“How does Network Spinal Analysis work? How does such a gentle contact make such a difference?”
This is by far the most common question I am asked by my patients. When looked at scientifically, the answer to this question is quite complex, yet there is I story I tell that answers it quite clearly. What’s profound about this story is that not only does it describe how network works, but it also describes the process of how we get sick and how we heal.
Here is “The Parable of the Fortress.” Enjoy!
Imagine a small, peaceful village. Farmers, merchants, women, children….all going about their daily routine. There is no danger. There are no threats.
Part I: Defense / Dis-Ease
Suddenly, a group of bandits arrive on horseback. They burn the houses. They steal their treasures. A few of the villagers are injured….a few are killed and the bandits leave. The villagers realize that there is now a danger. There is a threat. The villagers realize that they are no longer safe and need to defend themselves. They build a wall around their village with a gateway to enter and exit.
The bandits return. They climb over the wall. They dig under the wall. They smash the wall. They ride through the gateway. They burn the houses. They steal their treasures. A few of the villagers are injured….a few are killed and the bandits leave. The villagers realize that they are still in danger. There is a greater threat. They build a taller, deeper, thicker, stronger wall around the first wall with a smaller gateway to enter and exit.
And so it goes….on and on…building wall after wall.
The first half of the parable demonstrates the process of disease. As we go through life, we experience stress. These stresses may be of a physical, emotional/mental, or chemical nature.
Whenever we perceive any change in our external environment, a part of our brain asks one question: “Am I in danger? Is there a threat?” If the answer is “YES,” the brain initiates a response called “The Fight-or-Flight or Stress Response” and the body begins a series of reactions called “Defense Physiology.”
Just as the villagers put up walls around their village to protect them from the bandits, so does the body put up a defense to protect us.
This quote from Kurt Vonnegut’s “Breakfast of Champions” describes the process well:
“My mind sent a message to my hypothalamus, told it to release the hormone CRF into the short vessels connecting my hypothalamus and my pituitary gland. The CRF inspired my pituitary gland to dump the hormone ACTH into my bloodstream. My pituitary had been making and storing ACTH for just such an occasion. And nearer and nearer the zeppelin came.
And some of the ACTH in my bloodstream reached the outer shell of my adrenal gland, which had been making and storing glucocorticoids for emergencies. My adrenal gland added the glucocorticoids to my bloodstream. They went all over my body changing glycogen into glucose. Glucose was muscle food. It would help me fight like a wild cat or run like a deer. And nearer and nearer the zeppelin came.
My adrenal gland gave me a shot of adrenaline, too. I turned purple as my blood pressure skyrocketed. The adrenaline made my heart go like a burglar alarm. It also stood my hair on end. It also caused coagulants to pour into my bloodstream, so, in case I was wounded, my vital juices wouldn’t drain away. Everything my body had done so far fell within normal operating procedures for a human machine. “
Research now shows that 95% of all disease is a result of this stress response and defense physiology. In fact, the top 10 most diagnosed ailments are the body remaining in the stress response even after the threat is gone. Look at this table of the stress response in relation to the top 10 most diagnosed ailments.
- Adrenalin Pumped into Blood
- Blood Pressure Increases
- Heart Rate Increases
- Shallow, Rapid Breathing
- Blood Sugar Increases
- Muscle Tension Increases
- Pupils of Eyes Dilate
- Immunity is Turned Off
- Digestion is Turned Off
- Sexual Function is Turned Off
Top 10 Most Diagnosed Ailments
- 6 Depression and Anxiety
- 1 High Blood Pressure
- 10 Heart Palpitations
- 3 Respiratory Disease
- 4 Diabetes
- 5 Back/Neck Pain and Headaches
- 9 Vision Problems
- 2 Allergies and Frequent Colds
- 7 Digestive Disorders
- 8 Impotency
As you can see, when compared, there is a direct correlation between these two lists. In fact, the top 10 most diagnosed ailments are the long term effects of the body being stuck in the Fight-or-Flight Stress Response and Defense Physiology.
It is important to understand that in the dis-ease process, the brain and body believe that it is in danger. On some unconscious level, we made a decision, due to our experiences, that the world and our lives are not safe. Therefore, the body is continuing the stress response so that we SURVIVE the threat. It is the wall around the village.
