THE SPINAL COLUMN
ALPHA CHIROPRACTIC NEWSLETTER
Mega Shifts in Thinking
There is no doubt that the greatest task of the objective straight chiropractor is educating the public to what chiropractic truly is. This task has been made more difficult by the stupidity (idiocy, imbecility, witlessness) of some in the profession in positioning our work as a treatment for bad backs. It is perhaps the ultimate example of "shooting yourself in the foot." As a profession, we had the opportunity to create chiropractic in any model we wanted. Most chose the least attractive, the least desirable, the least beneficial to humanity, treating bad backs. Why? Because that's what insurance companies would pay for. Yuck!! What were they thinking?
Because the majority of the population thinks we are back doctors we need to work hard to change peoples' thinking. Before we do that we must realize that peoples' thinking has changed over the years. Unfortunately, in many ways, that move has been further and further away from the world and life viewpoint that we call ADIO. We must understand these megashifts in peoples' thinking, show them the incorrectness of those ideas, and teach them how to think differently. Part of the problem is that there are also microshifts in peoples' thinking. However, in focusing on the microshifts we fail to recognize the megashifts. "Natural healing" is a microshift. A desire by people to get well without drugs or surgery is a minor change in thinking. Natural or unnatural is not the issue. When people stop thinking in terms of healing disease no matter what the method, that will be a megashift and that is when true chiropractic will start to have an impact. When people start thinking about addressing health rather than fighting, curing, or preventing disease, that will begin a megashift. With that introduction let us look at some of the megashifts in thinking that effect us as chiropractic practice members.
1. A shift from theocentric (God centered) to anthropocentric (man centered) thinking. This shift at first glance would appear to be more of a concern for the religious community than the chiropractic profession. We must realize, however, that this shift in thinking means that people are considering less the wisdom, power, and nature of "Someone" greater than their own finite educated mind. As it relates to chiropractic, people are less focused on the innate intelligence of their body, a universal principle, and more focused on their own abilities. Unfortunately, people like Deepak Chopra support this shift. On a superficial review, it would appear they are talking about individuals taking control of their own health rather than letting medicine do it. What they are really talking about is substituting your own educated intelligence for the educated intelligence of the physician (not always a wise decision). That is a microshift and not necessarily in the right direction. Only when we begin to put our confidence in the inborn wisdom of the body and allow it to run our body rather than running it ourselves, will a positive megashift occur.
2. A shift from objectivism to relativism. This change in thinking says there is no objective reality, everything is relative. Today we face the task of changing the thinking of a society that believes that there is nothing that everyone needs, that no care, no procedure, no therapy benefits everyone. We are all different, which of course, is true. Therefore we have different needs, again, true to a point. The fact that everyone needs chiropractic care and it is not relative to your state of health or the condition you have or do not have is a difficult concept to get across in this shifting mindset. People have no problem realizing that they need to brush their teeth daily and change the oil in their car every 3,000 miles regardless of whether they have cavities or engine trouble. But for some reason some people cannot seem to give the same respect and emphasis of care to their nervous system. Teeth and cars can be replaced, but you only get one brain and spinal cord. Taking care of your nervous system, which controls EVERYTHING YOU DO AND ARE, should be paramount. Why is it that some people cannot seem to grasp the importance of that fact?
3. A shift from objectivity to pragmatism. This change in thinking goes along with the one above. It presents the idea that, not only are peoples' needs relative to their problems, but their needs should be met on a pragmatic level. The motto today is if it feels good, do it. People take drugs, knowing they are harmful because they make them feel good. Society is like the small child who hates the taste of broccoli. Though he is told to eat it "because it is good for you," he dreams of the day when he grows up and is in charge of his own life, when he will not eat broccoli no matter how good for you it is. Maybe he will and maybe he won't. The point is that we do not place emphasis on what is good for us, but what feels good to us. We must get across the need for chiropractic care in people despite the fact that some will probably not feel any different under care. Some will feel no different because they have passed limitations of matter and some because they feel good from the start. Despite how they feel, they will all be and function better under care. What society must realize is that everyone needs chiropractic care. Pragmatism and chiropractic are in opposite camps. There are people who are willing to use chiropractic pragmatically. They go to a chiropractor because for some reason, unbeknownst to them, they feel better afterward. Those people frustrate me because if for some reason they stop feeling better, they quit care. Worse yet, are those who feel good and think they do not need care. As if symptoms have anything to do with health and disease. (see next month) That is hardly the model we want to perpetuate.
