THE SPINAL COLUMN
ALPHA CHIROPRACTIC NEWSLETTER
I recently read an article which asked, "What percentage of the time was the Apollo 11 on course to the moon in 1969?" The answer was a surprising 3%. That's correct. 97% of the time they were off course and had to correct their course. Fortunately they were able to constantly make those corrections so they ended up at their destination.
The idea of correcting course is not so difficult to understand when it comes to travel. How much of the time when we are driving to a preplanned destination, is our car pointed directly at that destination? Driving the Pennsylvania Turnpike west to Pittsburgh in the early evening will put the sun on your left or right side more than it will put it directly in front of you (i.e., due west). Sometimes especially on those interstate loops around big cities, you actually have to go north to arrive at a destination south of your starting point! We cannot drive "as the crow flies" so we are constantly changing direction. I am not sure that migrating birds even travel in a straight line. Many times I have seen geese flying east or west in the fall.
Life is about checking and correcting. When it comes to the human body there is a constant checking and correcting process. The weather can drop 20 or 30 degrees in the course of a day and the body must make changes to adapt. Even though we can put on heavier clothes, there is still a need to adapt. Parts of our body are subject to those changes. The food that we put into our body and changes in the quality of the air are just two factors that cause the body to make changes in the chemistry in order to adapt.
The body has an inborn wisdom, an intelligence which is clearly able to make these changes every moment of the day. To a great degree it uses the brain and nerve system to bring about those changes. Just as the astronauts used computers and the intricate electrical system of the Apollo 11 to check and correct their course, we have an intricate system of nerves. Suppose one of those gauges did not work or the wiring system was not functioning properly? The astronauts could have missed the moon by thousands of miles. Similarly, when there is an interference in our nerve system due to vertebral subluxation, the body's ability to "check and correct" is impaired. That could have devastating effects upon your ability to adapt. That is why we as chiropractors want to correct subluxations on a regular basis.
There is one other point to be made with regard to checking and correcting. Often people coming into a chiropractor's office seem discouraged because visit after visit they seem to be subluxated. Sometimes they even express concern that they may be spending more time subluxated than adjusted, and that perhaps their adjustment only hold's a few days or even just a few hours between visits. But that is one of the fantastic things about the human body. When it is "on course," when it is free of vertebral subluxation, it has the capacity to do some pretty fantastic things. If the astronauts can make it to the moon only being on course for 3% of the time, imagine what your body can do if you have it "checked and corrected" every week. Even if it only stays corrected 3% of the time, the innate intelligence of the body is expressing itself 100%, making changes, creating new tissues, healing and normalizing function. That is no small thing.
The title says it all. A national newspaper featured an article with this title a few weeks ago. It pretty much sums up what, according to them, you will get when going the traditional medical route in healthcare today.
Many, once thought effective, surgical and therapeutic drug approaches to some of the world's most common conditions are not producing the intended results. To put it bluntly, people are dying by the hundreds of thousands each year and we have little to show for it other than yearly increasing health care costs and an insane idea of applying the same failed approach to solve the escalating problems we face.
There was nothing new mentioned that most people have not already heard or that I have not discussed in my newsletters but I was pleased to see an article of this nature get the attention it deserves. I hope that you understand that my pleasure is not with the state of US healthcare (or healthcare worldwide for that matter), but that individuals, groups, organizations, etc. are standing up and shouting out... there must be another way because what we are doing now is failing.
The intro to the article reads, "The signs and symptoms of crisis in our health care system have become front-page news in recent weeks. Treatments that were routine -- widely accepted by physicians and embraced by the public -- have proven inappropriate, possibly dangerous and wasteful."
This cluster of disturbing findings is simply the most recent and visible manifestation of the limitations and counterproductiveness of an approach to health that places overwhelming emphasis on expensive and often side effect-laden surgical and pharmacological treatments, an approach that has largely devalued prevention, self-care and the perspectives and techniques of the world's systems of traditional medicine and healing.
As examples, certain drug therapies and the surgical treatments that are routinely used by many people were discussed. All have been in the media recently and fall under the category of "inappropriate, possibly dangerous and wasteful" approaches to health care. We'll just call it "IPD & W."
Just think for a moment, there are people in the US that have been taking drugs for years and have recently had surgical treatments. Their bathroom cabinets are full to the brim with drugs, they live the soon to be textbook IPW & D lifestyle, and the proposed solution to their problem which gets the most press is more drugs and more therapies but with a volume discount added. Isn't one definition of insanity, doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result? I'm not trying to be funny; this is what is going on.
Here is a summary from the article of what is wrong with our current approach...
* Over the last several years we have learned that the routine medical approach, even when appropriately used, is the third leading cause of death in the United States.
