What is Health? Part II: Physical Health


This is the second in our four-part series, “What is Health“.  This post discusses physical health.

If your body has the capability of performing all its functions at optimum efficiency, you are experiencing good health.  If your body is having difficulty performing any or all of its required functions, you are experiencing a state of dis-ease – better known as disease.

Many people think that if they are not in pain, they are healthy.  Lack of pain is not a sign of good health.

If I have five shots of vodka and you ask me how I’m feeling, and I say (or mumble, with spittle oozing down the side of my mouth as I slide off my barstool towards the bathroom) “Great,” I’m not healthy – I’m drunk.  I have flooded my body’s cells with a sugar that penetrates the blood brain barrier and depresses my amygdala (my “don’t do it!” brain center)  and other brain centers of awareness.  As the alcohol deprives my cells of oxygen, it produces a form of formaldehyde upon metabolism.  Yes; I said formaldehyde. I’m literally pickled.


I’ve given my body crappy fuel that my body is trying desperately to get rid of, stressing my liver and kidneys unnecessarily. A lack of pain can be very unhealthy.

Q&A time:

Q: If I am a runner and I’ve pulled a tendon in my leg, and I have to run with the aid of muscle relaxers in order to get through my routine, am I healthy?

A: No. I’m not giving my body the opportunity to heal properly, so I am inducing further injury; and because I cannot feel the pain, I am unaware of the extent of the injury.  I could be causing permanent damage for all I know.  Despite the fact that I no longer feel the pain, I am causing myself harm.


Let’s make this a little more interesting.

Q: If I catch the flu and I run a temperature of about 101 degrees Fahrenheit, get chills, have to blow my nose, get diarrhea, throw up a few times, feel achy and have to stay in bed for a day or two drinking clear liquids, am I healthy?

A: Yes.  My body is responding normally and effectively against an invader, and is petitioning my otherwise oblivious consciousness that I need to take it easy for a few days and let my cells’ innate intelligence destroy and eliminate those pesky viruses.

Q: If I catch the flu and my temperature runs over 106 degrees Fahrenheit, and I suffer a massive bloody red collapse of my digestive and respiratory system, am I healthy?

A: No.  My body, for whatever reason, is being overwhelmed by the effects of the invader.  My innate intelligence does not have the necessary stamina and ability to fight the virus, and I should have gotten medical attention long before my stool and coughs became bloody.

Now.  In the second scenario:

Q: Was I sick before the virus came and found me hard at work living my life?


A: Yes.  I just didn’t know it.  I felt no pain, but for whatever reason, my body was out of alignment.

We chiropractors like to use that word a lot when describing optimum health: alignment.  Alignment doesn’t just mean spinal alignment; we’re after a perfect alignment of the body’s metabolism, or the body’s ability to maintain a stable homeostasis.  Ultimately, we’re after the alignment of body, mind, and spirit. All three are related, and all three affect one another.


Many factors can throw that alignment off.  A familiar anachronism chiropractors like to use – but it’s still pretty handy as a memory device — is the three Ts: Trauma, Toxins, and Thought.

Trauma — From small little viruses invading cells to a piano falling on your head.  Also included is sitting in one position all day, either at work or at home in front of the TV.  That’s called repetitive motion trauma.  Sitting in one place for hours causes more physical health problems than any other trauma.  When you get sick or in pain and you say, “I didn’t do anything,” that’s probably why you are sick.  So get up and move around!

Toxins — Such as artificial chemicals in food (or just way too much frickin’ food), artificial bath products, and carbon monoxide exhaust.  The results of toxins can be immediate poisoning, allergies, and terrible disease states like diabetes mellitus (type 2 diabetes) and cancer.

Thought – A terrible attitude toward life, yourself, and your day-to-day experiences. Can be caused by negative experiences in your life, early and otherwise, and definitely can be influenced by the previous two Ts.

A subluxation is a term chiropractors use for some form of subtle interference to the full-functioning of nervous system, which is caused by the three Ts (your medical doctor would call a subluxation a dislocation of a joint easily visible upon imaging.  Chiropractors include the subtle misalignments in that definition).  A way to remember the impact of a subluxation is to break the word into its components: sub = falling short of; lux = SI unit of illuminance; ation = the result of an action or process.  To have subluxation is to have a physical process that is experiencing a state of reduced light. So when you hear your chiropractor use the term subluxation, remember this breakdown and understand he or she is saying that your nervous system is expressing reduced power and function.

Subluxations are a short-term method the body uses in order to function under continued stress, but they must be removed before they cause long-term damage, because interference to the nervous system is what we call “bad.”  We generally remove the interference at the junction of the central nervous system and the peripheral nervous system — otherwise known as the spine.  That’s why lots of people come to us when their backs and necks feel pain.  Removing interference to the nervous system often relieves pain at the site of the subluxation.  But more than that, we teach our patients how to keep their bodies free of subluxations through a positive, healthy, happy lifestyle.

Which leads me to the second point in the World Health Organization’s definition of health: Mental/Emotional Health.

Next time: “What is Health? Part III: Mental Health (a.k.a., Emotional Health)

Truthtime question: Do you replenish your body with fresh, locally-grown and raised, natural, non GMO foods, and animals that wander freely, aren’t genetically modified or shot up with antibiotics, and have a decent life before they become your meal, as well as exercise, stretch, and meditate/pray 4 to 5 times a week,  knowing that if you don’t have your health, you have nothing?


About Dr. Claire

CLAIRE FITZPATRICK is a Doctor of Chiropractic in New York City. Her specialty is helping women and men aged 30-55 eliminate signs and symptoms of early aging. She is owner of JOY! Health and Bodyworks, LLC a holistic, integrative network of holistic practitioners who specialize in health issues related to early aging. She is the author of the ebook, "The Nine Essentials of Health: A Must Have Guide for Healthy Living."

Posted on 09/28/2012, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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