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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River Flow of Chi/Life

River Flow of Chi/Life

Chi/Life dwells in us flowing from the heavens into our finite body to create and build the next generation.

That Chi/Life, flows in us  through many channels in our body as energy. There are twelve main channels plus eight reservoir channels and each channel has a specific purpose. The main channels carry energy to wherever energy is needed in the body.  Extra energy in the main channels flows into the reservoir channels where the body draws on energy. This occurs when the main channels prevent energy from getting to parts of the body that need it causing body functioning to slow down or stop and we feel sick.

Imagine these energy channels are like a river. When the river is flowing smoothly everything is fine. Farmers can take water from the river for their crops. Cities can use water from the river for people to drink. You can even have fun floating on an inner tube down the river on a hot day. But if something happens to cause a blockage in the river many problems can occur. Downstream the river can dry up and there will be no water to drink and none for the farmer’s crops, while upstream the river can overflow its banks and cause flooding.

With a river it’s easy to see that a blockage can cause a lot of problems. It is the same with the energy channels in our bodies. If we want to get well and to feel our best we have to keep these energy channels open so the energy flows smoothly and freely. When we have blockages we need to open or remove these blockages and re-balance the energy in our body.

This is where Chiropractic and Chi can help. Out of the many channels of Chi, there is a channel called the Great Vessel that is along the spine. That channel can be greatly influenced by the spines structure and misalignment of the spine can cause blockage of the flow of Chi/life. With Chiropractic adjustments to the spine that have blocked the flow with misalignment of a segment in the spine will be removed so that there is no blockages or anything that limits of the flow of Chi/Life.  Chi Kung can also remove blockages of other channels so that energy can flow through the body in perfect balance.

This balance from structural spine and flow of energy channel  brings healing, peak performance, inner peace, harmony, and happiness.

Benefits  from Chiropractic and Chi Kung:

  • Pain-free movement and greater flexibility
  • A sense of contentment and peace
  • Reduce stress and tension
  • Improved metabolism, digestion, and elimination
  • Balanced Energy
  • A more youthful appearance
  • Increase Awareness and mental acuity
  • Increased strength and vitality
  • Restore organs to their healthy, optimal functioning by giving them an “inner massage” and thus slowing the aging process.