The Zen Corner

Science, Art, and Philosophy of Chiropractic


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Stressed? How do we know?

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Stress is a reaction to a stimulus that disturbs our physical or mental equilibrium. This stimulus comes from various sources. How do we measure this reaction? By symptoms? Blood pressure? Pulse? Blood tests? All of which can be expensive after a while. Heart Rate Variability used to be one of the expensive tests that needed heavy electronic machines but with newer technology, this made the test more accessible. We know from research that there is all kinds of stress and states that we go through on a daily basis. By using Heart Rate Variability we can find out more about our stress and states of our physical and mental conditioning.

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In the world of wellness and longevity healthcare, the topic of heart rate variability is a focus for optimal function. Many physical fitness trainers, psychologists, acupuncturists, osteopaths, chiropractors, and more are utilizing this by analyzing stress and ability to adapt. Heart rate variability is not just monitoring the heart rate but the rhythm and intervals between each heartbeat. Each individual has a specific heart rate variability and for an assessing that norm and comparing it to daily activity and lifestyle is the best indicator of how we are adapting to our environment.

Eustress vs Distress

Eustress is a stress when an individual perceived the event or incident as beneficial to them. Motivates and focuses energy on tasks and goals. Individuals feel excited, performances improve and are within their coping abilities. Eustress is often short-term stress.

Distress is too much stress that can cause anxiety, sorrow, pain, trouble falling asleep. When you had too much eustress and overload yourself with too much can cause distress.

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Homeostasis and Allostasis

Homeostasis as a definition:

“….the tendency toward a relatively stable equilibrium between interdependent elements, especially as maintained by physiological processes.”

Homeostasis sounds like a complicated word in the medical word but it is simply putting it as all body chemical process is in balance and harmony to regulate and adapt to the environment.  Homeostasis is a situation where we have established during our healthy and vibrant time in our body. To establish homeostasis can be difficult or simple depending on your health condition. To measure homeostasis has been typically by measuring several parameters of blood laboratory tests, neurological examinations, and cardiovascular measurements.

Allostasis as a definition:

“…the process by which the body responds to stressors in order to regain homeostasis.”

When there is a environmental stress is introduced to a human, the body responds by regaining homeostasis. This is the adaptive component of our body to self-regulate and adapt to the stimulant. The signs of allostasis in our body are when stress hormones, cytokines, and catecholamines are present. When these stressors are constantly stimulating us for a long time, then our ability to adapt starts to fail. This is called allostatic load.

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Stressors are anything that challenges homeostasis and constantly disrupt the process of homeostasis will indicate a stress load. Maintaining homeostasis efficiently will help us have better health, better performances, and better resilience to our environment. Our goal is to maintain this stable environment for the body. Usually, unfamiliar stress causes greater stress response because this process requires greater resources to overcome stress and more recovery time.

When stress is accumulated over time, this becomes the allostatic load. When the allostatic load is too much, the ability to tolerate the load decreases. The wear and tear of the body experience repeated cycles of inefficient regulation of the stress response. Poor performance and increased recovery time will eventually lead to chronic diseases, a higher rate of injury, and higher susceptibility to illness.

Heart Rate Variability

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It is not just a heart rate but it is the inner-beat variability between successive heart contractions. In each heartbeat, there is an electronic signal that is produced and measured by the ECG/EKG representing the ventricular depolarization during a heart contraction. It is called the QRS complex. With the Heart Rate Variability, we are measuring the interval between RR. This is called the RR intervals or inter-beat intervals (IBI). By measuring Heart Rate Variability, we are measuring the change in time or variability between successive heartbeats.

Why is there a variability?

The variability in the heart rate is the result of the allostatic (adaptive) processes of the bodies response to stimulus and other regulatory processes within the body. Having variability is beneficial for the biological system that is complex like our body. There are many regulatory systems that regulate and affect the heart. In the short-term, there is the respiratory system, cardiovascular system, and autonomic nervous system. For long-term, there is circadian rhythm, body temperature, hormonal patterns, cumulative stressors.

