In our modern world of health and medicine, we tend to focus our attention on the physical, as perhaps we should. Clearly, our physical health is a priority. It is what we are, what we know, what can be seen and measured, and ultimately, it defines our mortality. Viewed as a whole, your physical health describes the status of your cardiovascular risks, your back pain, your sore throat, your energy levels, your skin, your weight, your blood pressure, your cancer screening, and the list goes on. No one doubts that it matters.
Yet, in our quest for achieving optimal physical health, we often overlook the value of the single most important determinant of your physical health (other than your genetics). It is this aspect of your health that seems to govern the rest. After years of practicing medicine and treating thousands of patients, as well as from my own personal life experience, I have come to the understanding that what matters most to your individual and physical health is your mind. The mind matters. This is not “mind over matter” jargon either, or “make your mind think that you don’t have pain when you really do” type of talk. This is practical talk. This is about your mind as in: your thoughts, your emotions, your feelings, your knowledge, your beliefs, and your motivations. This is a about what you eat, when you eat it, why you eat it, when you exercise, why you don’t exercise, your bad habits, your good habits, whether you keep your appointments, how you unwind, how you stretch in morning, the quality of your sleep, and so much more.
This is about your mental health. This is about how the status of your mind can and will influence your physical health in direct and not so direct ways. This is also about the connections that we don’t understand, but know to exist such as the connection between the mind and the gut, or the central nervous system and the myofascia, or the placebo effect and nocebo effect and much more. To complete the loop, consider this: just as the mind can influence the outcome of your physical health, your physical health (ie action, movements, diet, sleep etc) can tremendously affect your mental health, and ultimately the state of your mind.
Thus, I describe and talk about the Health Mind-Body-Axis or “HealthMBA“ approach to wellness.
HealthMBA describes the fundamental understanding that in human health, the mind greatly influences the body (in ways understood and others not) and that the body greatly influences the mind. And that in this axis, as in the human body, the mind is at the top and should be attended to accordingly. Most importantly, HealthMBA describes the understanding that since the mind and body are inextricable in life, any successful approach to individual well-being must address the overall function and health of both ends of this axis of wellness.