The Zen Corner

Science, Art, and Philosophy of Chiropractic

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Chiropractic causes stroke?

Can a chiropractor cause a stroke?

This question has been a long and tortuous battle between the medical profession and chiropractic for many years. The result was that the chiropractic profession was put through the judicial court systems by the medical profession claiming chiropractors to be an unscientific cult. The result was chiropractic did not lose in court and the profession itself is much more accepted today than it was 100 years ago.

Popular media has taken up this on this drama between the professions and pulled out the story of chiropractic adjustment can cause a stroke. As this was inflammatory to the social media decades ago, it is the same today. Many writers and journalists misused scientific study that is published in a peer-reviewed journal as a rigorous research when sometimes it is just merely editorials expressing opinions.

Barber’s Haircut caused a Heart Attack?

Another common misuse of information is equating correlation with cause and effect. There is a logical fallacy where one event follows another, the first event caused the second event. This can be a basis for logical errors and superstitions. One can have myocardial infarction right after visiting the barber shop, then the barber cutting the hair caused the myocardial infarction. If we really wanted to force this argument, we can compile undisputed medical evidence of heart attack within weeks after visiting the barbershop. Now if we apply this to the issue of chiropractic adjustment and strokes it is another consideration.


This research from Neurology describes this logical fallacy with some of the research materials that were written in a published journal.

There was a survey when neurologists were asked the number of patients evaluated over the preceding of two years who suffered a neurologic complication within 24 hours of receiving a “chiropractic manipulation.” Fifty-five strokes were reported. The author stated, “Patients, physicians, and chiropractors should be aware of the risk of neurological complications associated with chiropractic manipulation.” (Lee K: “Neurologic complications following chiropractic manipulation: a survey  of California neurologist.” Neurology 1995; 45:1213)

From a research standpoint, establishing a chiropractic manipulation causes stroke as a statement is very difficult. As Chesnut states: “A review of the literature regarding the relationship between chiropractic and stroke provides very little useful information. The vast majority of the published literature is comprised of case studies, case series, or case-control studies, none of which are capable of providing valid information regarding causation or risk. These type of studies can, of course, provide useful information with regard to suggesting a direction of future research, but they should never be interpreted as a valid means of determining causality. The only valid conclusion that can be reached from review of the available literature is that due to methodological shortcomings, there are literally no scientifically valid data that establish chiropractic adjustment as either a cause of stroke or as being associated with and increased risk of stroke.” (Chestnut J: The stroke issue: Paucity of valid data, plethora of unsubstantiated conjecture. J. Manipulative Physiol Ther 2004; 27; 368-72. )

There is no research article that has proven the relationship between chiropractic manipulation and stroke. We don’t have a method that proves this relationship regardless of opinion. There is more research on how chiropractic is not related to stroke. Jaskoviak reported that not a single case of vertebral artery stroke occurred in approximately five million cervical “manipulations” at the National College of Chiropractic Clinic from 1965 to 1980. (Jaskoviac P Complications arising from manipulation of the cervical spine. J Manipulative Physio Ther 1980;3:213.)


There are some research studies that include “manipulations” administered by Kung Fu practitioner, osteopaths, physiotherapists, a wife, a blind masseur, and an Indian barber were all incorrectly associated with chiropractors. Terrett stated that the words of chiropractic and chiropractor have been incorrectly used in numerous publications with injuries by medical authors from respected medical journals and organizations. (Terett AGJ: Misuse of the literature by medical authors in discussing spinal manipulative therapy injury. J Manipuative Physiol Ther 1995; 18:203.)

9780312374808This is what we call junk science being put up as legitimate science. Poor correlations from a biased scientific method in a published research do not produce a conclusion of chiropractic will cause a stroke. Every chiropractic adjustment does not correlate with a risk of a stroke. It is time to replace yellow journalism with scientific investigation. In fact, Cassidy’s studies suggest that people with a stroke in progress may visit a chiropractor complaining of a headache and/or neck pain. Neither a physician or chiropractor caused the stroke. (Cassidy JD, Boyle E, Cote P. et al : Risk of Vertebrobasilar stroke and Chiropractic Care. Results of a Population-Based Case-Control and Case-Crossover Study. Spine 2008;33(4S)S176-S183. )


Chiropractic has been associated with stroke from reports of medical literature for decades. The recent popular media seem to have led some gullible audience to accept this false and junk science at face value. Let’s be careful and examine that it will reveal the poor correlation between chiropractic and stroke. Stroke can happen anywhere at anytime and impossible to predict. Strokes can happen equally anyplace even at a coffee shop. So are you going to blame the coffee or maybe the chiropractor you saw a couple of days ago?

Most likely people blame chiropractors for stroke is because they are avoiding or spreading the liability when it happens in their clinic/hospital.



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Forceful Cracking

Many people have seen cracking, snapping, and popping in their necks and backs. There are too many homemade tutorials that claim to be therapeutic and relaxing. Some would teach to do on their own, which can be very dangerous because this can cause other health problems as previous blogs have mentioned.


