THE SPINAL COLUMN
ALPHA CHIROPRACTIC NEWSLETTER
One Year Anniversary
Wow!! I cannot believe that it has been one year since I started to write a monthly newsletter. Quite a lot has happened in that time. The newsletters have been the most successful means of working on the second part of my mission statement (see below). I hope I've been getting better as a writer and that you continue to enjoy my work.
I want to thank all my practice members that continually ask me questions and take a tremendously active role in their health. Your quest for knowledge has forced me to improve my communication and writing skills and have generated the majority of the topics in my newsletters. Many lives were incredibly changed this year because of what was read in the newsletters and shared with others. Keep up the fantastic work and please bring others like you to the practice.
To the practice members that have not been in for some time, I hope the newsletters provide you with knowledge and will someday inspire you to take the necessary steps to improve your health and life. I'll be here for you when you are ready.
Reflecting On Independence Day
This Fourth of July Holiday marks this country's 225th year of independence. It is a day Americans celebrate independence from the British. Doctors of chiropractic and practice members worldwide should also take the time to reflect on their own freedom to enjoy and benefit from chiropractic.
It was not long ago when the late Herb Ross Reaver DC spoke about himself and other chiropractors who went to jail so we chiropractors could live as free doctors today and you and I could be adjusted legally. Dr. Reaver holds the distinction of being the most jailed chiropractor of all time. He was accused and jailed for "practicing medicine without a license" 12 times in Ohio. Of course anyone who knows anything about what we do knows that we are not anything like medicine. In fact, I get insulted if people think I'm a medical doctor. Chiropractic pioneers like, Dr. Reaver, refused to compromise their principles and remained firm in their resolve to keep chiropractic separate and distinct from the practice of medicine. He repeatedly refused medical licenses that he was offered because he saw that chiropractic was a distinct and separate profession.
Because of their integrity, dedication and commitment, chiropractors are free to serve humanity today, by correcting a major cause of dis-ease, the vertebral subluxation.
Take a moment and remember what a huge price so many who came before us have paid for our freedom. I enjoy reading about world history (when I get the chance), and I absolutely love freedom and the only way I know to honor any brave souls who fought to give us any of the freedoms we enjoy today is to be grateful, honor their memory and contributions, and be willing to fight for and protect what they gave us. Millions have given their lives to fight for freedom worldwide. We could never do enough to honor them.
Let's look at American history. Have you ever wondered what happened to the 56 men who signed the Declaration of Independence? Five signers were captured by the British as traitors and tortured. Twelve had their homes ransacked and burned. Two lost their sons serving in the Revolutionary Army, another had two sons captured. Nine of the 56 fought and died from wounds or hardships of the Revolutionary War. They signed and they pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor.
What kind of men were they? Twenty-four were lawyers and jurists. Eleven were merchants, nine were farmers and large plantation owners; men of means, well educated. But they signed the Declaration of Independence knowing full well that the penalty would be death if they were captured.
Carter Braxton of Virginia, a wealthy planter and trader, saw his ships swept from the seas by the British Navy. He sold his home and properties to pay his debts, and died in rags.
Thomas McKeam was so hounded by the British that he was forced to move his family almost constantly. He served in the Congress without pay, and his family was kept in hiding. His possessions were taken from him, and poverty was his reward.
Vandals or soldiers looted the properties of Dillery, Hall, Clymer, Walton, Gwinnett, Heyward, Ruttledge, and Middleton.
At the battle of Yorktown, Thomas Nelson, Jr., noted that the British General Cornwallis had taken over the Nelson home for his headquarters. He quietly urged General George Washington to open fire. The home was destroyed, and Nelson died bankrupt.
Francis Lewis had his home and properties destroyed. The enemy jailed his wife, and she died within a few months.
John Hart was driven from his wife's bedside as she was dying. Their children fled for their lives. His fields and his gristmill were laid to waste. For more than a year, he lived in forests and caves, returning only to find his wife dead and his children vanished. A few weeks later, he died from exhaustion and a broken heart.
Norris and Livingston suffered similar fates. Such were the stories and sacrifices of the American Revolution. These were not wild-eyed, rabble-rousing ruffians. They were soft-spoken men of means and education. They had security, but they valued liberty more.