* While the argument continues whether or not prescription drugs should be provided through Medicare, Americas medicine cabinets are bulging with prescribed pills that are, according to many well-done studies, often unnecessary, redundant and dangerous, as well as prohibitively expensive.
* In spite of tens of billions of dollars in cancer research and treatment -- more than 500,000 Americans still die of cancer each year, and millions more who "do well" suffer terribly from the side effects of their treatment.
* The percentage of obese teenagers has doubled in the last two decades, they are overfed and under-exercised, and often anxious and depressed. They are also falling victim to chronic illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease and perhaps cancer at ever-earlier ages.
* America's newborns continue to die at rates significantly higher than those in a number of other developed countries.
* US health care costs, already more than twice as much per person as those of any other developed country, are escalating out of sight.
Just as important, Americans (in unprecedented numbers) are looking for the following:
* Relief outside the current system
* Help with preventing and treating the chronic illnesses that threaten, disable and dismay them
* A more intimate relationship with their health care providers
* Health professionals who will respect them as partners in their care and who see and understand them as whole people.
So we have millions of people seeking another approach but many have no idea just what that approach could be because they have not been able to get out of the mindset of disease treatment and into the mindset of health restoration or expressing maximum health potential. Can we blame them when they choose something fairly familiar to what they were taught all these years - a new drug or a new surgical procedure? No we can't, no one has shown them a better way.
I don't think it's even fair to blame medical doctors. I'm talking individuals here, not the established practice of medicine. Can you imagine... they go to school all these years only to be watching TV one night to be told by the news anchorperson reading a report saying... "when appropriately used, medicine is the third leading cause of death in our country."
What if everything you are, everything you do, is based on a flawed premise? If you're like some, you'll scream out and start pointing fingers at others (like the fingers pointed at chiropractors, other health care practitioners, and even patients). But remember, every time you point, there are three fingers pointing back at you.
Am I saying that chiropractic has all the answers and that you should never use medical care? Of course not. But, how about some perspective on safety and effectiveness? There is a very good chance that my professional liability insurance is less than the insurance most people pay for their car. Are insurance companies in the business of being especially nice to me and other chiropractors or could there perhaps be some logic there? My reply to those that think what we do is dangerous is to show what I pay for my malpractice insurance and dare them to compare it to what other health care professionals pay.
Back to what to do. If you're courageous, bold, and have always had a deep desire to help and serve others; no matter how long you have been applying a failed approach (or utilizing a failed approach) there is still time to change and to do the right thing. That is what more and more people are doing today. That is why the major newspapers are publishing articles like the one I mentioned. Let's face it, there may always be prescription drug advertising, just like we have cigarette advertising, but is there a person in this country that does not know the dangerous effects of smoking? Let's switch gears and put the emphasis on promoting health through safer measures instead of treating disease with 'killer cures'. Most importantly, let's share what we know with others so that you can help make a positive contribution to their health and the health of our community.
Chiropractic Care Increases Quality of Life For HIV/AIDS Patients
A recent article in Up & Coming Weekly Magazine suggests that chiropractic care can offer greater immune competence to people with HIV/AIDS, cancer, and other serious diseases. It talks about just a few of the clinical studies done on chiropractic. These clinical studies indicate chiropractic can: 1) boost immune system function, 2) help with secondary symptoms (i.e. peripheral neuropathy), and 3) address quality of life issues (reduction in stress, the prevention of disease and symptoms). All of these are empowering HIV/AIDS patients to live a more positive quality of life. This in turn increases life expectancy.
Chiropractic has been proven on a very introductory scale. In Psychoimmunity and the Healing Process: A Holistic Approach to Immunity and AIDS, the use of chiropractic is highly recommended. In clinical trials, chiropractic has shown great potential to boost immune function. A clinical study conducted at Life University by several chiropractors demonstrated CD4 cell levels increased 48 percent compared to control group. Both groups were monitored with Rand Corp. SF-36 to determine quality of life as rated subjectively. The adjusted group exhibited greater subjective improvement than the control group.
Several other preliminary studies also show the promise of immune system boosting. In 1991 Patricia Brennan, PhD conducted a study that demonstrated an increase of polymorphonuclear neutrophils (PMN) and monocytes following a thoracic adjustment. These are two types of white blood cells that aid in immunity. In a cancer study at NYU, Dr. Pero stated in his research "Chiropractic patients in the study had 200 percent greater immune competence than people who had not received chiropractic, and 400 percent greater immune competence than people with cancer or other serious disease."