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Clinical Indicators of Health!

When we have reduced health, we have decreased adaptability. Which means heart rate variability can significantly decline with decreased health. Changes in Heart Rate Variability have been correlated to 9 out of 10 leading causes of death in the United States.

  • Heart Diseases
  • Cancer
  • Chronic lower respiratory diseases
  • Stroke (Cerebrovascular diseases)
  • Alzheimer’s diseases
  • Diabetes
  • Influenza and Pneumonia
  • Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome & nephrosis
  • Intentional self-harm (suicide)

Heart Rate Variability is also linked to many of the risk factors associated with these diseases such as hypertension, obesity, glucose intolerance, insulin sensitivity, and stress. It is also known for an accurate and objective monitor for progression or regression of the disease and health.

Presnological Assessments

Heart Rate Variability is not a diagnosis of diseases listed above.  It is a prenosological assessment that determines that direction of our health is going towards. Prenosological is the determination of potentiality for the failure of the adaptive state. This determination is before the advent of the disease states or symptoms will occur. There are levels of adaptive states in the prenosological assessments.

  1. Proper Adaptive Function
    1. Optimal adaptability of the stressor, and therefore health exists-Not Diagnosable
  2. Prenosological State
    1. Tension on the ability for adaptive response via stressors-Not Diagnosable
  3. Premorbid State
    1. Subpar adaptation begins to occur, possible symptoms-Not Diagnosable
  4. Pathological State
    1. Adaptive failure-Improving diagnostic certainty

There was a large study that assessed the prenosological state of various individuals. With the first proper adaptive functional state was 30% of the public. People with tension on the adaptive system and subpar adaptation together were 40-70% of the population. For the final state of adaptive failure and pathological state were 10-30%. This means there are between 70-90% of individuals that have undiagnosable states of adaptability. (Baevskii, R.M. et al. “Use of principles of prenosological diagnosis for assessing the functional state of the body under stress conditions as exemplified by bus drivers.” Human Physiology 35.1 (2009):34-42. These researchers concluded that people that are in the tension or subpar adaptive states need assessment of the level of health rather than the diagnosis of diseases.

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Conclusion:

Many conditions may need a medical diagnosis because the person may have progressed their condition beyond adaptive capabilities. Stress is something elusive and people may think they need a medical assessment with blood tests and MRI taken to confirm local or physical manifestation of ill health. Sometimes it is a condition where we need to boost the persons’ adaptive capability and they will do fine. Having an HRV analysis helps us to find out what is our pre-medical condition. HRV is one of them and there are many others that are known. Stay tuned for more presnological assessment for functional and adaptive capabilities!

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Stressed or Lethargic

Stressed or Lethargic

Our body goes through various sign and symptoms such as panic attacks, anxiety, depression, dizziness. These are a sign of imbalance within the nervous system called the Autonomic Nervous system. This system controls your every day body functions. The well known sympathetic nervous system regulates the fight or flight. The opposite parasympathetic nervous system regulates rest and digest. Each of these systems constantly regulating each other to keep the balance. If one system gets predominant, then you start experiencing different signs and symptoms. I have a common list of situations causing symptoms, an illness that will experience. Most people have multiple combinations of health conditions that are going on, so it will not always be clear as black and white. This list shall give you an example and if you have any of the following lists and have questions about them, please contact our office at info@zenchiropracticinc.com for more information.

People who have imbalances in these systems may have a clinic situation that may be helped with Chiropractic. In our office, we monitor these autonomic nervous systems and find a solution to create a balance between to the two systems.

Under Normal Circumstances, the Sympathetic Nervous System promotes the ability to be active and the defense mechanism of fight or flight.

Sympathetic Nervous System increases vigilance and arousal to quickly notice and respond to danger.

