Wouldn’t it be great if your body came with an owner’s manual? You’d probably begin reading it around the age of seven or eight, and right away you would be able to start taking better care of your precious body. You would learn how you can use your body efficiently and effectively. By learning how to use your body correctly, you’d be ensuring a lifetime of good health and peak performance. You wouldn’t have to play catch up when, after years and decades of uninformed abuse, your once-perfect physical machinery began to systematically break down. In fact, by taking the time to learn sound practices, habits, and techniques now, you could avoid what, for many, turns out to be years or even decades of unnecessary physical pain and mental or emotional suffering. Fortunately, it’s never too late to start improving your life and maximizing your health, and the sooner you get started, the sooner you will start experiencing the benefits.
So, what topics would such an owner’s manual cover? The manual would discuss and describe the usual suspects – good posture, exercise, nutrition3, and proper rest – that everyone knows about but almost no one puts into regular, or even irregular, practice. The single greatest benefit of having your own personal instruction guide is that you would be able to learn about these processes without trial and error. The metaphorical horse of good health would not yet have left the barn. Rather than shutting the stable doors after the stalls had emptied – the way most of us pay attention to our health – you would be empowered as to how to actually take care of yourself.
So what can you do? Without the benefit of such an owner’s manual or the lucky acquisition of teachers and coaches who really know what they’re doing, most of us struggle along. Our posture gets worse and worse, our muscles and joints get tighter and tighter, and sooner or later (usually sooner) we develop pain that quickly becomes chronic. Fortunately our bodies are resilient and reparable. Once we find the right person (such as a chiropractor) who can teach us about good posture and healthful exercise, it’s possible to start feeling better. A chiropractor is intimately familiar with the spine and can help you figure out the secrets to your own body, so that you get all the benefits of having an owner’s manual without having to do all the legwork yourself.
Using posture as an example, a chiropractor can teach you the secrets that many mentors and coaches impart to dancers, gymnasts, and all other highly trained competitive athletes. You can learn how to balance your weight over the balls of your feet. You can learn how to stand erect and straight, but not rigid. You can learn how to open your chest without straining your chest muscles, allowing your lungs to take in all the air you need to function at your peak. You can learn how to let your shoulder girdles relax, resting them on your rib cage, sitting or standing straight and tall without tightening and fatiguing your neck and upper back muscles. You can learn how to activate and properly use your core abdominal musculature, providing a firm and secure foundation for all your body’s activities. A chiropractor is an expert of the human spine, and has an intimate understanding of how your spine and posture affects how you feel, as well as what you need to do to take care of this precious part of the human anatomy.
If you want to start unlocking the secrets of your own personal owner’s manual, contact your chiropractor and get started on the path to feeling better and improving your health today!
1. Vidal J, et al: Effects of Postural Education on Daily Habits in Children. Int J Sports Med March 4th, 2011 (Epub ahead of print)
2. Eriksson MK, et al: Quality of life and cost-effectiveness of a 3-year trial of lifestyle intervention in primary health care. Arch Intern Med 170(16):1470, 1479, 2010
3. Huffman DM: Exercise as a calorie restriction mimetic: implications for improving healthy aging and longevity. Interdiscip Top Gerontol 37:157-174, 2010