Forceful cracking of the neck and back by an unprofessional can cause unwanted side effects because there is no knowledge and experience from a professional. So people who learn forceful cracking the neck and back on youtube, rely on their muscle force and override the resistance of another. There is a sheer force of mass and speed that overrides the person’s response to guard and move the joints in order to create the sound effects. Which this sound is often mistaken for the therapeutic product for relaxation and removing pain. While there is a cracking, popping, and snapping going on, there is also the possibility of damaging structures.

  1. Sprain the local muscle groups, which can cause soreness, sharp pains, and dull achiness from damaging the muscles from the sudden shear force.
  2. Damage the disc from twisting the disc and tearing the annular fibers of the disc, which can endanger the person to have disc herniations in the future.
  3. Fracture the spine and causing more permanent damages. Bones in the spine can be in a delicate situation and professionals who take x-rays will know this possibility.

There are reasons why physical assessments and having a professional licensure is required for a Chiropractor to adjust the spine. Many people assume it is easy what a Chiropractor does and mimics their chiropractic adjustment. As mentioned in previous blogs before, chiropractic isn’t like using a hammer and slamming the bent nail in. A professional knows that we have to be careful and effective. Tapping and directing carefully to put the nail where it needs to be.

landing2A chiropractic adjustment is often confused with moving spine; like it is moving an inanimate object. The problem is that that moving the spine involves a living person. Which means this bone isn’t an object but a living object. So forcefully cracking or moving a spine will be difficult if the person who is receiving it wasn’t so willing to allow it to move. This will be like hitting a brick wall. So then person pushes harder and harder and the person receiving the push will get stiffer and stiffer. Once the person receiving the push gives in a little, one can imagine the amount of force may have caused some problems.

Dr_Gonstead (1)

A Chiropractic legend Dr. Sigafoose retold his story about his encounter with Dr. Gonstead. Dr. Gonstead was an icon for chiropractors.  If you wanted to be the best, you have to adjust like Dr. Gonstead. He sat next to him at a conference and was told from Dr. Gonstead that one must be one with the bone to adjust the bone. Many of his students that experienced his adjustments mentioned his hands were like pillows and never suspected anything forceful. Dr. Gonstead had rheumatoid arthritis that was cured with chiropractic when he was young. Since then he because of a chiropractor, developed a specific chiropractic technique and a system to do chiropractic adjustment that did not require a forceful maneuver.

Chiropractic adjustment is an Art of Ease

Chiropractic adjustments seem like a physical maneuver only, but it is a cooperation between the chiropractor and the person who is receiving the chiropractic adjustment. Chiropractic adjustment was never meant to be a forceful maneuver but a gentle guided touch with slight speed. Dr. Gonstead was never known to be a forceful chiropractor, he was known for his gentle pillow like hands that will help the nervous system to ease.

The less force utilized in a chiropractic adjustment of the spine, there is more skill and finesse. Using brute force often does not produce the same result compared to a professional, specific, diligent chiropractic adjustment. These skills take many years to master and continued training. There are skill levels in chiropractors compared to a novice or amateur who is trying to copy the chiropractic adjustment.


When critics argue that they do not need training and that they can produce the same result as a professional, that depends on what they are looking for. If a forceful cracking of the neck and back is the product you want then you might be able to reproduce that. When the condition is more complex, severe pain is involved, and daily activity is diminished, the forceful cracking may or may not beneficial to the person in pain. Examination and assessment are needed for a specific adjustment.


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Essential to Life

What is essential to survive and thrive?

Well, we know that we need to drink water, breath oxygen, and consume food sources to sustain the body’s needs. There is another important factor that will be more essential than drinking water, breathing oxygen, and consuming food sources. What can be more important than breathing air? drinking water? or consuming food?

The first anatomical structure that develops in a gestational period is the central nervous system. In embryology, it is called the Primitive Streak. The Primitive Streak forms after 15 days of gestation of the Morula, which is a globular mass of cells (blastomeres) that will be stationary in the uterus. Once the Primitive Streak is formed the cells start to form three germ layers and eventually form the rest of the body. It is known that the Primitive Streak is the beginning stage of development of the central nervous system. It is important to start with the central regulating system that orchestrates more complex development because, without it, nothing will form.


The central regulating system, which is the central nervous system, processes complex chemical and physical development of the body. There are 65 trillion chemicals in the brain processed and produced every second of your life. So even though we can breathe air, drink water, or consume food, if our central nervous system is not regulating the process, giving resources won’t matter. Orchestrated by your Nervous System, your body supplies the correct dosage of antibodies, enzymes, endorphin and other compounds precisely when they are needed. Having a properly functioning nervous system is essential to life as we adapt to stress and thrive. How do we maintain a complex network of nerve cells, multi-billion chemicals that are processing each second, and communicate with all the organs in the body?

Stimulation of the Brain

We all know the phrase, “If we don’t use it, we lose it.” When we don’t exercise our muscles, then the muscles will atrophy. Same with our brain and spinal cord. Chesnut states that,

“Our nervous system do require food (glucose or ketone bodies and Omega  3 Fatty Acids), oxygen, and stimulation.  Movement via exercises is the main source of this essential nutrient. Use it or lose it is so true. Your brain is like a muscle and it needs stimulation or the synapses are lost and neurons get deconditioned and hibernate’.

