Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Have Faith in Your Body

“Faith is not belief without proof, but trust without reservation.” – D. Elton Trueblood

Recent events have made one thing above all else abundantly clear: even some of the smartest disease experts in the world significantly underestimate the human body[i].   A basic comprehension of biological science offers mountains of evidence to the human body’s dynamic capabilities in the face of myriad daunting circumstances and potential destructive agents, yet the ratio of credit given versus credit earned is skewed so far that most people assume their bodies cower to microscopic invaders like viruses.  In the interest of public health and healthcare in general, a reappraisal of that common myth is in order. 

Look up at the sun for a moment.  Fascinating, is it not, that Earth, at roughly 93 million miles away from it, is perfectly positioned so that the sun keeps most of our planet at livable temperatures?  The moon is only 250,000 miles from Earth by comparison, but it features no signs of life.  Collectively, it would be fair to state that we take for granted our place in the solar system, primarily because we cannot comprehend otherwise.  Our minds are finite, but venturing outside Earth’s atmosphere takes us into the realm of the infinite; and it is in such situations our minds must accept that there are some things we cannot control.  Humans have been around a long time, so trust in our planet maintaining an ideal distance from the sun has been well earned. 

Equally as fascinating is what takes place inside the human body every day.  In reading the previous sentence, an infinite number of routine tasks just took place inside our bodies.  A common phrase uttered after a child’s birth is, “It’s a miracle.”  Indeed it is.  Sperm and egg combining and multiplying enough to produce in nine months an infant consisting of about two trillion cells, ready made to perform all of the infinite functions of life on its own beyond the need for a mere three contributions (food, water, and oxygen)?  No combination of adjectives does that justice, truly, but it never stops being miraculous when two trillion cells keep multiplying, gradually totaling and eventually maintaining an adult average of seventy-five trillion.  We take that for granted, as well, for the same reason that we do Earth’s distance from the sun: the body’s innate and infinite tasks are too much for us to comprehend, so we must trust. 

What fascinates does not always translate to trust, however.  When our bodies are exhibiting their inborn wisdom under circumstances that we consciously deem “normal,” then we take it for granted.  However, when an abnormal state sets in, trust in the infinite often takes a hiatus.  Humans like to meddle, which is a long-term risk vs. short-term reward proposition.  We exist in a delicate balance, both on our planet and inside our bodies.  Topics like climate change and the consequences of consistent exposure to low level radiation are the inevitable result of industrial and technological advancement and eventually we will have to reconcile nature’s corrections to the balance we have disturbed.  Certainly, healthcare as we know it has become a constant exercise of interference, surgically of course and mostly chemically through medication, one after another in a vicious cycle, each further disrupting internal balance and creating the need for an innate adaptation, which is – like nature’s inevitable corrections – merely the law of cause and effect in action.    

We were highly intelligently created, but it behooves us to remember that our creation was (and maintenance is) the product of an infinite brand of intelligence.  Ever stopped to think about the process of digestion and subsequent new cell production that takes place after each meal?  The human body takes largely non-living matter consumed as food and turns it into living cells.  Perhaps a statement of the obvious is in order: the infinite > the finite.  We are capable of brilliance, but the highest IQs in the world are not even close to that level of intelligence.  No scientist on earth can replicate the intricacies of human functions.  Quickly observe the room; the tiny hole in the electrical outlet represents what we know through education, whereas the rest of the room represents just a fraction of the infinite found in nature and the human body, which performed more chemical reactions just now than every experiment conducted by every scientist who has ever lived combined throughout history. 

Health is an optimized state in which the numerous organ systems in the body work harmoniously together at a level conducive to sustaining an innate adaptability capable of preventing sickness and overcoming the causes of various symptoms.  The importance of this revised definition cannot be understated, for it acknowledges what we have learned through the observations of biological science and deemphasizes the complicating factors introduced by laboratory science.  Individually, we were assigned at creation only two conscious tasks for survival, those being to drink water and eat food, so it is in our best interest to ensure the best possible quality of both; Upper Cervical Chiropractic and the various other holistic healing arts, sciences, and philosophies exist to eliminate variables to the full expression of the body’s infinite wisdom.  

To paraphrase a famous health quote, each of us carries our own doctor inside and we are our best when we give the doctor inside a chance to work.  In other words, we should have faith in the body and seek to support it rather than interfere with it.     

