Posts Tagged ‘Intelligent’

Your Philosophy May Be Vitalistic, But Is Your Art?

Monday, October 8th, 2007

Your Philosophy May Be Vitalistic, But Is Your Art Mechanistic?

What is Vitalism?

1) Theory that life originates due to a force distinct from chemical and other physical forces. The classical 18th century vitalist doctrines propose that all life phenomena are animated by immaterial life spirits. These life spirits are unexplainable and undescribable from a physical point of view, but determine the various life phenomena.

2) Where vitalism explicitly invokes a vital principle, that element is often referred to as the “vital spark,” “energy” or “élan vital,” which some equate with the “soul.” Vitalism has a long history in medical philosophies: most traditional healing practices posited that disease was the result of some imbalance in the vital energies which distinguish living from non-living matter.

3) Was once a term of Aristotle pertaining to a cosmic force known as “ether” that was supposedly giving life to dead things.

Chiropractic has a vitalistic philosophy in the sense that we claim we all have an innate intelligence which gives our human bodies their healing potential - the ability to intelligently regenerate. To take this one step further, it was proposed by our pioneers that this information is transmitted through the body via the “Mental Impulse”. This is a separate and distinct concept to that of action potentials and electrical currents…

D.D. Palmer: “Chiropractors do not treat diseases, they adjust the wrong which creates disease; they have discovered the simple fact that the human body is a sensitive piece of machinery, run throughout all its parts by mental impulse.” (1910)

Stephenson: “We might conceive of this mental impulse as being composed of certain kinds of physical energies, in proper proportions, which will balance other such forces in the Tissue Cell; as electricity, valency, magnetism, cohesion, etc., etc.. Perhaps some of these energies are not known to us in physics. What right have we to assume that we have found them all? The writer presents this as a hypothesis or theory in order to get a working basis… It is no discredit to Chiropractic that it must also use theories concerning the transmission of mental forces.” (1927)

So, here’s the challenge - how does this affect the way we adjust each and very patient? Is our application, or the “Art” of doing what we do, a reflection and outpouring of this vitalistic philosophy? Let’s contrast the above definitions of vitalism with those of mechanism…


1) Machine part: A machine or part of a machine that performs a specific task.

2) Something like machine: Something that resembles a machine in having a structure of interrelated parts that function together the fragile mechanism of the planet’s ecology.

3) Method or means: A method or means of doing something.

4) Philosophy philosophical theory: The philosophical theory that all natural phenomena, including human behavior, can be explained by physical causes and processes.

To be perfectly honest - this sounds more like the practice of chiropractic as it is practised in most chiropractors’ rooms.

Now here’s the challenge: If we have a vitalistic philosophy, but this has no application in what we do - then what’s the point of having this philosophy? After all - isn’t the purpose of a philosophy to provide an internal compass, via which we make decisions about what we think and believe, and hence how we behave?

This leaves us with two options…

1) Jettison our traditional philosophy and replace it with one that sounds more like the mechanistic methods - so that our Art follows on from our philosophy - that is - change our philosophy to match our behaviour.

2) Upgrade our behaviours so that they align with our core vitalistic philosophy.

Torque Release Technique provides chiropractors with a much more vitalistic model of applying their philosophy on each and every patient. And here’s what most practitioners find when they make this upgrade - they see more vitalistic changes in their practice members: Over and above the garden variety mechanistic changes - That is - they see MORE LIFE returning into the faces, minds and bodies of their patients.

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Tuesday, July 24th, 2007

What are the secret ingredients which define a chiropractic adjustment? What are the features that separate an adjustment from other therapeutic modalities? What are the factors that differentiate a good adjustment from a bad adjustment?

Most definitions of “Adjustment” are very mechanistic in nature: “Moving the joints of the spine beyond a person’s usual physiological range of motion using a fast low-amplitude thrust”; “low-amplitude, high-velocity thrusts in which vertebrae are carried beyond the normal physiological range of movement without exceeding the boundaries of anatomic integrity”. The glaring pitfalls of such predominant definitions are that not all chiropractic adjustments carry the joints into their para-physiological range: Does this mean that SOT Blocks are not an adjustment, and that all instrument-based adjusting protocols are not chiropractic?

Perhaps it is time that we re-define the core components that describe a chiropractic adjustment?

Early chiropractic concepts spoke of universal and innate intelligence, the mental impulse, and proposed that a chiropractic adjustment doesn’t correct anything, but innate utilises the forces transmitted to the body following an adjustment to correct itself: In other words, the body is intelligent, but sometimes needs information from an external source to be able to make better perceptions, decisions and choices.

So, an adjustment is not so much an imposition of our will upon another person’s physiology; as it is the delivery of a new and enlightening piece of information which attempts to facilitate neurological change.

Torque Release Technique defines an Adjustment as “communication through touch”. What are the fundamental factors of this healing touch?

Perhaps we could define these in a physics-like formula…

A = F × CV × I2

In long-hand this translates to: Adjustment equals Force times Correctional Vector times Intent (squared).

