ancestral health as part of our assessment

What is Ancestral Health?

An ancestral viewpoint allows practitioners to gain insight into how the human body is designed to be optimized.

At SoleFit, we strive to provide our patients with the best understanding of the factors involved in their conditions or injuries. Along with considering mechanics, footwear, muscle function, etc we must also be able to understand how to repair and optimally maintain our bodies. From this, we should consider the evolution of our genes via utilization of the Ancestral Health perspective. Ancestral health gives practitioners tools to view the human body from the very start: how did our bodies evolve to get us here, and how does that allow the body to respond to today’s world. An ancestral viewpoint allows practitioners to gain insight into how the human body is designed to be optimized.

An ancestral viewpoint allows practitioners to gain insight into how the human body is designed to be optimized.

From that starting point, we can then determine necessary treatments in order to work around negative physiological responses to modern lifestyle problems (ie: food choices, voluntary and involuntary ‘sedentarism’, training patterns, equipment, etc.).  In the spirit of holistic treatment, an ancestral health perspective can help to target fixing a problem at its source opposed to just managing symptoms. The rate of recovery, the probability of prevention, and long term solutions become a moving target that this broader viewpoint can help us hit. Although the basic human ‘blueprint’ is very similar, treatment plans will often vary drastically from one person to the next based on how our genes have been expressed.  We are each an ‘experiment of one’ but the ancestral health model gives us a great place to start!

Let’s consider a common example that we see on a daily basis in our clinic:  runner/walker who has faced recurrent plantar fasciitis problems over the course of a few years of training. Details of this patient include:

Long hours of desk work and very little movement due to sitting along with less than ideal dress footwear.

High stress job leading to poorly reported sleep quality.

Reports a generally poor diet due to restrictions in time to prepare good meals along with constant swings in energy.

Slow recovery and general soreness most days after training.

Conventional treatment for this client would likely be to use some form of arch support and/or change footwear, icing and/or anti-inflammatories, and rest.  All of these things are very effective on their own and have benefit, but here’s where we can take this a step further using the ancestral health model:

More consistency to self care, stretching, yoga and mobility in order to undo lifestyle effects of sitting and less than ideal footwear.  A couple minutes per day of rolling out calves and/or programs like ROMWOD.

Scheduled rest days and attention to sleep and stress to manage training volume.  Meditation apps (like Calm and Headspace) along with tools to eliminate blue light in the evening can make a huge difference.

Awareness of anti-inflammatory food choices (real food) versus inflammatory (sugary, processed food) food choices.  Poor food intake increases inflammation and sensitivity to pain.

While our pedorthic assessments often stay principally focused on movement patterns, biomechanics, and orthopaedic corrections, we have recently pursued certification as Primal Health Experts in order to provide our clients with information about good nutrition, stress and energy balancing, functional movement, and proper exposure to natural environments. When these variables are kept in accordance to what our bodies have come to expect over a millennia of human evolution, we often see significant improvements to our overall health.

Curious about ancestral health? Check out the links below, and as always, send any questions our way!


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