Posts Tagged ‘Mechanistic’

Who needs a Paradigm Shift?

Thursday, March 21st, 2013

Paradigm shift is an often heard phrase in chiropractic motivational circles – and as a profession we have been waiting for the community to have the necessary paradigm shift to comprehend and gravitate towards our vitalistic healing services. But what if it is us that need the paradigm shift?

We beat up on the medical profession and quote the growing body of evidence of harm produced by pharmacy and surgery. We beat up on the common man as though he is too simple to understand that a spinal adjustment can release his inborn healing potential. But even if these two scenarios are true – can we change them? Can you make someone else have a paradigm shift? Will a research paper convert the medical profession to refer each and every inpatient to our rooms instead? Will a better spinal health care class transform the average Jo into a compliant, new patient referring machine? If we could just get our educational brochure to say what we really want it to say, then the world will finally notice us? Maybe a glossy TV advertising campaign will convert the masses…

If chiropractic is the answer that many of us think it is – and I’m not talking about curing cancer, turning HIV+ to HIV-, blind seeing, lame walking and deaf hearing: I’m talking about the ability of chiropractic adjustments to improve quality of life – regardless of the ailment. Haven’t we been around long enough for others to notice this is happening? Maybe not enough have seen what we see because:

1) It isn’t happening – maybe the clinical benefits from adjustments aren’t as big as we would hope?? Maybe only a small percentage of adjustments release innate intelligence – If so, is this a failing of chiropractic or of chiropractors? I am a huge fan of objective functional assessments and progress exams, but in my long involvement with professional development I have noticed that few in our profession truly share this obsession. Most want a tool that converts sceptics to long term practice members – few want to have their therapeutic effectiveness or lack thereof exposed and measured. I have to be honest that I have needed to make some significant shifts in the way I do things to find ways to more consistently and significantly improve function – and I am still looking for better ways.

2) It is happening but we don’t have the evidence to show anyone else. I am bamboozled by members of our profession that desire to limit our scope of practice to musculoskeletal pain on the basis that there isn’t any evidence to support any wider claims. I wonder how you can adjust large numbers of people and not see internal physiological improvements of some sort – surely at least one asthmatic, bed-wetter, parkinsonian, multiple sclerotic, migrainous, immune deficient would have returned to their office and thanked them for the help? Maybe not? But I think that this alludes to a wider challenge – how do we SEE the changes that our adjustments deliver? Can an Xray do it, CAT scan, MRI, blood test? My fantasy is that we will develop the skill and acumen to decipher which body function tests best measure the most important changes that occur in someone who receives regular chiropractic care. I’m a bit disappointed with our scientific and academic community that this hasn’t already been achieved: I don’t think the oswestry questionnaire is the answer…

3) It is happening, and we have the evidence, but we can’t get the message out. There’s a neuroscience to marketing – and I don’t think we use it – in fact to a degree we are forbidden to use it. I’ve never been fully able to find the words or images that convey the message that I want my surrounding community to perceive and comprehend. I’m still looking for the perfect imagery that encompasses a subluxation – and it is definitely not the one with two vertebrae pinching against each other and shrivelling the spinal nerve. And I scratch my head as to how McDonalds, Coca-Cola and other life threatening products succeed where I fail. But I do know that if you tell the wrong story then you will be misunderstood – I don’t think that anyone will expect improved quality and quantity of life from visiting a profession that promotes themselves as the spinal care experts.

Paradigm shifts birth from A-Ha moments: Someone looks at why and how they do things and all of a sudden sees a problem, but more than that, they envision a different way of thinking, being and doing: The thought that a circle could be turned into transport, electricity into light, sound transmitted along wires or through the air etc etc. So what is the paradigm shift awaiting chiropractic?

We have this concept that spinal dysfunction leads to nerve dysfunction. And regardless of our technique, practice management style, straight or narrow, type o or type m etc – the language of chiropractic tends to centre back to this one concept. And we claim that this is a vitalistic concept – it’s not – it is a mechanistic concept!