Let’s explore this formula in greater detail:

The times signs indicate that each factor has a more significant impact on the other and on the total result than if instead the addition symbol was present; and that if all factors are present the resulting answer will be huge:

For example, in mathematical terms if each factor = 10, then A = 10 × 10 × 100 = 10,000

If the symbols had been additive the answer would be A = 10 + 10 + 100 = 120

If you minimise one of the factors then the answer is minimized:

To alter the above example slightly, if F = 1, then A = 1 × 10 × 100 = 1,000

The square symbol shows the “I” factor has the potential for greater impact: If this factor is small then the formula will not change much. Increase this factor and its impact becomes greater and greater at an exponential rate:

For example if we alter our original formula so that I = 1, then A = 10 × 10 × 1 = 100

Whereas if I = 100, then A = 10 × 10 × 10,000 = 1,000,000!!

Now let’s define the factors in more detail:

Force = Mass × Acceleration:

This is an old Newtonian formula. Every adjustment has force – an adjustment with no force at all is just a good intention. To increase force we either increase the mass or the acceleration, and if you increase both then the force greatly increases. In terms of a chiropractic adjustment, any experienced chiropractor knows the importance of speed over mass: The quicker you are the less the mass you have to use, and the more easily an adjustment is accepted. I guarantee that an adjustment will appear “heavy-handed” to a client due to excessive mass, and not due to excessive speed

Correctional Vector = Contact Point + Three-Dimensional Vector:

The force of an adjustment must have a point of contact and a direction: Specificity is what separates chiropractic adjustment from so many other therapeutic modalities, and without correctional vector I doubt that chiropractic would have attained separate and distinct status. Firstly we are more discerning in where we place our hands; for example, we don’t just stretch the lumbar spine, we adjust an L5.

Also integral in most chiropractic adjustment protocols is the direction in which we apply our force: Our predominant “listing” systems incorporate three letters to define the direction and combination of vectors in three dimensions, which we utilised in our adjustment. And we may even add a fourth letter to further define our contact point… For example: C2 PLI-S – we contacted C2 and our vector was in a direction to reduce the left and inferior vectors of the subluxation, and we used the spinous process as the contact point.

Intent = Become One + Visualisation + See Whole

R.W. Stephenson described the essential components of intent. Intent could be simply explained as what we are thinking about as we deliver an adjustment. But it can also mean much more than this as it may include our own emotional, physiological and even spiritual states.

“Become One” encompasses an almost spiritual connection that occurs when we as a practitioner enter into another’s “energy” or “intelligence” field. The insinuation is that when we come so close there is an influence between the two fields of intelligence. This has ramifications at a diagnostic level in the sense that we can potentially gather much deeper levels of information if we are perceptive to the other person’s “field”; and at a therapeutic level we potentially enter into a deep level for the transaction of information taking place.

“Visualisation” defines the need to see what we are doing: Can we imagine the structures and tissues that we are examining; can we envisage the impact that our testing and corrective vectors are having on the person’s physiology; can we see the effects of our adjustment before they actually occur?

“See whole” describes our intent: Wholeness. After our practice member is adjusted their mind/body is able to better perceive itself, the communications between mind and body are restored, and their physiology becomes more efficient and effective. Do you expect this? Do you actually SEE this occurring in your mind’s eye?

What separates an adjustment from other therapeutic modalities? The size of each factor illustrates its relative importance in the formula:

Massage = f ( m × a ) × CV × I2

Therapeutic massage is separated from relaxation massage by how deep the practitioner penetrates; that is by how much mass they use: Mass is probably the most dominant vector in the therapeutic formula. Acceleration is extremely small as most massage involves slow strokes. The vectors are usually unfocussed and very mixed, sometimes the more directions you sweep across a muscle the better. Intent is somewhat diminished due to poor visualization (most masseurs have inferior anatomical and physiological knowledge) but will have a high degree of connection and a desire to see whole.

Manipulation = f ( m × a ) × CV × I2

Manipulation is usually a mechanistic attempt to produce separation and preferably cavitation of joint surfaces: The Mass is increased and Acceleration is relatively high to achieve this end. Correctional vectors are minimised usually only involving two dimensions and are not seen as so important many times both directions/sides being manipulated to maximise the stretch effect. The intent is small, the need to become one being irrelevant, visualization being for the purpose of finding the structure to be manipulated and the outcome seen being no bigger than to cavitate a joint or to increase flexibility.

Acupuncture = f ( m × a ) × CV × I2

An acupuncture needle delivers minimal mass with no acceleration, so force is almost absent. The correctional vectors are so important, much care being taken in the location of the needles and in the precision of their insertion. The contact points are very different to a chiropractic adjustment relying on a totally different bodily system. The vitalistic intent of the acupuncturist must be considered equal to that of the principled chiropractor as they too expect great things from their therapeutic modality and it could even be argued that they are bolder in their therapeutic claims.

What differentiates a great adjustment from a bad adjustment? The adjustment with “that something extra” requires a precise combination of the secret ingredients…

Great Adjustment = f ( m × a ) × CV × I2

Bad Adjustment = f ( m × a ) × CV × I2

Keys to the adjustment with “that something extra”…

  • Maximise acceleration and minimise Mass.
  • Utilise a precise system to determine the most effective combination of contact point and correctional vectors.
  • Maximise Intent by respecting and perceiving the connection between you and your practice member, visualizing every aspect of your analysis and correction, and having a clear picture of the intended outcomes.

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