4. A shift from truth to opinion. Society is moving away from the idea of truths and toward the idea that everything is opinion. One of the frustrating things that I have found in recent years is that people do not accept our presentation as truth, only as our opinion. In the age of political correctness, everyone is entitled to an opinion. Our "truth" is just one opinion. This is born out by the fact that people do not accept what we do. We tell them what straight chiropractic is all about, they seem to understand it inasmuch as they do not challenge or question it (I often wish they would), but they do not follow through with care. This can only be because they see the idea of regular care enabling the body to work at full potential as our opinion, not as a truth. They see it as our truth not their truth. Their truth is that chiropractic helps their headache or backache or whatever. If we want to believe it does more, that is okay with them but that is not their truth. They will respect our truth but not embrace it. The fact is there is only one truth. There are many opinions about chiropractic but only one truth. Either it is what we say it is or we are mistaken, deluded, or lying. It cannot be right for us and wrong for someone else. The shift in thinking says, "you are entitled to your truth as I am entitled to mine." Everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion, but we are not entitled to our own truth. If we are, then there is no such thing as truth, principles, laws or absolutes. Eventually an organization, a profession, a society or a country will crumble with this type of thinking. In the case of a country, at this point an authoritarian leader would arise, establish his opinion or truth and a totalitarian government would be formed. Nazi Germany, the former Soviet Union, and China are examples of this situation.
We need to accept the fact that there are such a things as absolute truths and that chiropractic philosophy represents one. We must go about the task of promoting that idea.
We have a philosophy that can go far toward shifting people's world and life viewpoint. We need to understand these shifts away from ADIO and work toward showing their weakness and error. Then and only then can we shift societies' thinking about health and life. Quite a big undertaking. We have our work cut out for us.
Create a Condition, Create a Market
Last month's international Herald Tribune features an article titled, "Selling an Illness Helps Pharmaceutical Giant Peddle Its Pill." The author speaks of a little-known malady called Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD), a condition many of us have become familiar with during the past two years as a result of marketing efforts, which included advertising on television.
According to the article, psychiatrists and patient advocates appeared on TV and in print to explain that the condition (SAD) was extremely widespread but was easily treatable. Paxil also markets their drug for a condition called "Generalized Anxiety Disorder" (GAD).
What the author found interesting was that all the attention surrounding this condition was not spurred on by medical developments, rather it was part of a coordinated campaign by a New York public relations agency. According to the article, about 96 percent of the stories delivered the message, "Paxil is the first and only FDA approved medication for the treatment of social anxiety disorder." Was the ad agency hired by a pharmaceutical giant to push the use of drugs? Of course, but is the condition real? Who knows?
If you are the maker of this drug and you are the only manufacturer who has the drug to treat this "so-called" disorder, what kind of position does that put you in?
Sell The Illness; Supply The Market
Paxil is not alone. It was not long ago that we began seeing commercials for premenstrual dysphoric disorder or PMDD. The drug in this case was Sarafem, which according to WebMD, is a "repackaged, relabeled version of the antidepressant fluoxetine hydrochloride -- better known to millions by the brand name Prozac." Interesting how this condition appears now that Prozac's copyright is expiring and that it can now be made in a generic form.
Ritalin is another example. There are those who question whether ADD/ADHD is a condition created by drug manufacturers in order to sell more product. In fact, the state of California and state of New Jersey filed class action suits against the makers of Ritalin, the American Psychiatric Association, and CHADD (Children and Adults with Attention Deficit Disorders) last year, accusing the two of conspiring to create the disease attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in order to sell more of the drug.
Remember that nearly 20 million prescriptions for Ritalin, and other psychotropic stimulants were written last year in the United States - that is a 35 percent increase since 1996. Most of the prescriptions, according to a health care information company, were written for boys under the age of 12.
What Causes Disease?
