THE SPINAL COLUMN
ALPHA CHIROPRACTIC NEWSLETTER
As Thanksgiving approaches it gives me time to reflect on things that I am thankful for:
I am thankful for having a great family that loves and supports me in all that I do.
I am thankful for living in the greatest free nation in the history of mankind.
I am thankful that I was chosen to be part of a profession dedicated to changing the quality of lives of all who enter our doors.
I am thankful that I am healthy and live in a chiropractic world free of drugs or nerve interference.
I am thankful for the gift of life and the power of a chiropractic adjustment.
I am thankful that I am able to get up each morning and go to bed each night knowing that today I saved lives.
I am thankful that those who came before me in this profession stood up for what they believed in so that I may practice today with certainty and power.
I am thankful for all the seminars, speakers, teachers, and mentors who constantly strive to motivate and empower me to take chiropractic to the next level.
I am thankful for each chiropractor, assistant, and chiropractic student that are all helping take part in changing the world.
I am thankful for patients that have consistently proven our chiropractic principles over and over again, not just by getting well, but also by choosing to live their lives to the fullest potential.
I am thankful for patients that have taken up the torch and tell their chiropractic story to others.
I am thankful to God for making all this possible.
Have a Happy Thanksgiving,
Stamatis V. Tsamoutalidis, D.C.
Let's Look At Health
Part of the ADIO life and world view point series.
We desperately need to look at health in a different way and act in a manner consistent with our changing view. If we do not, the present system and its ramifications threaten us more than we realize. The government is wrestling with the real problem of providing health-care coverage for all Americans. They are doing it because the soaring costs of health care are threatening the average American. Yet in every country where government-managed health care has been tried, it has proven to be a miserable failure both in quality of care and in cost. The government feels it must do something even if that something is wrong, and it is. There has never been a situation where the government has been successful in running a program better than private industry. But private industry is incapable of solving the health-care problem as well.
The incidence of "iatrogenic" diseases is becoming a real problem. These are diseases caused by doctors and their procedures. Estimates are as
high as one out of every two to four hospital admissions being due to a medical procedure that left the patient worse off and in need of hospitalization. There is a reason. To become more and
more successful in waging the battle against disease, more drastic measures are needed and they do increasingly more harm to the human organism. The success that medicine has had in treating
diseases is due in part to the powerful drugs and highly technical procedures that are being used. But they have their harmful side effects and their dangers. The more success we have at
combating diseases, the greater the number of casualties we can expect.
A Better Option
No matter how time consuming and expensive it is to develop and follow programs of health maintenance, it is far less expensive in time, money, energy and lives than is the treatment of disease. But with few exceptions the medical community continues treating, researching and focusing on disease. Little is done in orthodox medicine to ever consider an alternative to the treatment of disease. At best, they are looking toward alternative treatments of disease but not an alternative TO the treatment of disease.
The following short story will help to illustrate my point. As you read it, consider the analogies, as well as the ramifications of our current "health care" system and its thinking.
Digging Up Holes?!?
The front yard had mysteriously acquired large gaping holes sometime through the night. George Look surveyed the once beautiful lawn with the feeling that one has when they lose a dear friend or relative. It was not just the area between the house and street. This was George's child, his love, it occupied every moment of the confirmed bachelor's early evenings until the sunset, from April 1st until November 30th. He knew the neighbors would be gathering soon. Some would offer condolences. George could not bear the thought of them telling him they knew how he felt. They could not know.
They had not spent the hours tenderly caring for their lawns the way he had. None except for Ben Warton. But even Ben's beautiful lawn could not hold a candle to George's. George knew Ben was jealous. There was almost a competitive spirit between them and not a friendly competition at that. Ben would surely gloat over George's misfortune.
The large white truck arrived late in the afternoon. It was very professional looking. Printed on the side in large, black letters were the words:
DR. JOHN B. PITFALL
A tall, thin, distinguished gentleman stepped out of the truck. He had on a crisp, white coat and a large mop of snowy white hair to match. His face was tanned and confident. A faint glimmer of hope welled up in George's heart. This man was the best Lawn Physician in the entire Eastern United States. George had felt honored when Dr. Pitfall had agreed to take on his case.
"Thank you for coming, Doctor." George tried to sound calm, despite the fact that his heart was beating madly.
"I don't usually take cases this far from my office, Mr. Look, but your case intrigues me. When did you first notice this problem?"
