– The Gentle Touch of Wellness
By Freelance Writer Ellen Lovinger Eller
Health is the body’s natural state. But sometimes physical and emotional traumas disrupt innate wellness, causing spinal tensions and subluxations, or misalignments, of vertebrae… irritating, stretching or actually scarring the nerve tissue of the spinal cord.
Most forms of chiropractic correct subluxations through assertive structural adjustments twists of the body and limbs, controlled pressure at key points leading to audible “cracks” as vertebrae come back into alignment. The practitioner’s skill can alleviate many types of disease as well as pain, especially pain associated with accidents and injuries.
But Network Chiropractic, also known as Network Spinal Analysis (NSA), offers an additional healing dimension by focusing on mental and emotional traumas lodged in the brain and spinal cord over the course of a lifetime. And although trained in regular chiropractic techniques, instead of intensive structural manipulations, the Network Chiropractor lightly and precisely touches the connective tissue along the spine to release the tension and pain created by those emotional blockages.
NSA was born in 1982, when Dr. Donald Epstein, a New York chiropractor, began “networking” chiropractic techniques and comparing the effectiveness of various combinations. He had found that patients’ suffering was often the result of emotional and mental traumas lodged in the central nervous system, creating tension that robbed the spinal cord of its flexibility, pulling it and the surrounding muscles out of alignment, and he was looking for ways to improve the results of traditional spinal adjustments.
Dr. Epstein’s astute observations led to a breakthrough departure from conventional structural manipulations. He discovered that he could release blockages by gently touching soft tissue along the spine in a precise sequence… and that, when he adjusted certain segments of the spine before others, the body would often “self-correct,” moving naturally in response to the realignment of the first segment.
How Are You Feeling?
Do you have pain from a fall? Do you suffer from digestive problems or migraines? Are you plagued by sore knees, muscle spasms, chronic fatigue, allergies? NSA can alleviate such problems—but you’ll have to take an active role in the healing process, because Network Chiropractic is about increasing self awareness, empowering the individual to feel better by connecting to his intrinsic power for health.
The fact is NSA expands the very concept of “wellness.” As Dr. Epstein has said, “Network Spinal Analysis sits within a new paradigm– the Wellness Paradigm. Wellness is not about whether a person has disease. It’s about their internal experience of their body, the ability to make constructive healthy choices, and their ability to enjoy life and be well. Wellness is that state of concern in which you are relatively invincible, nothing can ruin your day; you feel alive, vital and confident and experience a high state of well-being. When you experience wellness, your circumstances of the moment do not easily upset your internal state.”
So the intention of the NSA practitioner is to teach your body new strategies for becoming more open, more fluid and more connected by identifying specific “spinal gateways” that become self-reference points through which you can reorient your physical body.
This new orientation gives NSA patients an opportunity to break away from old mental and emotional holding patterns and gain a new sense of being able to move easily and breathe deeply.
Catching the Waves:
Three Levels of Care
The gentle touches along the spine in NSA care cue the brain to create wellness promoting strategies, and two “healing waves” develop as a result of those cues, allowing for the release of spinal and life tensions, improved motion and a feeling of well-being. The “Somatopsychic” wave is associated with a dolphin-like undulation or movement of the spine during treatment, an indication that the body and mind are connecting fully. The “Respiratory” wave involves profound rhythmic breathing that begins at the base of the spine, moves upward between the shoulder blades, around the shoulders and into the neck, “melting” vertebral tension, enhancing the correction of subluxations and bringing the patient to a deep level of relaxation.
These waves, unique to Network Chiropractic, have been shown to assist in the self-regulation of tension and energy within the body’s matrix of nerve, bone and connective tissue. They move energy that has become “stuck,” letting the body revitalize and self-correct distortions in alignment and posture.
Patients progress through three levels of NSA care, more or less riding the waves.
In Level 1, the objective is to develop awareness of the Respiratory wave, gradually releasing body-mind defensive tensions rigidity in response to stresses and fears as more areas of the spine begin to move in rhythm with the breath.
As the patient’s system develops the breath wave, he learns to reassess and reorganize the body/mind link, gaining greater awareness of that connection.
Level 2 builds on the safety mechanism of the breath wave, helping the individual tap into that old tension as fuel for transformation while the NSA practitioner’s touch produces Somatopsychic waves. It happens without conscious thought, yet gives the patient a strategy for energetic self-regulation. As the wave becomes more refined, the vertebrae begin moving more independently, producing the sensation of energy rippling up and down the spine. Old patterns of tension fade and patients commonly note a willingness to make conscious behavioral changes and choices about the way they want to live.
In Level 3, the body develops a more refined strategy to retrieve and reorganize energy for transformation and evolution — a process that leads with the heart rather than the mind. The patient’s awareness and ability to self-correct increase and the body learns to focus breath and energy into the chest and heart, where an experience of love and gratitude is felt . . . increased compassion for others, heightened intuition and a deepening of self-knowledge.
What’s Treatment Like?
You won’t have your muscles massaged, your body contorted or your spine cracked, nor will you get needles, drugs or electrical stimulation.
You’re also not likely to be lonely. NSA offices commonly have a number of massage-type tables for treating several (fully clothed) people at once, with the doctor moving among them. It’s efficient for the healer, and it boosts the efficacy of the treatment for all involved. When one person experiences a change — a sense of ease — it seems to spread, facilitating a comparable opening for the other people in the room as well. (Some patients, such as those with chemical sensitivity, do receive private treatments.)
The Network Chiropractor will make a gentle adjustment along the spine, let your body respond for a minute or two, and evaluate any changes and shifts in structure that have occurred from what was done. The practitioner then chooses another gentle manipulation that suits the “new you” and, step-by-step, directs your body toward self-discoveries and subconscious-level changes to bring you into greater alignment.
It is leverage that allows the NSA practitioner to achieve maximum results through light touches. By waiting between each maneuver and letting the body shift in response, the healer ensures that instead of overpowering a person’s nervous system, the patient’s body does most of the work itself.
When a contact is applied to a “spinal gateway,” or “access point,” along the neck and lower spine, the frontal lobes of the cerebral cortex are engaged. It is the region of the brain that lets us observe ourselves and make behavioral choices…the area through which we embrace our spirituality.
As the body learns new strategies, becoming more interconnected throughout the physical form, the individual experiences a growing sense of expansiveness and opening of the heart. Ultimately, it is this which relieves pain, removes old emotional scars, and enriches the quality of life.
– Ellen Eller grew up in Long Island, N.Y., and worked as a copywriter for
Doubleday’s book clubs before moving to Shelburne Falls, Mass., in 2004 with
her husband, Michael, and daughter Emily, a New York City teacher. She now
works as a freelance writer and editor serving both private and corporate
clients, including Chicago Review Press, the Gorilla Foundation andShelburne
Falls’ weekly paper, the West County News. She was a regular contributor to
Transformational Times, the newsletter of Moriah Marston’s School of the Golden
Disks, and has been writing for Wisdom magazine since 2005.
– By Ellen Lovinger Eller