The human body is truly amazing. When you scrape your knee, who heals it? When you get a cold, who fights it? When you eat a meal, who digests it? You do! After you eat a meal, do you consciously send signals to active specific enzymes to break down food at just the right time and place? No! Thank God we don't have to actively and consciously orchestrate each and every function in our body to work properly! It is this innate intelligence that knows what to do and when do it. Each one of us has an innate intelligence that we were born with and it governs every single action required to keep us alive and healthy. One way this is explained is Homeostasis. Homeostasis is the body's natural ability to maintain balance, even under harsh circumstances the body's adaptability is one of the ways we survive and it isn't taught or learned or acquired. It is just there, from the very beginning!
Many chiropractors recognize the body's inborn innate intelligence that constantly sends signals, (without our own awareness) and constantly communicates valuable information to and from the brain and body. At Palmer College of Chiropractic the definition of Chiropractic states, "Chiropractic philosophy begins with the principle that the human organism has an innate power to maintain its own health" and includes "This unique health care approach views the body as having an innate, natural ability to adapt to changes in its internal and external environments and maintain itself in a state of health." So, how can we really tune in to this intelligence and work with it to achieve our health goals?
1. Learn your normal. When you "listen to your body", you are looking for signs that is something is off. But how will you know if something is different if you don't know what is should be? First step to listening to your body is simply being aware. How many hours of sleep do you get a night? How many meals do you eat during the day? How many hours of exercise per week? What is your stress level on a daily basis? How does your stomach react to certain foods?
2. Trust your gut. Give yourself a little credit. We often know more than we think we do. If there is something going on with your health that you just can't quite figure out, trust your gut. If there is something in the back of your mind that isn't sitting right with you, trust your gut and take action. Sometimes keeping a diary or journal can help you see patterns what you might not realize.
3. Mix it up. Try different things. Try a different workout routine. Try a different supplement. Try intermittent fasting. Whatever it is, try something new and just listen to the response. Are you in a better mood? Do you sleep more soundly? Do you have more energy? Getting stuck in a rut, while easy and comfortable, sometimes doesn't get us to where we want to be.
Here are a few areas to keep a close eye on:
Skin - Many food allergies can manifest in the skin. Also, there are some autoimmune conditions that present with skin changes like redness in the face and bumps on the arms.
Pain - One of the most common ways our body's communicates is by pain. Think of it as an alarm sounding off telling your there is a problem. Don't ignore your body when it's a whisper because it will eventually turn into a scream! Ouch!
Swelling - Many inflammatory process, whether it is from a trauma or infection, being with localized or diffuse swelling. It can also be indictive vascular conditions, heart conditions, poor diet, and injury.
Bowel Movement - What is your poop telling you? There are many great resources for this questions such as the book "What is your Poo Telling you?" by Josh Richman and Anish Sheth MD. This is an insightful way your body communicates with you. Your stool can tell you a lot about your gut health and microbiome, hydration, digestion, and much more.
Energy levels - Fatigue may be related to many health conditions so it is one to make note of. Usually it is a sign of anxiety, stress, and maybe even depression.
Menstrual Cycle - Another very helpful insight into the body's inner workings is your cycle. It can tell you a lot about your health. Does it come regularly? Missed Periods? PMS? Color? Pain? These are all potential indications of infections, anemia, or hormone imbalances.
Mood - It is so easy to miss this one because we have so many ways to distract ourselves and our mind, but your overall mood can tell you a lot about your health. Your hormones, stress, sleep, and diet all impact your mood so be aware of what effects it in positive and negative ways.
Sleep - Quality and quantity of sleep can have a huge impact on your health and if your sleeping habits are off your normal pattern or you are experiencing difficulty sleeping it may be a sign of something else going on.
Listening to your body is simply being aware of how you are feeling. From there, try to fine tune your routine to improve on certain areas and listen for a response by evaluating the effects of that change. None of these things are meant to replace expert medical advice. But they can be used as a tool for you on your own health journey. We encourage you to be informed of your own "normal" and to lean into that awareness that will serve you well going forward! Each of us, at the end of the day, are our own unique individual with our own unique set of needs and "normal", and we deserve the attention to detail that is required to listen to your body! Listen and learn and grow!
From the desk of Dr. Lisette Miller Kondrad. Dr. Miller is a licensed Chiropractic Physician and Certified Acupuncture Provider and has been in clinical practice for 7 years. She has helped hundreds of patients via Chiropractic care and Acupuncture. Click here to contact Clark Road Chiropractic Center with any questions or to schedule your appointment!