[i] Statistics from Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and the National Institute of Health

A New Definition for Health, and Why It Is Necessary

This will probably read as odd to many considering the economic strength of the pharmaceutical industry and the brand recognition that modern medicine has achieved, but healthcare has not yet truly had its revolutionary period.  When preventable conditions dominate the most deadly list, kids are sicker now than ever (despite our wealth and resources), our health system ranks last in the world amongst our industrialized peers despite being first in cost, and adverse reactions and deaths via medications are out of control, contemporary healthcare can hardly be considered revolutionary, with respect given to specific innovations.  Recent events and deeply troubling repercussions have magnified the long-standing problem with basing healthcare on the theories of disease.  The time has, thus, come to redefine health so that we can begin designing the blueprint for healthcare's future. 

A problem cannot be fixed if its fundamental cause is not identified.  Health has been poorly defined for most of our lifetimes and we have been given a cradle-to-grave indoctrination of a narrow viewpoint on it.  Just as you cannot achieve true freedom in a socialist state, you cannot change healthcare if the system that oversees it is philosophically rooted in sickness and symptom treatment.  For all its proselytizing on science, our healthcare system has failed to follow the basics of the scientific method, for though it may ask lots of questions that become theoretical constructs, it overlooks the laws of life. 

Thomas Edison was one of the greatest inventors who ever lived, using already proven laws on electricity to among other things light up our world.  “The doctor of the future will give no medicine,” he said in 1903, “but will interest his patient in the care of the human frame, in diet and in the cause and prevention of disease.”  Health history witnessed a revolutionary step-forward when it followed Edison’s lead toward disease prevention and developed modern sanitation, the unsung hero of and quite possibly the primary reason for plummeting rates of communicable disease in the mid-to-late 20th century.  Regrettably, healthcare has since remained stuck in a disease-oriented bubble, one failed theory after another, ignoring laws. 

Designing systems based on scientific laws is paramount to the effectiveness and safety of the systems.  Aviation, for instance, is based on the laws of physics.  Accidents happen, but they are so rare now that air travel is considered the safest form transportation.  If 250,000 people per year died in America of plane crashes like they do of adverse reactions to medications, would we not go back to the drawing board on aerodynamics?  Of course we would, but fortunately the laws of physics create an always sturdy foundation for future innovation. 

The first step in revamping American healthcare, then, is redefining health based on patterns that repeatedly hold up against scrutiny (i.e. laws).  An optimal definition would create a new baseline understanding of health and how each of us can achieve it, giving power and responsibility back to the individual body in which the laws of life are expressed. 

To that end, it is important to emphasize a forest instead of individual trees mentality as it relates to our bodies, that we are the products of intricate internal relationships neurologically (i.e. communication), psychologically (i.e. thoughts), physiologically (i.e. function), and anatomically (i.e. structure), not just a bunch of random parts to be studied and treated in sections. 

Optimizing the body – when the aforementioned internal relationships are the equivalent of strong marriages – is perhaps the ideal phrase to form the foundation for this revised definition because we know from meticulous study that the human body, when optimized, can overcome just about anything.  A symptom like fever or the symptoms associated with food poisoning will come as needed and go on their own.  They represent the body's ability to adapt when challenged by an aggressive foreign invader.  No interventions are required to deal with them unless the symptoms get out of control, which is very uncommon. 

Adaptability, therefore, should factor into health redefined as well.  The body's adaptability represents how efficiently it can sort through physical, chemical, emotional, or environmental stressors.  Generally, a proliferation of symptoms suggests, more than anything else, weakened adaptability.  A laws of life-based response to symptomatic outbreaks would be to address the various causes of weakened adaptability, as opposed to applying diagnostic labels and treating symptoms with chemical interventions, which only hinder the body's response because they interfere with innate adaptation, causing a second adaptation to be necessary (such is why side effects to medications dominate three-quarters of drug ads). 

So, here is a new definition of health:

HEALTH (noun) – an optimized state in which the numerous organ systems in the body work harmoniously together at a level conducive to sustaining an innate adaptability capable of preventing sickness and overcoming the causes of various symptoms

The future of healthcare may well rest in this philosophical and scientific shift; from studying, for instance, why the 1% are really sick or dying among the 8% expected to eventually be diagnosed with COVID-19 and instead focusing most of the research on the vast majority of that 8% who recover fully or, better yet, the 92% who never earn the diagnosis at all.  It would make sense to base healthcare research on how healthier people remain well and avoid illness. 

Based on the above definition, a revitalized and refocused healthcare system could make its primary objective to understand what takes our bodies out of an optimized state, building on established knowledge of such adaptability-reducing agents as physical trauma, chemical insults, and emotional stress and the holistic methods built to eliminate or lessen them.  After all, no more than you can learn how to float by studying how to sink, you cannot learn how to be healthy by studying sickness. 

