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Woman stretching her legs on a yoga mat.
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As kids and young adults, we can feel like our bodies are invincible. Yet it usually takes just one big injury or scare to realize that we need to take some precautions when it comes to risky lifestyle behaviors. In those moments–either with the discovery of chronic conditions or recovering after an alarming accident–we realize the importance of good health throughout our lives. Just like a bad cold can remind you of how nice it is to breathe without a stuffy nose, poor health can make us long for the effortless health we may have had before.

For years, I took for granted the everyday activities my body could do with ease. It wasn’t until after an ATV ride through the mountains of Arizona that I had that major switch in this perception. Feeling fearless, I rode solo through the hills until I came across a tight turn and found myself flipped over with the ATV directly on top of me. Thankfully I wore a helmet, but the weight of my body and the bike fell directly on my neck; I ended up tearing a facet joint, a connection between the bones of my spine. Although I was immediately shaken after the accident, I didn’t realize that I had such a long road to recovery ahead. Through my experience trying to rehabilitate the muscles along my shoulders, neck, and spine for the past two years, I quickly learned that healthcare includes a lot more than just doctors and nurses.

Image of a white girl with long curly brown hair wearing a grey sweater. She is smiling and is seen from the waist up.
Image of Jocelyn

From chiropractors, physical therapists, and acupuncturists, to many more integrative healthcare workers, the field of health, wellness, and medicine is enormous. Health and wellness is more than just the medical and pharmaceutical industries, the occasional cold or flu, and our annual check-up visit. Our daily interactions with the environment–outside our bodies as well as within our own microbiome–balance our biochemical make-up. After two years of researching the Gut Microbiome with Emory’s School of Medicine, I learned that there is an unbelievable amount the biomedical field, which is the intersection of medicine and biochemistry, still doesn’t know about the inner workings of our bodies. Researchers are constantly testing for greater insight and more effective treatments. Outside of biomedicine, various cultures have their own unique understanding of healing and the human body. When the body’s delicate balance tips off-center, healers and healthcare workers use their growing knowledge of the human body and a variety of methods to restore our well-being. My unhappy accident turned into a happy exploration of the world of healthcare and research.

After sharing my recovery process with friends and family, I discovered that it is common for injuries to require longer-term recoveries. As I shared my experience with friends and family around me, I found many were likely to also have some sort of health concern and were extremely grateful to the integrative healthcare team that brought them relief. Good health is not stagnant; it is a road of small bumps and larger potholes, and what really matters is making sure that we have the tires to drive along that road. Taking care of ourselves preemptively can make all the difference in future recoveries and the general quality of our lives. My interest in preventative medicine has grown from this realization. As a new member of the CSHH News Team, I am looking forward to exploring aspects of integrative, complementary medicine and healing practices that lie outside of the biomedical approach many Americans associate with healthcare.