Symptoms: Hyper-vigilance; startling easily; nervousness; anxiety; fear

Illness: Chronic or severe anxiety; panic attacks


Sympathetic Nervous System increases blood pressure to get blood to the brain and vital organs

Symptoms: White coat high blood pressure

Illness: Hypertension, strokes from prolonged high blood pressure, heart disease; heart attacks


Sympathetic Nervous System increases heart rate to circulate fuel and oxygen to vital organs for activity and defense

Symptoms: Fast heart rate

Illness: Fast arrhythmia


Sympathetic Nervous System increases fuel availability (sugar, fats…) to the brain, muscles and other organs you need it during exercise and defense. Because insulin promotes food storage

Symptoms: High blood sugar; high cholesterol; low insulin

Illness: Type 1 diabetes, with increased risk for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease,…; hypercholesterolemia


Sympathetic Nervous System increases adrenaline to facilitate changes in blood pressure, heart rate etc

Symptoms: shakiness; palpitations; butterflies in the stomach; difficulty concentrating

Illness: chronic anxiety, panic, hypertension, and others listed here


Sympathetic Nervous System increases oxygen circulation to vital organs to provide fuel for activity and defense while decreasing circulation to non-vital organs such as skin, the extremities

Symptoms: Cold hands and feet; headaches

Illness: Peripheral neuropathy


Sympathetic Nervous System increases blood clotting, which minimizes blood loss if wounded during defense such as fight/flight

Symptoms: Strokes; clotting disorders

Illness: Strokes


Sympathetic Nervous System increases pupil size and peripheral vision to maximize awareness of sources of potential danger

Symptoms: Blurry vision when trying to focus on narrow vision

Illness: Prolonged visual changes


Under Normal Circumstances, the Parasympathetic Nervous System promotes the ability for rest and digest. Such as recover, digest, play, and create. The symptoms and illnesses include depression, weight gain, dizziness and lightheadedness, low blood pressure, low heart rate, fatigue, diarrhea.


Parasympathetic Nervous System decreases the clarity of thought as a part of a numbing process to avoid pain and overwhelming emotions.

Symptoms: foggy thinking, confusion, slowed thinking, difficulty organizing thoughts

Illness: depression, numbness


Parasympathetic Nervous System decreases blood pressure in times of safety, and decreases
it even further to save energy when survival is at stake.

Symptoms: low blood pressure; dizziness – light headedness


Parasympathetic Nervous System decreases heart rate, which is associated with the ability to feel calm, to bond, and to be in a relationship. In times of grave threat, heart rate is decreased further to save energy through a state of immobility.

Symptoms: slow heart rate

Illness: slow arrhythmia; sudden death; ventricular fibrillation


Parasympathetic Nervous System increases fuel storage (sugar, fats…) in the body, 
which serves as a reserve for times of scarcity. The Parasympathetic Nervous system promotes the secretion of insulin and makes tissues sensitive to insulin to promote the storage of glucose in particular.

Symptoms: low blood sugar; low cholesterol; high insulin; weight gain

Illness: obesity; hypoglycemia


Parasympathetic Nervous System increases oxygen circulation to non-vital organs in times of safety. Provides fuel and removes wastes from the skin, the extremities, the digestive tract, reproductive organs….; In times of grave threat, shuts down metabolism to save energy until the threat is gone. Some of these activities are similar to Sympathetic nervous system processes and may be difficult to differentiate.

Symptoms: difficulty thinking; increased or decreased intestinal activity (diarrhea; slowed gastric emptying)

Illness: peripheral neuropathy



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Emotional Health and Well-Being

“Chiropractors correct abnormalities of the intellect as well as those of the body.”—D. D. Palmer, Discoverer of Chiropractic.

 

Shortly after its discovery, chiropractic’s mind-healing (psycho-therapeutic) effects were observed. Many individuals suffering from severe as well as mild conditions such as anxiety, insomnia, excess tension, depression, “mental dullness” and other conditions reported relief of their problems.

Due to chiropractic’s success in this area, chiropractic sanitariums were founded throughout the United States. They reported success rates far better than medical sanitariums and institutions.

Psychoneuroimmunology (PNI)

Today the new scientific discipline of mind-body relationships (PNI or psychoneuroimmunology) is revealing the many ways that your thoughts and feelings affect your physical health and the many ways your physical health affects your emotional health.

