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What is the Slow Medicine Wheel of Health?

Michael B. Finkelstein, MD
Internal Medicine
Remember this nursery school song? The knee bone is connected to the thigh bone; the thigh bone is connected to the hip bone.

These simple lyrics actually reflect a sophisticated understanding of health, namely, that everything -- muscles and nerves, bodies and minds, people and planet – are connected in a way that has a domino effect on the other.

Slow Medicine recognizes this "interdependence" and guides individuals in connecting the dots between all the moving parts of our lives.

The Slow Medicine Wheel of Health has seven spokes:
  • physical (play tennis, practice yoga)
  • mental-emotional (recite positive affirmations, practice guided imagery)
  • your relationship to others (go out with friends for dinner, play games with your kids)
  • your relationship to the natural world (hike through a forest, watch birds in your backyard)
  • your community (attend a neighborhood block party, join a networking group for your profession)
  • your relationship to the Divine (attend services at a local spiritual center, pray at home)
  • your life’s purpose work (teach children, volunteer at a homeless shelter)
Consider how to nurture each spoke of your personal wheel of health by doing something you love.

Each spoke is a moving part with the potential to activate the body's natural (innate) ability to heal itself.  Each one is also dynamic. That means a single spoke can interact with and amplify the power of the other spokes.

In other words, your wellness is not only the sum total of each spoke, or each moving part, but it is also the united relationship between all of them.

So, if you meditate in your living room, on your own, you may calm and clear your mind and enhance your mental-emotional health. But if you go with a friend to a group meditation in a local park, you can do all that and possibly enhance your relationship to others (your friend), your relationship to nature (the park) and your relationship to community (the meditation group). In other words, you are amplifying the positive impact on your health.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.