The Problem with Maintenance
In the alternative health field, many people choose to continue care even after there has been resolution of the problem for which they initially sought treatment. In the absence of pain or a clinical condition, continuing care that is “not deemed medically necessary” is called maintenance care. The implication is that the person has achieved a state of health that is better than when they began and they desire to stay there.
This is a reasonable position and one that is understandably desirable. There is also a problem with this perspective.
The problem of maintenance is that the objective is to plateau. The very nature of the language and the intent of maintenance is to keep someone where they are. Even if the current state is better than the old state, if the goal is stasis, this is inherently limiting in both perspective and in practice.
The experience of life and how we are able to navigate through storm and still is not done by picking a place and staying there. Life happens in the balance of stability and instability. There is comfort in stability, but also a massive impediment to growth.
A richer alternative to maintenance would be, as the Stoic philosopher Epictetus counselled, to “make the mind adaptable to any circumstances.” The adaptability of the mind is a direct reflection of the integrity and the tone of the nervous system. It stands to reason (and is evidenced in practice) that an approach to health, wellness, and well-being that promotes neural integrity will not lead to maintaining a static plateau, but a way to embody strategies that advance the human condition.