Balancing the 3 T’s of Wellness
I’ve briefly talked about what a subluxation is in a previous post (Motion is Life – Move It or Lose It) and I now want to tackle a question that I get asked pretty frequently… how do misalignments and maladaptive patterns happen in a body? Where do subluxations come from?
In one word, the answer is STRESS. Stress of one kind of another is responsible for all deviations from health. Any disturbance in health and vitality can result from the influence of three broad categories of stressors -or a unique combination of stressors from each of those categories… Physical, Chemical and/or Energetic – also called the 3T’s… Traumas, Toxins and/or Thoughts. In my practice, I deal largely with the physical realm (although I do work with elements of both the chemical and energetic through lifestyle counseling involving food and supplement choices, breath coaching and yoga/meditation/mindfulness practices) and make referrals to other awesome people who do lots more focused work in the later two categories… so I’ll spend most of my time writing about that physical realm here. Finding balance in these three categories in your life will go a long way in reducing the impact of stress and promoting your health. Establishing a supportive wellness care team for yourself and your family and establishing nurturing self-care rituals are important steps that you can take to beat stress and balance those 3t’s!
Physical –aka Trauma
Physical stressors and trauma can come in two forms… macro – like slipping and falling on an icy sidewalk, and micro – such as the resulting wear/tear and pain resulting from a job where you work in a chronically stationary position (usually seated) or are performing repetitive motions. Usually people quickly grasp how the macro traumas can cause pain and problems and why seeing a chiropractor after such an event “makes sense.” It can be a little more challenging to notice the contribution of micro traumas as symptoms usually arise from cumulative and compounding occurrences that are more challenging to identify. Micro traumas are so sneaky because they happen every day, and for a long time your body will adapt and cover for what’s happening… until it won’t anymore.
If we look at the physical side of subluxation from a human lifespan perspective, the first subluxations that are commonly found in really young babies are in the upper neck and are likely related to the birth process. Whether a baby is delivered vaginally or by c-section, there usually is some amount of hands on (or vacuum, or forceps) assistance as the baby makes his or her way out into the wider world. When babies begin learning to roll over (also through the diapering process and hanging out in car seats a lot) sometimes subluxations will occur in the mid back area and where the mid back transitions to the low back. Low back and pelvic misalignments typically start showing up around the time that young children are learning how to stand, cruise the furniture in the home and walk. Think about how much kids fall on their bum in the process of learning how to stand and walk… now imagine yourself falling onto your butt from a standing height and rep that out about a hundred times per day. Are you starting to get the picture? 😉 After these developmental milestones, there are all of the playground spills, sports related incidents, bike accidents and the list or possible contributors to subluxation in a body goes on. These occurrences happen frequently and unless there is a lot of blood or something broken, we often shrug off the trauma and mentally categorize our self or our child as being okay.
I encourage parents to bring newborns in for a well baby check and then at the developmental milestones mentioned above. After that then at least 2x per year for check-ups (similar to the dentist… although you can get dentures if your teeth are in really bad shape… I haven’t found that equivalent for the spine yet). Other recommended times to bring your child in to be checked would include during an illness (or after) as that is another sort of trauma, after any falls that seemed significant (the child does not get up and return to play right away, the child is difficult to console, the child continues to tell the parent that something hurts or feels weird) or if the parent notices changes in behavior, sleep, diet, bathroom habits or attitude (particularly in very young children and non-verbal children and/or adults).
On to the next one.
Chemical –aka Toxins
Chemical stressors include both things that we are exposed to that we shouldn’t be (alcohol, sugar, cigarettes, drugs, environmental pollutants, foods that we are sensitive to, too much stress hormones too often) as well as a lack of things that we should be getting (fresh fruits and vegetables, healthful fats, lots of water, fresh air/enough oxygen)
Energetic (psycho-social, emotional, spiritual component) –aka Thoughts
This category can include past emotional traumas that haven’t fully been integrated and are stored in tissue (the body remembers) as well as feelings of isolation, disconnection, being unworthy/unloveable, grief, fear and lack. It also includes when we don’t get enough sleep and intentional rest and relaxation and are running entirely on stress hormones. Issues involving feeling stifled creatively or spiritually fit neatly in the energetic category, too.
I hope this helps you to understand the importance of integrating all parts of our selves for our most robust expression of life and health! If you would like my assistance in creating a more balanced state in your life, please contact me by checking out the options listed under the CONTACT menu bar.
Martha DeSante DC, CYT