The Zen Corner

Science, Art, and Philosophy of Chiropractic


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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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Allergies

Allergies, this is a topic that I had struggled for many decades and suffered limits and restriction on what I can eat, what I can do, and where I can be. Only recently I have found a solution that I barely noticed my allergic responses. So I complied facts and ideas that has helped me over the years in Chiropractic Clinic.

Immune System:

The immune system keeps you to be 100% functional. This elaborate system recognizes, destroys anything that is not suppose to be in side your body, such as bacteria, virus, pollutants, dusts, pollen, drugs, tumors, dead cells of your own, and even artificial hearts or donor organs. ( For some reason metal and plastic do not trigger the immune reaction.)

Many things influence how well your immune system functions: your nerves and hormones, your diet, your genes and your emotions. An unhealthy immune system may fail to recognize or remove cancer cells or any abnormal cells and may not protect you from all the infections. Sometimes the immune system will overreact to foreign substances such as bee stings, penicillin, foods or drugs. Or they become suppressed/depressed or even attack your body. This is call autoimmune disorders.

Allergen and Allergies

The most common immune system disorder is allergy. Allergies is when the immune system overreacts to foreign material which is call allergen. This includes dust, pollen, dog or cat dander, and many more. Our body overreacts by producing too many neutralizing chemicals such as histamines to counteract the foreign materials.

Medical Approach

Orthodox medicine has no cure for allergies, only treatment of symptoms. A common prescription would be antihistamines for drying mucous response from eyes and nose. Antihistamine can cause serious heart problems and should not be used with alcohol, sedatives, or tranquilizers. Also, steroid nasal sprays can damage the upper respiratory tract and also affect the adrenal gland.  The following websites are side effects of antihistamine affecting the heart:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10444238

http://www.jiaci.org/issues/vol16s1/3.pdf,

Chiropractic Approach

The immune system is highly influenced by the nervous system. This is called Neuroimmunology, a study that combines neurology and the immune system and how they intimately influence each other. Dr. Gonstead mentioned about allergies as a systemic chemical imbalance with the nervous system. Investigation of which internal organs and nervous system is causing this allergic response always depends on each person.

Allergic responses have been seen in the Chiropractic clinic with great success over the century. Although, Chiropractic is not a treatment for allergies. The most important approach to allergies with Chiropractic is finding the cause of the imbalance in the nervous system and immune system. For Chiropractors, the cause is most often to be subluxation. Subluxation causes stress and imbalance in the nervous system, which in turn to cause allergic responses.

By correcting subluxation and release the stress and imbalance in the nervous system, the immune system will function more effectively. It is important to have a healthy body that is capable of neutralizing these toxic substances such as allergens The emphasis on allergies must be on building a healthy and 100% functioning nervous system rather then trying to use evasive tactics by eliminating all the allergens or taking drugs to mask the problems.