This is an excerpt from Chapter Two of Dr. Troy Dreiling’s book.
Your MD and Health
What exactly does being healthy mean? We use this term all the time. “I went to the doctor and she said I was healthy” or “My grandma is very healthy and rarely has to visit the doctor” or “I wish I could get rid of these aches and pains so I could be healthy.”
Have you ever really considered what you mean when you say or think these things? “Healthy” is one of those words that can mean a lot of different things to a lot of different people. In general, the idea of health between the medical model and the chiropractic model of care differs significantly.
Ask a medical doctor what health is and they will likely say, “A state free from disease.” This definition does not state what health is, but what it is not. It is not a disease. So, according to their definition, if you do not have a specific disease you are healthy.
But, what if you have:
- Stomach disturbances
- Body pain
Unless there is a specific disease attached to these complaints, you are still considered healthy. In pain, yes. Healthy, yes. How can a person be healthy if they have health complaints?
On the other hand, sometimes a healthy body does have health complaints. It’s true! At least if you think of a body that is acting correctly as one that is healthy.
For instance, if you have eaten food and now have what is known as food poisoning, your body will respond by vomiting and getting diarrhea. This means that your body is functioning in a healthy manner. Yes, you have symptoms. Yes, you feel terrible. But your body has recognized the “poison” and is working efficiently to rid the body of this poison.
Other signs that some say show lack of health that can actually mean your body is reacting in a healthy manner include:
So, what is health if it isn’t about symptoms?
Chiropractic Health Is True Health
Chiropractic does not look at health in terms of what it is not, but in terms of what it is.
The World Health Organization defined health as “a state of optimal physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”
Chiropractors understand the intimate relationship of a healthy body to the nervous system, which of course includes the vertebral column. The nervous system controls everything in your body. All your cells, tissues, organs and systems get information from the nervous system and learn what they are to do and not to do based on that communication.
Since this is true, real health is about how well your nervous system can communicate with the rest of your body. That is why subluxations cause such big problems.
Subluxations cause a block of communication. This blockage causes a variety of disease and illness.
It is amazing how many people come to a chiropractor with a spinal complaint, only to realize that chiropractic care has resolved not only their back pain but other issues as well. Reducing subluxations creates positive results through the entire body!
Mechanist vs. Vitalist
Essentially, the medical model of health sees the body as a machine – a series of parts that need attention. That is why there are specialists – specialists deal with your parts.
- Cardiologist = Heart
- Gastroenterologist = Digestive system
- Urologist = Urinary tract
- Podiatrist = FeetOrthopedist = Bones
- Gynecologist = Female reproduction
- Neurologist = Nervous system
In order to “fix” the machine or “get rid of” disease, these specialists look to drugs to alter blood chemistry. In many instances, this approach does not address the root of the problem.
Those that see the body as a whole are known as vitalists.
A vitalist doesn’t see the body as just a sum of parts but realizes that the body has an “innate intelligence” – an ability to heal and the desire to be whole and well. Chiropractors are vitalists, along with acupuncturists, homeopaths, and naturopaths, among others.
The purpose of vitalist care is to restore your body to balance so that it can perform at the optimal levels. We do not merely mask symptoms and declare health when the symptoms are gone. Instead, we look for the root cause of the problems and work to eliminate that root cause.
Generally speaking, chiropractors are both mechanists and vitalists, at least in respect to the following:
- Mechanist: Chiropractors pay attention to the mechanics of the spine.
- Vitalist: Chiropractors look at a dis-stressed or altered nervous system and how it affects the entire body, understanding that correcting the subluxation will allow the body to heal itself.