The Chiropractic Zone
[originally published in The Higher Source, March 1997 and then KCN, September 1998]
I recently received a book from my mother. It was the new and controversial “diet” book, The Zone, by Barry Sears, PhD. Although grateful for the gift, I was a bit perplexed. I, out of everyone in my family, was the last one that needed to think about dieting. I soon learned the book was not about dieting, but about food and how it affects our body’s metabolism. Knowing that I often field dietary questions from my patients, my mother felt I should be familiar with this popular book.
I must say, while a bit skeptical at first, the information Dr. Sears presented was fascinating and made a lot of sense. By correctly monitoring the ratios of proteins, carbohydrates, and the fats we eat, not only will we lose weight, but, more importantly, we will have more energy, feel better, and stay healthier. While the intent of this article is not to review or endorse Dr. Sear’s book, it really perked my interest and motivated me to write this article. Just what is this “Zone” he is referring to?
“The Zone,” as described by Dr. Sears, is “…that mysterious but very real state in which your body and mind work together at their ultimate best.” He continues by describing the health benefits of the Zone: “The little illnesses that plague us all — colds, flus, allergies — seem to happen less often. When they do hit, they’re not as severe.” Dr. Sears labels the Zone as a “new kind of low-cost yet ultra-effective health-care reform”— explaining this as, “a reform in which the individual takes charge of his or her own body, and keeps that body in a state of exquisite good health.” The Zone is not about wellness, the absence of disease. “The Zone,” as Dr. Sears states, “is about optimal health..”
Wow! Hallelujah! Amen! We chiropractors have been trying to convey this message for over 100 years! To hear it from another professional’s viewpoint was gratifying. Chiropractors are viewed by many as “back” doctors. While it is true that we are quite effective at getting people out of pain and back into life without the use of drugs or surgery, many people are unaware that regular chiropractic care is helpful in achieving “The Zone” that Dr. Sears describes.
Chiropractic is based on maintaining optimum health by influencing the nervous system, arguably the most important system of the body. Without it, all other systems would cease to exist. This system is so important that its “master control,” the brain and spinal cord, are encased in bone. The brain communicates to every organ, tissue, and cell in the body by sending messages down the spinal cord, branching out one of the many nerve roots, and through the miles and miles of nerves until it reaches its intended destination. To complete the circuit, a “return” nerve follows the same course back to the brain; thus enabling a continuous form of communication. Chiropractors concentrate their attention on optimizing this nerve communication.
The 24 vertebrae in our spine not only encase the spinal cord, but they also physically allow us to bend and twist. If our spine was one continuous bone, our movement would be quite limited. Nerves exit out the spine at each vertebral level. In a perfect world, this wouldn’t be much of a problem; but, because of our physically abusive lifestyles, whether rigorous or sedentary, stress can be placed on some of the vertebrae, making them less mobile or simply “stuck.” Consequently, the nerves in this area can become irritated. And while irritated nerves often lead to painful symptoms, more importantly they decrease that nerve’s ability to function properly. Often the effect is minor (similar to a slow drip from a faucet), but on a grander scale it can often affect whether someone is just feeling “okay” or feeling “fantastic.” Chiropractic is sort of like fine tuning your stereo so the bass, mid-range, and treble are all in perfect harmony. By freeing-up and restoring proper movement back to the vertebrae, your nerves are able to function at 100% of their genetic potential, and thus allow your body to achieve its peak level of performance.
Please do not misunderstand me. I am not saying there is a “magic bullet” for optimal health. I am saying is that optimal health requires a proper balance of appropriate health care, the right diet, adequate rest, regular exercise, and a healthy attitude. When you achieve this balance, you are in “The Zone.” It’s worth going after.