April 6, 2021

The 4 Elements of Optimal Health

Brain Body Mind Chemistry

Your health is a multifaceted interwoven matrix of body systems and functions. However, when you understand how these systems work individually and how they relate to each other, you realize that it becomes more challenging to look at them separately than as one. At Plasticity Centers, we embrace a philosophy of treating the whole person and not treating their condition(s) because of this interdependence.

Water consists of 2 Hydrogen atoms and 1 Oxygen atom (H2O) bonded together. If one of the Hydrogen atoms is disassociated, you no longer have water (actually, you have hydrogen peroxide, which is a pretty volatile molecule- which fits this analogy well).  Like water, our health has 4 elements: the Brain, the Body, the Mind, and Chemistry. Also similar to water, when one of those elements is compromised, we become unhealthy... and volatile.

Let's take a look at each of the elements.

Brain 

Debatably at the center of your health, your brain is your master control center. It influences everything, from what you think, how you feel, how you move, how your organs function, how you sleep, and how your hair grows. That’s why Plasticity Centers views overall health through a brain-first lens.

Our first objective is to determine how well your brain is processing and responding to the world. Once we understand that element, we can often explain why you have seemingly unrelated symptoms to your primary complaint. Often, after treatment, patients tell us that problems that they didn't even know were fixable have been resolved (e.g., heartburn, libido, repetitive injuries, insomnia, etc.).

Using computerized systems and highly-trained doctors’ observation skills, we measure vital functions, eye movements, balance, spatial awareness, coordination, and cognition to create a comprehensive image of your brain function. Then, we create a customized treatment plan that will train the various inputs to your brain, such as sight, hearing, touch, taste, smell, and proprioception/spatial sense.  Ultimately, this helps to re-wire the brain, creating “plastic” long-lasting change.

 

Body

Not only is controlling the body one of the main functions, but the body is also the biggest stimulation provider to the brain. Movement of joints, activation of muscles, and the sensations from your skin can all affect your brain and, therefore, your overall function. At Plasticity Centers, we examine the body from chiropractic, kinesiology, biomechanics, and movement analysis perspectives. When indicated, we also consider organ dysfunction, particularly due to the brain-organ connection.

To assess the body, we examine muscular function, joint integrity, your biomechanics of walking, and other body movements. We also examine your heart, lungs, skin, and other organ systems that might be involved in your condition. Therapies that target the body are therapeutic exercises, strength training, neuromuscular re-education, electric muscle stimulation, chiropractic adjustments, and myofascial work to help our patients reach their optimal potential.

Mind

While the mind may be a function of the brain, medicine has deemed two separate fields of science, psychology and neurology, are needed to address the mind properly. While psychology and neurology can be influenced or triggered by similar environmental stimuli, different tools are needed to assess and treat them together. Often, when you have been physically or neurologically suffering for so long, your psyche can suffer, too. Depression, anxiety, irritability, and emotional dysregulation are common with many neurological challenges and will also be addressed in your comprehensive treatment plan. Combining therapies that address neurology and psychology simultaneously can create a one-two punch to knock out the obstacles standing in your way of success.

For those affected by anxiety, emotional dysregulation, or depression without other injuries, Plasticity Centers may still be able to help you with non-invasive treatments, including neurofeedback and hypnotherapy.

Chemistry

Every process in your body requires fuel. This fuel is derived from elements and molecules (substrates) circulating in our bloodstream. These substrates include things like oxygen, glucose, ions like hydrogen, sodium, potassium, calcium, methyl donors, amino acids, fats, and more. You would think that eating regularly should provide all of the necessary substrates needed to survive and heal, but that's not always the case. Every person has slightly (or sometimes dramatically) different chemical needs.  Nutrition, oxygenation, and genetics all play a part in determining your chemistry. Identifying the status of things like oxygen delivery, glucose metabolism, inflammation, detoxification, fatty acid metabolism, and hormones provide an understanding and the ability to correct for chemical imbalances that impact all areas of your life.

When your chemistry is not ideal, you can experience symptoms like fatigue, mood dysregulation, digestive problems, brain fog, concentration issues, and sleep challenges. When necessary, Plasticity Centers works to restore balanced chemistry through dietary modification, hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT), photobiomodulation (LASER therapy), and functional medicine supplementation.

 

Examples of B-B-M-C Interplay:

Celiac Disease: You may know someone that has been diagnosed with celiac disease (a gluten-driven autoimmune disease). The primary element being compromised in celiac disease is the body (the intestines). In celiac disease, the immune system recognizes gluten (the protein in wheat) as a foreign invader and attempts to attack it. At the same time, it confuses the intestinal lining with gluten and attacks it too. Due to the attack on the intestines, the gut becomes less able to absorb nutrients from the food consumed and leaks other proteins into the bloodstream, affecting the chemistry. That causes systemic inflammation, including the brain's immune system (glial cells), which results in brain fog (a brain issue). The brain recognizes that something isn't right and activates the fight and flight system (through the amygdala), which can cause anxiety and depression (mind issues).

Glucose Metabolism Issues (Diabetes, Hypoglycemia): Glucose metabolism issues create difficulty maintaining optimal blood sugar levels (a chemistry problem). Glucose is a critical substrate for nearly all cellular functions. In diabetes, typically, glucose cannot effectively get INTO a cell to be utilized, so it sits in the bloodstream. Hypoglycemia is when there is not enough glucose in the blood to support proper metabolism. In both situations, the cells are starving for fuel, causing tissue maintenance and repair failure. Two of the most sensitive tissues to glucose issues are nerves and the brain. Nerves will die without glucose and create neuropathy (body issue). When the brain doesn't have glucose, people experience sleepiness, fatigue, fogginess, difficulty thinking, and in severe cases, they can slip into a coma (clearly a brain issue). You may also know someone that gets angry when they're hungry... or "h-angry". That's because glucose metabolism issues can also affect the mind.

There are so many examples of how these four elements interact and depend on each other. Luckily, at Plasticity® Centers, we understand and can identify the root cause of the breakdown and create a plan to help you regain your health and quality of life, often, regardless of your diagnosis.

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