Zen and the Art of Chiropractic Adjustment and Healing

Science, Art, and Philosophy of Chiropractic


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Health, Symptoms & Adaptation

Symptoms, although unpleasant, are signs that the body is struggling to adapt to stress and regain balance.

 

Disease is a lack of co-ordination between Innate, the source of power, and its expression. –D.D.Palmer, Discoverer of Chiropractic.

 

Adaptation = Health

To be truly healthy, you must be able to adapt to life’s stresses. As Nobel Prize winner Rene Dubos, Ph.D. says: Good health is a process of continuous adaptation to the myriad microbes, irritants, pressures, and problems which daily challenge man.

You’re Constantly Adapting

You must adapt to so many things: changes in the weather: the bacteria, viri and fungi that enter you as you breathe; cancer cells, with their deranged genetic instructions that constantly arise within; pollution and chemicals; cuts, bumps, and bruises; school, work, marriage, babies, bills, a mortgage—and you must deal with them all. For if you did not…

…a hot summer’s day would boil your brain; a winter’s night would freeze you solid; every inhalation would bring massive infection; tumors would overwhelm you; a small cut would drain your blood. Without adaptation alcohol and other drugs would never break down, a moment’s anxiety would not end…you’d remain intoxicated, or terrified, for life.

Shivering And Fevers

Thankfully, we usually adapt to life’s stresses because many mechanisms are built into us for that purpose. They’re as simple as shivering in cold and sweating in heat; as elaborate as our immune system engulfing a cancer cell or bacterium and a fever to “burn off” and infection; as dramatic as an adrenaline rush when confronting danger or as unpleasant as vomiting or diarrhea to discharge toxins.

They all say the same thing: Survive! What if we can’t adjust to change? As Hans Selye, MD, PhD, world-famous researcher on stress says: The secret of health and happiness lies in successful adjustment to the ever-changing conditions on this globe; the penalties for failure in this great process of adaptation are disease and unhappiness…many nervous and emotional disturbances, high blood pressure, gastric and duodenal ulcers, and certain types of sexual, allergic, cardiovascular, and renal derangement appear to be…diseases of adaptation.

For successful adaptation to life’s stresses, your body needs balance (homeostasis).

From This Perspective

Viewed from this perspective, symptoms such as fevers, chills, vomiting, diarrhea, fatigue, skin eruptions, sneezing, inflammation and others—although unpleasant—aren’t a matter of bad luck or, as people once thought, curses from angry gods. Rather, they are signs that your body is struggling to adapt to stress and regain balance.

By lowering fever, preventing diarrhea or vomiting, pushing ourselves when we should rest, suppressing skin eruptions, fighting inflammation and in general not permitting the body to express symptoms, we interfere with the body’s adaptation mechanisms to reestablish our balance (homeostasis) and health.

An orthodox medical approach is often a suppressive form of healthcare. Medicine seeks to eliminate symptoms. Chiropractic and other vitalistic healthcare systems view symptoms as part of a healthy response to imbalance.

Empirical or vitalistic (natural) healers do not, as a general rule, suppress symptoms. Instead, they work with and enhance your body’s natural recuperative, self-healing and homeostatic (balancing) mechanisms. Vitalism is an expressive form of healthcare.

Medical care is, at times, necessary. Medicine has a place. But it must be seen as only one facet of healthcare, used when necessary and in conjunction with chiropractic and other natural health care systems.

Suppressing symptoms may cause chronic illness.

Imagine Three Dolls

One doll is made of glass. The second doll is made of plastic, the third of steel.

Strike each doll with a hammer (representing physical or emotional stress)—what will happen?

The glass doll will shatter. This represents those individuals who are unable to adapt to life’s stresses, get seriously ill and may die.

The plastic doll will scar. This represents those who will not be killed but who are hurt or damaged by the stress. They will recover, but will never completely heal.

The steel doll rings with a pleasant tone. This represents those who, when confronted by stress, adapt quickly and thrive.

Better Adaptation With Chiropractic

Your body’s wisdom uses your nervous system as a communications system to send messages between your internal environment (body chemistry) and your external environment (the world) to maintain homeostasis or balance between you and the world.

When the communications are flowing over your nerves without interference your body and mind are more sensitive and attuned to your life and your needs. You are a “steel doll”.

By keeping your spine and nervous system free of blockages you better adapt to life’s stresses and challenges.

Our Goal For You

Our goal as chiropractors is to keep your spine and nervous system free of blockages so your ability to adapt to life’s stresses and challenges is enhanced. You will be stronger, more stable and more secure; you will thrive, grow, better enjoy life and continue on your journey to be the best you can be. Life’s challenges will become adventures, stepping stones to help bring out the best in you so that you will be fulfilled, happy and in tune with the magic of life.

Every organ and system in your body works to maintain you in internal and external harmony.

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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.