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Figuring Out Priorities, Systems, and the Path to Great Health: Part 2, Priorities

By Dr. Molly Casey

Systems and Priorities

A system is a set of things working together as parts of a mechanism or interconnected network. The body as a whole is a system composed of several other systems -- such as the nervous, immune, endocrine, and musculoskeletal systems -- working together as an interconnected network.

A priority is defined as facts or conditions considered (or treated) as most important. There are priorities within the system of the body relating to function, healing, and feeling.

Health is a journey of decisions. If you make those decisions based on the priorities of how the system functions, you will see results much greater than you ever imagined. When given the opportunity and a clear path, the body has the power to heal itself because the body is getting what it needs to heal itself.

Poor Health/Lack of Results Desired

When people struggle consistently with health issues or experience continued lack of results even though they are actively working toward creating change, as a chiropractor, I always go back to the patient’s mindset and approach.

The first issue is nearly always a mental subluxation or a spinal “misalignment.” The majority of your body’s relevant work is performing functions that you can’t track; in fact, with most functions, you will have no idea whether something is working optimally -- or that it’s working less than optimal.

For example, you have no idea what level of blockage exists in your arteries, yet it’s a direct example of proper functioning of numerous systems within your body; if the artery is severely blocked, you might feel fine right up until the moment you have a heart attack. So, how you feel is not a primary indicator of how your body is functioning. Although a goal might be to feel good, it is not a direct indicator of how optimally your body is functioning.

In this example, the problem within a portion of the cardiovascular system can often and (largely, though not always) be corrected by addressing the priorities of water, food, and movement.


The mental subluxation, or false security, is corrected by switching one’s focus from optimal feeling to optimal function. When people do this and maintain the corrective actions with consistency, they begin to feel better. So how does one switch the focus? You go back to the basics with someone who knows the basics. You see your chiropractor.

Look at the systems, their functions, and prioritize their needs. Then create actionable steps that align with these priorities and consistently apply them in your life.

When you begin to support the main priorities of the system, the body as a whole and its subsystems are given the opportunity to begin healing, which often leads to feeling better. You start working with the body and it starts working with you and for you. The body then tends to respond exponentially better and more clearly, and you begin to see and feel the results you desire.

The Main Priorities

The process above can seem time-, energy-, and effort-dense, but the main priorities for all bodies are the same whether you’re a middle-aged woman, a teenaged boy, or his grandparents.

Priority 1: Communication - Communication between the brain and the body, and vice versa, is required for life (at least any quality of life). Cut or diminish that communication in any way and function suffers. So the No. 1 priority in any healing is improving brain- body communication. Chiropractic adjustments improve brain-body communication by restoring spinal joint range of motion and assuring that the structure of the spine is not interfering with the nervous system communication pathways. If this communication was immediately and fully cut, it ends life; therefore, it is the top priority in the restoration process.

Priority 2: Oxygen - Your cells need oxygen to survive. Breathing properly into the diaphragm (deep belly breathing) is imperative to the health and function of the body. If your breathing pattern is primarily chest-based and shallow, you starve cells of a primary need. You can live a few minutes longer without oxygen than without brain communication so this is priority No. 2 with regard to function.

Priority 3: Water - Every cell of your body requires water. Most people are chronically dehydrated. The body first needs the appropriate amount of water to perform daily cellular functions.Trying to perform additional tasks like increasing strength, decreasing fat, or healing a joint is silly when we are not first making sure the body is properly hydrated for daily functions. You can live a couple days without water so it’s prioritized after oxygen for function.

Priority 4: Food - The cells of the body require food for nourishment and fuel. The type and quality of that fuel matters. Watered down gas in a car is less efficient just as loads of sugary and processed foods are less efficient in the systems of the human body. Quantity and quality matters. It is thought that one can maintain life for 30-50 days without food, so this is the last among the basic priorities of the system of the body.

The Value of Priorities

Priorities are things of importance. If you are experiencing negative issues in system function and processing -- you are experiencing disease, symptoms, or your body isn’t performing as you desire -- you are likely missing or skipping the basic priorities.

Maintain the health of your spine to ensure communication, breathe correctly to maximize your oxygen, drink plenty of water to keep hydrated, and consume quality food to give your body the fuel it needs. Until these are met with consistency, until they are an ingrained part of your daily life, you and your system will suffer and be less effective than you desire. It’s that simple. Go back to the basics -- every single day.

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