Standing tall, straight, and unwavering, they pledged: "For the support of this declaration, with firm reliance on the protection of the divine providence, we mutually pledge to each other, our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor."
They gave all Americans a free and independent America. Many take these liberties for granted. Please don't do that, take a few minutes and silently thank these patriots. Then take a few more and silently thank the chiropractic pioneers who fought for your right to receive chiropractic care.
Harriet Clemens DC wrote BJ Palmer from jail, "We have been guests of the AMA [America Medical Association] for 72 days and have not worn out our welcome yet. Great isn't it? They still feed us and give us a place to sleep so why should we worry? No doubt you have heard of us getting our release providing we would quit practicing. They must think we are easy; we could have done that before we came down here."
In January 1923, chiropractors B.F. Lear and W.E. Quartier were sentenced to pay either a $500 fine or spend 833 days in jail, the maximum sentence for a first offense. They both chose the Trumbull County Jail in Warren, Ohio.
Matt and Kitty Scallon were separated from their families and each other. In a letter Kitty wrote: "To be shut in behind bars effects ones bravery at times. But then I thank God, for when I feel downhearted I think of chiropractic and all the people I've helped; and how it helped me regain my health after medicine failed. Still, when you are in jail for doing something good it makes things hard to bear."
According to a newspaper report at the time of his death, "Dr. Albert Ivnick, a chiropractor from Cleveland, Ohio never recovered from the effects of exposure at Warrensville Workhouse, and has been in bed from time to time since resuming his practice in February, and finally passed away last night. He leaves a wife and four children."
One of the great things about chiropractic is that it offers you so much freedom. Once you are adjusted regularly and have taken all the measures that you can to be healthy, you can be confident knowing that the innate intelligence of your body is expressing itself as perfectly as possible in keeping you healthy. When your confidence is in the wisdom of your body, you are not shackled by fear of disease. Too many people will never experience such freedom and will live in constant fear. Fear of heart disease, fear of cancer, of the flu, of germs, of whatever is the latest disease that the medical profession has decided to focus on. On top of that is the fear of drugs and procedures to treat disease that people fear. Shackled in their prison of medication after medication.
The most important concept to understand is that it is your health and your life and you must take the responsibility to improve it. You will never have true health until you are in control. A health care practitioner may give you information with which you can make better, more intelligent decisions, but you have the freedom to ultimately make them. The philosophy of chiropractic can change your life. It can give you the freedom from the fear of disease, enable you to take control of your life and give you a viewpoint based on principles and well, freedom.
Limitations of Matter -- First Things First
Part of the ADIO life and world view point series.
We frequently read stories about people with life-threatening diseases like cancer or heart disease who, as a last resort, turn to non-medical healing methods. When many of them are not helped by any of these methods, the medical community uses the failures as a way to discredit the approaches. "See," they say. "None of that quackery works!" Of course they never mention all the remarkable recoveries that occur with these methods, or their own pathetic success rates.
The fact is, when people get to the "last resort" stage, chances are very few things will save them. Of course, there are exceptions, but for the most part, the body by that time is too devastated to be able to heal itself. It has gone beyond its limitations of matter.
Non-medical health care methods (such as chiropractic) shouldn't be the final stop on our journey to health -- they should be our first step. If they don't work, we can continue our search and resort to more invasive techniques if we choose.
A question that then arises is as to what a chiropractor can cure. The simple fact is that no chiropractor anywhere (or ANY other doctor) ever cured anybody of anything! Healing or curing is the creation of living tissue to replace injured, dead, or sick cells. Only the body can heal itself because only the body can create living tissue. It is constantly replacing cells that wear out. A red blood cell, for example, lives about 120 days and then must be replaced. The cells of the skin have an even shorter life-span. When cells die prematurely due to injury or disease, the body must repair itself by creating new cells to take the place of the injured or sick ones. Only a living body has that ability. No doctor of any kind has ever created a living cell; therefore, no doctor ever healed or cured anyone of anything! LIFE heals. A body that is alive heals itself. That which is 100% alive, heals itself 100%. That which is only say 85% alive, because a subluxation is cutting off some of the life force, can only heal itself 85%. The job of the chiropractor is not to heal or cure anybody of anything, but to merely open up the lines of communication so that the body can have a better potential to heal itself.
