THE SPINAL COLUMN
ALPHA CHIROPRACTIC NEWSLETTER

JANUARY 2005



The Spine-Brain Connection:
A New Twist to the "Brain-Body Connection"

 

With technology advancing and the ability to measure brain activity and health improving each year, studies and theories about the brain-body connection are finding ever-increasing popularity.


Advancements in brain-body research are incredibly important, as the brain is responsible for all body function, thought, and social interaction. The more we discover about the functions of the brain and the pathways in which it communicates with cells and the senses, the more likely we can expand our mental, emotional, and functional capacities and improve our health and maximize our potential in all areas of life.


With so much thought going into the brain and how it keeps the body going, we bet you're wondering what keeps the brain going. The answer is pretty simple: Your body. While the brain keeps the body developing and moving along, it is the nutrients that come from the body through eating, drinking, breathing air, and the products of cellular function that keep the brain developing and moving along.


Important nutrients the brain needs for survival such as oxygen, glucose, and neurotrophins (nutrients that keep neurons strong) get from the body to the brain through the cerebro-spinal (brain-spine or spine-brain) fluid (CSF) that flows from inside your spinal canal. This fluid gets from the spine to brain with the use of a CSF "pump."


This CSF pump doesn't use electricity. The power for the pump is generated by the movement of the sacrum (the triangular bone in your pelvis at the base of your spine) and the cervical spine (upper portion of the spine -- your neck).


For the CSF pump to move effectively, you need a healthy spinal column. Irregular or reduced motion of the sacrum and/or cervical spine will lead to an abnormal and reduced flow of oxygen, glucose, neurotrophins, and other important nutrients to the brain. That's why the spine-brain connection is so important. A subluxated spine will literally give you a bad brain.


We've all heard news stories concerning tragedies in which oxygen was cut off to the brain for too long a period during near-drowning incidents. Because of these reports, we all know that the effect of spending too much time without air causes brain damage. A lack of normal nutrient support to the brain will lead to damaged brain tissues and aberrant brain functions resulting in a significant increase in risk of disease process both in the brain and organ systems of the body.

 

Because many people suffer from undetected spinal imbalance and misalignments called subluxation, they lose the CSF pumping mechanism. As a result, nutrients are not delivered to the brain in the right quantity and quality. A poor spine-brain connection has been the cause of the average brain beginning to atrophy (shrink and deteriorate) by the age of 25!!

 

Additionally, it's important to recognize that, for the brain to do any communicating with the body it must send the signals through the spinal column. Within the spinal column lies part of the brain stem and the spinal cord. Again, subluxations could then traction the brain and could lead to poor development, altered brain function, and potentially reduced output of important glandular chemical hormones.

 

Off of the spinal cord emanate the spinal nerves. These nerves bring brain signals to all of the organ and muscle functions in the body. If the spinal nerves were to suffer from pressure or damage from the spinal column, it could affect heart, lung and glandular functions. This would, in turn, affect the brain due to abnormal levels of oxygen, blood and chemicals flowing to it.

 

The success of the "brain-body connection" is linked to the health and function of the spinal column. This new twist, however, gives us the "spine-brain connection." Subluxations will lead to an ineffective "brain-body connection." That's why, regardless of symptoms, people who want their brains to "talk" to their bodies should make sure to establish proper spinal hygiene, which consists of getting their spines regularly checked and adjusted by their chiropractor.


Just Like Mike!

 

The lunch whistle blew at the construction site of a large skyscraper. Each of the workers took a seat on a girder and began to open their lunch boxes. As the new guy Mike opened his lunch box, a look of great disappointment appeared on his face and he exclaimed, "Oh no! Not peanut butter and jelly again! I HATE peanut and jelly!" Reluctantly, he ate his lunch and returned to work with the others.

 

The next day as the lunch whistle blew, the same exact scene repeated itself with Mike yelling, "Oh No! Not peanut butter and jelly again! I HATE peanut butter and jelly!" As the week progressed, this same scene was played out each day until finally on Friday, Pete, Mike's supervisor said, "Jeez Mike! Why don't you tell your wife to make you something else if you hate peanut butter and jelly so much?"

 

Mike looked at Pete with a look of bewilderment on his face and replied, "My wife? I'm not married! I make my own lunch every day!"

 

Most people reading this have now come to the conclusion that Mike is an idiot for complaining about getting the same thing in his lunch box every day since he is the one putting it in there. But let me ask you a question.

 

Is there some challenge in your life that seems to keep coming back? Maybe it's something with your finances, your relationships or possibly even your health. Does something just keep coming back that makes you want to scream, "OH NO, NOT AGAIN?!"

 

Is it possible that there are certain choices you keep making that actually contribute to this thing's return? Might you be engaging in some activity you know you shouldn't be doing? Could you be eating or drinking something you know is more likely to hurt you than help you in the long run? Do you smoke or use drugs and take unnecessary medications on a regular basis? Do you stay up all hours of the night only to drag yourself out of bed in the morning and off to a job you can't stand?

 

Maybe you don't do anything really harmful, and yet you also consistently avoid things that you know will actually grow your health like exercising regularly, getting enough water, deep breathing, eating a diet high in fruits and veggies, spending time in meditation/prayer, getting adequate sleep, etc.

 

It is likely that each time this problem begins to appear, you get some help and make some changes so that you feel better. But then what happens once this thing has gone again? Do you go right back to your life the way it was and begin gradually creating it all over again?

 

EVERYTHING in life is a continual process of creation! You always have the choice of either creating what you want or what you don't want. The trick in getting what you want is to CONSCIOUSLY create it! Get a clear idea of what you want and then TAKE ACTION STEPS THAT ARE CONSISTENT WITH YOUR VISION. Each and every time you make a decision ask yourself, "Which way will this ultimately lead me - toward growing a little, or toward dying a little?"