This “wall around the village” is most obvious in our spine as muscle tension, altered posture, and reduced range of motion. In Network Spinal Analysis, we refer to this as Defense Posture, often seen as a roundedness in the back, the pelvis tucked under and the head forward. It can also be seen in the posture as a high shoulder or hip.
Traditionally in the healing arts, whether it be medicine, chiropractic, massage, acupuncture, physical therapy and so on, the strategy has been twofold. The first strategy is to attack and kill off the threat. Medical doctors may prescribe antibiotics to fight off a germ and natural practitioners may prescribe herbs, nutrients or stress management techniques to reduce the stress-load on the body.
The second strategy is to attack “the wall” itself – “the wall” representing the components of the stress response as listed above. The medical doctor may prescribe blood pressure medication, while the chiropractor will restore the vertebra to its proper position and the massage therapist will massage the muscle until relaxed. And so on. In other words, to “climb over, dig under or smash the walls.”
Unfortunately, because the body is intelligent and it creates the stress response in order to protect itself from a perceived threat (whether real or imagined), just as in the parable of the Fortress, unless the brain, nervous system and body begin to “believe” it is safe once again, it will continue to initiate the stress response and put back its defense, usually with a “higher, deeper, thicker, stronger wall.”
That is why the symptoms, tensions, ailments keep coming back, never fully heal and become a chronic condition.
If you examine the Fight or Flight Stress response, you will begin to realize that when the body goes into defense, all of the mechanisms of healing and growth are diminished or stopped completely.
Ergo, when the body begins to let go of the stress response and the resultant defense physiology, then and only then can the body begin to heal.
Part II: Letting Go / Healing /Ease
Now, imagine years and years have passed. The bandits continued to attack the village year after year. The villagers continued to build thicker and thicker, deeper and deeper, higher and higher walls around the village with one tiny gateway to enter and exit. There is a vast fortress now around the village with many walls, with a gateway in each wall. The fortress is now impenetrable and the bandits have left never to be seen again. The villagers live in their fortress still believing they are in danger. There is a threat.
The truth: There is no longer a danger. There is no longer a threat.
One day, a wise sage arrives at the fortress. He knocks on the gateway. The soldiers guarding the gate demand, “Who goes there?” The sage answers, “I come with a message and a gift.” The guards frisk him, check his credentials, interview him and determine that it is safe to let him through the first wall….the first gateway. The villagers inside the first wall greet him and ask him for his message.
He tells them… “You are safe.” The villagers invite him to stay and after a few days they decide to tear down the outer wall.
The wise sage approaches the gateway in the next wall. He knocks on the gateway. The soldiers guarding the gate demand, “Who goes there?” The sage answers, “I come with a message and a gift.” The guards frisk him, check his credentials, interview him and determine that it is safe to let him through the next wall….the next gateway. The villagers inside the second wall greet him and ask him for his message.
He tells them…“You are safe.” The villagers invite him to stay and after a few days they decide to tear down the second wall.
And so it goes….on and on….until all the walls are down.
The second half of the parable demonstrates the healing process available through Network Spinal Analysis. Rather than trying to fix anything, correct anything, treat anything, we take the approach of the wise sage. We bring a message to the brain, nervous system and body.
“You are safe.”
How do we do this? Through Network Spinal Analysis (NSA), we first determine where the body is in defense.
These areas are in a state of tension. These may be areas of pain or discomfort, but more often they are areas that you are totally unaware of. They are areas “disconnected.” They are unresponsive to stimuli, but instead react with greater defense when touched or “treated.” In NSA, we tend to avoid these areas, where in other health-care practices, they are the area of treatment.
Next, we analyze the spine to find what we call “Spinal Gateways.”
Spinal gateways are often found right above, below or on the opposite side of the area of defense. They are areas of calm and ease, free of tension. They are very responsive to light touch. By making a gentle contact on the spinal gateway, at just the right time, with just the right amount of force, the attention of the brain is brought to this center of peace and for a moment, it decides, “I am safe.” Suddenly, you may feel yourself take a sigh-like deep breath….you may feel like you want to move or stretch and you begin to become aware of the area of defense as it starts to relax. You begin to feel the first “wall” come down.
Through a series of levels of care, we continue to develop these gateways, as the body “decides” to let go of all the dominant patterns of defense it has accumulated over a lifetime.
We do not force, coerce or direct the body to do anything through any medication or therapy. We simply bring it the message of safety and invite the body to let go of defense.
Through this process, the body heals.