PNI has discovered (actually rediscovered) that many conditions considered “emotional” or “mental” may, in fact, be neurological, due to a malfunctioning nervous system. When nervous system function is improved, many conditions considered “emotional” can resolve. This has been especially obvious following chiropractic care.

How Does Chiropractic Affect Mental Health?

Chiropractic promotes a “sound mind in a sound body” by removing a serious form of nervous system damage, the vertebral subluxation complex (“subluxation”). When the interference of the nervous system’s function is relieved by chiropractic adjustments, psychological health has been observed to improve. Your nervous system appears to be a “bridge” or intermediary between your mind and body. Its proper functioning affects both ends of the “bridge” when you are freed from subluxations.

…almost everyone adjusted [for subluxation] is benefited. Chiropractors should occupy posts in every mental hospital.

–Herbert C. Hender, MD, chief psychiatrist at the Clear View Sanitarium

 

Clinical Observations

Chiropractic has shown dramatic effects on children diagnosed with emotional and/or learning disorders. Among benefits noticed are improved IQ, improved behavior, better attention span and concentration, and improved vision, hearing and muscular coordination. In many cases, children were able to stop taking Ritalin and other drugs.

All children diagnosed with learning and behavioral problems, including hyperactivity (ADD, ADHD), dyslexia, autism, Asperger’s syndrome, developmental delay and other “nervous system” disorders need to have their spines checked by a chiropractor.

Chiropractic has never been observed to reduce or remove phobias and stress. However, the benefits of subluxation correction are not only for those with observed problems; all children, as well as adults, may get a “brain boost” from chiropractic care.

Decreased Blood To The Brain?

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Subluxations appear to decrease blood supply to certain parts of the brain and this may be why whiplash and accident victims exhibit nervousness, stress, concentration, vision and emotional symptoms. It has also been observed that preschool children who have experienced even a mild head injury can have neurological problems years later.

Research studies and clinical observation indicate that one-way chiropractic helps brain function is by increasing blood supply to the brain. There may also be other mechanisms as well.

Since childhood is so full of falls and accidents, a chiropractic spinal checkup should be as much a part of a child’s health care as vision and hearing checkups. How many conditions considered “emotional” in adults may be due to a fall or accident in childhood that has compromised the nervous system? No one knows.

What Outcome Studies Reveal

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Outcome studies have revealed the psychological benefits of chiropractic care. In one study of 2,818 chiropractic patients, those under regular chiropractic care reported greater physical health, improved emotional health, less stress in their lives and enhanced life enjoyment.

Other outcome studies have also revealed that chiropractic patients report improved mental health, more vitality, and better overall health status.

Chiropractic…is the last frontier of physical treatment of disorders of the mind…It is not surprising that chiropractic lifts depression…will become an important tool in psychiatric treatment…chiropractic has hardly yet started on a predictable course to its pinnacle as the most used procedure in Medicine.—R.F. Gorman, Australian researcher and physician

Please be aware that chiropractic is not for physical or emotional/mental disorders, it is for people. No matter what condition or disease you or your loved ones may be manifesting, being free of vertebral subluxations is absolutely necessary for complete physical and emotional health and well-being.

Dr. Gonstead’s Clinical Observations on Emotional Health

Dr. Gonstead’s clinical experiences of 7 million people gave him a very deep understanding of the spine and how subluxations will cause emotional health issues. In Dr. Gonstead’s seminars, he mentioned many conditions he has helped such as Depression, Nervousness, Nervous Break Downs, Mental Illness, Emotional Problems, Senility and Loss of Memory, Alcoholism, Amnesia, and Perception problems/Dyslexia.  Often times he mentioned the bodies ability to control chemical responses, mostly hormones were out of control from the result of subluxation.

When subluxation scrambles the communication of the brain to the rest of the body, the chemicals such as neurotransmitters/hormones/neuropeptides/etc that comes from the brain and goes out of control. There can be too many chemicals or fewer chemicals produced by the glands, reproductive organs, digestion organs, and many more. An obvious solution was to correct subluxations but many Chiropractors failed to see good results as much as Dr. Gonstead’s clients because the other Chiropractors failed to understand that there is no formula.