 

It won't always be easy. I make blunders on many health issues all the time. But the one thing I won't ever miss if at all humanly possible is my adjustment.

 

Of course, you don't have to take action steps to improve your health and life. You could keep on complaining about what you've made. But then don't be surprised if people think you're an idiot too. After all, there are lots of people that are just like Mike!


Near-Life Experiences

 

I have a good friend who is fascinated with metaphysics and specifically with what happens to us after we die. She is constantly reading books, listening to tapes and attending lectures about angels, "crossing over" and near-death experiences. Every time I speak with her she has another story to tell me about someone's encounter with life after death.

 

This is an intriguing subject, and it is one most of us think about from time to time. It is only natural for us to wonder what happens to us once we are finished "here." Still, the near-death experience is something that is at the very least a rare phenomenon and at best, mysterious. Because of this, and the fact that everyone is at their own unique level of understanding, and I really do not know enough about this subject, I cannot discuss the near-death experience in a way that would be meaningful.

 

I can however discuss something that I believe nearly every man, woman, and child on the planet is currently experiencing - the near-life experience!

 

That's right, I said Near-LIFE! What do I mean by this and what does it have to do with chiropractic?

 

Well, in order to elaborate, I need to first discuss a few of the main ideas found in chiropractic's "33 Principles." The first principle is what is called our "major premise." It is from this basic idea that the rest of the chiropractic philosophy is deduced. The first two principles state the following:


1. Major Premise: A universal intelligence is in all matter and continually gives to it all its properties and actions, thus maintaining it in existence (and giving this intelligence its expression)*.
2. The expression of this Intelligence through matter is the chiropractic meaning of life.

 

You see, according to our principles, the whole purpose of life is to be a vehicle through which universal intelligence can express itself. We call the individuation of this intelligence in living things, including us, "innate intelligence." This intelligence is present in every single cell of your body.

 

Your central nerve system (brain and spinal cord) is used to coordinate and control all of the cells, tissues, organs, and body systems, as well as to allow for conscious awareness of who and what we are.

 

If there is any interference in your nerve system, what we call a subluxation, then the ability to fully express this intelligence and/or LIFE is compromised. In other words, if the subluxation is present in you or any of your family members (i.e., if they are not "unsubluxated"), then they cannot fully express life - they are having a NEAR-LIFE EXPERIENCE!

What would it be like to consistently and progressively INCREASE your expression of life?

 

Two things are necessary for this to happen. The first is a clear and balanced nerve system, so that your innate intelligence can express itself better throughout your body. And second, a healthy lifestyle that supplies your body with everything necessary to not only help keep from getting sick, but to heal and continue actively growing physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually from birth all the way until death.

Many people spend a lot of time thinking about life after death. How about focusing on having an outrageous life experience after BIRTH and making it meaningful!  Chiropractic can be a great ally in helping you and your family achieve everything you were meant to be, do, and have.


*The part in the parenthesis is a recent suggested addition made by a current chiropractic philosopher to the original Major Premise that was written in 1927 in The Chiropractic Textbook by R.W. Stephenson.

 


Allowing Health, Allowing Life

 

I sat down with a new practice member recently and this is how our conversation progressed. "What I am searching for is this. What do I have to do to get to the point of optimal health and once I'm there, how can I stay there?" The woman in front of me was in her early forties, and while she didn't appear to be in any physical distress, it was clear from the desperation in her voice that she was enduring some mental anguish.


She continued, "I have tried medications, herbal and vitamin supplements, biofeedback, yoga, Pilates, prayer, meditation and new thought healing, every nutrition program you can think of, colonics, visualization, acupuncture, and even hypnosis! All of these have helped me a little bit, but not one of them has helped me find exactly what I have been searching for." "And what is that?" I inquired.


"Health and happiness!" she said excitedly. "That's why I came here - because on your business card it says Helping to Optimize Your Health and Life!"

 

"Well" I said, "I think that two simple ideas may be all you require to be successful in your search. The first is that you need not actually search for health at all. The second is that there is no actual point to reach that we can call optimal health."

 

I would like to explain the two ideas I suggested to this lady in more detail for you. First, let's examine the idea that there is no actual state called optimal health. This is easily understood once we accept the idea that nothing ever stays the way it is - everything is always in process. In the grand scheme of things, each of us is either growing or dying. Actually, both of these processes (growing and dying) are always happening, but one will always predominate over the other and so our overall movement is in that direction.


There is an end to the process of dying - it's called death. But is there any limit to how fully you can express your life? The one thing to remember is that all processes take TIME, and we must ALLOW time for the process of progressively expressing higher levels of health and life to unfold.


Now let's look at the idea that we do not need to actually search for health. This is because health is our NATURAL STATE! In order to understand this, it is necessary to be aware of your innate intelligence. Your innate intelligence is continually helping to rebuild your body. It makes a new stomach lining every couple of days, a new liver every six weeks or so, and an entirely new skin every ninety days. In fact, just about every single atom of your body is systematically and progressively replaced every thirteen months.


Each cell in your body will be replaced with a new, fully functional cell as long as two things are present. First, you need a healthy lifestyle that supplies everything you need to build what your body's intelligence desires. Second, it is necessary to have a clear and balanced nerve system so that there is no interference between any of the cells and the intelligence that runs the body.


You see, you need not search for health at all. All that is necessary is for you to ALLOW your constructive, healing innate intelligence to better express itself more completely throughout your body by making sure there is no interference in your nerve system. A regular program of chiropractic check ups and adjustments ensures the continuous flow of innate intelligence in your body. This, combined with a healthy lifestyle, creates a continuous upward spiral in your health and vitality.

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