THE SPINAL COLUMN
ALPHA CHIROPRACTIC NEWSLETTER
Everything is always changing; nothing ever stays the same; everything is always in the process of becoming something else. This includes our bodies! And, to clarify this thought, since our bodies are always changing, there are really only two ways that we can change in any given moment; we can get weaker and move toward dis-ease (incoordiantion/dysfunction) and death, or we can grow stronger and move toward health, wellness and wholeness.
And, in order to continually get stronger and grow more than we die, we need three things:
1. a deliberately positive focus,
2. a healthy lifestyle, and
3. a spine that is aligned and functioning so that we have a clear neurological connection and the free flow of Life Energy between our brains and our bodies.
What does this have to do with the title of this page? First of all, as I have just described, the truth is that we can all grow a little each day or we can shrink. But there is an even more valuable lesson to be learned. What if upon waking each morning, we were all to ask ourselves this question;
Will my thoughts words and actions today cause me and my world to grow or shrink?
This is the kind of question that centers you immediately upon what is important and how you will affect the world today. It reminds me of a question I once heard motivational speaker Anthony Robbins say he asks himself each morning, "Will my life today be an example or a warning?"
By asking yourself this kind of question each day, then setting your intentions about how to demonstrate your answer and taking consistent action, you can progressively move toward creating the kind of health and life you have always known in the deepest part of your heart is possible for you and your family.
Start your day by asking this question, and then ask yourself again several times throughout the day. Stop for a moment and ask, "Are the thoughts I'm thinking right now moving me in the direction of love, success and prosperity - or something else? Are the words I'm speaking hear and now contributing to peace and joy - or something else? Are the actions I'm taking in this moment moving me toward the health and life I want - or something else? Are my choices today causing me to grow or shrink?"
Give this question a try several times every day for 30 days and see what it does for you and your life. Who knows, you might just inspire your own kids and grandkids!
Have you ever wondered why when you get run down or sick, it usually tends to hit you in the same part of your body, seemingly every time? Many people who consult me as a chiropractor need to because when they get stressed, run down, overworked, physically or emotionally fatigued, or mysteriously ill; they always seem to end up with their neck or lower back subluxated, or a bunch of headaches piling on top of each other.
We all seem to have our weak spots and if they recur often enough and severely enough we usually give our seemingly permanent residents a name: Migraines, Asthma, Irritable Bowel, Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue, Sinusitis, Depression and so on.
Patterns can develop in our nerve system when it comes to how we respond to chemical, physical, mental and/or emotional stresses and strains: basically similar to a 'habit' forming.
To understand why this happens we need to learn some more about the finer workings of the nerve system. Yes, that's right - it's not due to your lungs, muscles, immunity, or any other organ for that matter, that illness patterns recur. It all starts in your nerves!
How can that be? I can hear you thinking. Surely if every time I get sick, if it affects my lungs, doesn't that mean I've got weak lungs, not faulty nerves? Not necessarily.
To understand this better, let's explore The Law of Facilitation. When an impulse passes through a certain set of neurons (nerve cells) to the exclusion of others, it will take the same course on future occasions. And each time it traverses this path, the resistance in the path will be less. (You may need to read this a couple of times to get your head around it.)
The most easily understood healthy example of this law is the learning of a new motor skill: riding a bike, kicking a football, juggling, playing a tune on an instrument. When you perform the task successfully, the information travels through your nerve system in a characteristic pattern (as individual as a fingerprint). So, according to the law of facilitation, once we have set off this characteristic nerve pattern it becomes easier and easier to set it off successfully again and again. Practice makes perfect.
Top sportspeople are even able to rehearse these patterns mentally, which we know as visualization. And when you get really good at visualization, brain research suggests that you are actually activating the same nerve loops that you would have if you actually performed the activity.
Now, here's the bad news. The same kinds of patterns can develop in our nerve system when it comes to how we respond to chemical, physical, mental and/or emotional stresses and strains: basically similar to a "habit" forming.