There is no formula because everyone has different bodies, people came from different places, grew up with different experiences, ate differently, and has done many different activities. All of these will determine the makeup of the person’s spine and the adaptation of the brain to the environment. Dr. Gonstead understood that fact and always find had a clear mind and look at each person as a unique situation. When other Chiropractors that has failed to look at each individual and stuck with their formula of adjusting certain areas of the spine resulting to seldom results.

Instead of doing formulas, Dr. Gonstead was always understanding the physiology of the organs in the body. For emotional well-being, he often referred to as ‘Problems with the Body Chemistry.’ The body chemistry problems usually consisted of Thyroid, Adrenals, Ovaries/Testes, and Pituitary glands.  He looked in the corresponding nerves on spinal segments on the autonomic nervous system. He then would look at the full spine x-ray film and determined what was mechanically going on with the spine. Then he would examine the person and find the subluxation and correct that segment.

Ever since his grand work and experiences noted on “The Notes,” by Dr. Carr and Dr. Donahue, many people were able to understand further his ideas and never took Chiropractic as a formula. His students have further studied his work and progressing to understand the human body and how Chiropractic can change emotional health and well-being.

The well-adjusted family is a happier family (we really adjust people one at a time).


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What you can not see or feel.

Imagine a surprised expression on a five-year-old’s face when they learn their heart is a pump which never stops working, even when they are asleep. The wonderful truth is that their circulation system works well without their even knowing one of the most basic things about their body. Our circulation systems work independently from our knowledge. Our lives neither begin nor stop because of our knowledge. Information and knowledge come later in life, but our bodies work regardless. Obviously, if life began to work only when we understood it, then none of us would be living today.

Actually, isn’t it true, with exception of healthcare professionals, we live our lives without understanding how the intricate systems of our own bodies work? The surprise expressed by the child at his discovery was a symbolic event. This surprise is repeated throughout our lives as we discover more and more about ourselves. The question is: what happens when our body gets stressed? How do we adapt to our stress on our body? How does our heart react to physical, chemical, and emotional stress?images

The Pulse Wave Profiler (PWP) helps us to determine your overall ability to adapt to stress. The PWP measures your adaptability to stress by looking at the timing of your pulse, and determining the balance and tone of your nervous system; this exam is known as heart rate variability (HRV). Proper balance and tone are associated with better adaptability and a healthy lifestyle. Low heart rate variability is associated with aging and poor heart health. Published research has shown that chiropractic adjustments have a beneficial effect on heart rate variability and monitor our adaptability to physical, chemical, and emotional stress.

The Pulse Wave Profiler (PWP) allows the autonomic nervous system to be monitored in new ways by collecting Heart Rate Variability (HRV) data. Heart Rate Variability is the beat-to-beat variation in heart rate. This natural rise and fall of heart rate are caused by several physiologic phenomena, including breathing and autonomic nervous system activity. Healthcare professionals utilize HRV for a wide variety of clinical applications. Chiropractors use HRV to get a window into how the autonomic nervous system (ANS) modulates heart rate in the baseline or resting state. Published research has demonstrated that chiropractic adjustments have favorable effects on HRV parameters. For the first time, instead of measuring parameters on or around the spine, we are able to directly measure the effect of chiropractic care on the function of a vital organ.

Many people cannot feel or see what is going on internally and they are highly dependent on pain or other symptoms to determine their present health condition. Like the innocent and ignorant 5-year-old child who doesn’t know how their heart is working, the absence of symptoms doesn’t mean health problems don’t exist. Dr. Zen has had many clients who thought they were healthy and didn’t have problems who ended up having cancer, disc herniations, heart attacks, diabetes, and many other health problems. Dr. Zen has seen many clients with menstrual cycle issues, depression, ADHD, Parkinson’s disease, migraines, and many more. The common health problem in these clients has been the imbalance of the nervous system, an inability to adapt to stressors, and an inability to heal their degenerated bodies. In addition to the Pulse Wave Profiler, spinal thermographs, and Surface Electromyography of the Spine are also used at Zen Chiropractic Inc. to determine the cause of the neurological problems that we can’t see or feel.