So then what conditions can the body cure itself of? The answer is anything and everything. There is no disease known to man that the body cannot and has not cured. There is no such thing as an incurable disease. There are, however, incurable people. There are people, many of whom eventually go to a chiropractor or medical doctor, who have passed the point in which their bodies are able to heal themselves. Every person, no matter what the disease or condition he or she may have, cannot go beyond his or her body's ability to heal itself - the limitation of their matter. If the condition has caused so much damage that the body is past the limitations of healing itself, repair will not occur. A simple example would be a cut finger, which the body heals easily. However, the body is limited by limitations of matter (the materials with which it works) from growing a whole new finger when one has been completely cut off. That is a limitation of matter. The body is also limited by time. Whether in developing a fetus or in healing a diseased or damaged body, the creation of living tissue takes time and cannot be rushed.
I'm always amazed at people who neglect their spine for 20, 30, 40, 50, 60+ years, yet expect total correction of their problem in one adjustment. They make me laugh. I tell them that the only thing I have to work with is this mess they call a spine, with all its subluxations that have been there for who knows how long. The altered shape of ligaments, tendons, muscles, bone, and not to mention the proper conduction of nerve impulses takes weeks, months, and years to begin to heal correctly. If you want to "get better" quicker, start care when you are younger, preferably at birth, or better yet, have your mother adjusted while you are in her womb. Since that cannot be done, then make sure your children and grandchildren go to a chiropractor before their spines get to this level of degeneration and they are looking for a miracle adjustment.
A problem arises when we leap frog over safer methods like chiropractic, we run the risk of compounding the problem and making it more difficult for our body to summon its innate healing powers. In addition to the task of healing the original problem, it now has to cope with a system that's been bombarded with unnatural, toxic drugs or had its natural state altered through surgery.
Ideally, we should not wait for our body to give us a message that something is wrong. Optimum health and well-being -- achieved through a healthy lifestyle, including proper nutrition, exercise, rest, positive mental attitudes, and regular spinal adjustments -- can go a long way towards eliminating the need for any kind of medical treatment later on.
However, when we do fall into "dis-ease" and exhibit symptoms of disease, we should first try to help our bodies by giving it the tools and time it needs to heal itself, as it was designed to do. This means paying particular attention to nutrition, sleep, exercise, stress reduction and other life habits. It may mean taking nutritional supplements if our diet is out of balance, or meditating or doing yoga to calm our system.
It should definitely include a chiropractic checkup to make sure we have no vertebral subluxations, which interfere with the normal flow of energy through our nerve system.
What if we do all this and we still haven't returned to a state of health? Then, we need to progress to the next step, which might include medical care. But before reaching that point, many people make the mistake of jumping into the fire even if the frying pan isn't that hot! They run to their medical doctor and start gulping down pills whose whole purpose is to interfere with the body's functions!
Doctors are convinced (and do a good job of convincing patients) that their wisdom is far superior to the wisdom that made the human body in the first place. They can "fix" things by forcing the body to function abnormally! If that doesn't work (and it very often doesn't) they plop the poor patient down on a surgical table and start cutting out parts which they, in their far from infinite wisdom, think are "expendable." I always jokingly say that in medicine the reason you got sick is because you are lacking chemicals or have too many organs.
Now, I'm not going to argue that drugs and surgery are never needed. However, with the exception of trauma situations, medical treatment may not be your best first recourse. And if you start with a more natural approach you may never reach that last resort stage at all! The biggest mistake patients and doctors make is rushing into such extreme measures as the first rather than the last resort.
Let's look at the shift in thinking that has been occurring in gardening around the country. In the past, gardeners would see a single bug and douse their entire yard with the most potent chemical available. The result was contaminated soil and water, poisoned foods, and a new generation of chemical-resistant insects.