An example of this is asthma. Children who are vaccinated and the children of smokers are more prone to suffering from asthma throughout their lives. Now vaccines and smoke in isolation may not cause asthma, but they can irritate the airways and lungs of the children exposed. This could set up a facilitated nerve pattern. Future different kinds of stresses will tend to be channeled through that same loop, leading to repeated pressure on the lungs. Asthma is basically an over activity of the immune and muscular tissues around the airways of the lungs, due to different triggers. But for a person who has not developed the particular facilitated pattern of an asthmatic, the same triggers may not be good for them; but they do not attack their lungs with the same speed and severity. (They may have another type of facilitated habit and suffer a sinus attack instead, for example.)
Science has now demonstrated that our body replaces its cellular and chemical building blocks on a continuous basis. This observation has led some experts to say that in just a couple of years, cellularly and chemically speaking, you will have an entirely new body! The time frame for this recycling process is still controversial, but the fact that it occurs is no mystery. Considering why we seem to become recurrently sick in the same regions all the time leads to the questions: "Why does my body keep putting my arthritic ankle back the wrong way? Why can't I have a new regenerated one with new cartilage?" "Why do we age?" "Why do we look the same with each new body?"
Well, now you know part of the answer! The nerve system is the slowest to change (and some scientists have argued that this is the one part of the body that doesn't regenerate chemically at all). And it is the nerve system which determines how, where, and when all the chemicals and cells in the rest of the body are replaced. So the reason the ankle gets replaced in its' arthritic state is due to the existence of a facilitated nerve pattern: because a facilitated pattern of laying down extra calcium to barricade an overstressed joint has been established, as the body replaces the chemicals in that joint, it continues to lay down more and more calcium.
HOW DO YOU KICK THE SICKNESS "HABIT"?
We have been discussing the complex issue of how some sicknesses are a type of habit that your nerve system has gotten into. So, how do we break these habits? Until we can understand this area, every time we get run down, stressed, fatigued, overworked; we will find ourselves spiraling back into the same old sickness patterns.
Most of the principles we will discuss now are very similar to the steps needed to overcome any kind of habit. Eating disorders, drug addictions, behavioral habits, are all really examples of the nerve system facilitation that we spoke of earlier, just as much as recurrent lung infections, intestinal disorders, or joint degeneration can be.
1) KEEP AWAY FROM THE ENVIRONMENTAL CONDITIONS IN WHICH THE FACILITATED PATTERN HAS OCCURRED IN THE PAST.
Drug rehabilitation rarely works if the addict returns to the same environment after detoxing. In terms of our bad health habits we need to try and understand the factors which will reinforce the facilitation in our nerve system. When dieting, we are often taught that the critical time is when you are in the supermarket. Once you have bought the fatty and sugary foods, and put them in the fridge, chances are you will "slip" into eating them, despite your promise to yourself that you would have enough will-power to resist. The answer? Don't have the bad foods in the pantry in the first place, and in the weaker moments, they won't be there as a choice of food.
In terms of our bad health habits we need to try and understand the factors which will reinforce the facilitation in our nerve system.
So, once you know what area of your body where you seem to habitually get sick; the next stage is to research and think about the life situations that encourage the "bad habit". For example, for many of us, we get trapped into the mega-busy-treadmill. And if you look back through time, you will realize you can sustain this for only so long before you crash. A smarter tactic would be to recognize the warning signs that you are trapping yourself in this cycle once again, and learn to avoid getting trapped into the manic stage, and learn to "say no", pace yourself, and take time to smell the roses.
2) GIVE YOUR NERVE SYSTEM SOMETHING ELSE TO DO.
As a parent I learned quite quickly, that if you want your young child to stop doing something, you can try to tell them to stop till your red in the face. But what works best is to give them an attractive alternative, to distract them away from the unsuitable behavior.
