THE SPINAL COLUMN
ALPHA CHIROPRACTIC NEWSLETTER
There are some patients that sometimes feel discouraged because they do not appear to "hold" their adjustments for a very long time. It is obviously desirable to be in adjustment as much as possible and therefore advantageous to have your spine checked on a regular basis. However, we should also realize how much more potential the body has when it is free of vertebral subluxation.
Five minutes without a subluxation may enable to body to compensate for the damage done by days with a subluxation. We know that the body has different levels of function. How many times have we had the common cold which lingers for three weeks? Yet other times, under no perceived different circumstances, the cold will be gone in three days. Apparently there is a level of body function that enables someone to heal seven times faster (three days vs. twenty-one days). Perhaps the body, free of vertebral subluxation, can work say seven times better. If this is true, one day free of vertebral subluxation could compensate for seven days of vertebral subluxation. It seems clear that something like this happens in the body. Now I know that the previous example is not perfect. The cold germs were probably not the same and very few people are under the same physical, chemical, and emotional stresses, whether they perceive them or not. And of course we have no real way of knowing how many times better a body works when not subluxated.
Many times an individual with a condition that he has had for twenty years will "get better" three weeks after beginning chiropractic care. In this instance "get better" will mean that symptoms or diseases will go away. The chiropractor may adjust the patient three times a week for that three-week period. The patient is subluxated each time he comes in the office so he is not holding the adjustment for more than a day or so. Apparently, twenty years of degeneration can at times be offset by the cumulative effects of a few days of full expression of the innate intelligence of the body. Of course the amazing ability that the body has to respond to being free of nerve interference is not an excuse for being lackadaisical in our chiropractic care. And let's also remember that health is only one aspect of the human experience. Being subluxation free can improve many other areas of life.
We simply do not know, nor should we underestimate, how much potential the human body has when it is free from vertebral subluxation for even just a few minutes, hours, or days. For if the body has such great potential when it is free of vertebral subluxation for a few minutes, imagine what levels of health, productivity, and longevity it could reach being clear of interference most of the time!
There is an old saying, "Everyone wants to go to heaven but nobody wants to die to do it." We feel the same way about our health. Everybody wants to be healthy but very few people do the necessary things to get there. The fact is, health comes from within you. You cannot buy it at the local pharmacy. A wise man once said, "if health came in a bottle, there would be a shortage of bottles." It cannot be given to you by someone. It is not contagious. You may receive a genetic predisposition toward health from your parents, but that is only a tendency. That predisposition must be turned into a healthy life by you, by the decisions you make and the action you take. Those decisions and actions are literally a matter of life and death.
It's Your Life
Without doubt, the single most important concept to understand and accept so that you may attain maximum health and get the most out of life is that YOU are responsible for your health. You may receive information, advice, care or treatment from others, including health care professionals, but YOU are ultimately responsible for your health. That is really the way it should be. No one is as concerned about you as YOU are. Or should I say, as concerned about you as you should be. No one is able to understand what is going on in your body as well as YOU are, providing you learn to become aware. No one understands your body's needs as well as YOU do. No one is going to suffer the consequences of doing the wrong thing or reap the benefits of doing the right thing more than YOU. If you add ten years to your life or take ten years from your life, it's YOUR life!
A New Idea
The idea of taking control and responsibility for one's own health is a relatively recent concept. Throughout history the responsibility for peoples' health was assumed by the most learned and powerful person in the society. Witch doctors, medicine men and shamans (priests who use magic) were charged with matters of health and disease, and they became the most important persons in the community or village. Their life and death position added to their authority and perpetuated the cycle. Even as late as the middle part of the 20th century in the United States, a medical doctor was, to a great degree, the authority on matters of health and even child-rearing. The 60's generation of young people began to question and reject authority. A government that wanted to send them off to a questionable war was defied, parental values were rejected. The idea that the role of the physician as the sole authority in matters of health was also challenged.