This means creating stimulation to the brain such as exercise is the only way to keep the brain cells alive. This is an assumption that all of the joints in the body is in proper alignment and stimulating properly. The previous blog has touched on this subject on the blog title of “Gait Analysis: You can run but you can’t hide!” Although, even having enough stimulation to the brain and getting all the resources it needs there is still another important need for the nervous system. The nervous system needs to maintain a certain organizational structure to do complex chemical reactions and movements.

Tone of the Nerve Tissue

To have a properly functioning nervous system is not just providing resources such as drinking water, breathing air, or consuming food. What is a properly functioning nervous system? More then a hundred years ago in 1985, a concept of tone for the nervous system was introduced by D.D. Palmer.cord

D.D Palmer said: “Life is the expression of tone. In that sentence is the basic principle of Chiropractic. Tone is the normal degree of nerve tension. Tone is expressed in functions by the normal elasticity, activity, strength and excitability of the various organs, as observed in a state of health. Consequently, the cause of disease is any variation of tone – nerves too tense or too slack.”

D.D. Palmer continually wrote: “Tone, in biology, is the normal tension or firmness of nerves, muscles or organs, the renitent, elastic force acting against an impulse. Any deviation from normal tone, that of being too tense or too slack, causes a condition of renitence, too much elastic force, too great resistance, a condition expressed in function as disease.”

breig-revisitedThis concept of tone in the nervous system is the foundation for chiropractic philosophy, science, and art. 40 years later a Neurosurgeon named Dr. Breig mentioned many concepts of the biomechanics of the Nervous System. Michael Shacklock summarised Dr. Breig’s concepts in the book Biomechanics of the Nervous System: Breig revisited,

“The total tension induced may well lead to neural dysfunction, and then the involved nerve-fibers in the cord or nerve-roots may be said to be over-stretched. The most significant consequence of over-stretching nerve-fibers is impairment of their conductivity.”

Biomechanics of the Nervous System: Breig                                                                                     revisited Pg xiv

If the Nervous System is not working properly and not regulating the complex process do we need medications? medical surgery?


Maybe there is a shortage of a chemical that we need? Well, the Pharmaceutical industry knows 11 thousand that are on the market. Our body processes 65 trillion chemicals every second. Just from that ratio, we can definitely say that our body has very complex body chemistry and can supply what the body needs instead of injecting, consuming, or infuse into our body. Simply adding a chemical to the nervous system that not functioning is not a long-term solution. It may be a short-term solution for survival but not for the long term.


If there is something wrong with the nervous system then why not do medical surgery on the brain and spinal cord?

Medical Surgery

Having medical surgery for the nervous system will take drastic changes in the nervous system. Spinal surgery and fusion can change the spinal structure permanently. These surgical procedures require more medication, many days of recovery, and permanent changes that is not reversible. It is definitely a lifesaver for rare brain and spinal cord conditions but it is not a common medical procedure to do casually. Most people are not required or needed for a surgical procedure yet it is almost always a requirement in all spinal conditions.

There are possibly other ideas that may solve the dysfunctioning nervous system.

Impingement and Interference 

Nerve cells make up the nerve tissue and it is known to be a delicate and sensitive tissue. That is why the skeletal system incases the whole entire structure with the skull and spinal column.  Any pressure on this delicate nerve tissue. Stephenson states in Chiropractic Textbook,

“The most delicate tissue in the body, nerve tissue, is so sensitive to injury or annoyance that it cannot ‘put up’ with any rough treatment. It cannot stand pinching or crowd or rough ‘shouldering’.” Chiropractic Text Book Pg 295

In an article 303, Stephenson starts to define impingement and describes how the spinal segments can create impingements.


“All impingements in the body (and there are many kinds) are due to subluxations,


directly or indirectly. Impingements may be produced by fractures or dislocations also, for any abnormal position of a vertebra, relative to its neighbors, may impinge nerves.” Chiropractic Text Book Pg 304

This idea of spinal segments involving tension in the spinal cord is also mentioned by Shacklock’s summary of Dr. Brieg,

“Tension is thus the pathologically significant force, whether generated by a pincer action, by local induration and deformation, or by a space-occupying lesion. ”

These impingements are well known in the medical field of nerve impingements. Often they are associated with spinal stenosis from disc herniation or bone spurs from the degenerative joint disease. From Stephenson, he mentions that subluxation can be a direct or indirect cause of impingement of the nerve structure.  Not only can subluxation cause impingement but also can cause impingements in the spinal canal, which also cause cord pressure and cord tension.

Impingement will lead to interference of the nerves to transmit signals from the brain to all of the body cells. Stephenson states,

“Interference with transmission prevents Innate from adapting things universal for use in the body and from coordinating the actions of tissue cells for the mutual benefit of all cells. Accordingly, the universal forces wear or injure the tissue cells, or cause them to act inharmoniously and thus injure other cells as well.  When a cell is injured, worn down, or ‘out of condition’, it is not ‘at ease’.” Chiropractic Text Book Pg 301

When there is any impingement there will also be interference. The nerves will not function at its optimal potential when there is an impingement. As we have explained in the blog “What is Chiropractic Treatment,” we talked about subluxation being a main interference in the nervous system. Here is the link to that blog. ( Chiropractic is very different from Medica approach to dealing with the nervous system.

