Mental Health is a broad term we use to define mental well being. Perhaps it might be too broad, and ends up conflating two different but closely interlinked phenomena. We think it makes more sense to talk of mental physiology and psychological health as two components that make up ‘mental health’.
When we talk about mental physiology we’re referring to muscles, bones, nerves, the vascular system, cerebrospinal fluid and various regions of the brain and the physical nature of synaptic connections. We believe these systems and the manner in which they can become dysfunctional lead to the root cause of mental health.
Psychological health refers to the specific data contained within neurons, in the form of thoughts, beliefs, memories and other more abstract phenomena which are significantly less memorable.
While distinct, mental physiology and psychological health are closely interlinked and the two can directly affect each other. Further research is required, however it seems likely that negative experiences lead to the body engaging in protective guarding of the neck by tightening extrinsic neck muscles. For short periods this may be of little consequence, but if it is chronic or the situation is very severe, then this may affect the relative balance of neck muscles and in turn totally change a person’s long term mental physiology.
This idea definitely requires further development and investigation.
The most important next step in identifying a clear link between mental physiology and psychological health is the creation of diagnostic tools that can measure ‘relative muscle strength’ in real-time so that the effect of various stressors on muscle activation can be tested and measured.
While we acknowledge the importance of psychological health and it’s direct connection to mental physiology, at Theraware we focus closely on mental physiology as a means to optimising mental health.