It may seem like a contradiction, but more than ever before, adults in the U.S. say they are exercising, yet at the same time we are still seeing a rise in health challenges like heart disease, high blood pressure, risk of stroke, type 2 diabetes and musculoskeletal disorders (bone, muscles, ligaments and tendons). An estimated 126.6 million Americans (one in two adults) are affected by a musculoskeletal disorder and we are still seeing a steady rise in obesity (Figure 1).

Figure 1

We are literally putting fitness on top of dysfunction.


  • We are not teaching people how and why their challenges and/or disorders are present. We are still treating symptoms and not getting to the root cause.
  • A lack of understanding of how the body works as a whole and not just as parts.
  • Incomplete lifestyle and physical assessments.

You Have to Feel and Move Well, before Moving More

Brian Schwager, Founder of the Wellness Movement Center


1. Teach people how to restore their health challenges and musculoskeletal disorders and why the challenges and disorders are there by addressing the root cause and not just treating the symptoms. Teaching is a useful skill and is more beneficial in the long run than filling a need temporarily. This will empower the person to take control of their wellness and movement.

Use an Integrated Wellness Approach; that combines and coordinates the separate elements in order to provide a harmonious, interrelated whole. A wellness approach emphasizes the whole body holistically, it’s the integration of mind, spirit, body systems and lifestyle changes

The body is a multidimensional system of systems that include the muscles, bones, nervous, immune, hormonal, urinary, lymphatic & immune, reproductive, digestive, cardiovascular and respiratory systems. Through an intricate communication system, each system communicates with another and when one system is stressed it affects all the other systems. When any of these systems get over stressed, they overflow into another system creating an increased stress load, or what is known as physiological load”, on the entire. The “load” is shared by all the systems; thus, it distributes the load and shares the stress. The greater the imbalance in the system(s), the greater the risk for illness and/or injury.

2. Don’t guess, get fully assessed:  It all starts with an active listening-based comprehensive consultation, gathering all the health history information needed to understand the root cause of a person’s health challenges and musculoskeletal disorders. Once that’s completed, then a comprehensive physical assessment is performed to detect postural and musculoskeletal imbalances, movement impairments, and inner and outer core weakness.

An Example of an Integrated Wellness Approach: I created a step-by-step process that addresses all the aforementioned system of systems. Starting with my 4 Principles to Wellness & Movement (Figure 2). This diagram helps illustrate to my clients’ the interrelationship between the 4 principles. The human body in the center represents the integrated relationship between all 4 Principles and its effects on the human body as a whole. As an example; when someone comes to me with a back problem, I say you don’t have a back problem, you have a body problem

Figure 2

Principle 1: Emotional Health addresses how we handle stress. This is vitally important because the mind controls the body.

Principles 2: Biochemical Health addresses how we sleep. Without an optimal sleep/wake cycle the body cannot repair, rejuvenate and restore.

Principle 3: Nutritional Health addresses how we digest food and what and when we eat and drink. Without proper digestion we cannot absorb vital nutrients into our body’s. Eating the wrong kinds of foods will not provide the right raw materials to help rebuild nerves, tissues and bones. Dehydration has a negative effect on brain and muscle function.

Principle 4: Physical Health addresses how we move. In the questionnaire there are questions that address muscle tightness, weakness, painful movement, and past and current injuries.

Step 1: Comprehensive Wellness & Movement Questionnaire and Consultation. The questionnaire rates each principle (Figure 3).

Each principle directly affects the other as they accumulate over time and create  an increase in physiological load to the body as a whole.

Example: chronic emotional stress can create muscle tightness and inhibit other muscles from doing their job.

Interrupted sleep patterns over time can increase stress on the other systems in the body and create a breakdown in tissues and lower immune function.

Even certain foods like “Gluten” can have an allergic and inflammatory reaction which increases the body’s stress response and can also inhibit key stabilizer muscles that support spinal column.

Poor posture can create muscle imbalances, which increases stress and could result in injury.

Figure 3

Step 2:  Comprehensive Physical Assessment, I created 2 physical assessments for the person who have a poor wellness and movement rating, or has an injury. The other is for the athlete or fitness enthusiast with a high rating and injury and 1 general movement screen for the fitness enthusiast and athlete. In addition; I created a functional movement and capacity screen for older adults.

Step 3: Restoration and Corrective Exercise System

Step 4: Functional Strength and Conditioning System

Step 5: Advanced Functional Strength & Conditioning System (for the serious fitness enthusiast, recreational, professional and occupational athlete. Occupational athletes are those who have physically demanding jobs like firefighters, law enforcement, construction and delivery drivers like UPS)

Each step progresses the person toward their wellness & movement intentions and goals. Each person gets a customized exercise system and video that are progressed as they improve. Eventually they learn to follow their own plan to maintain their wellness & movement rating.

Using this step-by-step process will lower the rate of health challenges and musculoskeletal disorders worldwide!

To learn what your wellness & movement rating is and how you can enhance them, contact the Wellness Movement Center. 828-667-9334 or

 Make the Rest of Your Life, The Best of Your Life.