Chiropractic and Medical

As a common idea of spinal cord tension is the medical philosophy and chiropractic philosophy, the approach to solve the problem is drastically different. Medical philosophy is trying to change the biomechanics of the nervous system by permanently changing the structure that is starting to fall apart. Chiropractic philosophy is to find the most interference caused by an impingement and remove it with chiropractic adjustments.


Medical philosophy is to solve the symptom of survival and once it is gone, there is no need to continue to care for. Chiropractic philosophy differs by addressing the symptom but stabilizing the condition so that the spine can handle more pressure and thrive. A chiropractor may ask about symptoms but there is a difference in the way we interpret how the function is overall.


Essential to life is to keep the central nervous system to be stimulated properly and keep the structural integrity. We can eat a ton of food, drink gallons of water, and breath all the air but if our central nervous system is not getting the stimulation and proper structural integrity, all the damages in our body won’t repair because the main facilitator is malfunctioning. All the resources we put in our body can go to waste if our mainframe facilitator of the body can not process the right resources to the right channels. To have an optimally functioning nervous system, we need proper stimulation and specific structural tone as we need all the resources to regenerate and build.

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Pregnancy and Chiropractic Adjustments

 article-1016703-01045CA000000578-108_634x345Your Body, Your Baby

If you are pregnant, one of the best things you can do is set up an appointment for a chiropractic adjustment. Chiropractic adjustments provide so many benefits a pregnant woman needs: a flexible and balanced spine and pelvis, internal organs without postural stress and freedom from nerve stress. These are all essential for a healthy pregnancy and smooth delivery of the baby.

Along with better nutrients, exercise and avoiding drugs/alcohol/cigarettes, chiropractic adjustments should be an essential part a woman’s healthcare regimen during pregnancy.

What does a Doctor of Chiropractic do?

A pregnant woman needs to have her body as healthy as possible and as strong as possible, in order to handle the bumpy road of pregnancy and childbirth. Chiropractic adjustments will help ensure that all body systems, especially the reproductive organs which are vital for the healthy pregnancy, function properly. If there is any slight nerve interference to these systems the mother and developing fetus will be affected. Chiropractors should examine your spinal column for spinal distortions and the cause of nerve stress. These are known as vertebral subluxation. If a chiropractor finds subluxations in your body, the chiropractor will correct them with chiropractic spinal adjustments that are gentle for the pregnant mother.

Pregnancy and Chiropractic

Drugless Healthcare

Chiropractic is a drugless healthcare service/treatment for pregnant mothers. There is no such thing as a safe drug that will not harm the growing fetus. No drugs should be prescribed during pregnancy without weighing the maternal needed against the fetal damage. Antibodies, aspirin, alcohol, cigarettes, marijuana, cocaine, and even cough syrup and cold and flu medications all have been linked to fetal damage and miscarriage.

What can Chiropractic Help?

Chiropractic has demonstrated that pregnancy is maintained, controls vomiting, deliver full-term infants with ease and produces healthier infants. Chiropractic also has had success in back pain premature contractions, and back labor.

Weight gain, compensating postural changes and hormonal-induced ligament laxity add to a woman’s predisposition towards pelvic misalignment during pregnancy. All lead to elevate low back pain and hip pain. Affecting quality of life and the outcome of the labor.


One of the major contributing factors in the outcome of labor is having a condition called dystocia. Specifically, it is defined by  Jeanne Ohm, DC
ICPA Executive Coordinator:

  1. Abnormalities of the explosive forces, either uterine forces insufficiently strong enough or inappropriately coordinated to efface and dilate cervix (uterine dysfunction), or inadequate voluntary muscle effort during the second stage of labor (Power)
  2. Abnormalities of the maternal bony pelvis, that is the pelvic contraction.
  3. Abnormalities of presentation, position, or development of the fetus.

When examined from a neuromuscular and biomechanical perspective, each of these may potentially cause dystocia which may be helped with specific chiropractic adjustments of the pregnant woman’s spine and pelvis throughout the pregnancy and in preparation for birth.

Medical Interventions

Most medical interventions, including C-sections, are used as a result of “failure to progress” or dystocia. The most common interventions practiced today are the use of Cytotec, Pitocin for induction or augmentation, the use of epidurals for pain relief, and restricted maternal positions during labor.

“In 2016, 32.2% of U.S. births were by C-section that is over a 50% increase in 20 years. As the rate of C-sections has risen, so has the rate of pregnancy-associated deaths. Current statistics show the rate of maternal morbidity is higher for cesarean as opposed to vaginal births.”

                                                                           Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention                                                               

Webster Technique

Chiropractic has been able to help mother’s in which the baby isn’t positioned properly for birth. Webster technique was developed by Dr. Larry Websters and he has been very successful in reducing the effects of sacral subluxation and SI joint dysfunction. In so doing neuro-biomechanical function in the pelvis is improved.