Taking Back Control
During this same period many of the health care alternatives popular today began to gain acceptance. Today it is estimated that perhaps half the country's population will visit so-called "alternative health care providers" in the course of a year, despite the fact that most of these practices are still frowned upon by the traditional medical establishment. In a limited way these people are taking control of their health. They are telling the medical community that despite its warnings, criticisms and protests against the use of alternative health care systems, as well as the glorification of orthodox medicine by the media, they are choosing to do their own thing. They are choosing approaches that appeal to them perhaps because they are easier to understand, or they do not involve the use of drugs, or they just make sense. They may be choosing alternatives because they are dissatisfied with the medical approach for one reason or another. Whatever the case, it is clear that a substantial segment of the population is taking back control of their health from the medical establishment.
But... Giving It Away Again
Unfortunately, too many of these people are subsequently turning control of their health over to one of these alternative health care practitioners. For some, this may be an improvement. These are the people that are receiving unnecessary or poor medical care and would be better off with anything else. For others, this may be detrimental. These are the people who will reject life-saving medical procedures, because they are receiving a non-medical procedure that they believe in, but which will not help them. But for both these groups and everyone else, giving control of YOUR health to anyone (medical or alternative) is not in the best interest of YOUR life and well-being.
Professional knowledge and experience should be considered in light of your needs, desires, knowledge and perspective. In the end, you must decide that control of YOUR health and the responsibility for YOUR health and well-being rests squarely on YOUR shoulders. Without that decision and the commitment that must accompany it, you will never begin to experience maximum health. However, once making that conscious decision, you are ready to learn how to enhance your life experience!
This month's newsletter in particular is about getting you to think and in a different perspective and hopefully setting you in a direction to gain the necessary knowledge to live a healthier life.
Are you in control of your health? The quiz below will help you determine if you are. Answer Yes or No. Answer it honestly. No one is looking over your shoulder. Honest.
Are You In Control?
1. Do you ever ask about the side-effects of prescription or over-the-counter medication?
2. Do you get second and even third opinions on a physical problem?
3. Do you ever question the doctor about alternatives to his recommendations or prescriptions?
4. Do you ever ask a health care provider about the possible ramifications of a procedure?
5. Have you read a book, magazine, or newspaper articles on health in the last two months?
6. If you were to choose the three most important things in life, would your health be one of them?
7. Do you find yourself actually listening to drug commercials on television to see if they can help you?
8. Do you assume that a procedure, because it is drugless, is better than a drug?
9. Do you think that health is mostly a matter of luck and there is very little you can do about it one way or another?
10. Do you choose a health care provider based solely upon any of the following: the cost, whether they are part of your insurance network, convenience.
If you answered "no" to any of the first six and "yes" to any of the last four questions, there is a good chance that you are not in control. If you want to assume that control, you can and will enhance your life experience. Before you can assume control, you must be convinced that you are capable enough. It is in your best interest to learn as much as you can about your health and your body. If done properly, most people can become so aware of their bodies that they will know almost instantly when something is not right, but more importantly what to do to make it right. You should be the one that is best qualified to make decisions regarding health and to take control.
Today the field of "health care" is like a wild jungle, full of unsubstantiated claims, junk science, and marketing hype.
I've always tried to get people thinking and hopefully start to use logic, reason, and common sense when it comes to the choices they make in their health. Those that have listened and learned are reaping the benefits of a great life.
Chiropractic has always focused on universal principles, sound physiology, and the undiluted healing powers of the body itself.
Healers of the past have already solved most health problems of today. Unfortunately, most of their work died with them. Their voices have been muted by the din of a thousand self-proclaimed experts and Magic Bullet salesmen.
I have always tried to draw from the forgotten wisdom of the past, and to honor its simplicity. While still using some of the best modern day tools and techniques out there to show that they were right.
Despite what you may hear, America's health is deteriorating year by year. The rates of all degenerative diseases in this country are increasing. We have more asthma, diabetes, cancer, heart disease, depression, arthritis, allergies, digestive disorders, and obesity than ever before in history. At the same time we spend more and more money each year for so-called "Health Care." We have more doctors and more drugs than any civilization in history. But it's not working. Due to its rampant failure the cost has gotten so high very few can even afford it.
