A couple of days ago, I heard a chiropractor say that “95% of all health problems have structural causes”.
To me, this statement is partly accurate, as explained below. It is partly inaccurate, as there may be structural components but they are not neccesarily “causes”. And partly humorous – everyone has a tendency to view the world through the filter of their own approach.
From a systems view, the human body/mind is one system, embedded in larger social/ecological systems, and including smaller subsystems. There are distinctions among and within these systems, and they are also fluid seamless wholes.
Human health and well-being is influeced by – and influences – all these larger and smaller systems. The health and well-being of each of these systems is dependent on the health and well-being of each of the other systems.
At the same time, there are control variables which – when changed – can help the human system shift toward a more healthy state. And there are many of these, which can be accessed through many different techniques.
These control variables are found on a physical level (nutrition, excercise, structural, tissue), energetic (yoga, tai chi, chi gong, acupuncture), emotional (counselling, support), cognitive (cognitive therapy, mind training), awareness (how awareness is identified, and relate to the inner/outer situation), social (relationships with family, workplace, larger social whole), ecological (relationship with nature), and Big Mind (setting it all in perspective).
So any healing modality can work, provided that they access a control variable that can shift the system into a new attractor state (new stable way of operating). Someone who is highly skilled in their area – or just lucky – can indeed help the system shift. There are many points of access.
Other Control Variables
A systems view also means that we do not neccesarily need to know the “cause” of reduced health. We can tug at the system at either one of many possible points, and it can help the whole system shift to a (seemingly) more healthy state. Of course, there may be other control variables active that nudges the system back into a more unhealthy state, and we need to explore and identify these. They can occur in any of the systems mentioned above, and probably in more.
We can go in and change one level, and it can have a wonderful effect for the person. But if there are other control variables active anywhere in all the nested systems, it may be enough to bring the system back into an unhealthy state. These control variables may be nutritional habits, emotional/cognitive patterns, work situation, or other aspects of how the person relate to the inner/outer world.
An integral approach to health and well-being takes the health and well-being of all the nested systems into consideration. They are all interdependent. The health and well-being of each one of us is depedent on the health and well-being of our subsystems, on our body/mind, on the larger social and ecological systems. Nothing is excluded.