Dr. Larry Webster, founder of the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association discovered this adjustment as a safe means to restore proper pelvic balance and function. This specific sacral analysis can be used on all weight bearing individuals to determine S/I joint dysfunction/ sacral subluxation and is therefore applicable to the entire population.


The ICPA (International Chiropractic Pediatric Association) recognizes that in a theoretical and clinical framework of the Webster Technique in the care of pregnant women, sacral subluxation may contribute to difficult labor for the mother (i.e., dystocia).  Dystocia is caused by inadequate uterine function, pelvic contraction, and baby mal-presentation. The correction of sacral subluxation may have a positive effect on all of these causes of dystocia.

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In this clinical and theoretical framework, it is proposed that sacral misalignment may contribute to these three primary causes of dystocia via uterine nerve interference, pelvic misalignment and the tightening and torsion of specific pelvic muscles and ligaments.  The resulting tense muscles and ligaments and their aberrant effect on the uterus may prevent the baby from comfortably assuming the best possible position for birth.


Chiropractic alone is never the only solution but can make an easier pregnancy. Respectively, ease of pregnancy will also be influenced by dietary intake, sufficient exercise routine, sitting and sleeping postures, and the mother’s health condition. Some mothers will have to go to the hospital for C-sections. All need to be taken to account for the complex process of the pregnancy of neurological, hormonal, and structural changes of the mother. Does your pregnancy include Chiropractic adjustments?



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Meditate in Ease

“Zazen, wabi/sabi and then Chiropractic,” the previous blog, was written about posture in Zazen and how crucial in proper meditation. Improper posture will make the meditation called Zazen more difficult or harder than normal. Improper posture can be caused by many things such as a condition called subluxation in Chiropractic. In this blog, there will be additional information about posture, breathing, and mental state and how it can influence the quality of your meditation experience. To have the best meditation in ease is to eliminate conditions of dysponesis.

Before we talk about dysponesis, here is one fact. The human nervous system is innately geared towards survival of the whole entire body. This ability to survive manifests itself by efficient use of energy for all the metabolic and physiological process. These processes of survival are all based upon the input from the environment that the body receives. Conserving energy or efficient use of energy to optimal function to express life.


Our body has sensory nerve endings that will take in information and adapt to any environmental changes. Lack of proper integration of this information will lead to mis-information to the brain and leads to dysponesis. Dysponesis is described by Dr. Christopher Kent,

“Dysponesis is a reversible pathophysiologic state. It is composed of neurophysiologic reactions to various agents, and the repercussions of these reactions throughout the organism. The neurophysiologic reactions consist mainly of covert errors in energy expenditure. To the chiropractor, it is essential to develop clinical strategies which are effective in disclosing these covert errors in energy expenditure and correcting them.”

Dysponesis will lead to improper sensory integration, inefficient/imbalance in muscle coordination, disability, disease states, symptoms, and loss of optimal function to the human body.


There are many measurements that are able to detect dysponesis. Being able to visualize the body provides tangible measurements, although there might be some information will be missed. Traditional techniques such as plum line or bilateral body weights were used to make observable postural changes and weight distributions. Our body has a reflex, called the righting reflex, utilized by our eyes to make sure our eyes are horizontal to the plane for the most efficient energy expenditure. The plum line analysis and bilateral body weight distributions can show the muscle that are being over-utilized or underperforming for an energy efficient structure. (Dynamic posture in walking and running will be considered in future blog posts.) This method will reach its limits due to the complex and abstract nature of our dynamic body structure.

Modern technology has found a way to measure complex and dynamic body structure. Modern surface EMG equipment are able to display real time action of muscle groups for excess energy expenditure. As we are sitting still, all of our muscles are contracting and relaxing to adapt to the sitting posture. Modern surface EMGs are very sensitive and able to read and measure every small contraction that is made by the muscle. With this measurement we are able to assess efficient energy expenditure and in turn measure dysponesis.

The next measurement that is a bit more difficult to understand is the reflex control of breathing. For the purpose of this blog, breathing reflex will be discussed in simpler terms and the physiology will not be discussed. It is important to not, however, that breathing reflex is a very complex set of several reflexes and when there are inefficient breathing patterns the nervous system to shift a negative state of conserving energy for oxygen. Due to the importance in oxygen for our brain and body, breathing reflex is a highly controlled mechanism and this reflex is a primary concern for all physiological processes.


Breathing reflex is well known in many meditation techniques. Breathing from the belly instead of chest breathing. Chest breathing increases the speed of oxygen but less oxygen is taken in. In turn you expel less CO2 and create hyperventilation and increase the fight or flight responses. If belly breathing is done properly, oxygen intake is increased as is the expelling of CO2. This will stimulate the parasympathetic system which induces rest and digest and promote a relaxing state for a better meditative state.



Further research has been conducted to analyze breathing patterns. There are many patterns that are induced from uncoordinated muscle control of the breathing muscles. Most belly breathing does not emphasize on which muscles to contract. There can be compartmentalized breathing that is observable in the spine that is concomitant with breathing. Normal breathing should not be compartmentalized, decreased, or incomplete in the breathing pattern. The pattern in breathing should start from the pelvis. A respiratory wave moves smoothly towards the neck and moves back down the spine to the pelvis. If in any way this pattern is obstructed, there creates a lack of coordination in the breathing reflex and this results in dysponesis.