Today, smart growers take a different approach. First of all, they accept that there will always be some bugs in their garden -- and even some insect damage. This is part of gardening. If the damage becomes more of a problem, they use the least destructive approach to deal with it. Usually, this means a method that helps restore a natural balance to the yard. Only if the problem becomes overwhelming do gardeners reach for the chemical sprays. Even then, they realize that all too often the use of such sprays is what causes the imbalance in the first place!
Our body is a wonderful, lush garden and in its natural state will usually achieve a perfect balance on its own. Of course, our diet and lifestyle today make that difficult without some help from us. Even so, our first goal should be to restore that balance without causing any more disruption than necessary.
Sadly, there are times when the system breaks down completely and we can no longer hope to have it regain its equilibrium. That's when, having exhausted all other avenues, we may have to consider taking more radical action. If a person has passed the limitations of time or matter, medicine or surgery may be necessary to relieve suffering or keep him or her alive. That is the reason why a chiropractor does not make judgments for patients whether or not they should avail themselves of medical care. That is a decision only the patient has a right to make. Just make it after learning as much as you can about whatever condition you have and what will be done to you and any possible repercussions in those methods of treatment.
By now it should also be clear that the chiropractor cannot take upon himself the credit or blame for a patient's getting well or not getting well. Only the body can heal itself, so you deserve all the credit (or blame). It is your responsibility to do all the things necessary to promote health. The chiropractor's sole responsibility is to correct vertebral subluxations so that the body has a greater potential to heal itself, and/or maintain itself in a state of health.
You Are Here
I don't like going to malls. I am not a shopper. I usually only go if I have something specific to buy. Consequently, I spend a good deal of time in front of the directory/map of the mall to try to figure out where I am going, so I can get in and out as quickly as possible. The most important thing to do is to first find out where you are, hence the little arrow showing you the location of the directory you are staring at. You see, you cannot figure out how to get somewhere unless you know where you are. Often people will call on the phone to ask directions to the office. The first thing I have to ask the prospective patient is "from where are you coming?" I cannot get them to the office unless I know where they are.
For us to reach a destination of good health, which should be the objective of every practice member in the office, we must first determine where you are. Your locations, both physically and mentally, are important. Physically, you are probably subluxated. One or more vertebra may be out of its proper position, cutting off the vital life energy to your body, inhibiting your ability to be healthy, to work, to play, to sleep and to reach your potential in every aspect of your life. What's more, these subluxations have probably been present for years and may well have been reducing the quality of your life experiences since childhood? Further, they are not going to go away overnight or with one or two adjustments. In the beginning, most people need quite a few adjustments and everybody needs to be checked regularly for their entire lives and adjusted whenever the chiropractor finds vertebral subluxations.
Perhaps more important, is realizing where we are in our thinking. We have more than likely all been raised with a distorted view of life and health. We are taught that germs cause disease and that treating the symptoms of a disease while ignoring the cause is okay. We are taught that health comes from somewhere outside ourselves rather than coming from within our bodies. We believe that taking something from a bottle or in the form of a pill will actually make us healthy, rather than just treating the symptoms. We are at a place where we put our confidence in some doctor to get us well rather than the inborn wisdom of the body. We are not interested in maintaining our health but only in getting rid of the illness when it comes. We think that getting sick is a matter of bad luck, rather than doing the wrong things or failing to do the right things. Until we realize that our perspective is wrong and want to change, we are never going to find our way to a healthier, more productive life. We will either stay where we are in our thinking or worse, we will wander off in the wrong direction trying to find health and a better life in the same old ways that have not worked for the last 5,000 years. Chiropractic offers a new perspective and a new direction. It involves a radical change in our way of thinking, even our way of looking at life and the world around us. Investigate its philosophy. It could change your direction and life.
Another Child Tragedy
By now, many of you have heard or read the news regarding the five young children that had been drowned by their mother in Houston, Texas.
A recent article published in the Dallas morning news stated that the mother "had taken a number of anti-depressant and anti-psychotic medications since the birth of her fourth child in 1999." According to the same article, the woman had been taking the drugs Effexor and Remeron as early as the past week and had previously taken the drugs Risperdal, Wellbutrin and Haldol.
I have lost count of how many articles have been published involving the death of a child and the use of psychotropic drugs. It was only a few days prior to the drownings that an article was published in which a jury found a drug company at fault in a wrongful death civil suit. The drug Paxil was determined as the cause for a man's shooting spree.
