Wellness is a concept at the heart of healthcare. It makes sense that the care should be holistic and individual in nature. Both the provider and patient should take active roles to ensure that individualized care is the case.
Wellness is a multi-faceted concept. The National Wellness Institute defines six dimensions of wellness being emotional, occupational, spiritual, intellectual, social, and physical. Physical therapists are experts in the division of “physical” wellness, which would seem rather obvious given the occupational title. However, as a physical therapist, it is important to remember that despite our expansive knowledge and years of experience, we are only a piece of the wellness portrait. Your wellness team includes yourself as well as other healthcare practitioners, friends and family who contribute to the six dimensions of your wellness.
Physical therapy covers a broad range of conditions and treatments but behind all of the data that health care providers collect, it is the individual with whom we interact. As a patient, one should not feel discounted or trivialized in any way. It is especially important to establish this fact by always asking clients what their own personal goals are. This allows validation of the individual nature of their presentation. It also allows them a platform from which to start being actively involved in their own care. This effect is especially important because it is empowering. When a patient feels valued as a consumer, an individual, and a human being, the path toward wellness is strengthened.
Physical therapists use components of physical fitness to address limitations in physical wellness. The components of physical fitness include: agility, balance, body composition, cardiovascular endurance, coordination, flexibility, muscular endurance, muscular strength, power, reaction time, and speed. As holistically minded providers, physical therapists should organize treatment that considers deficiencies in a variety of these areas. These physical fitness components must work together. For example, it does little good to have the component of good flexibility if you are not strong enough to move or have poor endurance. A shrewd provider considers each person unique, and will consider multiple components of his or her physical fitness in working toward wellness.
Our perception of progress is important to keep in check. When working towards wellness, know that every person is different and progresses at different rates. Continue to look at the big picture rather than focusing on the small pieces of the puzzle. By doing so, the finished product is more fulfilling.
Remember that working towards wellness is a team effort. When provider and patient lock arms in unity and lock eyes on a common goal, the metaphorical path toward wellness is a more realistic picture. Trust and communication is key just as in any other team effort. With diligence and consistency, victory can be achieved together. Please don’t hesitate to reach out and let us know if we can be part of your team!