The Wellness Continuum: Cherry Creek Wellness Center in Denver, CO
Peter C. Van Doren, MSPT, STC, CSCS, YFS

Wellness is a central concept to the treatment philosophy at Cherry Creek Wellness Center (CCWC). It helps guide the decision-making of our physical therapists, massage therapists and personal trainers. Consider wellness as a cycle of health that we move within as conditions change. Through the phases of health maintenance, injury/illness, recovery and health improvement, the wellness continuum can help us make decisions about what services to use and when to use them.

Health Maintenance Phase

Health maintenance is a point in the wellness cycle where we are active in life and managing our health conditions with an acceptable level of effort. We aren’t necessarily improving on the body’s situation, but neither are we falling behind. We don’t often require medical services during this phase, and regular massages, personal training visits and minding good nutrition help keep the immune system strong. Feeling good, however, can lead us to take robust health for granted. Attending to our bodies may lead us to put health issues behind other priorities in life. We might not use health-maintaining services as much as we should.

Injury/Illness Phase

When we fail to do enough to maintain our health, experience an injury or develop an illness, at some point we move into the injury/illness phase of the wellness cycle and need medical help. Physicians, physical therapists, chiropractors, naturopaths and other healthcare professionals can help address the problem at hand. Conservative care techniques can help you recover from muscle strains, ligament sprains, joint injuries, back pain, shoulder pain and leg pain.

Recovery Phase

Once treatment begins for an injury or illness, we enter the recovery phase of the wellness continuum. Appropriate physical therapy intervention can significantly reduce the healing time. Physical therapists know that our bodies find shortcuts around pain, and compensatory movement patterns can prevent an injury from healing. By addressing the body’s protective movements for an injured area, and treating the injury as well as the reaction, physical therapists help clients recover more quickly than people who don’t receive PT. Supportive care from a massage therapist can also reduce pain as injuries heal, and speed the healing process by improving blood flow and decreasing tissue resistance around the area involved.

Health Improvement Phase

The final stage of the wellness cycle involves strengthening the body after injury and addressing pain and swelling, as needed. You can complete the health improvement phase without much supervision, but you will achieve your prior level of function more quickly with guidance from a physical therapist, personal trainer and/or massage therapist. Massage can significantly reduce muscle soreness commonly experienced after exercise, and physical therapy can guide the proper progression of exercises based on movement pattern efficiency, strength, flexibility, endurance and symptoms.

While most people enter the health improvement phase after recovering from an injury or illness, it can also occur after you plateau on the health maintenance phase of the wellness continuum. Most of us never realize our full physical potential, so there is always room for improvement if we seek it.

CCWC was formed to provide not just physical therapy, massage therapy and personal training, but to offer the combined benefits of all of our services to help our clients reach their highest level of health and function. By applying this mix of interventions with the concept of the wellness continuum, our therapists and trainers help clients improve their well-being.

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