A Radical Guide to Longevity

January 09, 2018

In cross-population studies, it has been determined that your genetics contribute 15% to your mortality and functionality, while 85% lies within your epigenetics, behaviour, and environment. Stated another way, you have more control of your health outcomes than you may think.

To further break it down, our health and happiness is based on the interactions between four components: our psychology, physiology, neurology, and environment or, I prefer, ecosystem.

For our environment, it is important for health and growth that it be at least perceived as being safe and challenging. If our brain perceives and associates threat, our physiological response is to shut down as survival is paramount. Conversely, we are mobilized by challenge, even moreso the greater our perception of control within the situation. For example, you are more likely to experience back pain if you have a crappy boss and work that does not ignite your passion, but you are stuck because you have a mortgage to pay and a family to feed.

The more neurologically prepared we are from an evolutionary perspective, the more anti-fragile we become for optimal longevity. A bird’s eye view of an example is how dramatically different our experience of life is from our grandparents. Exploring this example further, we are constantly glued to our screens which is very demanding on our visual system, so our brain is stealing resources from our other senses to help us meet the demands of our work. The breadth of preparedness comes from exposure to challenges of all our senses. Stand on one leg with your eyes closed—it’s simple but not easy!

For our psychology to be supportive of our well-being, the goal is to be stress-resistant. Among other things, this is a process of being impeccably composed in your self-talk and being reasonable in your expectations so you do not become a slave to the momentum of your past and to the avalanche of your present feelings. Recognizing the things in your life which are threats to your psychological balance is incredibly critical. Take a moment and create space.

The brain is described as a non-linear, dynamic system, therefore, we cannot predict the response to a signal—at times it may integrate the input, at times may segregate from it. On a situational basis, there may be pain or injuries; however, internally there may be stressors as well, such as sub-optimal nutrition or psychological stress, for example, which may be taxing the system by occupying much of the resources. If one aspect of the system continues to be stressed, the resources available to sustain the other aspects are depleted. As another example, your lack of sleep will amplify your pain.

With this in mind, your baseline health status is the greatest predictor of recovery. The healthier any ecosystem is as a whole, the more it can handle an acute or chronic threat—the same can be said for the body. The more you are optimizing the aspects of your health that are within your control, the more capable you will be to withstand and recover from whatever stressors and injuries you encounter.

This is not a commercial model of care, rather a bespoke model of a health span; my humble attempt to illuminate the top-down, bottom-up interactions within our body, mind, and environment to create a blueprint for longevity. The dynamics of these four components are the basis of our expression of self- hood—who we are as individuals and as a species.

Getting and staying healthy is difficult, but rewarding. As a science-based, evidenced-informed, clinically-driven clinician, I have achieved magnificent outcomes with discerning patients who accepted the challenge of health optimization and recovery. It is never too late to start your radical path to longevity.

Dr. Tabrizi is a chiropractor, osteopath and a passionate member of both the local and scientific community, whose goal is to teach that the pursuit of optimal health and wellness is much more than being symptom-free. His practice is rooted in the philosophy of treating the person rather than just treating the illness or ailment. As a result of his interdisciplinary training, Dr. Tabrizi has developed a neuroscience-based therapeutic education approach to treating his patients, focusing on healing illness from a wider perspective, placing equal responsibility on patient as well as practitioner. Dr. Tabrizi aims to educate his patients and provide them with the tools and framework needed to integrate pain management and healthy living into the fabric of their everyday lives.

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