"Just this morning, doctor. The lawn was fine yesterday."
"Ever have a similar problem?"
"How about your lawn's general health?"
George took pride in his healthy lawn. But he realized this was not a time for bragging. He racked his brain for any indication of what could have caused this problem. After careful thought he responded, "Other than chinch bugs two years ago and some occasional brown spots in late July, the lawn has been fine."
The doctor stroked his smooth chin and scanned the homes up and down the street. "Any of your neighbors have this type of problem?"
"Okay, Mr. Look, we're going to be doing a few tests. Why don't you go in the house. My assistants will be along shortly and we'll be bringing some heavy equipment in. Out here you'll just be in the way."
George dutifully obeyed the doctor. Once in the house he drew open the drapes at the picture window, pulled over the easy chair, and sat down to watch. What he saw was impressive. The lawn physician and his assistants went to work with the skill of a finely trained team. They took pictures of all the holes, every one of them, from every conceivable angle. George noticed the doctor talking to one of his assistants, a big burly fellow. The man nodded as if concurring with Dr. Pitfall's observation and then drove off in the truck. Thirty minutes later he returned with what appeared to be a large measuring device. He went to each hole, measuring the depth and the width and noting the slope of each one. A nurse followed him around making notations on a clipboard. George could not hear what they were saying through the thick windowpanes but the serious looks on their faces were anything but encouraging. The activities went on for the better part of two hours. George was impressed by their workman-like attitude but at the same time somewhat annoyed at their apparent detachment. Didn't they realize this was his one and only front yard?
It was getting on toward dark. George had not left the picture window since the examination began. Finally Dr. Pitfall, aware of George observing them, motioned for him to come out.
"We would like to do a few more tests tomorrow Mr. Look and I have a colleague I would like to call in on consultation. He'll be here tomorrow also. We should have some news for you the day after."
"What do you think it is, doctor?"
"I'd really not like to venture a guess until all the tests are done and the results are calculated. We have to go back to the office now and run a lot of these figures through our computers. We'll see you in the morning." With that, they all climbed into their trucks. Neither the trucks nor the doctors and nurses looked quite as white and crisp as they had earlier in the day. George was left standing among the holes in his yard as they drove off in the direction of the setting summer sun.
They returned the next day as promised and worked from early morning until almost sunset. Then left without a word. They returned the following day.
There were more tests, more pictures. Each time there was one or more new faces. All bad the same white coat, same tan, same serious expression. On the fourth day they did not return. Midway through the morning George received a phone call from Dr. Pitfall's office. The doctor would be coming to speak with George.
Shortly after noon he arrived.
"Sit down. Mr. Look."
George dreaded those words. Whenever a doctor on television tells someone to sit down, it's always bad news.
"George, I'm going to be honest with you. This is by far the worst case of holes in the lawn that I or any of my colleagues have ever seen. To be perfectly frank, it doesn't look good."
George had been sitting on the edge of his easy chair, the one he had spent the better part of the last four days in. He slumped back and spoke, his voice faltering, "what can be done, doctor?"
The doctor walked over to the window and gazed out upon the lawn as if to give it one further examination before pronouncing its fate. "The only hope is," he paused for what seemed an eternity to George, "major surgery. I'm afraid George, unless we dig up those holes, your lawn hasn't a chance."
George sat up straight. "You mean you're going to remove the holes?"
"But doctor, how can you remove a hole? I mean," George stammered trying to find the right words. His mind was spinning. "I mean, how can you dig up a hole?"
The doctor gave George a condescending smile. It irritated George. "Oh, we have a fine instrument. We can be in and out of here in one morning. It can remove every hole, take it right out. I have to admit it is a rather untried procedure, but frankly George, I see no other hope."
George rubbed his temples with his fingertips. "I just don't know."
"Look George, if you would like a second or third opinion I could give you the names..."
"No, doctor, I'm sure you're right. It just doesn't seem... I just can't believe... it doesn't seem possible that digging up the holes is the answer."
George got up and walked over to the picture window. He stared at his lawn remembering the lush green carpet that he had mown only a week ago. He turned sharply, looked the doctor in the eye and said, "when can you do the operation?"
"We will be here Monday morning."
George rarely ever opened the drapes of the front picture window. When leaving his house, and he only left to go to work or the store, he avoided looking at the front yard. It had been almost a month since the operation.
