Posted by: ensomabodyworks | July 6, 2012

Being “Fit” may not equal being “Healthy.”

I was talking to my friend and acupuncturist Abe Rummage of Accu-care clinic about health.  He pointed out  from the traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) perspective  that having good muscle tone,  good cardiovascular capacity and flexibility does not necessarily equate to health.  Say What?

  • It makes sense since TCM is not symptom based and compartmentalized as the western medical model is.  TCM looks at the entire person for a global perspective and not just symptoms (or the lack of them).  This is a key point. If you do not have any symptoms you are healthy but we also know this is not true. Cancer, arthritis,  muscle dysfunction and heart disease takes years to develop and show up as a “symptom,”  and you say that it “came out of no where!”  But the truth is your body and maybe your emotions were not in balance from the get go.
  • I feel Abe’s comment to me behooves us to look at our health from a larger perspective. than just the old western health model. And I use “old” here as many doctors and practitioners see the larger view and the need to integrate body, mind and spirit.
  • Physical fitness has several components: Muscular strength, muscular endurance, muscular flexibility and cardiovascular capacity.  But this does not mean you are healthy. Why?  Health is more about your entire body, all its organs and systems, including your mind, emotions and also  your spirit. Health is about these elements working optimally, connected and  integrated.  Achieving good health also means  giving your self time to relax and renew regularly.
  • One synonym for “health” is well-being.  I like this. It denotes you, a being, is well, which is synonymous with the word “glowing.” You know that look of a person who is glowing-they radiate peace, health and vitality.
  • I wonder how many people that work out, stretch, run or bike that also take an antacid or purple pill, or anti-inflammation or anti-anxiety or sleep prescription? Or how many people who identify themselves as religious or spiritual are very out of shape (and also on these medications).   And I wonder how many Americans actually take time to relax and restore? (which does not include T.V., a few glasses of wine, exercise or sleeping. How many of you have heard the story of the executive in his 50’s who drops dead of a heart attack? (And they did not find a heart defect afterwards in autopsy).  I hear this story once every few years at the fitness center or at synagogue.
  • I urge you to consider adding in some relaxation into your health model and also into the exercise regimen: An easy thing to do would be take 10 minutes after vigorous exercise and laying on your back deep breathing or  stretching slowly with deep breathing for 10-15 minutes (both would be ideal).
  • What aspect of the larger “health” model are you needing to address more? Exercising more, connecting to your community more?  Starting a meditation or breathing practice? Carving out time to rest more often?  For example I need to spend more time with people and less time at my computer! (and meditate more regularly).
  • Our bodies (and minds) need multiple forms of movement, stimuli, rest and integration to achieve well-being.  Not sure where to start? Drop me a line 🙂


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