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Here's to You: The rocks in our backpacks

The analogy I like to use to explain that chronic illness is the result of chronic stressors and chronic allostatic load is what I call my rocks in our backpack stressor analogy.

Imagine that you are born into a swimming pool wearing water wings and a backpack. Water wings are those little inflatable bands you wear around your arms to keep you afloat.

Imagine yourself in a swimming pool with water wings around your arms and a backpack on. Now it seems to be fairly well accepted that human species has a genetically determined lifespan of around 120 years. In this analogy, what this means is that you can think of being born into a swimming pool with a backpack on, with the water wings on, and those water wings have a very slow leak. This very slow leak means that the air will run out of those water wings in about 120 years, that's your species-specific, genetically determined lifespan potential. So if you are born into that pool, and there are no chronic stressors, you are just going to be happily afloat in there, and you are going to get your 120 years out of life.

Now, in this analogy, any form of stressor in your life, any toxicity or deficiency, any allostatic load, represents a rock in your backpack. Any form of stress in your life is a rock in that backpack. Now, what happens is when you get that rock in your backpack, a couple of things that are very important occur every single time.

The first thing is that you sink a little bit lower in that water. What does that do the pressure on your water wings? It increases it. What does that do to the rate of air leakage? It increases it. So what does this do to your rate of aging? It increases it. It means you are going to have less time on this planet.

What are the rocks in your backpack? Are they inactivity, overeating, negative thinking, dehydration, lack of good sleep, lack of spinal maintenance?

Start today by removing some of the rocks from your backpack so you can lead a long, productive and quality life.


Dr. Mike Headlee is the owner of Explore Chiropractic in Bemidji. To attend one of his workshops or to arrange for him to speak to a company, association or group, call 333-8811.