Even before the big machinery began tearing into the soft, rich, dark earth George had this gnawing feeling that it wouldn't work. Dr. Pitfall had tried to cheer him up by saying they were able to reduce the number of holes to only a few large ones. The neighbors' condolence cards were appreciated. Except for Ben Warton's. Suggesting that George put a large hedge around his front yard was in poor taste.
There was one card, from Mrs. Deery up the street. She had suggested that George try a Lawn Restorer. As the sight of the lawn became more painful, George gave more thought to her suggestion. Finally one morning he called Dr. Thomas Cause, Lawn Restorer. The doctor arrived in a small pickup. It was not white. He did not wear white and there were no assistants with him. He was, however, a friendly, soft-spoken, kindly fellow. He seemed genuinely concerned over George's plight. George began to relate the lawn's history to Dr. Cause but the doctor stopped him.
"Mr. Look, I know you've been through a good deal with your problem and you obviously have had some experts looking at your lawn. I don't pretend to be able to do something they could not do." George face dropped. The doctor was smiling. "However, Mr. Look, I believe I have something I can do for your lawn that will benefit it."
"You mean you can cure holes in the lawn?"
"No, I didn't say that. As a matter of fact I cannot cure any problem. But what I can do is restore dirt and frankly, Mr. Look, whatever condition your lawn has or doesn't have, it would be better off with a full complement of dirt. You see, a Lawn Restorer is really a dirt replacer." He went on to explain a little more about his philosophy. It made sense to George. After they had talked awhile longer George walked over to his lawn and looked into one of the large holes.
"Don't you want to see the pictures or read the Lawn Physician's reports?"
"It's not really necessary to my procedure, Mr. Look. We are not really doing the same thing. He's removing holes, I'm replacing dirt."
George laughed aloud. "Well, I've gone the hole removal route and look what it's gotten me." He pointed to the gaping holes. "I guess I've got nothing to lose by trying... what did you call it?"
"Dirt replacement, Mr. Look."
"When can you begin?"
"I'll be here tomorrow with a truckload."
George thought for a minute, still not convinced he was doing the right thing.
"But how will you know how much dirt my lawn needs without all the tests or at least looking at the Lawn Physician's report?"
"Good question, Mr. Look. I'll be in with a truckload tomorrow and begin to fill the holes. I'll just keep bringing truckloads until they are filled. It's really a very simple concept and procedure. When the holes are filled, my job is done."
The next day Dr. Cause returned, this time with a large truck full of dirt. He began to back it up toward the closest and largest hole. George raced out the front door.
"Hold it, doctor," he shouted over the roar of the truck engine. "Can I talk to you for a minute?"
The Lawn Restorer climbed out of the truck cab and the two of them walked a distance from the idling truck engine.
"What seems to be the problem, Mr. Look?"
George was somewhat embarrassed. "Can I be frank with you Dr. Cause?"
"But of course, please do. If there is anything you don't understand or want explained further, I would be very happy..."
"It's not that, it's just, well you see, I met this Lawn Therapist yesterday in the garden shop. He was buying a truckload of fertilizer and we got to talking. He called himself a Lawn Therapist Physician. He said I should have some tests done, that maybe my problem was a nutritional deficiency in the lawn. He also thought it might be six foot tall gophers. He said he would do those tests and sort of hinted that you should also."
"Let's sit down over here, Mr. Look. Remember I explained to you that I am not a physician?"
"I do one thing only. I fill holes with dirt. Your lawn needs dirt. Whatever else it needs, it needs dirt. You must understand Mr. Look; I only am a 'dirt replacer.' You or someone else will have to take the responsibility for seeding, feeding, cutting, raking, watering and maintaining your lawn. I personally feel you are the person most qualified to do those things. However, sometimes you may need professional help. If you have six-foot tall gophers, you may need a Lawn Exterminator. I am not trained or equipped to deal with gophers. Perhaps vandalism is your problem. I cannot sit here all night and protect your lawn. Do you see what I'm saying, Mr. Look? Your lawn has many needs. Under most circumstances you are the most qualified to meet those needs. From what I've seen of the other parts of your lawn, you do a fine job of taking care of it."
George felt his face flush with embarrassment. The Lawn Restorer continued, "But whatever your lawn needs and no matter who supplies those needs, one thing is for sure, it has no chance of being healthy and beautiful without a full complement of dirt. That is what I do."
"Dr. Cause, I'd like to have my dirt restored. Let's get to it!"
