The Wheel of Health

Potter using a wheel to create a pot

“Sitting kills.” “You should eat more vegetables.” “Sleep more.” “Get up at the same time every morning.” “Stop smoking.” “Spend more time with your children.” “Everyone should get a dog.” “Floss your teeth every day.” “Take these pills.” “Ask your doctor…” And on and on and on…

We are bombarded by health advice from family, friends, television, magazines, the Internet, doctors, dentists, and more every day.  Some of it good, some of it not. Even if we can sort that out, how do we make sense of how all the good advice could possibly fit together and make sense in our lives?

One tool we can use is the Wheel of Health  developed by Duke Integrative Medicine.concentric circles centered on you, with mindful awareness, self-care and professional care

The wheel is centered on you and your mindful awareness of yourself and your life. That informs your self-care, not only in the obvious areas like exercise and nutrition, but also in areas we may not consider as often such as our physical environment, our work, and our spirituality. All of those are vital to our health and well being.

Beyond that, we have professional care, including preventive care like dental check-ups and immunizations, and treatment for health problems that need something more than self-care. That care might be conventional (like flu shots) or complementary (like acupuncture).

When I was introduced to the Wheel of Health during my integrative health coach training at Duke, it didn’t make everything suddenly fall into place, but it gave me a useful framework to consider the many things that affect health and how to bring them into balance.

We’ll be discussing all these areas over the next several weeks. I’d be delighted to see your thoughts in the comments below.

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