Which Gets Better Care, Your Car or Your Body?

In conversations with several patients recently, I’ve been struck by the some of the similarities between our automobiles and our bodies.

An example of this is one recent patient who came in for acupuncture. As we talked about her symptoms, it was very clear that her food choices were having a strong influence on how she was feeling. I did my best to explain that no amount of acupuncture would compensate for eating the wrong foods, but this was a hard thing for her to hear. She really wanted the acupuncture to fix the problem.

Don’t get me wrong, every day I experience the power of acupuncture to bring the body back into balance. Many, many health problems can be improved using acupuncture alone. But in her case, no matter how much improvement we might get with acupuncture, without a change in diet none of it would hold for very long. I always prefer the long-term healing choice when possible.

The reason that the similarity between cars and the human body stands out to me is that my patient finally heard the message when I said, “Think of it this way: acupuncture is like tuning the electrical system of your car. If you keep putting the wrong fuel into the gas tank, no amount of electrical tuning will make it run better.”

She really understood this way of thinking about it.

This got me thinking about some of the other similarities between our bodies and our automobiles. Here are just a few of the parallels:

Your Car Your Body
Electrical System
Tires, Suspension, Shocks
Nervous System
Joints, Ligaments, Tendons
Your Thoughts and Beliefs

Obviously, these aren’t perfect comparisons, but they do illustrate several important points:

  1. If one part of your car needs attention, for example your suspension system, you wouldn’t change the oil and think the problem would be fixed. Similarly, if you have arthritis, improving your neurotransmitter balance might help you deal with the pain, but it won’t address the pain directly.
  2. If you put the wrong fuel in your gas tank, you obviously won’t be going very far no matter how good a shape the rest of the car is in. In the example above, my patient was doing many things
    right – she got lots of exercise and had a great mental attitude. The one thing she wasn’t doing was noticing the signals her body gave her related to her food choices.
  3. The best car in the world will still crash if it’s driven badly. How you think about your life and what you believe has a powerful impact on your health and your experience of the world.

The basic point is that different problems call for different approaches.

Because there are so many variables in our health – diet, exercise, breathing (yes, breathing), mental attitude, family history, genetics, satisfaction with work, family life, etc. – it can be an overwhelming task sometimes to sort out how best to approach health problems when they come up. That’s why it makes sense to work with a knowledgeable, experienced health care professional who can help you quickly cut through the confusion to get to the root of any health problems and help you correct them.

Most people I know change the oil in their cars regularly; they put the right type of gasoline in their fuel tank; they drive safely and keep their tires at the right pressure. Isn’t it ironic that they don’t always take that kind of care with their body?

I have to wonder if we all started taking as good a care of our bodies as we do our cars if we wouldn’t have many less health problems and much greater enjoyment of life.

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