For most of us, if we get sick or have an injury, we think that we need to just fix that one symptom or ailment. If it is a cold, we might start at the drugstore and buy some cold medicine. If we have an injury, like a broken wrist, we might go to the emergency room and get a cast.
However, most of us are dealing with chronic illnesses, like high cholesterol, high blood pressure, or heart disease. For these and many other diseases, there is more than one contributing factor, and we can’t achieve true wellness until we consider our entire system.
This is why I practice from and advocate a Quadrants of Wellbeing perspective. The Quadrants give us the framework to consider all of the aspects of our health that play a role in our wellbeing or in our disease.
I call myself an evangelizer of the Quadrants of Wellbeing approach, because I myself did not invent the idea. The Quadrants approach originally comes from Chinese medicine, and can be seen in several other health approaches. The Quadrants remind us that all the components of our body, mind, and spirit are interconnected and a change in one can influence the others.
Most of us can think of at least a couple specific experiences when we had a symptom in our physical body because of stress or worry: maybe you’ve experienced insomnia because you were worrying about your kids, or you broke out with a canker sore or cold sore when you were going through a stressful period. Maybe you’ve had an upset stomach or disturbed digestion before an important meeting. You know that you had these physical symptoms not because there was anything wrong with your body, but because of your mind.
With this interconnectedness, making a small change in one area can have a domino effect and can improve our health in all the areas.
The Quadrants of Wellbeing
Mechanical deals with the physical body and it’s functioning. Are your bones, muscles, and nerves strong and functioning optimally?
Chemical deals with the body’s chemistry and how it is influenced by what we eat, drink, what we put on our skin, and our exposure to elements in the environment.
Energetical deals with the body’s energy system and how it is connected to the people and other energy forces around us.
Psychospiritual is about our connection to spirit, our tribe, and gratitude.
Applying the Quadrants Approach
I work with my clients from a Quadrants of Wellbeing approach. What does that really mean?
If you broke your wrist, you need to go to the emergency room and mostly likely, they’ll put your wrist in a cast. But when I have a client in my office who says they are always tired, I want to think about all the things that are contributing to their current symptoms. Let’s consider a few common complaints, and how a Quadrants approach can help us improve our health:
This is a common symptom, and I’m sure we’ve all suffered from it at one time or another. So we know there are many options for treating just that one symptom. Instead of just implementing one treatment, we want to consider what is happening in our body that is contributing to the bloating instead of just masking the symptom.
- Chemical is the most obvious Quadrant to consider here: what are you putting into your body? Bloating is often a sign that your body doesn’t like something you are eating. You can examine what you are eating and when the bloating happens to make the connection and then eliminate the foods that are bothering you.
- Mechanical: Our nervous system transmits messages from our brain through our spine and to the rest of our body. If the spine is misaligned, those messages will struggle to get through and this can affect your digestive system. A chiropractic adjustment can realign your spine.
- Energetical: Energy needs to flow through our body, and we can have physical symptoms if it isn’t moving easily. Taking deep breaths can help reconnect and move your energy.
- Psychospiritual: Emotional and spiritual blocks can cause pain in the body. Are you holding on to anger or hurt feelings? Offering forgiveness can help heal your physical body.
Reports say that anxiety is reaching an epidemic proportion, and most healthcare practitioners I speak with say they are seeing large percentages of their patients suffering from anxiety. Again, we want to consider what is happening in our body, mind, and spirit that is contributing to the anxiety.
- Mechanical: If the spine is misaligned, the messages can’t run properly through the nervous system, and that can produce anxiety in the body. Anxiety can also be affected by how much sleep we are getting and if we are exercising. These are all things that we consider in the Mechanical Quadrant.
- Chemical: A vitamin deficiency of B vitamins or vitamin D, could lead to anxiety. A contributing factor could also be a gluten allergy or intolerance. The food we eat can impact how our mind functions, so we need to nourish our bodies well. If you are taking medication to treat anxiety, is it the right medication and the right dose for your body?
- Energetical: We could feel drained or disconnected energetically, which could contribute to anxiety.
- Psychospiritual: How we feel mentally and spiritually can have an impact on anxiety. It’s important for us to feel love and belonging and creating small changes in the Psychospiritual Quadrant can help.
Small changes over time can make a big shift in our health. It can put us on the right track to manage symptoms of a chronic health condition, or it can put the odds in our favor so that we don’t experience a chronic condition.
As I celebrate my 25th year of practice, I’m focusing on the small changes we can make that will make big shifts in our health. You can download a free copy of my ebook to see the changes that you can start with.