A Closer Look at the Seven Systems of Full-Spectrum Health
(Note: This excerpt provides an overview of the Seven Systems of Full-Spectrum Health that will be covered in more detail in Dr. Deanna Minich’s new book, WHOLE DETOX.)
We have just seen that our biochemistry crosses the boundaries between body, mind, and emotion. The next step is to ask how we can best treat common physical, mental, and emotional problems. That’s where the Seven Systems of Full-Spectrum Health come in: seven clusters of physical, mental, and emotional issues that are best addressed together.
My notion of the seven systems is informed by science and inspired by the combined healing traditions of medicine, spirituality, and yoga. Each system is based in an endocrine gland, moving from the base of the spine up to the crown of the head, and each one represents a nexus of anatomy, physical function, and bio chemistry as well as a group of emotions, thoughts, and life issues. It’s a very sophisticated and elegant way of integrating body, mind, and emotions—far more nuanced and specific than any other approach I’ve seen.
In fact, the more success I’ve had with the seven systems, the more dissatisfied I’ve become with the notion of “body-mind-spirit.” Rather than the sum of these three parts, we are a spectrum of many. Why talk about “body” in such general terms when we could make precise distinctions between the immune system and adrenals (part of the first, the ROOT, system of health), and the digestive tract plus the pancreas (part of the third, the FIRE, system)?
The Seven Systems of Full-Spectrum Health give us a way to focus our thoughts about different issues, through nutrition; lifestyle, which includes mental, emotional, and spiritual concepts; and color, which allows us to access the powerful emotional and physical effects of each color as well as the various nutritional properties embodied in the colors of food:
|The ROOT||Red foodsProtein|
|The FLOW||Orange foodsHealthy fats|
Letting go and being in the flow
|The FIRE||Yellow foodsComplex carbohydrates|
|“Fire in the belly”Ambition, drive|
|The LOVE||Green foodsLeafy vegetables||LoveExpansiveness|
|The Truth||Liquid foods (e.g., soup, stews, sauces, juices)Iodine-rich foods|
|The INSIGHT||Blue-purple foodsNutrients that modulate mood and cognition|
Foods that help with sleep
Dreams and sleep
|The SPIRIT||White, detoxifying foodsFasting|
|SpiritualityA sense of being part of something larger than oneself|
Meaning and purpose
Using the seven systems approach gives me and my patient a powerful set of tools to identify toxic barriers and come up with solutions. If I know that you’re having trouble with immune function—say, you’re frequently coming down with colds and flu—that suggests you might have some toxins in your first system of health. You might need to eat more red foods or up your intake of protein and/or minerals. And/or you might need to consider your sense of personal boundaries—refusing to take on other people’s problems or not allowing loved ones to blame you for their own shortcomings. And/or you might want to think about how to improve your relationship with your “tribe,” the people who give you your primary sense of identity.
Likewise, if you tell me you feel “ungrounded” or you “just can’t settle down to anything” or you frequently feel anxious and unsafe, I might also diagnose first system issue, which I might also address with a combination of physical, mental, and spiritual approaches. Using these seven systems allows me to get more specific than just “body,” “mind,” and “spirit.” And when you have mastered them (and you will, I promise!), you’ll be able to get equally specific and equally powerful at overcoming toxic barriers.
These seven systems may seem counterintuitive at first. You might not see why leafy green foods belong in the LOVE system along with your heart, or why blue-purple foods, like blackberries, belong in the INSIGHT system alongside the pituitary gland. But bear with me because once you grasp the nature of each system of health, it’s going to start making a whole of sense.
What follows is an overview so you can start to see how these seven systems account for all the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual issues we experience. They cover the whole spectrum of human experience—another reason I call this program Whole Detox.
To ground each system for you in practical terms, I’ve included a few specific Whole Detox suggestions, just so you can see how these concepts might translate into real life. Don’t worry about following them now or even remembering; they’re just to give you a taste of how this approach works. When you follow the actual twenty-one-day program, I will tell you exactly what to do on each day.
About the Author
Dr. Deanna Minich is a Fellow of the American College of Nutrition (F.A.C.N.), a Certified Nutrition Specialist (C.N.S.), Certified Nutritionist (C.N.), and a Registered Yoga Teacher (R.Y.T.). A resident of Port Orchard, Washington, she is a senior advisor to the Personalized Lifestyle Medicine Institute in Seattle, Washington, and an adjunct professor at the Institute for Functional Medicine, Maryland University of Integrative Health, and the University of Western States.