We can apply this same principle to a bad health habit. When are you most likely to slip into a bad habit? When you have nothing else to do, when you're tired, when you're angry, when you're hungry, when you're lonely? So, it's always a good idea to try to keep your nerve system away from the facilitated pattern by developing a new, more advantageous one.
It has been said that it takes 21 days to develop a new habit: if you can force yourself consciously to carry out a new behavior for 21 days and avoid the old behavior during that same time, the new facilitated pattern will become dominant over the old. In other words you are trying to develop new dominant facilitated patterns that are more productive and healthy.
3) BREAK THE FACILITATED NERVE PATHWAYS.
When you have a chiropractic adjustment, you are not only having muscles and joints stretched and bones realigned. There is also a delayed process and response that occurs in your central nerve system following an adjustment.
Many people find that as they persist with regular chiropractic care, they are less likely to suffer from a relapse. This is because it is almost like the facilitation in the nerve system (which leads you back to the same old injury) is gradually being cleared away.
An example from research in the US demonstrated this when a group of drug addicts going through rehab were also given chiropractic adjustments. The result was that the retention rates of the addicts through the whole program became 100 per cent and the relapse rate was significantly reduced.
4) RENOUNCE THE TITLE. HOW STRONGLY DO YOU HOLD ONTO YOUR ILLNESS?
Are you convinced that whenever you get sick that it will last at least two weeks? When people ask how you're doing, is your first response always about your latest symptom? Are you too scared to attempt a new healing strategy because it might upset your weak spot? Do you give up on a new healthy habit really quickly because you convince yourself that it isn't working even though you haven't given it long enough to work?
Just as a top sportsperson can visualize themselves towards a successful performance, those trapped in the sickness habit can visualize themselves away from healing. Is it time that you start to daily reaffirm to yourself that your ailment is getting better all the time, as opposed to lying down and believing that you're always going to suffer with your war wound?
Make a commitment to give yourself a new title: you are not Esther the Asthmatic, Connie the Constipation, Arthur Arthritis, or Danny Depression - just as Abram and Saul found a new name to match their new identities to become Abraham and Paul; you can claim a new healthier identity for yourself.
5) GET "DEEP AND MEANINGFUL".
Unfortunately for some of us, the facilitated patterns that have developed in our lives (that are now having an effect on our health) are the result of past physical, chemical, and/or emotional injury. The above strategies may help to reduce some of the pain and suffering, but until healing occurs at the deeper levels of the nerve system, the same patterns will return.
This may mean we need counseling, spiritual healing, some sort of behavioral therapy, and so on. It can be difficult to uncover the facilitated patterns that have established themselves in our nerve system with our own strength.
Sometimes it requires someone looking from the outside in to throw some perspective.
6) BALANCE THE BRAIN.
We know that the brain bathes itself in different chemicals of emotion synchronously with the feelings and thoughts and frequencies that are firing inside your central nerve system. A brain that is under stress and overloaded with faulty facilitated pathways, is exposing itself to more and more draining and destructive chemical reactions.
Technology does exist that helps to calm, harmonize and synchronize the two hemispheres of the brain, leading to feelings of well-being, calmness, focus, insight and relaxation. There are a number of companies that specialize in producing the CDs that have to be listened to in stereo headphones to create the these desired effects. There's too much information to go into great detail for this article. Basically, the practical and clinical implication of this is that if we control the frequencies being listened to on those CDs, we can actually dictate the frequency range that the brain begins to fire in. In effect you can draw the brain into deep states equivalent to very skilled and deep meditation.
Where to from here?
Make the time to sit down and review your own sickness habits. List down your weak spots and attempt to delve into your past to uncover the events and circumstances that set off and reinforce your own nerve systems facilitated pathways. Get adjusted regularly to reduce the vicious cycles in your nerves. Build better boundaries into your decision making processes. Develop some new behavior to start to grow more advantageous patterns. Seek counsel and help from those people and resources that can help you along this healing journey.
Then, consciously observe and experience yourself blooming into happier, healthier habits.