Final measurement will be our mental state in dysponesis. Meditation should be an exercise to help distressed mental states, although there can be an underlying condition that will hinder towards performing meditation for individuals. According to Doreland’s Medical Dictionary, dysponesis is a misdirected neurophysiological reaction to various agents such as environmental events, bodily sensations, emotions, and thoughts. Individuals with PTSD, ADHD, anxiety or other mental conditions may have difficult a time performing meditation.


To measure mental state, there are many ways to measure such as EEG or HRV. eeg-brain-imageElectroencephalogram or EEG measures electrical wave from the brain for the state of being which is mentioned in another blog “Stress.” EEG measures the state of the brain by stimulating the brain waves into a certain pattern, it will help the mental state into being more calm and meditative. It may help to see that meditative state but there are very specific requirements to fulfill the test and many things can cause inaccurate reading if the assessment is not prepared properly and professionally. Also EEG measurements are not readily available because it is very expensive and healthcare specialists are needed to perform the test.

Heart Rate Variability or HRV on the other hand is less expensive and measures the state of mental conditions like the EEG. HRV measures the real time measurement of the cardiac rhythm and provides quantitative assessment of variation in time interval between heartbeats. HRV is able to show how your body is responding to stressors, overall balance of the nervous system, and even fitness performance. Compared to EEGs, HRV tests shows more information of the overall function and energy expenditure which is dysponesis.HRV

After finding dysponesis, addressing them properly with chiropractic adjustments will be much more specific and scientific.  Does your chiropractor have all these assessments to address dysponesis?


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Our Gift

Every year at Christmastime we are given a gift. We always take this gift for granted because it has always been given to us and we hardly notice. This gift is our body. We are given this one body for our whole lifetime.
housetoolsYou may like your body or you may hate it, but it is yours. You are expected to make alterations, improvements, and maintenance on a regular basis. Our body is in a constant state of break down so keeping up with every part of our body is very important. Many people’s biological age is much older and damaged compared to their chronological age. For example, you will see people with many health conditions such as degeneration/arthritis in the spine. Some people’s spines are severely degenerated from doing vigorous and strenuous physical activity such as football, landscaping, construction work, and much more.

We tend to think we are indestructible in our youth, but once we get to a certain age that unlimited energy and vitality start to fade. Many people would say that the reason our bodies start to deteriorate is that of age. That is true — just like any car, if it gets older it starts to break down. If that car has been treated poorly and has not kept up with regular maintenance such as oil changes or tire rotations, the car will fall about faster and easier.

morris-minor_2825700aPicture of a Rusty Old Car






What would be maintenance care similar to oil changes and tire rotations for our human, biological body?

One detail about our human, biological body is that there are 65 trillion chemicals in the brain processed and produced every second of our life. The pharmaceutical industry knows 11,000 that are on the market. From just that ratio, we can definitely conclude that our body has very complex body chemistry. How does our body regulate, alert, and repair all at the same time?


There is a inborn intelligence installed in a human baby at the moment of conception. This innate intelligence repairs cuts, damages and kills cancer cells, regenerates old cells to new and puts in the perfect amount of chemicals needed for your body to be in full function and balance. Innate intelligence has been known from many disciplines of healthcare, although medical medicine failed to understand or quantify this mechanism.

From many disciplines, it is well known that if we help this innate intelligence to freely operate on our body, the better our body regenerates, regulates, and reproduces in optimal function. How can we help this innate intelligence?



“Ninety percent of the diseases known to man are caused by cheap foodstuffs. You are what you eat.”  Victor Lindlahr

Food is Medicine

During this seasonal holidays, we are in a time crunch to fit in everything. Our tendencies are to depend on prepackaged, instant foods in the grocery store. Or we go out to order food from fast food restaurants. It may be a quick solution for good tasting food that everyone will enjoy…everyone, except your body. Mass produced prepackaged instant food in grocery stores and fast food restaurants always cuts corners, using cheap ingredients and chemicals to improve the shelf life of the ingredients. It is now known that these chemicals and cheaply made ingredients have consequences. America has been plagued by obesity, diabetes, and digestive problems that medical professions are unable to solve.

It is well known that highly processed, concentrated carbohydrates turn into fat in our body. So if we lower the carbohydrates we do better! Right? Well, there are highly concentrated carbohydrates in many seasonal holiday meals and snacks. It is almost impossible to take out all the sugars and carbohydrates out of meals. It seems like there is nothing to eat. In our conventional cheap grocery stores there will be hardly any solutions, but in other places that are more health-conscious, such as grocery co-ops, now have many solutions to this problem. There are many vegetables that have carbohydrates but not in a form that will be highly processed into concentrated carbohydrates. The complex carbohydrates from plants give you a small amount of sugar but also fill your stomach so that you do not crave more. There are more and more recipes for low-sugar diets in the categories of Paleolithic diet, Ketogenic diet, and Gluten Free Diet.

grassfedmeatIncreasing amounts of good grass-fed/grass finish proteins and good healthy fats are also a way to fill our stomachs other than just eating plants. Many people complain how hard it is to get good quality proteins and fats. But if we research enough and make the right decisions, many people can afford these proteins and fats. There are many farmers that are gravitating towards good quality grass fed/finished proteins. It is much cheaper to obtain quality meats than going to the convenient stores. The key is to find out how they grow their animals.