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Pain

“Dr. Zen! My back is in pain!” “I have shoulder pain. Can you help me?” “Doc! That is painful!”  People often come into the office talking about their neck pain, back pain, shoulder pain, or pain anywhere on our bodies. Some people live with pain and suffering every day, and often that pain has a strong connection emotionally, spiritually, and physically. Pain may originate with an initial traumatic/injury or infection, or there may be an ongoing cause of pain. Some people suffer chronic pain in the absence of any past injury or/any evidence of damage. The emotional toll of chronic pain can even make pain worse. Anxiety, stress, depression, anger, and fatigue interact in complex ways with chronic pain. So how do we deal with pain? By learning a different way to understand and embrace it.  With pain there is suffering, but suffering is necessary for our maturity and for living our lives to the fullest.

We cannot avoid pain during our lives because it is embedded in our brain. Pain is a feeling triggered by the nervous system. Pain may be sharp or dull. It may come and go, or it may be constant. You may feel pain in one area of your bodies, such as your backabdomen or chest or you may feel pain all over, such as when your muscles ache from the flu. Pain may also have an emotional connection with your past. It can trigger in your mind emotional scars, traumas, or tensions. B. J. Palmer D.C. Ph. C., author of Science of Chiropractic says,  “Pain is the mental interpretation of abnormal physical condition.” Pain can be very subjective, and the science of pain can be very difficult to understand. In chiropractic philosophy, we talk about pain in the following way:

“Pain is uncomfortable sensation resulting from the interpretation of impressions arising from an abnormal condition within the human body, or from an external stimulus, which has a detrimental effect on the body. For example, take a sprained ankle in which the ligaments are stretched. There are sensory impressions constantly arising from this abnormal and sprained ankle. These impressions reach the brain, are interpreted, and efferent impulses sent out to the point from which the impression originated, transferring the sensation to the periphery as pain. The sensation of pain, however, occurs in the brain. This pain is adaptive, to prevent further use of the injured part until it can be properly and naturally repaired. Or if the skin should be pricked with a needle, an impression is immediately sent to the brain, where it is interpreted as pain, and motor impulses sent back to the muscles, which causes them to contract and withdraw from the injury. In this pain is also adaptive. “

Green Books: Chiropractic Symptomatology by James N. Firth, D.C., Ph. C

As pain is a mental interpretation and it occurs in the brain, it is often used as an alarm system. Your body has the capability to heal and to adapt to its environment,  but when that function is lost due to obstruction of communication of the nervous system it is called subluxation. When something goes wrong, your body uses pain to tell you, therefore, by the time you feel pain damage has already been done Pain is used as an alarm system to prevent the damage from getting worse. Whether it is emotional, physical, or spiritual pain, the pain is a warning that the body is experiencing disharmony or loss of communication.  Even when feeling pain most people deny its existence.

Most people think pain is important and proportionally significant in the human brain, but scientifically, only ten percent of the nervous system consists of pain!! The rest of the nervous system consists of organ function and muscle control. Pain is very subjective and can be misunderstood in many health conditions. For example, my knees can be hurting while there is a disc bulging in my lower back putting pressure on the nerve that gives sensation to my knees. People can get a headache from emotional stress such as the verbal argument between husband and wife.  Pain can also be chronic and continue to be bothersome such as in the shoulders or lower neck.

Basically, pain acts as an alarm system to warn you of something, but it is not the cause of your condition. Pain is a very poor measure of your health condition and very misleading for identifying what your health condition truly is. An absence of pain doesn’t mean you are completely healthy. When you are physically healthy, your body is interconnected structurally, and energetically you experience optimal adaptation to environmental stress, high resistance to disease, homeostasis, vitality, energy, fulfilling breath, fluid movement, relaxation, and ease.