Chiropractic can also help with secondary symptoms. These secondary symptoms are usually the primary reason chiropractic care is sought out. In his article, Craig Martin D.C stated "Eighty percent of those patients reporting some degree of neuropathy (i.e. numbness, tingling and/or burning in either one or both of the extremities), reported significant decrease in these symptoms post-care."
Patrece Frisbee D.C, of Stratogen Health of Miami Beach, a multidisciplinary clinic, reports 80 percent of her patients are HIV positive "and they need extensive chiropractic care because of the wide array of side effects that accompany the powerful prescribed medications."
Quality of life is an issue that has a profound effect on HIV/AIDS patients. Increasing quality of life symbiotically decrease stress plays a major part in life expectancy.
Testimonials of Chiropractic HIV/AIDS patients are good indicators to quality of life issues. Dr. Craig Martin best describes chiropractic's role in lifestyle. "My own clinical experience has led me to believe that people with AIDS are looking to be educated as to how they can best help themselves with infection," he said. "As a chiropractor, I attempt to provide useful information for leading an "immunopositive" lifestyle."
This immunopositive lifestyle is an integral part of many chiropractic institutions, schools and practices. This self empowers AIDS/HIV patients, by teaching them to become more self reliant on health care decisions. They learn to become more of an active part in their own health.
Chiropractic is not a treatment for HIV/AIDS, cancer, or any other disease for that matter. Of course people with those diseases can benefit from getting adjusted, as can those who do not currently have any obvious symptoms or diseases. But, as I have stated before, when a body is working better because it is subluxation free many symptoms or diseases go away or improve. These studies have helped to broaden the view of chiropractic. Its role in healthcare is increasing everyday. If you aren't under chiropractic, then you are not allowing your body to perform at 100 percent.
Now there's a scary title for some people. What, you actually expect me to be responsible for my own health and well being?
It has been said that there are 3 kinds of people: lazy people, ignorant (uninformed) people, and people who seek out their own answers. The first category is by far the largest.
In their book Trust Us We're Experts, Stauber and Rampton explain in great detail how conventional wisdom on practically all subjects these days is programmed into our brains through the assiduous scientific efforts of the most sophisticated PR firms in history. These East Coast spin doctors specialize in the installation of the opinions and values of their clients into the public hard drive: they create public opinion. Their clients? The multinationals. The guys who really run things; the people with the money, enough money for five years of full page ads in every glossy magazine. Enough money to control the content of articles printed in newspapers, popular magazines and in professional journals, and to make paid advertisements look like hard news stories. Enough money to bring about new legislation. Enough money to discredit a universal environmental concern. Enough money to control peer review. Enough money to control medical education. Enough money to make rational discourse obsolete. Enough money to do all this and more and still be invisible. Conspiracy theory? Hardly. It's just the way the world works.
This set-up easily controls the first two groups - the Lazy and the Ignorant. There are enough people in these two groups to maintain status quo in education, healthcare, and the retail market by their predictable programmed choices. The first group is too lazy to research beyond what everybody thinks, what everybody is told in the magazines. The second group is too ignorant to know there is any other point of view. Only the third group has a chance of finding the truth, after overcoming immense inertia.
Of what does freedom consist? Can we be free by all obvious appearances and yet be enslaved psychologically? Is it possible to enslave minds today without the slightest awareness of the captives?
These questions seem strange, and I am sure if pondered to any depth, difficult to answer.
A group of rats when handled properly, under the proper conditions, can be made to perform any number of fairly complicated actions. Using patient, repetitive types of training techniques we can impress upon the rat that it should do a certain thing at a certain time; this is called conditioning.
Now we all know that rats do not possess the power of thought (except on a very primitive level) and therefore are easily conditioned. It would be much harder to condition mankind to perform certain actions. It would have to be done in a much more subtle way. But, it can be done, and is being done every day to millions of people.
How can a man be trained you might ask? Actually, the theory behind training man is the same as training lower animals. If a particular message were heard or seen enough, man would begin to have the thought instilled in his mind, whether he knew it or not.
Now in our times we have the ideal means for training man; television, radio, billboards, magazines, etc. We would produce a group of people who were conditioned and no longer could think about something and then make their choice based on logic. They would think the way they were trained to think.
How many people do you know today, who, when they get sick, don't reach for a bottle of pills or have a shot of this or that? You may know a few who understand chiropractic and the simple logical law of cause and effect, but most people respond very well to the training they have received and proceed very smugly to follow their trainer's message.
Chiropractic. What do they try to tell you it is? That chiropractic is an interesting system of cracking the neck and back joints to bring relief from pain. That the real power of chiropractic is simply the laying on of hands - general human contact. That our low tech technology is inherently inferior to the high tech medical science world of pharmaceuticals and sophisticated diagnostic machines.