"Okay Mr. Look."
George stood back and watched the Lawn Restorer at work. His philosophy was different. His procedure was not orthodox lawn medicine. He didn't act like a lawn physician. But even as these thoughts raced through George's mind, he noticed that his holes were disappearing. With every truckload his lawn was returning. The "dirt restoration" was working.
Six weeks to the day after meeting the Lawn Restorer, George Look stood in front of his picture window. His lawn had returned to normal. Periodically Dr. Cause would come by and spread a little dirt here and there when needed. Other than that, there were no problems. George was a happy man. The neighbors were amazed. They marveled at the difference in George's lawn and told him so. It was once again the most beautiful lawn in the neighborhood.
* * *
Of course, it seems rather absurd to view a hole as an "entity", something that has material existence and can be removed. Any rational person realizes that a hole is merely an absence of dirt. You can only create it by removing the dirt and you can only correct it by restoring dirt. But our health is no different. Disease is like holes - it is the absence of health. Disease only occurs when health has been lost. Trying to remove disease is like trying to remove a hole. We need to begin to view health as the entity and disease as the non-entity, the absence of health.
Part 2 will continue this discussion next month.
The magnitude of human potential will never be fully understood. It defies imagination, for imagination itself is but one small expression of the very potential it would seek to envision. Certainly, human potential is multifaceted. To even begin to appreciate it, one would have to consider such manifestations as:
-The ability to adapt to an ever-changing environment, agreed by most biologists to be the essence of life itself.
-The ability to convert food into walking, talking, flesh and blood.
-The ability to manufacture and balance, in perfect quantity and quality: insulin, cortisone, adrenaline, and every other hormone, enzyme and chemical needed for normal life.
-The ability to reproduce.
-The ability to resist and prevent disease.
-The ability to recover from disease and to repair injury.
-The ability to engage in creative thought and analysis.
-The ability to compose music, prose, and poetry.
-The ability to draw, paint, and sculpt.
-The ability to adapt to emotional stress and to develop appropriate emotional responses.
-The ability to remember some things while relegating others to the "inactive" file.
-The ability to maintain balance and to simultaneously coordinate a multitude of different muscular skills for work and/or play.
-The ability to study and learn.
-The ability to add, subtract, multiply, and divide.
-The ability to solve problems and to organize.
-The ability to make decisions.
-The ability to love and trust.
-The ability to accept and respond to the spoken and unspoken needs of others and to share the responsibility for the shaping of our world.
-The ability to shut off conscious thought, to relax, and meditate or sleep.
These are but the few tangible and intangible expressions of human potential. What at tragedy it is for any part of this potential to be unfulfilled.
In a society committed to specialization, we tend to lose sight of the fact that all of these potentials must interact together in harmony if any are to reach their full expression. The human being is not a collection of disrelated parts, but an integrated whole with each facet dependent on every other.
The communication and control system (brain, spinal cord, nerves, and chemical messengers) coordinate and run the entire human being. Damage to this control system must inevitably result in failure of the parts to interact properly. This, in turn, causes a lessening of the ability to express full potential in both tangible and intangible manifestations.
Chiropractic is committed to unleashing full potential by maintaining the integrity of the body's control and communication system through the removal of vertebral subluxations.
The other day I was watching an orchestra getting ready to perform. The announcer mentioned that musicians tune their French horn with the oboe prior to every concert, which sets the focus on one pitch. Imagine a professional orchestra randomly having their musicians tuning their instruments to their own "drummer". It is possible, but unity and conformity leading to tonal harmony will be sacrificed and the music will surely sound bad.
As I write this we live in trying times. Each of us is adapting as best possible to news flashes and unending stories of war here and abroad. The unknown sets a tone of fear.
As a chiropractor I have always traveled upstream and against the status quo. When I first charted my chiropractic journey to chiropractic school, I left behind the status quo and reached for the "beat of a different drummer".
I leaped towards a new faith (not in a religious sense, but more as a new way of thinking). This thinking that says that the body has an innate intelligence and without interference it can regain and maintain itself in health and wellness. Learning such, I began to question medical authority and set aside the tone of fear that accompanied doubting their opinions and research. Routine immunizations or utilizing medication for every sniffle was questioned. I began to accumulate data that confirmed my new "faith" making the leap less steep. As my practice grew I listened to many patients with incorrect diagnoses, medical mismanagement, and over utilization of medication or unnecessary surgery. Interestingly enough, it has been discovered that the spine and nervous system resonate at a specific tone that can be measured. Part of my job has been to advise patients to be cautious and conscious of what they place in their body and to whom they give it to for safekeeping. Ultimately any decision regarding health is a personal one, but my practice members have learned to think about health differently and take responsibility for themselves and their actions.