Part of the ADIO life and world viewpoint series
The topic of what causes disease is something that is always talked about, but never properly understood. There have been so many conflicting opinions that most people have just given up trying to figure it out. The result is a mess of fads, drugs, and procedures that at first seem great, but then time shows to be wrong and even ridiculous. I hope this article can give you some insight as to this controversy. And allow you to come to conclusions on your own using logical, deductive thinking.
Years ago, the medical field attempted to blame all disease on a single cause. In fact, throughout early history and the so-called Dark Ages all diseases were thought to have a single cause. Whether it was evil spirits, bad blood, or the night air changed with the culture. As science became more "advanced", it became apparent that this concept was not true. Medical science then began to place the cause of individual diseases on individual factors. So that instead of blaming demons for all disease, each individual disease had a specific, individual cause. The invention of the microscope and the discovery of microorganisms merely perpetuated that thinking. Any time a person had a certain group of symptoms (a disease) and a specific microorganism could be found in great numbers under the microscope, the conclusion would be, the microorganism caused the disease. As a result, it was thought that streptococcus caused strept throat, pneumococcus caused pneumonia, mycobacterium leprae caused leprosy and so on. The problem is that these organisms can often be found in perfectly healthy people.
Above-down thinking suggests there are numerous factors or causes involved in every disease. For example, it would be foolish to claim that viruses or bacteria were not factors in a number of diseases. Some who speak against this above-down thinking attack us by saying we do not believe in germs or the germ theory. It is not a matter of belief. You can see them under a microscope. But seeing them and considering them the cause are two altogether different concepts. As we understand the entire concept of the cause of disease, we shall see that there are so many factors or "causes" that it becomes absurd to attempt to establish a cause-effect relationship. Consider the following scenario: Uncle Charlie comes to visit the family and while there plays with each of the five children. Unfortunately, he has a cold and when he leaves, four of the five children are also showing signs and symptoms of a cold. Of these four, one is sick for three days, one for a week, one two weeks and the other ends up with pneumonia. The virus was a factor but if it was the only factor, all five should have gotten his cold and all five should have had it for the same length of time. This simple illustration proves there must be other factors. Especially since one developed pneumonia. The virus associated with the common cold and the germ associated with pneumonia are different!
Lack of resistance is a factor or a cause. Failing to engage in health-raising measures may be a factor. For this reason, above-down thinking people have concluded that there are multiple causes for every disease. These factors can be divided into three major categories, which may induce those relating to disease to place a different degree of importance on different factors. Categorizing them enables us to better understand their importance and therefore, how to address our attention to them, just as everyone, including those in the health field, should. If one factor is more important than another, perhaps our attention should be focused primarily on the more important one. If some causes predispose toward disease while others merely influence the process, perhaps we should address the predisposing factors.
In our discussion we will present three categories of factors that cause disease: primary, secondary, and tertiary. For disease to occur there must be at least a primary and a secondary factor. The most common diseases (the majority) also require a tertiary factor, although these diseases are the least fatal because they respond to medical treatment or any treatment better. To say that any category is more important than another in the treatment of disease is presumptuous. However, as we understand the three categories and their relationship to disease, it will become apparent why some professions have chosen to direct their attention to a primary factor only. For while no category is more important in the treatment of disease, when it comes to optimizing health, which is our main concern, certain categories do appear to have more importance than others. For this reason we have chosen to describe these three categories as primary factors, secondary factors and tertiary factors.
Primary factors are limitations of the body. Examples of these factors include genetic defects, congenital conditions, and the inability of the innate intelligence of the body to be expressed because of interference in its methods of expression, particularly the nervous system--a subluxation.
Their Cause is Outside Your Control
The cause of primary factors in disease is outside the control of the individual. Whenever you look at cause and effect, you eventually get back to a cause that you, under normal circumstances, have no control over. It is true that we all make choices that affect our lives and are responsible for those choices. In this category, however, if the individual is responsible for causing the primary factor, it occurs out of ignorance. One may choose to drive down a certain street where he has an accident that causes the loss of a spleen (causing limitations of matter in the body). Of course, he did not drive down that street with the intention of having that accident. One may decide to take up skiing knowing full well he will take a few spills but not intending to permanently damage himself. Genetic weaknesses are also limitations of the body, which the individual definitely has no control over. They come from the parents. A primary cause then is one over which, under usual circumstances, the individual has no control.