Monday, June 15, 2020

Guest Blog: TUCC's Emily Logsdon on Her Train of Thought Regarding the Coronavirus

January is always a time of reflection for me.  A time to remember the blessings of the previous year, and ponder the possibilities to come, to make goals and personal change.  My plans this year entailed further research of the many benefits of holistic methods - no resolutions but peddle at my own pace, making things a lifestyle rather than a box checked off. 

My personal experience with holistic practitioners has been very positive and beneficial, and back in February I was feeling confident in my choice to continue these methods.  By my late twenties and early thirties I had begun to feel less active, and the residual effects of multiple car accidents began to show up.  The effects ranged from sudden drops in blood sugar, light migraines progressing into debilitating bi-monthly episodes, and severe back issues preventing me from standing up straight.  My mother strongly urged me to come to an orientation class with Dr. McIntyre, which began my journey in holistic care.  Experiencing the benefits of being in alignment was amazing.  I had forgotten what it was like to function on such a normal level and it felt great! 

Through Dr. McIntyre, I was able to find other practitioners that have been equally instrumental in my holistic journey.  Being in proper upper cervical alignment, seeing a naturopathic practitioner, and the benefits of reflexology have been a gift.  Life couldn’t have been better.  I truly believed that the body could function as it should when in the proper alignment.  What could go wrong when you are structurally sound?  In the beginning structure was my main concern, but the more I worked with these practitioners I slowly found that structure and the immune system work together for benefit of the entire body.

Then COVID happened.

In late 2019, Wuhan, China debuted as the epicenter of a new super virus that was considered to be problematic for those in the East.  By mid-January, quarantine procedures were in place for China and other countries were slowly succumbing to this mysterious beast that was becoming less likely to be contained.  February produced more cases in Europe, raising questions and concerns in the United States of “what if?”  By mid-March the United States had set protocols in place to close foreign travel, and WHO officially stated that we had a pandemic named COVID-19.  A deluge of information began to flood media outlets.  With the death toll rising rapidly and information reporting to extremes of the pandemic of the previous century, COVID-19 had made an epic entrance.  Comparisons between Spanish Flu and COVID-19 were non-stop.  Reports began to circulate of Americans who were succumbing to COVID-19 ranging from health fanatics to the elderly.  Local panic erupted as grocery stores shelves were stripped of non-perishables.  State and local government officials were putting protocols in place. 

What is happening?  How severe is this virus?  What should be taken as facts? 

I began questioning the information that I had researched.  I understood the benefits of a good structural foundation through upper cervical treatments, but does that really mean my immune system works well under attack from a mystery illness?  I began to play Devil’s advocate.  The complete confidence displayed earlier was under attack.  Fear was paralyzing my beliefs in holistic methods.  For weeks I watched the news updates, and I began to reflect on own my journey and the progress made.  It was not a testimony of a stranger but my own.  It was the encouragement needed to back up my choices, allowing me to let go of the fear and look at the facts.  David wrote many Psalms that are encouraging, but Psalms 139 popped in my head during this time.  “I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are thy works and that my soul knoweth right well.”  I am fearfully and wonderfully made.  This was an amazing boost! 

Through the ages, scientists have tirelessly studied human anatomy to conclude that the body works as a well-oiled machine, unlocking core secrets that have been instrumental in understanding not only structural health, but how it impacts our immune health.  Armed with renewed hope, I went back to square one.  I began looking at the C-1, C-2 and how the brainstem is the main information feed from the brain to the body.  The benefits of removing the “squeeze” of the brainstem are immeasurable. When a misalignment occurs, the brainstem cannot deliver the messages through the body with the clarity needed to perform the task.  When the misalignment is corrected, the messages are received loud and clear, allowing the body to proceed with the efficiency it was designed for: a well-oiled machine from the Divine Creator.  

The immune system is an amazing defense system made up of multiple tactical forces programmed to defend our bodies.  Working feverishly behind the scenes deflecting colds, flu, and other illnesses that we may have inadvertently come in contact with.  A system that provides such protection needs our support.  A key component in supporting the immune system is incorporating water in your daily routine.  Flushing the body helps remove unwanted germs and waste.  Set a timer through the day to remind yourself get your water.  Make sure that you are sleeping well, eating good foods, reducing stress, washing hands, and maintaining a positive approach to your day.  These are some excellent ways to support your immune system.  As a patient of Triad Upper Cervical Clinic, make and keep your appointments.  During peak times of illness, keeping the brainstem in check allows the body to have maximum support as it fights with the ferocity of a lion on your behalf.