What's not working is the underlying idea. If doctors and drugs could give us better health, we'd already be better.
Ironically, the healthiest people in human history were groups who were geographically isolated from "civilization." These people had no specialists, no HMOs, no prescription drugs, and no immense hospitals. They were never subverted with the idea that the responsibility for their own health lay outside themselves. To me, this is a huge shift in thinking and empowerment. Except in the cases of traumatic injury, for most of their lives they looked to the body's inner wisdom, and trusted only that. And it worked - they had beautiful teeth, strong bones, and very little degenerative disease.
Today it's almost as though our ancestors are trying to speak to us. Chiropractic in particular has a real, valid, vital, underlying power source - the impulse to give the body time to heal itself, to let it try and put the steps of the healing process together all by itself, without potent, unproven interventions - in short, to listen first to the doctor within and take control.
Our belief systems dictate so many of life's choices. Whether it is the safety of our automobile, the nutritional value of the food we eat, or our choice in health care--all depend upon our belief systems.
Sometimes, we grow up in a family that shares a distinct belief about something, only to marry into a family that shares a distinctly different belief about the same thing!
Our culture sometimes dictates our beliefs. In health care, for instance, the views held by eastern health care providers are different from western medicine's views. Here are just a few questions to get you thinking:
-What do you think causes cancer?
-When all family members are exposed to the same "bug", why do the same people tend to get sick over and over again, while others do not?
-What do you believe causes ear infections in children?
-Would you say that having a runny nose and fever means that you are sick or you are healthy? What about vomiting and diarrhea?
-Why is it that most heart attacks occur on Monday mornings?
-Do you believe that exercise can cure or greatly reduce depression?
-Do you believe that eating differently can drastically alter your health?
-Why are the vaccinated so afraid of the unvaccinated?
-Would you utilize cloned human cells if they could improve your health?
-Would you ever participate in a drug study to test a new drug if the side effects were unknown? Would you allow your children to participate?
-Would you allow your child to play with know neurotoxins and carcinogens? Would you allow those things to be injected into their bloodstream?
-Do you have more belief in cough syrup or cold medication than your body's ability to heal itself?
-Do you believe that you are responsible for your own health?
-Do you believe that physical illness can originate in the mind?
-Do you believe that you can change your mind and change your illness?
-Do you have high self-esteem and self-regard?
-Do you believe smallpox and SARS is a threat to your health and if so, what do you plan to do to increase your immune function?
-Why do you think they call it the germ "theory"?
-How do you explain that some people are allergic to pollen and others aren't?
-Do you believe that people can shrink tumors in their body with sheer will?
-Do you brush your teeth everyday or just when you get cavities and why?
-Do you think it is important to have the master controlling system of the body functioning without interference? Why?
-Can you define health? How do you lose health? How do you get it?
-Is the absence of disease health or is disease the absence of health?
-Is it better to focus on treating the disease or on restoring health?
I know that when these questions are carefully considered and answered truthfully, you are more aware of your belief systems with regard to your health. Out of this comes empowerment to make better choices.
Healing involves more than just the physical--it involves mental and emotional shifts in thinking. Sometimes people don't heal because they don't believe they can. Sometimes people don't embark upon great adventures in their lives because they don't believe that they are worthy. Sometimes, through fear or contentment, we don't believe we should take risks that would add great depth to our lives. Sometimes, we believe we have too much fear to just trust in the process and unfortunately miss out on the journey and the lessons we are to learn along the way.
In the words of Winnie-the-Pooh - yes, I know I'm quoting a cartoon, but give me a break I have two small children: When you are a Bear of Very Little Brain, and you Think of Things, you find sometimes that a Thing which seemed very Thingish inside you is quite different when it gets out into the open and has other people looking at it.
So, look at your beliefs and see if they serve you to make you the best you possible, or if your beliefs are pulling you down and need to be overhauled. Either way, when you are congruent in your beliefs and behaviors, your life and your health takes on new meaning.