They Do Not Show Themselves as Disease
Primary factors do not show themselves as diseases. They alone are not a disease. Secondary and/or tertiary factors must be present before disease occurs. This is why the medical profession has directed its attention toward tertiary factors. While a primary factor alone does not manifest disease, when the tertiary factor is present, disease will occur. Medical science incorrectly concludes that the tertiary factor is the cause. It is the old "straw that broke the camel's back" principle. The field of medicine addresses the last straw rather than the first million. Medical science deals primarily with causes that can be demonstrated through our senses. Bacteria and viruses can be seen under a microscope. By analogy, we may not know we have forgotten to empty our garbage pail if our sense of smell is not affected. When we see the flies gathering, we know we have forgotten, but we do not blame the flies for the garbage or the smell. The medical doctor does not use such reasoning. We may have a sick body due to primary and secondary factors, a body lacking health, but when the tertiary factor (the bacteria), arrives, the medical doctor blames the disease on them. Remember, primary factors do not show themselves as disease.
They Decrease Your Potential
Primary factors cause the body to function at a lower level than it should. They do not manifest themselves as disease but they do decrease the potential of an individual to reach what the human organism is intended to be. Further, they create a fixed level of health in the person, above which they are never able to rise. No matter what else is done for that person, he/she can never reach beyond the level established by the primary factor(s). Secondary and tertiary factors may further reduce that level but eliminating those factors cannot raise health above the level established by the primary factor. An individual with an organ missing can never be as healthy as he/she would be with it. For example, a physician may remove a diseased appendix. The patient is less sick (his symptoms are gone), but he is not healthier. A person with an organ missing is not healthier than a person with an organ not working properly. Removing an organ is a limitation of matter. A primary cause always has the same effect in every person every time. It causes the body to function at less than it should.
They Need Another Person to Correct Them
Primary factors necessitate another person to correct them. The primary cause is out of the control of the individual. Someone or something else is necessary to correct it, if indeed it can be corrected. Many limitations of the body cannot be corrected. An organ transplant or an artificial limb would be measures that could be taken for severe limitations of the body. If it is a genetic defect, nothing can be done. A subluxations needs to be adjusted by a chiropractor.
Secondary factors include poor diet, lack of exercise and rest, and a poor mental attitude. Again, it should be emphasized that just because they are secondary, does not mean that they are not important. It is just that they have different characteristics.
They Can Be Controlled by the Individual
Secondary factors can be controlled by the individual. In fact, the correction of these factors is best addressed by the individual. The determination of a proper diet and the amount of exercise and rest needed should be determined by the person using their educated intelligence in an appropriate manner while attempting to follow the dictates of the innate intelligence of the body.
They Depend on Primary Factors
Secondary factors depend upon the presence of a primary factor to cause disease. By themselves they cannot cause disease. They necessitate the primary factor being present before a disease is manifested. Some people never exercise and never get a disease associated with lack of exercise. However, they will never reach their maximum health potential. A secondary factor is manifested differently in every person. A primary factor affects everyone the same. Some people will become ill if they only get five hours of sleep a night, while others may remain perfectly healthy It depends upon their genetic makeup, (limitations of the body's matter) and the ability of their body to maximize the rest they get (due to the integrity of the nervous system). Even a disease like scurvy, which is caused by secondary factors (a lack of vitamin C) necessitates a primary factor. It was first discovered in sailors on sailing ships who went for months at sea with no source of vitamin C, the vitamin found in foods such as citrus fruits. The body apparently does not store vitamin C. However, different sailors would show the symptoms of scurvy at different times and some never got the disease, indicating that a certain health level, established in part by the primary factors, was necessary for the disease to be manifested. A secondary factor is specific for the individual and necessitates a primary factor to cause disease.
They Can Be Directly or Indirectly Related to Disease
Secondary factors can be directly related to disease, or they can predispose you to a tertiary factor. For example, nutritional insufficiency, a secondary factor, can result in disease, in the presence of a primary factor. But that secondary factor can also contribute to lowered resistance, which in the presence of tertiary factors can result in disease.
Tertiary or third ranking factors
Tertiary factors include stress, environment, germs, and pollution. Tertiary factors occur very close to if not at the same time the disease is able to be recognized. They are so far removed from being a cause that it almost seems foolish to describe them as a "cause." However, they have some characteristics worth noting.