Unfortunately for seafood, unless it is caught in the wild, the quality of the food drops significantly. It may be cheap at typical grocery stores, but that is because the fish are farm raised. They have fewer nutrients, such as Omega fatty acids and Vitamin B complexes.  Also, there is mercury in deep sea fish, which only allows us to consume once a week. And it is only harder to get seafood if you live inland. However, there are fishers that go fishing all season, freeze their catch and sell it much cheaper than what you can buy from common grocery stores. Check out your farmer’s markets and ask around.


“Physical inactivity produces an abnormal gene expression and is a direct causal factor of most chronic health conditions by its direct alteration of gene expression from normal phenotype to a preclinical or clinical phenotype.” F.W. Booth Ph. D. J. of Applied Physiology 2002

Physical Activity

Immobility is poison. Exercise is nutrition! When the holidays come, our schedules are tighter and it’s harder to get physical activity. That is why my next year in January, people have tight atrophied muscles and increased body fat. Many people’s ideas of getting physically active are running around miles and miles and lifting tons and tons of weight. Getting 20-30 minutes of physical activity that involve some cardio, some minor weights or exercises, and topping it off with yoga every day is a good start to maintain a sufficient amount of physical activity.

Once you get to a certain level of strength and agility, you start needing harder physical activity to build up more muscle strength. As you notice when you get older, the amount of muscle build up significantly slows down and it is harder to maintain muscle mass. Once muscles begin to atrophy, our mobility significantly decreases. Also, the neurological connection between the muscles and brain start to degenerate, making coordination harder. Eventually, we are in bed all the time, slowly degenerating.

This can be all prevented with physical activity that we can maintain early on in our lives. More stimulation of muscles means more activity and growth for the nerves in the brain and body. Then the body starts to increase blood flow and to gain muscles, grow nerves, and detoxify your body from harmful toxins.



Stress has been a great contributor to hormones that damage our bodies. Stress can cause excess amounts of hormones such as cortisol. These hormones stimulate fight or flight responses and increase anxiety, high blood pressure, increased heart rate, high blood sugar levels, and many more. To decrease this stress hormone, we need to be able to manage our stress and relax our brains. Research has shown that stress is strongly related to brainwave patterns.

Brain waves

Brain waves are a pattern of neuronal activity in the section of the brain which can be recorded.  The record is known as the electroencephalogram (EEG). Brain waves are broken up into four main categories, determined by the frequency of the wave.

Brain waves are patterns of neuronal activity in the section of the brain which can be recorded.  The record is known as the electroencephalogram (EEG). Brain waves are broken up into four main categories, determined by the frequency of the wave.

Beta: This is a conscious brainwave. It is characterized as a state of being awake, alert, and concentrating. If this stage is maintained for a prolonged period, it becomes associated with feelings of tension, worry, fear, or anxiety.

Alpha: This is also a conscious state, but identified with the mental experience where images are not identified. It has come to be associated with feelings of pleasure, pleasantness, tranquillity, serenity, and relaxation. It can also imply a relaxed concentration.

Theta: Theta has come to be associated with such things as hypnogogic imagery, daydreaming, sleep, cognition of problem-solving, future planning, remembering, switching thoughts, and creativity.

Delta: This state is predominately associated with no-dreaming sleep or deep sleep. There are some reports of individuals achieving this set of brain wave patterns while still retaining consciousness.

Things which lower the EEG frequency are:

  • LSD, sedative drugs

  • Large doses of alcohol

  • Very low blood sugar

  • Lack of oxygen

Things which raise the EEG frequency are

  • Caffeine

  • Small doses of alcohol, barbiturates

  • Low blood sugar

  • Excess of carbon dioxide (CO2)

As you can see, breathing affects our EEG frequency.


The deeper you breathe, the more oxygen you get into your lungs. More oxygen getting into your lungs means more oxygen getting into your blood; because of this, most systems in your body are going to work much more efficiently than they would if you breathed shallowly.

Inhaling slowly and deeply sends more energy to heal your sympathetic nervous system, which is concerned with preparing your body to react to situations of stress or emergency by accelerating your heart rate, constricting your blood vessels, and raising your blood pressure.

Exhaling slowly and completely gives a signal to your parasympathetic nervous system to help it detoxify more deeply. This system serves to slow the rate and force of your heartbeat, decrease your blood pressure, and enhance your digestion.

The slower you inhale the more oxygen you take in, creating more energy and helping your body to detoxify and cleanse itself better. When you exhale slowly, more energy reaches your parasympathetic nervous system, which helps you relax and also helps to detoxify and cleanse your body. Simply breathing hard will not help; you can hyperventilate and cause an excess of CO2 and stimulate the sympathetic nervous system. This will stimulate the brain to emit Beta waves and cause a stress response.


