Zen and the Art of Chiropractic Adjustment and Healing

Science, Art, and Philosophy of Chiropractic

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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                                                                         -www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr64/nvsr64_04.pdf

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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Zazen, Wabi/Sabi, and then Chiropractic

What do Zazen, Wabi/Sabi, and Chiropractic have in common? It is the spine!! The posture of the spine is a very important component to Zazen. Wabi/Sabi inspires asymmetric structure to be a beauty and harmony. Structure of the spine doesn’t have to be straight but instead, it needs adaptive structural integrity that is balanced to the natural forces from the environment. Chiropractic has a lot in common with Japanese ideas about the way of life and health. Chiropractor’s job is not about making perfect straight spine but finding Subluxation and correction of Subluxation!!

Zazen Meditation

Zazen meditation has specific instructions for posture. The first thing to pay attention to is the position of the body in zazen. The body has a way of communicating outwardly to the world and inwardly to oneself. How you position your body has a lot to do with what happens with your mind and your breath. It’s very important to keep the spine straight with the lower part of the back curved. All of the aspects of the posture that is important when seated on the floor are just as important when sitting in a chair. The importance of keeping the back straight is to allow the diaphragm to move freely. The breathing you will be doing in zazen becomes very, very deep. Your abdomen will rise and fall much the same way an infant’s belly rises and falls. In general, as we mature, our breathing becomes restricted and less and less complete. We tend to take shallow breaths in the upper part of the chest. Usually, we’ve got our belts on very tight or we wear tight clothing around the waist. As a result, deep, complete breathing rarely occurs. In zazen, it is important to loosen up anything that is tight around the waist and to wear clothing that is non-binding. For instance, the material should not gather behind the knees when you cross the legs, inhibiting circulation. Allow the diaphragm to move freely so that the breathing can be deep, easy, and natural. You don’t have to control it. You don’t have to make it happen. It will happen by itself if you assume the right posture and position your body properly.

Keeping a good posture has many implications for the spine. Roger Sperry, Ph.D. (Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1981) discovered that 90% of the brain’s activity is used to balance your body within the gravitational field of the earth. If your body is mechanically distorted, it will affect the other 10% of the brain’s activity, which controls all the other body functions such as breathing, digestion, and cognition. If the body framework (bone structure and spine) is in an off-balanced or misaligned position it can impede or block the electrical and chemical transmissions of the nervous system, which controls all of your body’s functions. This interference with the nervous system can cause or contribute to all kinds of symptoms and illnesses (in other words, the feeling that “I am hurting or I am sick”). Published research studies indicate that when body balance is restored, the body enters a healing cycle that alleviates pain and symptoms, elevates the immune system, increases blood and oxygen circulation, normalizes nervous system communication and creates more optimum body performance (“I feel good again”). When head tilt develops (as pictured above) and the body becomes imbalanced, the brain stem is compressed, restricting the flow of communication between the brain and body. Health and healing messages are restricted in the part of the body serviced by these compressed nerves. Diminished and impaired function and pain follows. This can cause pain and suffering and decrease the quality of your life. When the body is balanced, there is no stress or tension in the brain stem. This allows communications between the brain and body to travel back and forth unimpeded, promoting maximum health and healing.

If you feel your posture is off it only means you need to look in further and deeper. When you have distorted posture there can be many problems that will cause pain and disease. How does Chiropractic help? Let’s talk about Wabi/Sabi and you will find the profoundness what is healing.


The two dominant principles of Chinese and Japanese art and culture are wabi and sabi. Wabi refers to a philosophical construct, a sense of space, direction, or path, while sabi is an aesthetic construct rooted in a given object and its features, plus the occupation of time, chronology, and objectivity. Though the terms are and should be referred to distinctly, they are usually combined as wabi-sabi, as both a working description and as a single aesthetic principle.

The term wabi-sabi suggests such qualities as impermanence, humility, asymmetry, and imperfection. These underlying principles are diametrically opposed to those of their Western counterparts, whose values are rooted in the Hellenic worldview that values permanence, grandeur, symmetry, and perfection. The contrast to Western principles of aesthetics is rooted in the contrast to Western philosophical premises of power, authority, dominance, engagement, and control, whether of others or of nature.

The design principles of wabi-sabi fall into several categories; of course fine arts like poetry, drama, and literature, have not physical objects, embody these principles in a different way: type, form, texture, beauty, color, simplicity, space, and balance.

In the philosophy of Wabi/Sabi, the work reflects the physical balances found in the natural world. Hence no preconceived formula for symmetry is tenable because nature defines itself by circumstances: a tree grows tall or short, thin or thick, leafy, crooked, etc., in the context of other trees, rocks, water, soil, hummus, etc. in the forest. This balance as circumstance is a design principle for the artist to infuse into a work. The work, like the tree, is unique. The regularity, uniformity, and prescriptions contrived by the artist are secondary to the requirement to reflect a natural and unforced appearance to the object and its context.

We talked about posture is an important component of Zazen and your health. Now we need to take a closer look at how the actual shape of the spine inside your body. Most people are diagnosed with Scoliosis, Forward Head Tilt, Hunch back postures that are connected to health hazard and Pain. Those diagnosed postures and pain are just a tip of the iceberg. On x-ray films, we can see the actual shape of the spine compared to what you can see. There are two things that the healing professionals try to strive for and they are important for a good posture, having a straight spine and having curvature.

Most Chiropractors, Orthopedic Physicians, Physiotherapy, or any other healing professions correct these postural problems tries to make the spine straight and restore the curvature. There are many devices and techniques that try to straighten the spine and restore curvature of the spine. There are techniques in Chiropractic profession that will answer the public questions about the posture problem. Although for a Chiropractor having a normally straight spine and curvature is not the answer for everything.