They Depend on Primary and Secondary Factors
Tertiary factors only "cause" disease in the presence of primary and secondary factors. An individual must have a body working at less than its potential for tertiary factors to result in disease. Not only must there be a primary factor but there must often be a secondary factor as well. Lowered resistance in part due to insufficient diet, exercise and rest creates a situation in which ordinarily acceptable levels of external forces, such as micro-organisms, stress, pollution, etc. become important factors.
They Can Determine the Nature of Disease
Tertiary factors will often determine the nature of the disease. Lowered resistance and a body not working properly predispose an individual to disease. Identifying the type of microorganism will help determine whether it is bacteria, viral or both. The type of environmental pollutant will determine whether it is cancer, black lung, asbestos poisoning, etc. The practice of medicine has built its approach to disease upon the characteristic of the disease. Medicine addresses its attention to the nature of the disease and then decides whether to ignore it, treat it, remove it or prevent it.
Summary of Disease Factors
1. Primary factors create an inability: an inability of the body to function as it should. Limitations of the body and incoordination of its function are the two most apparent causes of functional inability. Heredity is the most common cause of limitations of the body and interference in the nervous system, a subluxation, is the most common cause of incoordination.
2. Secondary factors create an inadequacy: an inadequacy to meet our body's needs. You must determine what resources are adequate for your body. You must use your educated intelligence to note the desires of the innate intelligence with regard to sufficient rest, exercise, nutrition and proper mental attitude. If you don't get a sufficient amount, your body will be inadequate to meet its needs. Secondary factors also depend upon the ability of the individual to use the rest, exercise, etc. that it receives. For example, vitamins that the body is unable to assimilate become inadequate. Many people take in a sufficient amount of vitamins but the body is unable to utilize them because of a primary factor.
3. Tertiary factors are related to an invasion. If your body is to remain healthy in the presence of these tertiary factors, it must have the ability to withstand their invasion (primary), and have sufficient resources to withstand their invasive character (secondary factors).
Primary factors deal with the body's potential. Without potential, nothing else matters. If you do not have the genetic potential to reach a high level of health, nothing will enable you to reach that level. If your body is working in an incoordinated manner (due to vertebral subluxation) and you are lacking the potential to turn good food into healthy tissue, the most nourishing food will be of no benefit. Potential is primary. Said another way, regardless of what you eat, how much rest you get, how positive your attitude is, and how much you exercise, it may be to no avail. If your nerve system suffers from subluxations your body will be in a state of dis-ease, which may lead to sickness and disease, despite doing everything else perfectly.
Secondary factors deal with the body's resources. Resources deal with what you give your body to work with; food, water, exercise and positive mental attitudes are the natural resources that the body with the proper potential can turn into health. Just because we have called them secondary in no way demeans or lessens their importance. Secondary factors are vital and are each individual's personal responsibility. Once the potential is there, having the necessary resources becomes an important factor.
Tertiary factors deal with the body's environment. Environment is important, however, it is of less importance than the others simply because there is very little we as individuals can do to affect it. That is largely the difference between the outside-in approach and the above-down approach. The outside-in approach tries to change the environment without really knowing what it should be or how to properly balance it. The above-down approach is to enable us to better adapt to that environment no matter what it is. With sufficient potential and sufficient resources, the body under normal circumstances adapts to its environment.
The real point to be made in this entire discussion is that it is foolish to try to find causes for disease because there are so many primary, secondary and tertiary factors involved that the entire issue of cause is unclear. As we said, disease causation is like the saying "the straw that broke the camel's back." Was the last straw really the cause? It was no more the cause than the first straw or all the factors in between. If it were the cause, it alone would have caused the camel's "spinal fracture." All of them are factors. The health and strength of the camel was also a factor. In a system like the human body where there are so many variables and so many factors, it becomes impossible to make absolute statements such as single causes of disease. This is not to say that there are not absolutes within the body and the world and there are not single causes. But when it comes to disease, the idea of single cause just does not fit.
In a health-raising (ADIO) approach, causes of disease are not even a consideration. As a side-effect of a health-raising approach, we often see people get well from their diseases, which of course is important to the people who are sick.