February 28, 2011

Why I chose chiropractic

Before I begin with my reasons, I would like to make one thing clear. I wish to thank the doctors and surgeons that personally gave their services to me, in all of my times of need. There is no feasible way for me to express completely my appreciation for their presence. Without them, I would probably be crippled and deaf. For them, I am thankful.

As I mentioned a few days ago, I was immediately attracted to the chiropractic profession partly because it offered me a sense of security and would prevent me from doing, in my mind, the impossible. As a member of the most vulnerable generation of humanity in recent times, that protection from the unwilling violation of my own conscience was (and still is) significant to me.

Moreover, my experience with some of my more recent treatments for ordinary diseases left many other kinds of treatments to be desired. Knowing that the vast majority of drugs employ a mechanism involving a chemical modification of some microscopic body part to repress symptoms, I would have to risk a permanent alteration to my chemical makeup just to see whether the symptom disappears. More often than not, this kind of alteration introduces some new complications that the body tries to compensate for, potentially setting off a chain reaction of anomaly after anomaly.

The same principle applies to surgeries: once something is removed or modified, there’s no turning back. In the seventh grade, I attempted to pull off an “ollie” on a skateboard, and I literally paid the price with an arm (specifically my left elbow). Seven years later, I began to feel the effects of those foreign nails as they dug into the surrounding muscles: my pushups weren’t as explosive or smooth (even now I hear cracks almost every time), and local numbness of tissue persisted there. One might see this as a frivolous complaint about something so necessary, but the nature of surgeries cannot be ignored -- especially when there is often another way.

While I have a high regard for doctors and specialists and for what they do, they are best suited for emergencies—no other healthcare professional can handle emergency cases better. For everything else, chiropractors can fill in the gaps: they regularly provide nutritional advice, teach health and witness principles, and bring a mildly (or severely) encumbered body back to the path of healing itself, all without pressure from the pharmaceutical companies to sell and prescribe for profit. (It is true that there are MDs who advise their patients on matters of health and wellness, but this advice is limited at best, and unfortunately often overshadowed by the prescription itself.) Contrary to popular belief, the vast majority of chiropractors do recognize the limits of their modus operandi, and don’t believe that the adjustment is a panacea. They just believe that adjustments can fix many neuromusculoskeletal abnormalities, which give rise to many other abnormalities in turn. This is very much akin to a distrust of the entire Roman Catholic hierarchy based on the actions of a few disturbed priests—such distrust is as unjustly deserved on their parts as well as on chiropractic in general.

This is even more important to me because, before my future intern lucidly explained chiropractic to me, I had never received an adjustment up to that point. That’s right—not even one moment of exposure to a chiropractor. Many of my classmates at Parker run the gamut from avid adjustment junkies to children of current practitioners, while I’m just a lowly neophyte in the world of chiropractic. Yet, from what I continue to learn every day, I find myself wondering how I haven’t come to find this sooner. There’s nothing like feeling the energy rush (not from adrenaline) and the endorphins flowing through after an adjustment. It’s something you have to experience for yourself in order to understand it truly.

February 26, 2011

In hoc tempore...

If you had talked to me about chiropractic three years ago, you probably would have met with a confused and bewildered screwing-up-of-the-face that often comes with having thought nothing about something that you would find interesting enough to interest me. It had never occurred to me that chiropractic would be in the forefront of my conscience -- I was already embroiled in studying St. Augustine, the entire Gospel of John, and dozens of thinkers in the ranks of the Angelic Doctor and Hans Urs von Balthasar. Teaching had been a strong possibility, as it is with being a theology major in general. (Having said that, my fellow majors have diversified into myriad fields -- business, nursing, canon law, grad school, and even a religious vocation or two -- so it is not as limited as one thinks.) After my 2009 Alternative Spring Break, however, I came to the conclusion that there were indeed more polished teachers out there who could do the job better than I and set far fewer fires than I would with my own anxiety and self-consciousness.