Just like the concept of Wabi/Sabi of Balance, asymmetry of the spine is not as crucial as most healing professions advertise. In Wabi/Sabi, they strive for uniqueness in a natural process of growth in a tree. This natural process is the same with how Chiropractic views the spine. The famous Dr. Gonstead who established the Golden Standard for Chiropractic Technique said in his book,

“It is not to be implied that the chiropractor’s objective is to straighten the spine. Since every individual has some structural variations, each spine will vary according to those differences. ‘What is normal for one may not be normal for others.'”

The Wabi/Sabi and Chiropractic Philosophy has the same contrast with the western ideals of balance and symmetry. In the medical normal of the spine is based upon structural symmetry. Many medical profession will advise children with a severe degree of scoliosis should get surgery/brace to control the body. Other healing professions would take control of the spine by strengthening the muscles and or use manual therapy of manipulation of the spine.

Dr. R.W. Stephenson said in Chiropractic Text Book, ” Chiropractic does not pretend to “straighten” curvatures by force, or to force abnormal spine to an “educated ideal.”….Neither does Chiropractic adjust with the intention of forcing or driving vertebrae into perfect alignment; for Chiropractic does not treat effects at all. It seeks to remove the cause and the cause is always in the spine. “ Dr. Stephenson further says about postures, “Curvatures caused by occupations, as hod-carrying, bookkeeping, locomotive driving are occupational curvatures. They are adaption to the occupation instead of having a disease….the X-ray shows many vertebra “out of alignment,” and if he has apparent curvatures; if he still has practically perfect health, it is a mistake to adjust these vertebrae……That the spine is just as she wants to be.”

What then? Why do we need a Chiropractor? The job of a Chiropractor is not about aligning the spine to be straight.Chiropractor’s job is to find “Subluxation” and correct them. What is Subluxation? Dr. R.W. Stephenson says, “It is the condition of a vertebra that has lost its proper juxtaposition with the one above and one below or both; to an extent less than a luxation; which impinges nerves and interferes with the transmission of mental impulses.” These subluxations will cause the difficulty to have good postures, deformed shape of the spine, causes pain, and health hazards.

Do you have good posture? Did you see your spine on an X-ray film? When you are meditating or when you’re doing a Japanese Tea ceremony, you should be asking these questions to your self. At our office, we take X-ray films and analyze them and understand the person’s condition and give them health care that you need and nothing Extra. We have exercises that will help you condition yourself so that you won’t need Chiropractic all the time. You have healing From Within!

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Get Ahead of the Curve!

An arch is the strongest structure in nature.

That is why most primal structures such as big bridges and buildings are built with curves and arcs.   The curvature of the spine helps the spine in many ways. First, the curvature helps absorb the impact of walking/running and evenly distributes the weight of the body. Second, the curvature helps the body withstand the constant physical stress that is produced by gravity. Third, loss of curvature will cause abnormal stress to the spine, making it vulnerable to damage and cause loss of function. For us to be ahead of the curve in life is to have good spinal curvature!

Before we dive into how the curvature is necessary for your spine, we need to make sure which curve we are addressing. We are addressing the curvature that develops from birth to adulthood. In the womb, for a period of time following birth, a baby’s spine is shaped like the letter C. This curve is termed a primary curve, which is called the Kyphotic. During the time the baby is learning to lift his head and eventually walk, muscles develop. As muscular strength and ability are gained, the baby’s activity will shift body weight to the spine. Gradually, secondary curves develop in the cervical and lumbar regions; these curvatures are called lordotic curves. These curves will continue to develop until growth stops. The curvature structure can be seen from lateral full spine radiological film, and there is a method of measuring to determine the normality of the curvature.

These curvatures in your spine withstand constant bombardment of stresses that are caused by normal activities in your daily life. As your body undergoes physical activities such as sports, exercise, and recreation there is stress produced to the spine. The infrastructure of the spine upholds the body to withstand stress and keep the organs in place. This is also reflected in cathedrals which have many arcs/curvatures strategically placed to prevent it from collapsing and withstand the test of time.

Other than applying stress from physical activity, there is another natural force that will constantly cause stress on your spine. That is Gravity!! The only way to counter the effects of gravity is to have proper curvature in your spine. The S shape curvature of the spine counteracts the effects of gravity like a spring and sustains its structure. Do you see a waiter holding a tray? They hold it to support the weight but bend the elbow like a curvature for support. It is the same thing with the curvature of your spine in the neck. A 10-15 pound skull needs a structure in the neck that can hold its weight and be going against gravity. Most people complain about having tightness in their neck. It is usually due to loss of curvature.

When you lose curvature, the spine then is not able to withstand the stress from gravity on your body’s mass. This will result in structural failure of the spine in the long run. Loss of curvature will cause increased pressure load on the discs, increase muscular strain to support the inefficient skeletal structure, and cause nerve damage from alteration of the spinal structure. When this continues on for a long-term, it will make it vulnerable to additional physical stress.  Things such as car accidents, slips, and falls can easily cause damage to the spinal structure.  The disc structure that was giving cushion to the spine can be damaged slowly and wither away from the increased stress due to poor integrity of the spinal structure. When the disc withers away, then the nerves will be compressed, increase pain, and eventually, the disk will lose its function.  When time goes by, the degeneration process accelerates and your damaged spinal structure becomes permanent. Your body will be conditioned with that problem all your life.  

When the spinal structure has its curvature, it is able to withstand the physical stresses, the weight of your body, and is less vulnerable to damage to the spine. When your spine has its curves, you are ahead of the curve!! You are able to function 100%, withstand the test of time, and experience life instead of living life. You will be able to play tennis in your later years, play with your grandkids, or simply being able to walk to the bathroom. To be ahead of your curve, you simply need to make sure you have them or keep them!