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Adaptability and disease

In the West, ill health is often seen as something that happens to us. Turning it on its head, we could say that ill health is when your body can no longer adapt to a new circumstance and therefore has to make compromises to ensure essential functions are maintained - those essential primal functions being; movement to get food, the ability to digest food in order to extract essential elements and the ability to procreate (sometimes further down the list depending on circumstance).

Adaptability means the ability for the body to change in respect to the influences that are imposed on it. This often means the ability to adapt to the external environment, whether it be cold, heat, lashing rain or any other weather we may meet. It can also mean the ability to adapt to social circumstances - groups of people, isolation or annoying work colleagues. We also have adaptability to physical challenges including trauma (broken bones, sprains) or positional adjustment due to our work or hobbies (sport, gaming, social media).

If the body’s adaptability is poor or compromised, then a return to Neutral state, post the reaction to circumstance that caused the adaptation, may not be complete and therefore a new Neutral is established which leads to a longer state of compromise in adaptability. This is often known as chronic disease.

A child seems infinitely adaptable, seemingly able to adjust to change, injury or the ability to pick up new things as fast as you can throw it at them. Constantly going from floor to standing to falling to running, learning and adapting both physically and mentally. Everything seems to work in cohesion.

As we age, we tend to gain less flexibility in mind and body which starts to reflect in our adaptability. How do we know our adaptability is compromised? Signs like digestive discomfort or irregularity, strange skin conditions, catching more flus than normal, anxiousness, small changes in our normal function like stiffness as we get out of bed, sore shoulders, regular headaches or increasing intolerance of changes and people around us. These are all symptoms of a body that at some deeper level is struggling to make functional and adaptive decisions in order to maintain homeostasis (a Neutral) as best it can. Adaptability is still happening - just not at an optimal level.

The western medicine approach to the symptoms of loss of adaptability is often to target the symptom. Steroid cream for skin rashes, pain killers for pain, antibiotics for infections. Whilst sometimes entirely appropriate to save life (antibiotics for raging infection - yes please) it doesn't address the root cause; that the body has lost the ability to adapt, correct and then regain its instinctive Neutral position.

How do we correct these things and regain our adaptability? To be honest, it's not easy and takes time and effort. We need to re-establish natural movement which means elongating muscles, not shortening them, and regain our ability to twist, bound, fall, jump as well as a myriad of other actions which just don't occur in an urban environment. We need to explore and use our body which means hunting out the bits that are underused or have sensory deprivation: tap, wring, shake, bounce, breath and bring our attention back into our body - don't ignore that area which hurts now or used to "but slowly got better", otherwise the body will work (or will have worked) around the problem and made adaptive compromised choices.

In the Chinese Medicine paradigm, we use various tools (acupuncture, tuina massage, cupping and herbs) to address those areas where the body has lost its adaptability. We nudge those areas in the belief that once corrected, the body can regain cohesion, stop working so hard to work around the areas that aren't so adaptable anymore and therefore regain a better Neutral. We also use the tools of movement therapists (sTop training, Pilates and yoga) to re-establish natural movement patterns and meditation to tie our awareness back into the body.

This is the basis of the Human Health Project here at Miller’s Way. Whether it is using acupuncture, massage, movement classes or meditation - all of these methods are offered to assist you to hunt out those areas of compromise, and to start correcting them in order to regain your full adaptability. Better movement, better function, less illness. Interested in more? Contact James, Chloe or Steve for a consult.

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