Wellness – Says Who?

I don’t believe in wellness; I believe in lifestyle. To me, wellness implies that you are making a sudden change to be healthy and active; lifestyle means that it is engrained.

On Friday, one of my co-workers arranged for a “Wellness” lunch; a reflexologist, chiropodist, chiropractor and massage therapist from a local wellness centre offerred us 15 minutes sessions at no cost. Initially, I turned my back to it but, after thinking about how disappointed my right ham would be if it didn’t get a little bit of TLC, I signed up for my 15 minutes of attention.

By the end of the session, I also decided to visit the chiropractor, who had a table set up next to the masseuse, as he seemed interested in the problems that I have been having with my right leg. Without spending too much time looking at it, he declared, “You have one leg that is longer than another!”

“Isn’t that common in everyone?” I thought, but I let him continue. And then I teased him. “So what do I need to do to correct this?” I asked.

He sent me to the next station: the chiropodist. That’s when I knew what was going on; they want to sell orthotics.

Again, without spending more than 30 seconds looking at my feet and legs, the chiropodist worked to instill fear into my running heart. “I can tell, just by looking at the way you’re standing, that your arches are starting to fall.” Well, just weeks ago, my physiotherapist looked at my arches and gave them a good report. My chiropractor also recently said that my arches were in great shape. Everyone’s arches, he told me start to drop as we age; women, who wear heels, tend to have arches that fall early because the heels have stretched them out of shape. Not owning a pair, I should be clear for a few more years, at least.

My guard was up and she continued. “We can put you in an orthotic to correct that.”

“I don’t want orthotics. I’ve been told I don’t need them.”

And she got into the spiel about spending time and energy on staying healthy and seeing a chiropractor but not going to the extra step to stay healthy and wear an orthotic. “Why don’t you like them?”

“They’re heavy and they’re clunky. I don’t want the weight in my shoes.” Really, I don’t want orthotics in my shoes.

“We can put in something lightweight – like kevlar.”

“Perfect,” I thought, “that will look great in my shoe line-up in the laundry room. Wait! Do you have titanium? Titanium orthotics would be really sweet.”

Instead, I volunteered the value of barefoot running and minimalist shoes (not that I am but I was in the mood to counter her argument), how I know runners, including my husband, who use to wear orthotics and got rid of them in favour of a more natural approach to footwear. Of course, she criticized this and I bit my tongue – so hard that I almost needed stitches. When she was done, I thanked her and took her business card.

This exchange emphasizes how important second and third opinions are. The chiropodist was convincing and, had I not already been told that my feet and leg structure are fine, it would have been easy to believe her and sign away for two pieces of clay to stick in my shoes. But I knew better – not because of wellness, but because of lifestyle.

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