Monday, May 4, 2020

The Condition of Less Life and Its Impact on Our World

In the chiropractic profession, the term subluxation was designed to describe a condition in which minute but damaging deviations from the normal positions of the vertebrae protecting the spinal cord cause disruption of the communication along the super highway that is your brain-to-body electrical network; electricity flows through nerves like water flows along a river, so think of the subluxation as the electrical equivalent of a dam.  At its roots, subluxation means a condition of less light, and was originally interpreted as a condition of less life.  Upper Cervical Chiropractors focus on the more delicate and smaller uppermost neck vertebrae, which protect the brain-to-body network’s cell tower equivalent, the brainstem. 

With respect to the desire to better define subluxation within chiropractic and to keep the term confined to the spine (or to the brainstem), the root translation of the term as a condition of less life could be applied in many ways, not the least of which as a tool to better educate a society mightily struggling to figure out wellness while heavily influenced by a healthcare system aimed predominantly at sickness. 

The human body is a well-oiled machine, the most intricately and intelligently designed assembly line in the history of mankind, replenishing damaged cells with incredible efficiency (i.e. cuts healing in two weeks, broken bones mending in six weeks, nerves returning to relative normalcy in four months post-injury), creating new cells via the food we eat within minutes, and constantly seeking to maintain for us a body-wide even keel.  A discussion of subluxation, then, is an exercise in identifying the various agents of slowing down your internal assembly line.  You can no more expect optimal health when your internal assembly line is functioning abnormally than you can elite production of a car when an automobile assembly line is in some way failing.

Nutritional deficiency, then, is a form of subluxation, is it not?  Given that food is eaten for the most basic reason to build new cells and that new cell production is decreased in effectiveness when lacking essential materials with which to build the best quality new cells, a nutritional deficiency is a condition of less life (a subluxation).  A sedentary lifestyle robs the body of the movement necessary to maximize physical well-being, a statement not limited to your muscles, but applicable to all parts of the body, including the heart, the digestive system, and the hormone-producing organs.  Remembering that there is a distinct difference between merely being alive and actually being healthy, a lack of physical activity is, too, a subluxation.   

An over-abundance of fear in what could go wrong and a lack of trust that all will be well is also an example of less life.  Having faith is connected to trust; fear is the antithesis of faith.  In today's world, many are psychologically and spiritually subluxated, if you will, meaning that their lives revolve around fear because they are not grounded in faith and lack the trust that comes with it.  Life is made so much harder - so much lesser - by lack of faith and trust.  "Fear is the path that leads to the dark side,” a wise philosopher once said.  “Fear leads to anger; anger leads to hate; hate leads to suffering." 

When going through a major change in life, it is common practice to bury the feelings about it.  Of course, the feelings do not go away just because of the attempts to draw attention away from them; emotions not dealt with eventually rear their ugly heads, whether quietly building tension in the mind or in the muscles like a volcano inching toward eruption.  Life lessened, in yet another way exemplifying subluxation.

There is quiet hope that perhaps the introduction of the term subluxation into the wider social lexicon would reflect positively on the chiropractic profession that invented it.  The essentials of healthy living are not mutually exclusive, meaning that proper materials via food are better utilized, movement from working out is more beneficial, and psychological and spiritual healing is easier to come by when the human body functions properly.  A vertebral or brainstem subluxation is essentially a phone call with poor reception that does not go away until you find the source of the connection error.  This is what happens in the spine and what chiropractors are trained to correct with adjustments.  If the nervous system is in a lesser state, every other system in the body will function at reduced capacity too.  There is no more common source for connectivity issues in either the cell phone or the human body network than the tower, or in the body’s case the brainstem (see Upper Cervical Care). 

This exercise can be taken even deeper (would you want your doctor, airline pilot, chef, etc. to be operating under various conditions of less life or at optimal states?); let us conclude, then, with the following: picture in your mind the peak example of an optimal life lived, and then picture someone bed-ridden, hooked up to machines to keep him/her alive.   The distinction is important because health is the study of what causes people to fully live, but that which comprises American “health” care focuses instead on illness and what causes people to die.  Subluxation is a useful descriptive label, creating better awareness of how one goes from healthy to ill, and then how one becomes healthy again.  If health is about optimizing life, subluxation calls attention to what diminishes life.  

Thinking good things for you, as always,

-Dr. Chad

The Mamba Mentality: What We Can Learn From Kobe Bryant

As an observer of his life and career, if I were asked to play word association for Kobe Bryant, the two descriptive terms I would choose would be passionate and resolute.  Those are traits that have come to strongly resonate with me, characteristic as they are of the kind of person that I strive to be every day.  He inspired me, a point that I have been ruminating on a lot these past few weeks in the wake of his sudden passing.  So, while we mourn the tragedy, I want to take this opportunity to reflect on the traits I most associated with him, because they were what in my mind made him great, and what made Kobe great serves as inspiration to maximize our time on this Earth.

