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Monday, April 18, 2016

The SHIFT Paradigm for Holistic Health and Wellness.

By Dr. Jon Thomas, DC, PSc.D,
Board Certified Chiropractic Physician.
My wife, Tracy, and I have been involved with Chiropractic and Alternative Healthcare for over fifteen years. At the Vibrant Life Health Center, we seek to inspire, empower, and heal patients, friends, families, and anyone in the community who is seeking to improve their health and wellness.
Health and wellness is much more than the absence of disease or pain. Some prescriptions can reduce pain, but they do so without addressing the underlying issue. An awareness of how well your nervous system is functioning, what you’re putting into your body, and what goes onto your skin are all important elements of health and wellness.
Each of us make choices that have an impact on our health and wellness. Reading food labels, making better choices about what we put into our bodies, or taking a brisk walk can lead to improved health. Eating junk food and being a couch potato can take us in the opposite direction.
At Vibrant Life Health Center, we partner with our patients to help them develop plans for a balanced and healthy life. One of the tools we use is called the SHIFT Paradigm. SHIFT is an acronym which stands for:
  • Skeletal Structure
  • Headspace
  • Intake of Nutrients
  • Functional Fitness
  • Toxic Burden.

Skeletal Structure
Our skeletal structure is incredibly intricate. It keeps our central nervous system in balance.  The brain is the command center. The spinal column protects the spinal cord, which is the body’s communication system. It controls all the messages that flow through the spinal cord and the nerves to the rest of the body.
Our spinal column needs to be in alignment for our bodies to work well. If our spinal column is out of alignment, the result is a communication blockage. This can slow and/or prevent healing. Chiropractic is very effective for bringing the spine back into alignment when needed. Chiropractic is also a great way to keep the spine from going out of alignment.
At Vibrant Life Health Center, we know that the way we think affects our health! People with a negative and pessimistic outlook suffer from higher levels of tension and anxiety. People who are optimistic have lower tension levels and generally are able to handle the challenges that come their way in life.
The things that we tell ourselves can either work for us or against us. Fueling the mind statements like “I’m no good,” and “No one loves me,” and “I’ll always have to take this medication,” can be self-fulfilling. On the other hand, when you speak positive thoughts into your mind, you find that you can maneuver your way through the roadblocks in life and continue moving toward your destination. A simple thought like “I can do this” is very empowering.
Another key element for healthy headspace is gratitude. In November, I wrote a blog post titled Gratitude Is Good for Mental, Emotional, and Physical Health. I’m happy to report that gratitude can work for people year round, not just during the holiday season. The blog post had some of the research showing the positive impact maintaining an attitude of gratitude can have on a person’s life. It also had some interesting quotes. Here are two that sum things up nicely.
“Gratitude is an immensely powerful force that we can use to expand our happiness, create loving relationships, and even improve our health. If you want more happiness, joy, and energy, gratitude is clearly a crucial quality to cultivate. It is a fullness of heart that moves us from limitation and fear to expansion and love. When we’re appreciating something, our ego moves out of the way and we connect with our soul.” Deepak Chopra
“Reflect on your present blessings, on which every man has many, not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.” Charles Dickens
Intake of Nutrients
The cells in our body are fueled by the food that we consume. If we constantly consume poor quality foods, the body will react negatively. There may be a feeling of sluggishness or there may be serious physical problems. When we take in whole, natural foods that are rich in vitamins, the body reacts positively.  We’re likely to feel a higher energy level. We may even find that we don’t need as many medications as we have been taking.
Most packaged foods have been highly processed and have numerous ingredients, including preservatives. Foods that are not highly processed have fewer ingredients and are more beneficial for overall health. Switching from highly processed foods to foods with less processing isn’t about diet. It’s about shifting eating habits and the way you think about food. The byproducts of this shift are improved health and wellness. This is frequently accompanied by weight loss.
Functional Fitness
Exercise is essential for health and wellness. Exercise increases muscle mass and decreases excess fat. As most people now realize, excess fat is the cause of many health problems. At Vibrant Life, we help patients shift into an effective workout plan. When I say “effective” I mean exercise that will help you burn fat and get into optimal shape relatively quickly. I believe in getting the best bang for exercise bucks.
“Functional fitness exercises train your muscles to work together and prepare them for daily tasks by simulating common movements you might do at home, at work or in sports. While using various muscles in the upper and lower body at the same time, functional fitness exercises also emphasize core stability.” Mayo Clinic
Toxic Burden
When the body is functioning properly it removes harmful toxins. However, if we are not careful about limiting toxic substances (medicines, processed foods, pesticide-sprayed foods, cleaners, air pollution, etc.), we may have more toxins than the body can dispose of. At Vibrant Life Health Center, we help patients learn how to detox their bodies with chiropractic care, natural foods, and exercise.  If needed, we can also recommend and provide high quality natural supplements to give your body a boost.
In this article, I have discussed the SHIFT Paradigm. SHIFT is an acronym that stands for Skeletal Structure, Headspace, Intake of Nutrients, Functional Fitness, and Toxic Burden. Improvements in these five areas produce significant improvements in terms of health and wellness.
If you have a comment about this article, please leave it in the comments section below. If you know of someone who might benefit from the information in this blog, please share it with your friends, colleagues, and on social media.
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At Vibrant Life, we address all of the key elements to add vibrance and vitality to your life. This includes nutrition, chiropractic care, and fitness. If you need to consult with a chiropractor about your neck, back, or any other health concern, please contact our office to set up an appointment.
Dr. Jon Thomas is a Board Certified Chiropractic Physician. His practice, The Vibrant Life Health Center, is located in the Mandarin section of Jacksonville. His interest in health and fitness started early, and his athletic pursuits have included BMX racing, Professional Snow Skiing, Water Skiing, Baseball, Weightlifting, and Martial Arts. After studying and learning from some of the top health experts throughout the world, Dr. Thomas dedicated his life to helping people of all ages to transform their lives. The objective for each patient is to initiate the body’s healing and to work progressively toward a body that functions optimally. Dr. Thomas is seen regularly on TV on First Coast Living, where he discusses the transformations of his patients. He also speaks at events throughout the community and writes informative articles to improve the health of residents throughout Jacksonville.


  1. What people need to SHIFT is their reliance on traditional medicine by embracing holistic healers like chiropractors. I go to mine every 8 weeks and it is the best money I spend on healthcare.

  2. This breaks things down into five simple components of health that I can understand. It's helpful.

  3. People who feel tired, sick or get sick too often need to make the SHIFT. When they do, they become happier and live a more abundant life.