There are many different Meditations that consists of breathing techniques. Starting with Zazen Meditation would be a good start.  (Here is an instruction link from Dharma Field):


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Heel Lifts and Inserts


Many people heard of heel lifts or inserts and some people were prescribed them by medical doctors. There are many experiences regarding heel lifts or inserts to help balance the leg length differences. Most often times they are used inappropriately. Some people have a functionally short leg which does not require heel lifts or inserts. Only to those who have an anatomically short leg with specific conditions may be helpful. Not all the time can the heel lifts can be helpful. How do we know when you have a functionally short leg or an anatomically short leg?

True Short Legdalton01__1_1_5760

To determine an anatomically short leg, the easiest way to find out is to get a ruler to put on the top of the knees parallel to the floor and then on the front of the knee while you are sitting. If the knees are even on the top but one leg is short on the front of the knees, it is a good possibility that there pelvic misalignment that can be corrected by a Chiropractor. If both top and front of the knee indicate a short leg on one side, then there is a pelvic misalignment or an anatomical short leg. If the ruler shows that it is only a slight difference, then most likely it will be a pelvic misalignment.
When it is a pelvic misalignment, it is considered a functionally short and chiropractic adjustments will help to regain balance. When it is a true anatomically short leg, there are conditions for giving heel lifts.

Dr. Gonstead’s Conditions for Heel Lifts:
  1. There must be a leg length deficiency of 6 mm on the radiological film.
  2. Rotary scoliosis must be toward the side of the leg in question.
  3. There must not be any hip joint degeneration to a marked degree nor a knee problem on that side.
  4. The client should not be older than 35 years of age. Never give heel lifts until growth has ceased, which would never be before 18 years of age.

After the first radiological x-ray film, chiropractic adjustments to correct the spine and using heel lifts, retake the radiological x-ray film after 30-60 days to make sure that the condition is not getting worse. The most area you will see changes in the most is the upper neck and the junction between the middle to low back will change for better or worse.

When the client gets a burning sensation in back after wearing the heel lift, don’t worry because it is a compensation and eventually the body will get used to the heel lift. Heel lift should not be given if there is pain involved, only after the pain is gone. The heel lift is for stabilization of the spine and hips and the heel lift itself does not correct anything.

The leg measurement from the crest of the ilium to the malleolus is worthless, but it is commonly used medically to determine if a built-up shoe is indicated.wpid-photo-12-jan-2014-0134

Potential Long-Term Side Effects of Using Heel Lifts:

If a lift raises only the heel, then there can be “bridging” between the heel and the ball of the foot. This lack of mid-foot support can cause arch problems, particularly if a soft lift is constantly pushing the foot upward against the tongue of the shoe. This can be avoided by using a lift which is long enough to support the mid-foot almost all the way forward to the metatarsal area, and which does not compress when walking. A well-designed heel lift should effectively tilt the footbed or insole forward as if it were part of the last of the shoe, rather than leaving the mid-foot unsupported. In heel lifts, longer is better.high-heel

The addition of a lift in the heel of a shoe causes the foot to be resting on a slope downward toward the toes. This can cause fore-and-aft slippage in the shoe when walking and can result in calluses under the metatarsal or ball of the foot or the large toe. This effect is very dependent on the person’s gait and stride and is seldom serious unless the calluses become corns, but they can be annoying. Such calluses can be avoided or reduced by the use of cushioned or silk socks, to reduce skin friction while walking.

Achilles tendon issues since a heel lift raises the foot within the shoe, it can cause inflammation of the tendon due to the pressure and rubbing of the narrower top part of the heel cup or heel counter pressing against the tendon, and it can cause shortening of the tendon and hamstrings due to the reduced angle at the ankle from the steeper slope on which the footrests. Tendons which are not stretched regularly tend to shorten. The reduction in tension on the Achilles’ caused by the use of a heel lift can be beneficial if the therapeutic goal is to allow for tendon healing. Achilles’ tendon shortening can be counteracted by regular stretching exercises which stretch the calf and bend the foot and ankle gently upward under light tension.

All molded foam in-shoe lifts are soft enough to create appreciable vertical motion in the shoe when walking or running, and the increased rubbing of the heel can cause calluses and blisters, inflammation of the Achilles tendon, and excessive wear on socks and shoes. Also, the constant pressure of a soft shoe lift pressing upward against the foot has the potential to cause or aggravate mid-foot and arch problems. Unless you are trying to cushion or reduce the impact on inflamed pressure points such as plantar warts or heel spurs, the use of compressible gel or foam heel lifts should be avoided.

A Short-Term Issue

In the short term, the acutest problem likely to come from using shoe lifts is associated with “height-enhancing” heel lifts, which are placed more than 1/2″ inside common types of shoes. If the height inserted is more than 1/2″, the heel will not be firmly held in place by the shoe and the wearer will tend to walk out of the shoe and be prone to sprain or break an ankle after losing control when the ankle rolls to the side with the foot tucked under. Shoe inserts which add more than 1/2″ of height should be avoided, due to this risk.

Only you can determine whether possible issues resulting from the use of therapeutic or height-enhancing shoes or lifts are acceptable for you and your body, but the use of in-shoe heel inserts is probably best prescribed and monitored by a Chiropractor.