I followed his entire career.  He was one of those players that I will be talking with fellow basketball enthusiasts about for the rest of my life.  When I think about Kobe, his resolute quest for greatness is the first thing that comes to mind, not just in the game of basketball for which he is best known, but in his life in general.  His career in the NBA was Top 10 all-time great, of course; it was his transition to his post-basketball life, though, that I admired most.  Few players in the history of the game were as passionate about basketball as Kobe, but when his body told him it was time to retire, he listened and then he channeled his passion elsewhere. 

To flow gracefully from one phase of life to another, finding new ways to positively contribute to the world, was one of Kobe’s skills that all of us could learn.  Among other endeavors, he converted the poem (referenced below) that announced his retirement into a documentary short that won an Academy Award, further cultivated his filmmaking interest by opening a production company focused on increasing diversity, developed an academy to help people unlock their full potential, and became a much more engaged father to his kids.   

Kobe had his personal controversies, but he always tried to become a better person because of them, and he channeled that energy right back into his passions once re-centered in his life.  Such is why perhaps no basketball player this century is as revered by his peers, who he openly embraced once he could turn his level of competitiveness toward them down a notch (or eight).  Getting knocked off course, only to respond resolutely and climb to the next peak in life…that’s the key to success.  To paraphrase Kobe, everything negative in life presents opportunities for us to rise. 

I had always quietly hoped that healthcare reform might have become of interest to him.  He was arguably the hardest working basketball player of any first-ballot Hall of Famer, relentlessly trying to maximize his physical potential, in the waning years of his prime through making smarter and more innovative health choices.  His extraordinarily studious nature and distinguished reputation would have been incredible assets to re-focusing healthcare on health and moving it beyond the dark ages of diagnosing and treating symptoms.  He would have picked apart every flaw in the system and made everyone more aware of them, rather sternly based on his leadership style on the court.  Fellow warriors in the fight to change the way that people think about healthcare, imagine Kobe Bryant being on our “team.” 

To win the battle for American healthcare, we will have to overcome a modern dynasty; the allopathic viewpoint renders the holistic movement a comparative expansion franchise much in need of infrastructure and influential support.  Essential to our cause will be the eventual equivalent of Kobe lobbing the alley-oop pass that Shaq dunked to push the Lakers toward the 2000 NBA Championship, overcoming the differences in our individual approaches to accomplish a greater collective goal.  Until then, we will have to each follow Kobe’s approach that won Game 7 of the 2010 NBA Finals, struggling as we might at times but willing ourselves ever closer to a much-needed healthcare revolution. 

The phrase that Kobe invented to describe his famous work ethic was “The Mamba Mentality,” defined simply as the daily process of striving to be better.  For most of his 42 years, Kobe was consciously passionate about what he was doing in his life, amplifying his successes and contextualizing his failures, while continually earning people’s respect.  His was a life worth celebrating and emulating. 

As the clock winds down to the waning seconds of this reflection, I’ll paraphrase from Kobe’s Oscar-winning “Dear Basketball.”  No matter what phase in life we are in, whether seeing the end of the tunnel or still imagining what it would be like to walk out of one, no matter how many “seasons” we have left to give, we should strive to savor every moment, the good and the bad, all that we have, resolute in our passion to optimize our health, our lives, and the world around us.  Thanks, Kobe. 

Thinking good things for you, as always,

-Dr. Chad

Fibromyalgia and American Healthcare's Diagnosis Problem

Everyone is different.  That phrase gets thrown around with increasing frequency, does it not?  If you study our society, though, it becomes apparent that people truly believe that phrase about as often as they commit to the classic health tenets of nutrition and exercise (statistically, about one in ten people).  Everyone is indeed unique, but our society also seems uniquely set on labeling everybody, then forming opinions based on those labels.  Sociologically, labels regarding race and sexual orientation are two examples of very prominent topics piercing our consciousness and forcing us to further examine our perspectives.  With modern American healthcare, interestingly, we have been slower to recognize comparable patterns of labeling.

A diagnosis is a label too, and it has the same dangerous potential to follow a person around, altering both the perception of that person by others and that person's own perception of his/herself.  Perception is reality; it has been scientifically verified that people generally struggle to break free from the bias of labels.  People can watch a video of a girl playing in front of a garbage-strewn street in the city and draw the conclusion that she is not as intelligent as the exact same girl shown, in a separate video, playing in front of a suburban home with an abundance of well-manicured trees and a nice picket fence.  Similarly, as happens all the time in healthcare, a person can be given a diagnosis based on a series of symptoms that strips their every individual characteristic away in order to fit them into a treatment-specific generalization bubble. 

