In 2016 I went to a week-long international physiotherapy conference in Glasgow and saw this image. It really resonated with me and the ethos of Mint Wellbeing.
Traditional medicine suggests the body is a machine and the clinician/person is the mechanic. The mechanics role is to look for what is wrong or broken and either fix it, remove it or replace it. This often results in chemicals (medicines) being used or surgery being performed. This may not get to the bottom of the cause of the problem.
Looking at the body as a garden is not a new way of working. Chinese medicine has done it for thousands of years. However, I believe more of us need to ponder what this might mean in modern day life.
This way of thinking and working suggests that the clinician or person is the gardener. The ‘gardener’ can provide a good environment for the garden to thrive, it can forward plan with the seasons and support the different elements of it at different times.
When looking at the garden as a gardener, if one part or plant is not thriving, the gardener can make adjustments for sun, shade, water and nutrients allowing it to slowly regenerate.
The same ethos can be used with Physiotherapy, Mindfulness and Nutrition. Our physical fitness, our mind and our gut are intrinsically linked to create our own garden. If one part is not thriving the other parts are less likely to function well. Through correctly prescribed exercises and manual therapy, helpful and positive thinking processes and a healthy balanced diet a person can be allowed to thrive.
Of course, it goes without saying that there are many times when there are true medical reasons the ‘mechanic’ will need to get involved and these are perfectly reasonable. However, if the opportunity arises for a 'slower' medicine approach maybe all parties can stop and explore if there is another option.
Here are some examples:
- Tendon pain and considering a cortico-steroid injection? This is often damaging in the long run and eccentric exercises and loading can have a far more beneficial effect.
- Lots of headaches and living on pain killers? Have you considered looking at your stress levels and breathing?
- Pain in your shoulder, knee, back or other joints and considering going to see a doctor or surgeon? Have you considered trying exercise or changing the exercise you are doing now?
- Persistent back pain and thinking of an injection or surgery? Can you change your diet and lose some weight?
- Constant fatigue? Can you review your stress levels, take up mindfulness, adjust your diet and reduce caffeine and sugars?
- Knee and pain and told you have a meniscus problem and require surgery? The outcomes of physiotherapy and exercise are the same as surgery in many recent studies. If you have tried physiotherapy, did your physiotherapist look at your hip/gluts, ankle, big toe, and balance as well as your knee?
- Suffer with incontinence or unable to exercise due to pelvic floor problems and told you might need surgery? Have you been to see a properly trained women's health Physiotherapist for a full assessment and advice?
So, harness your green fingers and think about all aspects of your health before reaching for the apparent 'quick fix'. Are there parts of yourself you have neglected and need attention in order to allow you to thrive?
To book with a Physiotherapist, a Women's Health Physiotherapist, a Mindfulness coach or Nutritionist call or email us today!