And then one day, if you're extremely lucky, you'll discover that for millions of patients out there, chiropractic has literally saved their lives, or at least has given them a new life. And that for millions of others, after all else failed, chiropractic has been their only hope in life, and their faith in what we do is so strong.
Chiropractic has brought something to the world that it has not seen before: namely the confidence that the body is a self-healing organism that can solve most of its
problems if given the opportunity to operate without restriction.
Is there another profession founded on the idea that in matters of health, people should first trust their body's own powers? Is there another profession that was originally focused on promoting a person's full health potential? No one thinks like this today; well, almost no one. You see, fear is the tool that the "clever" use to keep the weak in line - fear of disease, fear of microorganisms, fear of the unknown. Fear is the golden button, polished to perfection by the East Coast PR pushers. They've made it politically incorrect to disagree.
But just because we read something a million times a day doesn't make it true. B.J. Palmer used to say that if 250 million people believed in a bad idea, its still a bad idea. And just because our leaders follow along still doesn't make it true. Physical reality is not really affected. The body is still a self-healing organism; human nerve tissue and blood is still sacred. So for those of us who imagine ourselves as members of that third group, the seekers, what can we do? Stop watching TV. Stop reading the homogenized sheep-dip Matrix-scripted media. What will you miss? Not much. Ok, I know its tough to give up TV, I watch it too. If you choose to do so at least do the following: check sources, follow the money, at every turn, question integrity, look at the agenda of the speaker, come to a rational conclusion. That's what everyone is looking desperately for today.
We have taken our Science, Art, and Philosophy of Chiropractic and proved that we have a major key to health. Health does not come from a bottle of pills or a shot of this or that, but our society today has responded so well to its trainer's message that many will not even stop to give this a thought.
They merely perform their trick (taking medication) as they were taught to do, and the cause of their trouble remains.
Chiropractic patients today make up a very unique cross section of society. They invariably are people who have refused to be trained and have retained the common sense with which they were born. The training will go on, but as long as we have people who can still think for themselves and can tell others about this science called chiropractic, this philosophy will continue. So will our hope for a better world.
Recently, a practice member made the above statement in comparing his regular care to another practice member who only comes in the office when he is feeling bad. It is very rewarding to the chiropractor to have a person acknowledge that chiropractic care has more value than just making you feel better. But in thinking more about his statement, I had to wonder whether any of us really knows the value of chiropractic care. When nerve interference is removed from your body, the body works better. That means your resistance is higher. Does that mean that when a person coughs in your face, you will not get a cold, or you will just get a cold instead of the flu? Perhaps. If your nerve system is working at greater efficiency, will that make you think better, concentrate better, or be more effective in your work? It absolutely will. To what degree we cannot say. It may be noticeable or it may not. Everyone is different. But it will make a difference. It is like exercising. You do not necessarily see a reduction in your waistline or bigger muscles after the first day of an exercise program but you know there is a change in your body. Often you can feel the change in the form of soreness or stiffness. The next time you exercise and you do not feel it, does not mean there has not been change?
We really cannot perceive all the positive things that are happening in our body when we receive an adjustment. There are positive changes taking place on the cellular level. Life giving energy is being restored to starved and depleted cells. You cannot measure the value of that. Conversely, we really cannot know the damage being done by a vertebral subluxation that cuts off the nerve supply to the tissue and cell in your body. It is robbing the quality and quantity of your life. Someone once said that every cigarette cuts five minutes off your life. He further suggested that it would be great if those five minutes occurred right after a person finished smoking the cigarette. In other words, they would drop dead for five minutes and then come back. It would surely emphasize the harm of smoking. But because it is at the end of ones life, it is not perceived as life threatening. I don't know whether the five-minute figure is true but there is not doubt there is harm to the quantity and quality of one's life by smoking. Similarly, there is harm to one's life from vertebral subluxation despite the fact that we cannot measure it.
What is the value to children receiving chiropractic care at the earliest possible age? Again we may not be able to measure it because every child's potential is different. But early and regular adjustments must enable them to move closer to their full potential. What is the value of chiropractic care? Sometimes we believe we can know it because of an immediate change or because a long standing problem is resolved after getting under care. But I would suggest that is only the tip of the iceberg. That is only a small part of the benefit of getting chiropractic adjustments on a regular basis. We really cannot know what microscopic effects are taking place. We really cannot know what immeasurable effects are occurring like higher resistance and improved physical, mental, and emotional function. Lastly, we cannot know what life-extending effects are taking place. Like the commercial for a certain credit card, there are some things that you can put a price on and some things are priceless. Chiropractic care is one of those precious things that you just cannot know the value of it.