Fibromyalgia is a prime example of the dangers of labeling.  Though its symptoms are quite real, Fibromyalgia is merely a title applied to the increasingly common health problem of experiencing muscular pain throughout the body more intensely.  Most traditional physicians will tell you that the condition has no cause and no cure, but that is as bold and over-generalized a statement as suggesting that a girl from a challenging socioeconomic background cannot become a game-changing entrepreneur who debunks many of these diagnostic myths. 

There are numerous known causes for severe widespread muscle pain due to chemical imbalances in the brain (aka Fibromyalgia), nutritional deficiencies and the brainstem subluxation / misalignment of the anatomy (cervical vertebrae 1 and 2) that protects the nerve system's hub, to name two examples.  The upper neck misalignment also makes the head shift forward over the shoulders, consequently prompting the natural curve in the neck to be lost and decreasing normal motion among the vertebrae throughout the cervical spine; normal motion is the catalyst for pain-relieving endorphin production in the central nervous system, and deficient endorphin levels make it more likely to experience pain. 

Unfortunately, diagnosing (labeling) has become the clinical end game for traditional medicine, a stimulus not for fundamental change but for symptom treatment through drug therapy.  Traditionalists trained predominantly in pathology struggle to connect to information beyond their training, which is in diagnosing and treating symptoms and disease, even if they maintain a basic knowledge that most of the 10,000 possible diagnoses are attributable to poor health habits.  These labels, such as Fibromyalgia, do not characterize cause, just effect, but people often hold them up as gospel, living their lives around the diagnosis and its associated medical treatments, fear struck so deeply into their hearts and minds that they come to think of the label as being as specific to them as their fingerprints. 

The modern medical system teaches its doctors to label and prescribe, and to place an otherworldly amount of faith in randomized, clinically controlled trials which are designed to eliminate the complexities of the people they are diagnosing.  Traditionalists then pass the modern medical mindset down to the people that they treat. 

When a person gets diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes, a label attached to the gradual decrease in ability to produce blood sugar-regulating insulin, rather than learn the physiology (and neurology and biochemistry) of how it develops and be encouraged to address the underlying causes specific to him/her individually, inaction and/or drugs are emphasized as if fate had already been sealed.  If another person is diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, a fancy nickname for multiple areas of scarring on the brain and spinal cord from lesions prompted by an autoimmune response, multi-system destroying immune suppressants are given instead of addressing the various causes of the immune system attacking the body.  Given the label of osteoarthritis, also known as degeneration, people are unknowingly made to assume that it is an age-specific process uninfluenced by anything else (like structural balance, which determines structural integrity), and accordingly are shielded from the options that can slow it down and dramatically ease its associated symptoms. 

If you alter various physiological and psychological patterns accumulated over time, then labels may no longer apply, but diagnoses are not used as a starting point to awaken in a person's mind an understanding that it is time to do things differently (to optimize the brain and body's internal communication network, to perform regular constructive exercise, to overhaul nutritional habits, to value stress management as a life skill, to re-balance the body physically to remove constant muscular strain, to fully address mental trauma, etc.).  Lifestyle change, the key to restoring health, is not a fundamental goal of the modern medical system, neither in regular clinical practice nor in laboratory research.

Labeling has, to borrow a common medical term, a lot of side effects, bottom line.  It can make you feel defeated, and its common treatments can further your health decline.  None of the above even broaches the subject of misdiagnosis (another way of stating the improper application to a person of a particular label), which sadly is as typical as it is both extremely dangerous and economically inefficient, major concerns considering American healthcare's last place standing among its industrialized peers in outcomes despite ranking first in spending.  If we want to change healthcare, it is time we start re-assessing the same labeling issues found in other parts of our society. 

Thinking good things for you, as always,

-Dr. Chad

The Phases of the Healing Process

One of the most awesome things in life is the birth of a child.  It is the ultimate reward, seeing a baby come into the world, an experience that brings unparalleled joy.  The reward comes at the end of a long process, citing not just the birth itself but the 280-some-odd days leading up to it.  Be it unanticipated or the result of a conscious plan, pregnancy and the subsequent birth arrive all the same through a physiological process that takes an original pair of cells and turns them into the trillions of cells that shape a newborn baby.  Going through it is to varying degrees a life-altering challenge, taking as it does a lot of patience and support, but the payoff is worth every bit of the effort. 

