We are all energy transformers, connected with the whole universe. All our life processes, including illness, depend on how we manage energy.
In 1977, Ilya Prigogene won a Nobel Prize for his theory of dissipative structures. Dissipative structures are open systems in which energy is taken in, modified (transformed), and then returned (dissipated) to the environment. A rock or a cold cup of coffee is a closed system because it does not channel and transform energy in this way. A seed, which constructs a plant from soil, air, and light, is an open system. So is a town, one of Prigogene's favorite examples. In the town, raw materials are converted into other objects by factories. These manufactured goods are then sent out into the world. Information and experience are processed in the town's schools with the end result being educated minds that are then released to make their impact on the world.
A human being is an open system, too. We take in energy from all the sources around us, organize it, transform it, and return (dissipate) it to the environment around us. The underlying theory in the Wellness Inventory is that efficient flow of energy is essential to wellness; disease is the result of any interference with this flow. This is true of energy usage in all life processes, from breathing to dying.
Think of yourself as a channel of energy - energy flowing in, coursing around, and flowing out. And because you are different from every other energy channel walking around, it goes without saying that your condition (physical, emotional, mental, spiritual) is going to determine how much you take in, what it feels like inside, and how it moves out into the environment. When the flow is balanced and smooth, you feel good. When there is interference at any point - the input, the output, or in between—you can feel empty, confused, pressured, or blocked. Illness is often the result.
The process may be compared to the movement of water through a pipe. The source of the water, the reservoir, constitutes the input. The size and condition of the pipe will determine the flow-through. The water that emerges at the other end - from your faucet, for instance - is the output. Ideally, it is clear, fresh, and free-flowing, as shown.
Wellness Energy System
Represented by Wellness Wheel
You have at least three major sources for energy input around you all the time. These are: 1) oxygen (Breathing), 2) food (Eating), and 3) sensory stimulation (Sensing) such as physical touch, heat, light, sound, and other forms of electromagnetic radiation. In addition, there are the less tangible inputs: emotional/spiritual information such as attention, caring, enthusiasm, and love.
Wellness Energy System: 3 Key Energy Inputs
You are the channel or the transformer of these energy sources. In the water pipe analogy just shown, the flow-through is dependent on the shape, diameter, and composition of the pipe. For the human organism, the list of modifiers of energy is much greater. Your sex, blood type, the pigmentation of your skin, and other racial characteristics are your genetic inheritance; there isn't much you can do about them. Over other conditions, however, you have much more voluntary control. These include your education and beliefs, previous experience, the activity of your nervous system, your flexibility, strength, body weight, emotional development, muscle tension, general state of health, and functioning of organs. The less measurable factors of sensitivity, open-mindedness, and self-love are also up to you.
We use part of the energy we take in to maintain the channel - to build and repair the body itself and much of it occurs during our all-important sleep periods. This is the internal output. At the most elementary level, we use energy to maintain a narrow internal temperature range (around 98.6°F/37°C), as circulating blood brings heat to cold areas. We secrete digestive juices for breakdown and absorption of food. We synthesize chemicals that are sent to many different organs. We produce electrochemical impulses that travel throughout the nervous system.
Taking a step up in this energy transformation process, we replace worn tissue and blood cells - repairing cuts and scratches and mending bones. We move muscles that control digestion, respiration, elimination, and reproduction. And don't forget those less tangible expressions of energy - the generation of emotions, the internal dialog of your thinking processes, your intuition, dreams, and the creation of what may be spiritual insights and altered states of consciousness.
The outside world will also be affected by the ways you transform energy. This is the external output. You radiate heat and eliminate waste products in the form of urine, perspiration, carbon dioxide, and the shedding of dead skin. The rest of us will be affected by your touching, your physical work and play, your laughter and tears. We will learn about you, and ourselves, through communication, the sharing of intellectual pursuits, and the expression of creativity. You can't help but influence the planet by your interaction with the environment. Less-understood energy communications, such as telepathy and other psychic phenomena, are taking place as well. And there is no doubt that your loving energy will change us all.
Putting together the input and output, we have the complete Wellness Energy System of a human being.
Full Wellness Energy System