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The 5 Major Pillars of Health

The World Health Organization (WHO) defines health as, “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity,” (WHO 2022). As physical therapists at Made 2 Move, we could not agree more. Health is more than just “not being sick.” Health is feeling our very best in all dimensions of our lives, not just the physical.

While physical health is the realm our Made 2 Move PTs specialize in (hence our titles: doctors of physical therapy), we seek to acknowledge all aspects of health because we know the influence they have on eachother. Thus, we are going to break down the 5 pillars of health. Note: this is not an exhaustive list, rather a quick breakdown of aspects that contribute to overall well being.

In no specific order of importance, we are going to delve into the 5 pillars or aspects of health that are part of a balanced life. At Made 2 Move, we take a “whole person approach” in treating injuries and designing our sports performance programs. Addressing the whole person allows our Made 2 Move therapists to learn about all 5 aspects of our patient’s health and how these aspects might influence their time with us at physical therapy.

Our Health as Energy

Performance psychologist Dr. Jim Loehr describes the dimensions of health in relation to our energy and we love this concept.

  • Physical health describes our quantity of energy.

  • Mental health describes the quality of our energy.

  • Emotional health describes the focus of our energy.

  • Spiritual health describes the force of our energy.

The 5 Pillars of Health

  1. Physical

  • Physical health is the one we tune into most here at Made 2 Move Physical Therapy. Physical health obviously encompasses your activity levels, but also includes your sleep, nutrition, and other lifestyle factors.

  1. Mental

  • Mental and emotional health sound the same, but they are different. Eddins Counseling group breaks down the difference by describing “mental health as the ocean or hardware, and emotional health as the waves or software.” Neither mental or emotional health are hardwired and can be altered based off experiences, therapy, and behavior. Mental health is highly complex, and would be difficult to define in a single sentence. Mental health includes our cognitive states such as: memory, focus, and reasoning, but also our emotional state, ability to cope, and feelings of overall well-being.

  1. Emotional

  • Emotional health is more specific, as it refers more to our feelings and emotions, the “waves” we feel daily, rather than our mental capacity or “ocean” as a whole. Emotional health refers to the way we feel: happy, sad, frustrated, stressed, confused but also how we handle, respond, and react to these feelings.

  1. Social

  • The NY Times published an article describing loneliness as an epidemic. Having meaningful relationships in our life is more than just being social; it’s crucial for our overall well being! How can we combat loneliness and social isolation? Get involved in your community. Establish and maintain meaningful connections with others. Volunteer. Hang out with friends. Get out there!

  1. Spiritual

  • Most people immediately think religion when they hear the word spirituality. Spirituality encompasses the aspect of health that includes our beliefs, values, and morals. Spirituality includes formal religion, but spirituality ultimately comes down our driving force, our why behind our being and actions.

Here at Made 2 Move, our primary goal is to help strengthen your physical body to get you out of pain and into the movement you enjoy. But we also want to make sure you are strong in all aspects of your health. Our “patient-centered approach” helps us learn more about you than just your injury or physical activity patterns. We take time to discover what what drives you, what your beliefs are, how your mental health is, and what your social life looks like.

While we are physical therapists, not psychologists, we would be naive to deny the interconnectedness of mental, social, physical, spiritual, and emotional health. This is why we aim to acknowledge all pillars of health because we know they can affect your PT sessions with us and your overall progress here at Made 2 Move. Interested in an initial consultation with Made 2 Move? Reach out to today to speak with one of our physical therapists.


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