Pregnancy can be categorized by multiple phases, as can birth.  Truthfully, just about everything in life that we value requires the completion of various phases, from a championship season by a sports team to a degree hanging on the wall to retirement at the end of a successful career.  Health is no different.  Nevertheless, generations who have been conditioned since a young age to regard symptom management as the hallmark of healthcare are generally reluctant to accept that health is a process-based achievement instead of something that can be quickly acquired.  Instant gratification has become such a big part of our lives and it has made several things that were once an inconvenience simpler, but that mindset does not belong at the core of a discussion about health any more than it does when talking about excelling in school or winning a national title.  Imagine a world in which couples thought that having a baby took just a few weeks in total, that it would not be hard and at times be very uncomfortable.  That alternate reality has become a microcosm of American healthcare. 

Among the goals of grassroots education aimed at changing the health system is to help the public understand healing, an infrequently discussed topic in the conventional medical practices that dominate 95% of healthcare in the United States.  Pregnancy is an apt point of comparison to healing because most everyone experiences pregnancy in some way and becomes familiar with the trimester milestones, the various associated symptoms, and the rigors of labor and delivery.  It has been estimated that between only 3% and 12% of Americans lead healthy lifestyles, so the reality for most of us is that our healing journeys are going to be lengthy, include multiple phases, and have their fair share of ups and downs; it is important to recognize that and embrace the challenge so as not to quit striving before the body has had the opportunity to make significant change. 

So, to better understand healing, please review the following breakdown of its phases.  Though a lack of uniform language exists to connect the forthcoming labels of the healing process across all health practitioners, the themes of each description should mostly translate. 

The first phase of the healing process is stabilization.  Be it long-term structural imbalance and the effect that the shifted anatomy has on the body's ability to function properly, having little to no guidance in how to actively combat the cumulative effects of emotional stress, malnutrition (part of the definition of which is not eating enough of the right foods), or a sedentary lifestyle that involves no regular physical exertion, the initial step toward health involves the adoption, often through regular facilitation from experts in the various fields of the healing arts, of better anatomical, physiological, neurological, psychological, and nutritional habits.  Existing symptoms can still remain prevalent during this phase.  Rome was not built in a day, the body does not break down overnight, and it will not heal overnight either, but this phase points the suffering in the direction of healing.

More stable ground, so to speak, has been reached when there is a reasonable expectation that constructive habits can be sustained without as much guidance.  At that point, the healing phase begins.  The longer healthier habits (i.e. normal function, structural alignment, meditation, etc.) remain in place, the more the body and mind change from states of dis-ease, characterized by growing consistently toward sickness, to states of ease, characterized by growing consistently toward wellness.  The healing process is akin to traveling back across a road already traveled, so know that, as the body heals, there can be some bumps along the way, sometimes in the form of familiar symptoms flaring up and at other times in the form of symptoms that have not manifested in many years coming back.  One name for this dynamic is retracing, which acknowledges that just as it took many years for the body to lose health, it also takes time to regain it. 

During the healing phase, which is the longest period of the process, health practitioners are still needed regularly to facilitate further goal-setting, provide accountability, and make adjustments to certain habits, though the proverbial ball is increasingly passed from the healer to the person doing the healing.  The wellness phase, then, is characterized by learning what life is like with general health having been achieved, approaching a new normal physically and mentally.  The habits instilled to realize that level of well-being are challenged by but mostly upheld through stressful life circumstances, with facilitators steadily decreasing their roles.  Finally, there is the lifestyle phase, when health becomes an expectation, responsibility for maintaining it has been fully accepted, the body’s ability to express its optimal resiliency is readily apparent, and health practitioners are periodically visited just to make sure everything is OK.

In Utopia, healthcare would follow the lead of dentistry, teaching self-care protocols within the first few years of life, making visits to health practitioners about being proactive rather than reactive, and encouraging spinal check-ups along with nutritional counseling, exercise requirements, and classes about stress management as soon as elementary school.  Back in our reality, health must unfortunately be lost before it can be found.  Be it an unanticipated diagnosis that demands imminent change or the result of a conscious plan prompted by the proliferation of symptoms that can no longer be instantly alleviated, the ensuing phases of healing follow a physiological process that will require patience and support, but the health potential realized will be worth every bit of the effort. 

Thinking good things for you, as always,

-Dr. Chad

What is The Medtrix?

(Author’s Note – the following was inspired by the 1999 film, The Matrix, which the author has long found to be philosophically consistent with the American healthcare crisis)

The Medtrix is everywhere.  It is all around us; it is visible or audible in almost every room.  You can see it when you look into your cabinet, when you drive down the street, when you read a magazine, when you scroll through social media, and when you turn on your television.  You can feel it when a healthcare topic comes up, when you go to the doctor’s office, and when you pay your insurance bills.  It is the blinder that has been pulled over your eyes to keep you ignorant to a rather harsh reality…

What harsh reality?

