how healthy are you?”
Most people would start by considering things like, “How am I feeling right now? Am I in pain? Do I feel good? Have I eaten well this week? Have I exercised recently? Am I sick?”
But the problem with those metrics is that they’re all subjective, and they all revolve around measuring our health based on the absence or presence of pain or sickness.
Our healthcare system then continues this problem by mainly operating around this outdated way of viewing health.
There will always be a place for a “treatment” approach when managing pain/sickness, but we need a system to address chronic concerns as well. Our healthcare system should heal your symptoms and look at where these symptoms could be coming from.
Are these symptoms a byproduct of something bigger happening in your body?
Health practitioners are conditioned to provide reactionary care rather than preventative care and use “pre-injury status” as the goal or outcome for their intervention.
We think that people should be demanding more of this system and challenging this definition of health.
Why Health is Actually About How We Heal And Not How We Feel
The problem with relying on pain to tell you if you are “healthy” is that pain isn’t all that reliable in the first place.
PAIN– Pay Attention Inside Now– is a means to alert your body that something is wrong and needs to be changed. But we only feel 30% of what happens in our bodies, and even when we do feel pain, we often solve it with a temporary or quick fix, ex. Tylenol, so there is a lot that goes untreated and ignored.
Ignoring this pain causes our perception and “something-is-wrong” indicator to become less reliable. Let’s say you’re training for a race or competition. You’re probably placing repetitive and accumulative stress on your body through this training. Doing so impacts our bodies’ response to the pain signal and ultimately causes our pain threshold to increase. In other words, it now takes even more for us to feel pain, and we may dismiss something as an issue until it becomes a BIG issue.
Being pain-free doesn’t make you healthy. We can train our bodies not to feel pain, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t problems inside. Pain is protective in nature and can be built up like alcohol tolerance.
Instead, being healthy should mean that your body can return to homeostasis. A place where it can respond to stress with accuracy and efficiency despite putting stress on your body—a place where you can spend less time in doctors’ offices and more time living life.
The W.H.O defines health as “A state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”
Instead of looking at pain as something to treat, we should see it as something our body is trying to tell us. What is this pain telling us about our body’s ability to heal? If instead of just treating the pain, we look to understand the root cause of these symptoms and teach or strengthen the body’s ability to recover or heal itself, it will be able to deal with these stressors next time they arise.
This is how we can heal better, and get our bodies to a truly healthy place.
How We Can Measure How Well Our Body Heals
We measure our body’s capacity to heal by understanding how the nervous system is functioning. A healthy nerve system is able to accurately and efficiently respond to stressors as they arise.
When we perceive something as stressful, we go into an alerted or sympathetic (fight or flight) state. Once the stressor or perceived threat is gone, we move back into a calmed or parasympathetic (rest and digest) state. Here, nerve tension is restored back to the baseline to allow for healing and recovery.
Our body was made to go between these two states. To stop healing in order to react to a threat, and to go back to healing once we know we are safe. The issue becomes when this system becomes “faulty” and we perceive non-threatening things as stressful.
When we lose the ability to accurately interpret, integrate, and respond to stress, our body gets stuck in a high alert state, and we cannot heal ourselves.
We use tests that measure tension in the nervous system to show us if you are properly reacting to stresses that arise. The data from these tests can guide our intervention to get your body back to a place where it can function and heal properly.
Below we name three tests we can use to measure tension in the nervous system. All three of these tests are included in our Client Assessments.
HRV – Heart Rate Variability
This test measures the tension in nerves that regulate the balance between your nervous system’s alert and calm states. Specifically, it looks at the level of Stress Adaptability in the body.
The test is performed while at rest, so if there are high levels of tension, we know something is out of balance.
These high levels of tension/ inability to properly adapt may be due to prolonged illness, overtraining, poor sleep/recovery, emotional stress, poor diet, and low physical activity. Meaning your body isn’t able to work/ heal as it should.
Posture / sEMG Assessment
Posture is a window into how the nervous system expresses the need for protection and energy conservation. This test measures how much energy the muscles of the spine are using while seated.
When your body requires a lot of energy to maintain a stable spine your muscles can overwork themselves, leading to poor energy distribution in the body. This, in turn, can affect how the body deals with maintaining its other functions.
This test measures the amount of tension in our nerves that control/regulate our health’s “automatic” functions. Think heart rate, temperature regulation, digestion, metabolism, immunity etc. These functions are responsible for keeping us alive without even needing to think about it (thank goodness for that!).
When this system is out of balance–meaning there is an abnormal amount of tension in these nerves– it’s a cue that the body isn’t functioning as it should. This could lead to an array of issues if it hasn’t already.
How We Support and Encourage “Health” Through Our Intervention Model
Pain is an important indicator that something is not working right in the body, but it should not be the driving force for intervention. We see your pain, but our primary focus isn’t just to treat it. We want to look deeper at your pain and discover what it’s telling us about your body.
We want your pain to go away, but our focus isn’t to return your body to where it was before you were in pain. We want to get you to a place where we can prevent the pain from happening in the first place.
By helping your nervous system and looking at your whole person (not just your pain), we give you and your body the tools to heal.
We believe that by supporting the health & function of the nervous system, we are supporting the health & function of the whole body. A healthy nerve system can respond more appropriately and efficiently to stress.
You choose the stress. We help your nerve system adapt to it.
How Taking Ownership Of Your Pain Can Lead To A Healthier You
When you step into the ownership role of your own healing, you can use us to grow beyond your original health concern.
You’ll be able to understand your pain, and what it’s telling you, and discover how to get your body back to a place of healing. You’re able to rely on us less, and yourself more.
We want to be more than fixers of your pain. We want to be the people that teach you how to help your body heal and how you can build its resilience—giving you ownership of your body’s health. Together, we make “optimal health & function” the goal instead of “absence of pain/symptoms.”
Ready To Heal Better, Not Just Feel Better?
At Launch Wellness, we don’t just look to see if a client is in pain. We see how well their body can process new stressors and heal themselves. When we lose the ability to respond appropriately to the stress in our lives (physically, mentally, etc.), our bodies can get out of balance, causing all sorts of issues, including pain.
How do you know if you’re out of balance? Well, you can start by taking our free stress adaptability test. Your body will adapt and respond to stress, but sometimes it needs some help to learn how to do it most effectively. This tool can help you identify if your body needs some extra support.