An explanation regarding the difference between Network Spinal Analysis and Traditional Structural Chiropractic Adjustments.

What is Innate Intelligence?

Chiropractic works with a person’s “Innate Intelligence” which is “a component of all living organisms that has an organizing factor that influences the shape and health of the body.”   Simply, Innate Intelligence is our own inner, healing wisdom of the body.  One example is when you cut your finger, after the bleeding stops a scab will formed and after a couple of weeks if you do not peel off the scab, the scab will come off and the cut will no longer be there.  Other examples are when we catch a cold, the body will create a fever and use the immune system to destroy any viruses/bacteria or we may get nauseous or throw up if we eat something that our stomach deems as toxic for our bodies to digest.

Chiropractic’s Focus

In order to assist the body’s ability to heal, Chiropractors focus on the correction of the Vertebral Subluxation (a misaligned vertebral bone in one’s spine that causes nerve interference and dis-ease).  The purpose of eliminating the subluxation is to remove nerve interference associated with that symptom or condition.  It is believed that a nervous system free of subluxations allows the body’s innate abilities to maintain an optimum state of adaptability, including proper alignment and spinal function which in turn contributes to the overall health and well-being of the individual.

Structural Chiropractic

The main questions that most Chiropractors face is where do I adjust, when do I adjust, and how much force do I apply when I adjust a spine?  Most chiropractors focus on correcting what’s called the “vertebral subluxation,” which in plain English is a misaligned bone in the spine.  The human spine contains 24 moveable segments that can either shift to the left or right, as well as up or down and 9 fixed segments.  By correcting the vertebral subluxation, Traditional Chiropractors aim to align the spine of a person in order to allow the spinal cord and nervous system to function at its optimum, enhancing one’s health and restoring proper alignment.   If you can envision the H1 freeway without any traffic and flowing is what a perfect aligned spine would be like, but most people’s spines are like the H1 during traffic hour with congestions, honking horns, and crawling traffic.  If one’s nervous system is allowed to be free of interference, then everything flows and the body can achieve a higher level of health.  The main goal is to release the segment at its fixed articulation (joint) and free nerve interference.

Network Chiropractic – a gentle approach

Network Chiropractic, now known as Network Spinal Analysis was created over 30 years ago by Dr. Donald Epstein.  There are over 2000 different Chiropractic techniques and ways to adjust the spine, but Dr. Epstein drew from a few to create Network Spinal Analysis.  Network Spinal Analysis does not focus on fixing or correcting the vertebral subluxation, but upon teaching a person’s nervous system strategies on how to locate tension or stress in one’s spine or body and taking the appropriate actions to release or build tension depending on what is necessary at that moment.  The goal is for a person to have the ability to be “in-tune” with one’s body that may essentially influence one’s behavior, perception, and structure.  The focus of Network Spinal Analysis is to teach a person to trust one’s own innate healing energy and make decisions that supports one’s growth, transformation, and eventual evolution.

How Does Stress Affect Us?

For a lot of people, stress is a constant in our lives whether it is good or bad.  The way our bodies deal with stress is either with changes in our musculature such as tightness in our neck, shoulders, mid back, low back and even in our arms and legs or changes in our bones such as increased stiffness and rigidity.  Many are not even aware of all the tension we hold in our bodies until someone massages our shoulders and says, “whoa you are tight!”  Or when we get up from a chair and find it takes us longer to get moving.  We attribute this stiffness to age, but once again it is one way our bodies’ respond to stress.  Our bodies may also misalign such as uneven shoulders, head tilt, head protruding forward or even as far as hunched shoulders or scoliosis (lateral shifting of the spine).  Tension may also affect our breathing – taking shorter breaths or holding our breath as well as increased blood pressure and other health related conditions.

Less force vs. More Force

If there is a lot of tension in a person’s musculature or spinal segments, then there will be a lot more resistance when the spine is adjusted, hence more force is required to move that particular fixed spinal articulation.  Either more force is needed or Structural chiropractors have to be faster to trick the defenses of the body to move the misaligned spinal segment to free the nerve impingement.  Therefore in Network, specific gentle adjustments are considered before greater applications of force.  The belief is until the mechanical tension that is underlying the torsion in the soft spinal tissues and the misalignment of the spine is released, the muscles will keep firing to protect the integrity of the spine and spinal cord.  So the intent is to introduce a safe, specific force to effectively adjust the spinal fixation and misalignment thereby reducing interference in the nervous system.

Which type of Chiropractic is better?

Having been in practice for the past 12 years, I know that not one form of Chiropractic is better than the other, but comes down to one’s own preference.  Someone who is not ready to make life changes, but wants someone to get rid of their irritating symptoms such as low back pain, headaches, or other problems will look towards a structural chiropractor to help resolve their ailment.  People that are tired of taking pain pills or medications to manage their aches and pains will look towards chiropractors as an alternative.  They will look for a chiropractor to adjust their spine so that way they can go back to doing what they have been doing once the pain is gone.

Focus of Network Spinal Analysis

With Network Spinal Analysis, the focus is not so much as fixing an ailment, but getting a person to become more aware of one’s life choices that may be creating their ailment or symptoms.  The more one can become aware and connected to one’s own body, the more they can sense what is right or wrong in the different choices they make that range from the types of food they eat to the type of activities that one does.  It all comes down to choice and our focus is to teach a person lifelong strategies on finding the tension in one’s body and to identify the source and cause of this tension, which then translates into one’s ability to deal with that tension in whichever way they feel fit to do so vs. just reacting to life’s circumstances.  It is common under care that respiration becomes very full and deep which is accompanied by movements to release more tension and to shift towards naturally occurring postures.

A Spine at Ease

The focus whether it be Network or Structural Chiropractic is ultimately to get a person’s body back to a global sense of ease within the spinal system.  When there is a shift from a state of higher tension to lower tension, the nervous system as well as our own healing energy is able to function at a more optimal state.  Our body seeks to reduce its mechanical stress and re-establish its spinal curves.  The normal tendency of our body is to unwind and stretch to release spinal fixations, misalignments and even inhibited emotions.  As the body “retraces” physical or emotional traumas it helps allow the body to more freely express its natural rhythms.

My Personal Experience with Network

What shifted my emphasis from physically correcting the vertebral subluxations was what I personally experienced after a Network adjustment.  I remember quite distinctly after I got up from the table after being adjusted, as I inhaled I felt my spine shift and “click” in the proper position at which point I immediately felt a wave of energy flow up and down my spine.  It truly was a life changing experience, because it made me aware of my spine’s ability to self correct and became a goal of mine’s to help others achieve this same strategy to self correct their spine as well.  The moment that we can be aware of the tension we hold in our bodies and take the necessary steps to correct whatever ails us is when true empowerment occurs.

Hope this letter brought some a-ha’s and till my next “Life Letter,”  I wish all of you health and wellness, Chad

Next month’s Life Letter Topic – “A Different Paradigm towards Healing.”