That healthcare in America, though a highly influential and profitable system, is broken.  For multiple generations and counting, it has been imprisoned by a fundamentally flawed mindset that health is, rather than a multi-factorial personal responsibility, a state of being that can seemingly be achieved only by surrendering control to various forms of pharmaceutical medicine and its supporters. 

Unfortunately, no one can be told what the Medtrix is…you have to see it for yourself.  So, this is your chance to gain clarity on a subject that can make you feel a bit like Alice, tumbling down the rabbit-hole.  You cannot unlearn the information about to be shared.  Figuratively, you may take the blue pill, stop reading this, and move on with your day; but you may also take the red pill, read on, and learn how deep the rabbit-hole goes.  All that is being offered here is the truth, nothing more. 

Consider the definition of health by American standards – when you are free of injury or illness or symptoms – and the means about which that definition of health is achieved – drug therapies primarily, followed by surgical procedures.  80% of all the pharmaceuticals in the entire world are consumed in the United States, despite Americans making up just 5% of the world’s population.  Doctors and researchers at the prestigious medical universities of Harvard and Johns Hopkins have attempted to make public knowledge that, in large part because we over-consume pharmaceuticals, the 3rd leading cause of death in America is medical error; and both institutions have made inferences to the accuracy of conclusions drawn by other researchers that medical error is actually the #1 cause of death in the United States.  Is it really so hard to believe?  We see and hear drug ads that warn of these dangers daily, but they rarely register.

The USA also ranks #1 worldwide in unnecessary surgeries.  In fact, a quarter of the spending on healthcare in America has been deemed unnecessary – unwarranted labs and diagnostic imaging included.  Of all the industrialized nations, the United States grossly outspends its peers, with nearly 20% of the gross domestic product dedicated to pharmaceuticals and surgeries; dollars spent on so-termed “alternatives to medicine,” for reference, is 0.001% of the $10,379 average per person spent on drugs and surgery.  Yet, while we spend far more than the other industrialized countries, we rank last among them in outcomes.  The truth, it seems, is not without a sense of irony; we spend more money than everyone else to be sicker than everyone else. 

“Health” insurance premiums being so high are both a by-product of the above and fuel to sustain it.  Whereas once it was used to protect against the financial burdens of hospitalization, it has in modern times been heavily over-utilized for situations that are mostly inappropriate.  The third party payer trend has created a dynamic in which premiums organically keep rising.  After all, the law of insurance states that the greater the likelihood of grim circumstances, then the more money it will cost to purchase insurance against them.  Free your mind, walk through the door; insurance is most affordable when fewer claims are being filed, but if the majority of health issues are designated as “in need of a conventional doctor's pharmaceutical recommendations” and if those physician-recommended drugs are only affordable through insurance, then premiums cannot decrease. 

What is the Medtrix?  Control.  The Medtrix is a system of diagnosing and treating symptoms and disease masquerading as something it is not by attaching words like “health” and “wellness” to its literature and social lexicon; it has tragically convinced the population, including most doctors, that health is an instantly-gratifying proposition that requires little to no personal effort, stimulating reliance on its methods and its methods alone.  We have adopted rules and regulations perfectly suited for the Medtrix that are built not on being healthy, but rather on addressing the various symptoms that stem from being unhealthy; and the insurance industry that supports it is no more about health than life insurance is about life. 

Many who are reading this already knew something about the Medtrix.  What you knew, perhaps you could not have explained, but you felt it.  You have likely felt it ever since the first time that you questioned the teachings of conventional medicine; that there is something wrong with American healthcare.  You may not have known how to fully contextualize it, but the feeling had been there, like a splinter in your mind, at odds with simple logic and basic laws such as cause and effect.  Some of you have even attempted to speak out against the flaws of the system and encountered great and at times torrid resistance from those so inured and so hopefully dependent on the system that they would fight for it even in the face of overwhelming statistical evidence.

To you and the others in the process of getting unplugged, if you will, from the Medtrix, there is a difference between knowing the path and walking the path.  The information shared today is not a reflection of how the story of American healthcare is going to end; rather, it sets the stage for how the story of American healthcare is going to begin.  The grassroots movement away from the pharmaceutical philosophy is going to continue to exemplify that health can be achieved without its methods, to empower people with proper education on healthy lifestyles, to prioritize drugs and surgery as the last resort instead of the only option, and to only use third party payers for emergencies, as is the case with all other insurance types.  We can change American healthcare.  Where we go from here is a choice left to you.

Thinking good things for you, as always,

-Dr. Chad