IF we are vitalistic then we need to practice with model, theory and technique that are also vitalistic. Let me illustrate what I believe was a paradigm shift in my own chiropractic world. We say that a Subluxation is a mechanical lesion which can interfere with the transmission of something in the nervous system (Let’s not argue today about whether that something is intelligence, mental impulse, action potentials, neuropeptides, type c fibres, proprioceptors – Whatever). What if the mechanical lesion is not the cause – what if it is merely a symptom of what’s really going on? It’s not a huge paradigm shift in terms of language but what if a Subluxation is a neurological lesion first and foremost? What we see and intervene against is a manifestation of this disturbed neurological state. Hence our intervention does not necessarily have to be mechanical as is required by the former model – but it does need to be “neurological”.

How else can we describe the variation in adjustment vectors, forces and contact points all having similar therapeutic outcomes: Without regressing to the placebo copout that is. Many have tried to win the argument of which technique is best on biomechanical grounds, but maybe that misses the active ingredient? How often have we seen in the nutritional product world where they try to extract the active ingredient only to find that they have lost something magic in the process?

Stop for a moment and allow your mind to stretch around the idea that the Subluxation is a neurological pattern – an altered state of frequency that may manifest with tightening muscles, reducing range of motion, and amended flow of neuropetides – but the underlying state is at least electrical and perhaps more accurately energetic. When you read this, do you have this internal mental tension attempting to bring it back to the fact there must be a mechanical explanation – if you do then you are not ready for the paradigm shift quite yet.

I’ve been teaching vitalistic, neurological, tonal chiropractic for roughly eight years now and I have observed the furrowing of the chiropractic brow when I present the idea that we can forget the mechanical component of the Subluxation altogether and still be a Chiropractor: DD Palmer predicted that we would find better ways of doing things. But I often have Chiropractors approach me during the refreshment breaks asking “you’re not really serious are you”?

Let me put it another way – we have a public image problem, and a professional image problem. The public has trouble comprehending how a “bone out of place” can produce anything but a sore back bone. And the other health care professions doubt that spinal dysfunction can cause anything but mechanical back pain. And we have to go through this long-winded process of trying to explain spinal anatomy to connect the dots between a vertebra and the immune system, or an organ or even the brain.

What if you just skip the vertebra part of the explanation? If you talk in terms of nervous system only you will observe some different A-Ha experiences occurring in your practice members. As soon as you mention a bone or a muscle their minds will get stuck there and they won’t hear anything else you say. If you hear this statement– “so it’s just a muscle” or “so something is out” – then the chance of new communication has ended.

Here is a challenge for the next two weeks in practice: Do not mention a single bone or muscle. Make all of your conversations about nerves. It’s not easy for most chiropractors and the temptation to take the easy path will be strong. Don’t talk about pinched nerves – that’s a mechanistic concept. Use words like tone, tune, tension, frequency, vibration, electricity, energy, balance, harmony, spinal cord, spinal nerves.

Use illustrations like guitars and pianos being tuned, electricity flowing through the body, fuse-boxes with blown fuses, switchboards with switches in the off position, radios or televisions tuned to the wrong frequency/channel or with volume switches turned up or down too far. Talk about the nervous system and how it controls and regulates every cell in everybody – but avoid the need to then talk about spinal bones – instead talk about the flow of information around the body and how there can be blockages – and how your specialty is to locate and reduce those blockages.

Here’s what you may discover – your practice members stop asking you about whether this will help their sore neck or back, instead they will ask about the internal functions that need help. You see – they innately know that the nervous system controls and regulates every cell in every body. And they innately know that the spinal bones don’t control and regulate every cell in every body. Heresy you say? Paradigm shift I say…

Now give yourself permission to attend a Torque Release Technique Seminar to complete the shift to a vitalistic and neurological adjusting system – one that DD himself aspired to. Check the details of the next TRT Seminar at this link:

Yours for better health and better chiropractic
Dr Nick Hodgson, 2005 Victorian Chiropractor of the Year


Wednesday, February 6th, 2008

There are SO many chiropractic programs and techniques available to Chiropractors nowadays – Alphabet Soup you might say. For this reason it is imperative that each DC choose programs which are going to give them real value for their money. Nobody wants to attend a program which gives them one take-home strategy which they will use on one patient a week; or worse still leave the class and never implement a single aspect of the training. Below is my list of reasons to attend Torque Release Technique based on feedback from previous graduates of what changes the most in a DC’s life after attending a TRT program…

1) Better results with the majority of your patients – so many programs tell you that they are going to help you get better results with those “problem patients”. Isn’t it perplexing how we forget about the 80% that are getting good results and focus our minds on that 10% that isn’t responding: And we’ll spend big dollars attending a program that will help us get better results with the people who provide us with a small proportion of our income!! What if you could attend a program that will convert your good results to great results – imagine what will happen when 80% of your practice is getting better results?