Patients that came to me early in practice were by and large looking for pain relief. Let's face it folks, many people are motivated to care about their health only when they are suffering a crisis. And some may never get past that point. But I, and most of you are not satisfied with this. We have been touched by chiropractic care with so much more. Beyond relief is wellness, optimal functioning, and performance, and the enhancement of our lives, and too many of my patients and personal family are a testament of this.
What tone is your home and way of thinking tuning to? Is there a focus, set agenda, common theme, perception of Health and Wellness and a plan to achieve each goal? What perception does your home offer? What is in the cabinet above your bathroom sink and why? (In my house we do not call it a medicine cabinet, because we have never had any medicine in it.) Are you teaching your children to treat every physical challenge with a drug? If so, do not be surprised when they turn to drugs to help them deal with emotional challenges later in life. It has often been said that the war on drugs should begin to be waged in one's "medicine" cabinet. Now that's a thought!
It takes a great leap of faith to let your body heal itself while reducing fear and doubts presented by unending medical news flashes and the latest medical "breakthroughs", which in a few months or years usually end up being medical horrors. But when you are armed with valid, unbiased information, including principles that cannot be refuted by anyone, and can use proper logic, health and life become pretty easy.
Remember, tone flows from you; harmony comes from you; from above-down-inside-out. It's time to tune...
Chiropractic for Life
"Sickness-care" or the Treatment of Disease
Most people do not enjoy going to the doctor. For many, going to the doctor is associated with one thing only - being sick. For some, even being sick is not enough to get them to a doctor's office. Sometimes, depending on the condition, a person may require numerous visits to the doctor or even surgery. Their only hope is that they will get better so that the treatment will end as will their visits to the doctor or the stay in the hospital.
"Sickness-care" is precisely what it sounds like - seeking the care of a doctor because you are sick. Hence, when your symptoms seem under control or have disappeared, your care ends. This is the most common type of medical care today. While some doctors may discuss preventive care, the vast majority of doctors focus on the treatment of disease.
A Different Approach
Chiropractic is a different approach to health care. Unlike the medical doctor, the chiropractor does not believe that health is the result of effectively treating disease. Chiropractors focus on health and on helping an individual reach his or her potential in every area of life. Chiropractors do this by keeping the nerve system as clear of interference as possible so the body can work better, naturally. This approach seems more logical and is definitely more cost-effective than the treatment of disease, yet it has not gained widespread acceptance. Part of the reason is that it requires regular visits to the chiropractor.
Why Do We Need Regular Adjustments?
Common sense tells us that to maintain health and live longer, more productive lives, we must do some things regularly and consistently. To be healthy, you must eat nutritious foods each day. This takes more effort than eating at local fast food drive-in. Exercising takes more effort than watching television. Similarly, regular chiropractic care takes some time, effort, and expense. But in the long run, getting sick, decreasing your productivity and enjoyment of life is much more costly.
Chiropractic adjustments should be a part of everyone's regular health maintenance program. Because our spines encounter stresses on a daily basis, they are also prone to subluxate frequently. Vertebrae can misalign and cause nerve interference (called vertebral subluxation) without any symptoms whatsoever. This interference always causes the body to work at less than maximum efficiency. A body working at less than its potential will eventually demonstrate ill effects but by that time, damage may be done which is not repairable. It is obviously more sensible to have nerve interference removed as it occurs. Many states require that you have your automobile brakes inspected every year so they do not fail when you are on the road. The chiropractor wants to check, and if necessary, adjust your spine before organs and tissues stop working properly due to a lack of life force.
But I Feel Fine!
Why should you go to the chiropractor when you feel fine? Unlike going to a medical doctor, seeing a chiropractor has nothing to do with being sick or even how you feel. Vertebral subluxations can cause a lack of health and decrease your full expression of life. There may be no signs or symptoms to tell you that something is amiss! That is why it makes sense to see your chiropractor regularly for life. He or she is the only one who is trained to find nerve interference caused by vertebral subluxation and remove it before any devastating effects occur. In doing this you can begin to experience a fuller expression of health as well as greater potential for every activity in life.