Archive for March, 2012:
When a musician picks up a guitar, he or she first checks the tuning before beginning to play a song. Each string must be properly taut, and more, they must be in proper tension with all the other strings. This is because the strings resonate with each other. Fortunately for the purposes of this metaphor, a guitar is tuned at the neck! And so are we! Our muscles and tendons and ligaments are strung between our bones under a light tension even at rest. Just as a guitar string needs to be under tension to produce a tone that will sustain and vibrate the string, so our muscles and the sinews between them must be under a bit of tension so that they can respond and act in a coordinated manner.
It isn’t enough for a string to be under a bit of tension. It must also be in proper relationship to all the other strings. Our bodies are the same way. All of the muscles must be in balance so that they act in in concert with each other, allowing us to move and act in an efficient way. It is possible for a master guitarist to perhaps find where the notes are on a poorly tuned guitar and play a song. It would take great effort and the notes wouldn’t be at the frets where they usually are found because the tuning is off. We do the same thing when we are out of upper cervical adjustment. When our nervous systems are out of tune, we call it ‘out of adjustment’. We must adapt and compensate to continue to perform the activities of our lives. When the tension is unbalanced, we find one leg going short compared to the other one. One hip may be higher and twisted forward or backward. Our torsos must then lean back toward the middle to keep the forces of gravity from making us fall down. Last, but certainly not least, the head acts to fine tune this fall-back strategy. It is the fine tuning for our posture. We are forever dancing with gravity and when we are in adjustment we are optimally prepared for what life brings to us.
Unlike guitars, we must also be in tune with our environments. We aren’t as separate from our world as we might think. It isn’t enough to be in tune just within ourselves. We must also be in tune with the never-ending force of gravity. Everyone who moves about on the Earth must contend with gravity and its consequences. When we can stand tall, with equal weight on our two feet, with a level and untwisted pelvis, our head on straight, directly above the center of gravity in our pelvis, this makes for the finely tuned instrument we know as an optimally functioning human being! We are forever dancing with gravity and when we are in adjustment we are optimally prepared for what life brings to us. We can then use the minimal amount of our precious energy to act in our lives, saving our resources for other important tasks like thinking and digesting our food.
When we are out of adjustment, the opposite occurs. We must power up just to stand up. We must use more tension in our muscles to keep ourselves upright and move about. Like the center pole in an old pup tent, if our spine is not standing up straight and instead leans to one side, the ropes that are attached to it find themselves with very unequal tension. Tension on one side is ratcheted down, having to literally keep the pole from proceeding on to the ground. The other rope is loose. In human beings this situation also occurs and people can rub their skin and feel a tension and thickening in their necks and shoulders and backs. This is because unlike a rope, our bodies adapt and change all the time. Our muscles become unequal. They get used to this inequality and actually change shape! The majority of our energy is used by our muscles to move us about in our world. When we are out of tune the energy cost accelerates.
When we are out of adjustment, out of tune, our energy is shunted away from important activities like thinking and wound healing and cellular repairs. All the elements in our bodies need to be in tune with each other. Our internal organs serve to create a steady environment within us. They help give the power to the muscles so we can move and interact with our environment. When we are out of adjustment, out of tune, our energy is shunted away from important activities like thinking and wound healing and cellular repairs.
We must use more of our life energy to just stand up and move around. So this is what upper cervical chiropractic patients already know: when we are in adjustment, our life works better and easier. We can think better and we have an ease in moving about. We know life is more fun when we are ‘in tune’ and our life can become the beautiful symphony it is intended.
Michael D. Thomas, RN, BS, DC