2) Absolute certainty that you are adjusting the subluxation which most needs to be adjusted, at that moment in time, with the correct vectors and contacts – by contrast most other systems give you a list of possible subluxations, and then you either adjust all of them or make some subjective decision as to which ones you will adjust on that visit – and then there’s a bunch of systems that place no value or priority on what needs to be adjusted (if it pops then it must have needed it) – near enough is not good enough.

3) Increased retention – Because most other systems are linear and mechanistic they don’t adapt to the change that is happening: They see patient plateau at some point in the care program – plateau is the biggest enemy of retention – TRT is non-linear and vitalistic – in other words; the adjustments adapt and evolve as the patient’s nervous system goes through plastic changes – this means that patients keep getting significant changes after each adjustment – and excited patients stay and they refer.

4) Very quick analysis system that helps to cut down the number of adjustments needed each visit while still giving the best results – It IS possible to give someone a high quality adjustment in less than 2 minutes.

5) Less physical strain on the DC’s body – many DCs are paying a personal price physically and mentally due to how hard they are working to give their patients great adjustments – TRT is very easy physically and very orderly mentally – you get to the end of the day with energy still left over for your family and interests.

6) Every DC who has ever implemented TRT to some degree has increased their practice volume, while often reducing their working hours – TRT is very helpful for DCs wanting to practice high volume.

7) It is the first analysis and adjustment system to be totally neurologically based: The indicators we use are neurological indicators, the analysis system we utilise is neurological, and the Integrator adjustment is a neurological intervention.

8) It is the only system that breaks Chiropractic out of a mechanistic model: Most systems talk about the nervous system in terms of the outcomes, but then regress into biomechanical speak, assessment and intervention – “I’m a wellness Chiropractor and I straighten spines” – NOT! – a straight spine does not guarantee wellness – only improved neurological function guarantees wellness.

9) It is the only system that offers a completely vitalistic application of our vitalistic philosophy – totally congruent with the 33 principles and yet current with quantum science: Mechanism is not a subset of vitalism; it is a subset of reductionism. Vitalism requires a respect for the life, spirit, energy and intelligence of human existence – does your “treatment” release human potential, or does it impose your belief of what angle a cervical curve should be?

10) Increased understanding of the emotional component of subluxation – how emotions contributes to subluxation – how subluxation impacts on the emotional component of the nervous system – and most DCs see bigger changes in patients emotional states when they use TRT.

11) Totally congruent with WELLNESS practice – many DCs say they are wellness DCs, but basically have a practice full of people who come for regular check-ups – a wellness practice can only be measured by improved state of wellbeing in the clients, not by how often someone gets adjusted – TRT DCs find that their practice members go through major shifts in their state of wellbeing.

12) The level of satisfaction with the Integrator is much higher than with most other instruments – most DCs use their instrument as an alternative to manual adjusting – when all else fails or when they feel it is not safe to adjust manually. The opposite happens when DCs use Integrators – they are usually shocked to find that they actually get better changes and feel their adjustments “hold” better when using an Integrator. And those recurring subluxations that used to be back again every visit suddenly seem to clear and no longer recur.

13) They discover a massive demographic of new patients who would never see a “bone cruncher” but love the low-force approach – Like it or not – the manual adjustment has been the vehicle with which most DCs have produced great health changes in their customers. But at the same time the manual adjustment suffers from a very poor public relations history: From comedy shows, to fanatical and very vocal cynics, to a large segment of the general populace – there is a huge number of people who question “cracking backs” as being of little therapeutic value, and of much unnecessary risk. When you use a low-force adjusting approach – you enter a new game – and you find a whole new marketplace.

14) Enjoyment, fulfilment, passion and excitement seem to happen in DCs lives. It amazes me how many DCs are actually struggling in practice emotionally – and are in a state of disappointment, boredom or burnout. We get so many phone calls and emails a few months after a TRT program with amazing stories of renewed practices, revived enthusiasm, and unexpected but well-deserved rewards

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.

Click Here To Find Out More About TRT Training…


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.

Click Here To Find Out More About TRT Training…