What Does A Body Need To Be Healthy?

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Our bodies (human and animal) were blessed with an innate ability to continually seek an Optimal State of Health and are only limited by the appropriateness of 5 Key Ingredients. These Key Ingredients of Health (as I call them) include Diet, Exercise, Rest, Mental State, and Nervous System Function.

Regardless of how much time or resources we commit to making one or two of these Ingredients appropriate for our bodies, all must be appropriate and balanced for our bodies to truly stay at the Optimal end of the Health Continuum (as illustrated in the image).

When one or more of the Key Ingredients is not appropriate, our bodies will start to deviate away from Optimal Health and eventually signs and symptoms (pathology) develop. I address all 5 Key Ingredients for my patients and make recommendations to ensure each is as appropriate as possible.

Treatments I provide help make some of the Ingredients more appropriate while my clients often provide much of the care at home to ensure all 5 Key Ingredients are and remain appropriate. Explore the rest of the IVSMO website to learn more about the care we provide and how it can help your companion.

You might also consider these 5 Key Ingredients for yourself and try to make them as appropriate as possible to optimize your own health.

Our unique practice philosophy is to take a Whole Body approach to promoting health in our patients focusing on five key elements including Diet, Exercise, Rest, Mental State and Nervous System Function. Given appropriate “ingredients” in each of these key areas, a body has an innate ability to heal and seek optimal health for its current condition/circumstance.

5 Key Elements To Optimal Health

Diet – includes everything taken into the body including food, treats, supplements, water, air, etc. The diet must be appropriate to achieve optimal health.

Exercise – movement is necessary for the body to be healthy, the movement must be biomechanically appropriate as well as in appropriate proportion (adequate but not excessive).

Rest – the body must have time to recuperate, recover and heal, the time required increases when the challenges are greater.

Mental State – a body will be healthier with appropriate attitude/behavior. Mental state of a body is greatly influenced by physical condition, microbiome and the environment in which it exists. We greatly impact the mental state of our animals through our management practices and the environments we create for them.

Nervous System – the nervous system controls (regulates) all functions of every organ system in the body. A “normalized,” appropriately functioning nervous system is necessary for a body to appropriately regulate organ function.

Given these five key elements, a body innately seeks a higher (optimal) level of health. You provide four of the five elements through your management practices at home; the fifth is what we provide through regular Chiropractic Adjustments, Acupuncture treatments and other modalities that we utilize to help keep the Nervous System normalized.

In appropriate “ingredients” in one or more of these key elements creates stress on the body. Combined with the myriad of other internal and external stresses (including the most constant stress of all, Gravity) a body is subjected to, it allows the organ systems to deviate away from optimal health into a state of dysfunction. 

Dysfunction may be present for short or lengthy periods of time before problems are recognized. Before recognizable problems occur, the body had the ability to right itself, heal dysfunction and move back toward optimal health. 

Often, by the time a problem is recognized, the body has deviated far from optimal health and pathologic changes (“uglies”) are present in one or more organ systems which we call Multiple Body System Dysfunction (MBSD). 

“Uglies” require a longer and more challenging journey back to optimal health (and
may require some conventional veterinary treatment as well). The figure helps to better explain, in a visual way, how challenges to the body cause deviation away from optimal health and the progression toward poor health.


It also illustrates when a more Natural, Whole Body approach using Complementary and Alternative Veterinary Medical (CAVM) care is best employed to maintain a normalized nervous system. 

While a very influential complement to conventional veterinary medical care, CAVM’s
strength is in being able to keep the body on the healthier end of the spectrum and prevent the “Uglies” from ever developing in the first place. Regardless of when a Natural, Whole Body approach to promoting health is added, it will improve quality of life and give a body every opportunity to heal and improve health.