We hear a lot about wellness these days, but it seems to mean different things to different people.

For some, wellness is fitness, good muscle tone, proper posture, and being in shape. For others, wellness is eating right, avoiding processed foods, preservatives and food additives that clog their bodies, instead concentrating on fruits and vegetables and other fresh, whole foods. Others still think wellness is in the mind, and that positive mental attitude and an optimistic outlook on life is wellness. Who is right?

Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines wellness as “the quality or state of being in good health especially as an actively sought goal.”

The American Heritage Medical Dictionary says wellness is “the condition of good physical, mental and emotional health, especially when maintained by an appropriate diet, exercise, and other lifestyle modifications.”

Mosby’s Medical Dictionary says wellness is “a dynamic state of health in which an individual progresses toward a higher level of functioning, achieving an optimum balance between internal and external environments.”

It’s a Blend
These definitions help us to understand that all of the abovementioned people are right in pursuing wellness in their own way. No one has to be wrong for each of them to be right. And it seems like blending the different pathways to wellness can make it more personalized, more effective for each individual, and more fun as each person creates his or her own best quality of life.

Notice that each of the definitions quoted here includes an intention to be well, and a willingness to do what it takes to experience wellness. Different people use different combinations of lifestyle habits to get as well as they can, and many people have discovered that the right approach is to develop habits like good diet, sufficient sleep and rest, drinking enough water, exercising to keep fit, maintaining a positive attitude, and performing body maintenance procedures, like massage or meditation, and periodic check-ups for your eyes, your teeth, and your spine and nerve system.

Choosing Your Professional Wellness Team

Most people have a dentist, and if they have needed glasses to see better they’ve seen an optometrist, but many people have not yet learned of the importance of having a family chiropractor to take care of your spine and nerve system. Your nerve system is your body’s switchboard, connecting all the parts to the brain and to each other, and the spine protects the delicate nerves with bone. If the spine is healthy and the bones move properly, the nerve system is protected. But if anything disturbs the way the spinal bones fit together, like an injury or other stress, they don’t protect the nerves, and in fact can start to irritate them. This can cause pain and poor body function, and the way to prevent that is to get regular spine and nerve system exams, just like you get your teeth checked.

The doctor who specializes in the spine and nerve system is the doctor of chiropractic, also know as a chiropractor or DC. Most people think of the chiropractor as a back doctor, and it’s true that the doctor does examine the back to decide how to help you – that’s because the spine is in the back, and the doctor of chiropractic is interested in how your spine is working to protect or interfere with your nerve system. This doesn’t only affect back pain and neck pain, it affects all of your body’s functions that depend on nerves to carry information to and from the brain – your digestion, your breathing, your immune system and reproductive function all are influenced by nerve system control.

Chiropractors and Wellness

Chiropractors have been educating people about wellness for over a hundred years. Choosing good lifestyle habits, like good nutrition, rest, exercise, attitude and chiropractic care, has always been a part of the doctor of chiropractic’s recommendations – just remember that like all people, each doctor of chiropractic also chooses the blend of lifestyle habits that lead toward wellness. Based on that blend, your chiropractor may concentrate primarily on spinal care, leaving the remainder of the wellness habits and routines up to your discretion. Others have learned about and specialized in various other disciplines, like exercise, nutrition, sports, and many other areas of expertise.

So, when you combine these definitions of wellness, you can see that wellness is “a dynamic state of being in good physical, mental and emotional health, especially as an actively sought goal, maintained by an appropriate diet, exercise, and other lifestyle modifications, toward a higher level of functioning, achieving an optimum balance between internal and external environments.”

Ask your family chiropractor about which wellness habits he or she uses – it may give you some insight into how you can keep yourself healthy physically, mentally and socially, and improve the quality of your life by deciding which lifestyle habits are best for you.