I was watching a network news channel when the news broke concerning the drowning, and I noticed a shocking statistic. According to the broadcast, in murder cases involving children under the age of 5, one of their parents was to blame in 61% of all cases. 31% of cases involved the father, and 30% involved the mother. In comparison, about 2-5% of the crimes were committed by strangers.
It would be interesting to discover how many times drugs were involved. Whether those drugs be illicit drugs, prescription pharmaceuticals, or over-the-counter medications is not my concern. I just want to know if any were involved. How many of those cases involved drug-free families?
What would happen if these people were referred to a chiropractor? How would a body free from subluxations, with more stable body chemistry, that functions as well as possible change the behaviors of some of these people? The number of chiropractic patients that have gone off of these types of drugs is too long to list. But as long as these stories continue to plague the news it reminds us that we need to tell more people about chiropractic. And if we continue to help others raise drug-free families, I believe there would be a huge decrease in the number of these types of cases.
Self-Medicate, Delete Your Doctor
By now you have probably heard the news that an FDA advisory panel has recommended to make three popular allergy drugs, (Claritin, Allegra and Zyrtec) available without a prescription.
The request was brought about by a California health insurance company that would save millions each year if these drugs became available over-the-counter (OTC). According to an ABC News report, the insurance company said "the medications were safe and could be used by patients without consulting doctors."
While the insurance folks claim these medications are safe, drug makers claim that making these drugs available without a prescription would be "inappropriate and potentially adverse to human safety", according to the ABC report.
Wow, drug makers are actually admitting that their products may cause harm. So now are these drugs safe or unsafe? Do they have less side-effects when given by a medical doctor? If so, why? If one can self-medicate, what need is there for MDs? Is there something else at issue here other than the safety of drugs?
According to an article on MSNBC, "Americans are expected to spend $4.7 billion this year on prescription allergy medications like Claritin, Allegra and Zyrtec. Well, now we obvious know why insurance companies would want to make them over-the-counter medications. After all, $4.7 billion that they would not have to pay for would increase their profits. I'm amazed by the fact that they are so short sighted. Maybe they may save money on paying for these prescriptions. However, if these drugs are dangerous and may cause illnesses, like drug makers and doctors are saying, wouldn't that produce more serious sicknesses that require more expensive care to deal with them? Never, let it be said that insurance companies are logical.
If that wasn't bad enough, a new study finds that almost two-thirds of those who take these drugs don't need them. If two-thirds of the people who take them do not need them, what will happen when they become more accessible to the public? What will be the percentage that does not need them then?
The article goes to state that, "People who are misdiagnosed can waste as much as $80.00 a month for the prescription drugs, taking medicines they don't need ... the medications fail to solve the real problem."
Here are some questions: Why do so many people have allergies? If you gave a drug daily to a person that was healthy, would they get healthier? If you are taking medicines that you do not need are you producing more health or less health? How about the side effects? Will you take more drugs to cover up the symptoms created by the drugs you "do not need?" Why would you do such a thing?
You are being marketed to and it's not all your fault. According to the article, "There's also an incredible influence for marketing where patients will watch television and they'll see commercials or they'll be on a bus and they'll see ads for medications and they want these medications."
The reason you may want to take drugs is because you have been conditioned by years of advertising that these drugs will solve your problems and make you healthier. You want to do the right thing. There is indeed an incredible influence to get you and your family to take more drugs and to not solve "the real problem." Those of you who have access to the Internet can look up these drugs to see the real story. While it may be tedious, any one taking any medications should read about and know all there is to know about what they are taking. Not just side-effects, but who was the drug tested on, for how long, what short-term studies are there, what long-term studies are there (if any), how long were their long-term studies, the list goes on and on. While you think this might be too much work, just remember that we have been using aspirin for over 100 years, yet we still cannot prevent over 20,000 dying from it each year. What will these newer, stronger drugs do? Review my previous newsletters on Allergies, Immunity, and Body Chemistry. Take responsibility, invest in your health, and you'll be less likely to become a drug study statistic. If the world knew what you do, would there be a need for these drugs?