When you think of nutrition, your mind probably goes immediately to the substances that support growth and metabolism, such as proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals. These nutrients are the building blocks of life. Fortunately, nature provides us with what the body needs to function properly. This happens when one is eating in alignment with nature and in accordance with his or her own unique physical, mental, and spiritual demands. When a person comes to me for help with a chronic illness(es) I spend a long time talking about food. However, our lives are spent doing much more than eating and therefore we must look at other building blocks that nourish a person; these other building blocks, like spokes of a wheel, act independently and in conjunction with our eating patterns. When one part of the wheel is weakened, the whole wheel can feel wobbly.
Wheel of Health
When I was in my masters of nutrition program I was introduced to the Wheel of Health, a dynamic tool used in personalized medicine, created by Duke Integrative Medicine. I use this tool a lot with clients in assessing current health needs and creating a roadmap for healing. What my clients like about using the wheel is that it allows them to feel more in the driver's seat of their healthcare plan and stay focused on specific goals of self-awareness. It's very easy to use and interesting to keep coming back to time and time again as a point of reference.
How do you use it?
Take a look at the Wheel of Health here. Spend a couple minutes on each category. Then rate each category by how strong it is for you presently on a scale from 1-10 with 10 being the strongest. My clients are often surprised that where they originally thought their nutrition was the number one area to work on, they need to be putting more of their energies into another area like strengthening relationships or letting go of financial fears. Dietary demands often shift as other spokes of the wheel change. It's similar to the web-like connections of the body. You may feel pain in your shoulder but the source of the pain is really coming from the base of the neck. A bodyworker works on the neck and the shoulder pain is gone.
Health is multidimensional and ever-changing. To just think about it from a singular focus, like nutrition, is to shortchange the potential of the mind, body, and spirit. I offer you the Wheel as a way of going inward and exploring the infinite ways you can strengthen the spokes so that the ride of life is more enjoyable.
“We are called to be architects of the future, not its victims.”
― R. Buckminster Fuller