“If it ain’t broke,don’t fix it!” Or so goes the quintessential New England axom. There is a lot of wisdom in that truism, as anyone who has tinkered with a motorcycle or lawn mower can tell you.
Of course, like most proverbs, the opposite is equally true (“don’t judge a book by its cover/what you see is what you get”): Don’t wait until something breaks down before you start taking care of it. It’s simple common sense: a well-maintained machine will run better, work more efficiently, need fewer repairs and last longer than one which is never tuned up.
And yet, there are some people who apply the second axiom to their beloved cars or trucks and the first axiom to their own bodies. These people will religiously take their vehicle in for regular maintenance, tune-ups and oil changes. But when it comes to their bodies, they wait until something hurts, or, worse- stops working entirely before they attend to it. Sometimes these people even think they are being “tough”. The reality is that, even more than tractors or cars, our bodies need and deserve regular maintenance and care in order to perform properly.
Most people forget that our bodies are the result of an evolution of design which operates at a very slow pace. It takes hundreds of thousands of years for humans to develop fundamental changes in our structural adaptation to our physical environment. Thus the human body has changed very little in the last 10,000 years.
At least tractors are made for driving in the dirt. Our bodies, which we use to operate cars, computers and classroom desks, are made for the savana, the forest and the plains.
Our cultural evolution in the last 10,000 years has been extreme compared to our biological evolution. We have altered our physical environment and lifestyles so dramatically that they are virtually unrecognizable in relation to their 10,000 BC counterparts. This alteration is so extreme that, were the average person to be dropped off into a wilderness to which his physical body was perfectly adapted, he would stand little chance of long term survival.
Our civilized environment is just as alien to our bodies. Instead of the savanna or forest for which our bodies are adapted, we have built cities with pavement and carpeting and automobiles and restricting clothing. Instead of perfectly pure air and water and food, we expose ourselves to tainted air, poisoned water and impure food. We bombard our bodies with toxic chemicals from our environment and our pharmacies. On a deeper level, our biological expectation is for a mental environment of harmony and sustainable coexistence. Instead, we are exposed to rampant negativity, violence, fear, and depression. Our bodies have been “dropped off” in this wilderness we call civilization with only primitive tools and skills to survive. It is no wonder that, even though our biological capacity is for a lifespan of of well over 100 healthy years, our cultural capacity is far below that, with our first major illness beginning usually around age 40.
The message here is that if we wish to get the most out of our miraculous bodies, we must appreciate the strange and alien stresses with which it must cope daily. If we wait until something breaks before we fix it, it may be too late. Also, unlike machinery, replacement parts are extremely difficult to come by, very expensive, and never as good as the original! Furthermore, since most problems in our bodies will spend the majority of their development time without any symptoms at all, it makes just plain yankee sense to be proactive about health and keep our bodies tuned up regularly.
Chiropractic care is one great way to keep your body tuned up, maintained, and clearer of stress, tension, and misalignments that can impede the optimal performance of not only your physical structure, but your mind as well.
Tapping into our tremendous capacity to heal and adapt means giving back, on a regular basis, to the body which gives us so much. The newly emerging awareness of this health ethic is opening opportunities for the next generation to experience a higher quality-and length- of life and greater health expresssion.
The above article was published in a local Burlington paper May of 1998. Since then, the “Paleo” movement has exploded across the country, which is based on giving the body the physical and nutritional cues to which it evolved. “Paleos” walk and run barefoot, exercise in gyms that mimic the forest or jungle, with ropes and swings and “trees”; and eat food that tries to represent our biological evolutionary state.