That was when I went back to what I thought was (and still is) my general purpose of living -- to help and to serve people in the best manner that I could. I thought and thought and thought -- if not teaching, then what else? A practice in medicine? Criminal law? Nutritional consultation? Playing Super Smash Brothers Brawl in the MLG (Major League Gaming) just to imply to others I beat that they should forge a better path for themselves?

Well, the one thing that was always on my mind beside my ultimate intent was to ensure that I do whatever I have sworn to do at the expense of no one innocent person. I’ll clarify what that means shortly. Even before Obama (henceforth the POTUS, Barry, B.O., etc.) took residence in the Oval Office, he had sworn to remove conscience protections for healthcare professionals, particularly MDs and nurses. (As POTUS is hot on the heels of the House for endeavoring to vote on the Protect Life Act, which aims to, well, protect the conscience protections among other things, he still holds true to his rash promise.) This fact would play a huge role in how and why I chose the path I’m following now, along with a visit by a friend of a friend to one of the aforementioned friend’s social gatherings.

In the spring of 2009, I was eating dinner with other guests when two sprightly young men came walking in. It was the first time that I had seen them, so I went and introduced myself to them. One of them seemed particularly interested in carrying on a conversation, so I asked him about his current state of affairs. He was going to a chiropractic college in the immediate area, and I was curious to know a little more about it. I didn’t know whether my actualized curiosity was a mistake waiting to happen or a fortuitous occurrence, because the chiropractic student was happy to oblige.

He started off by enlightening me on the basic principle of chiropractic – that is, the nervous system controls every single aspect of the human body right down to the cellular level through the many pathways the nerves take, from the brain to the extremities and everywhere in between. If there is a disconnect of any nerve at any place and time, the part of the body which the nerve touches would be affected in some way because the energy that is being transferred to and from the brain is cut off from that part. These disconnections happen most often at the spine, as almost all of the body’s nerves pass through the column and out of each of the individual vertebrae in pairs. Under this principle, if the cervical nerves were somehow impinged (whether painful or not), certain neck muscles would not work as efficiently as they could. If a thoracic vertebra were pinching something, the heart could be adversely affected (I’ll talk about this case more extensively in a future post). The chiropractic adjustment is there to remove these disconnections by realigning the vertebrae into their optimal position, where the nerves could freely transmit their energy to and from the central nervous system. In a sense, the adjustment aims to treat the cause of the symptoms, not the symptoms themselves.

After I had heard this, it started to make sense. What was more surprising to me was that the chiropractic adjustment was all it took to alleviate a lot of everyday sicknesses -- there were no drugs or surgery required (or permitted), it was quick and (relatively) painless, and it was literally cheaper by the dozen. Not only was it a more effective tool for such treatments than Ibuprofen and Vicks, it also meant that I wouldn’t have to face a catch-22 and procure an abortion under penalty of termination or certain spiritual death. I thought, “THIS is the way to go. This is everything that I’ve been hoping for all along!”

A year later, I applied for admission, got in without a hitch, and registered for those undergraduate sciences necessary for my complete admission into the DC program. I’m in the process of finishing them up right now. I’m also being adjusted by my intern, who happens to be the one who brought me here in the first place.

February 21, 2011


Much has changed in three years.

So has my life, to a great extent.

The many events that passed in that time have shaped me and forged me as but a humble short sword. (Incidentally, this reminds me of the new University of Dallas president, who took his post last March and was officially inaugurated the following August. In the last six months alone he has revamped the university's appearance, refined the official logo and created an icon to reflect a sword plunging through blue UD letters, with the hilt on the left side. This image proclaims his belief that every student who passes through UD starts as a gleaming block of metal, beaten, chiseled and forged into a sharp sword by the professors in the four years they spend there.)

My regrets for allowing these events to pass out of my reflections are incalculable. My resolve to bring them back, however, puts my regrets to shame. I think it even puts me to shame. (I'm listening to Barber's Adagio for Strings as I type this.) The kind of shame deserved for withholding the most exciting trip to the Eternal City. Shame deserved for keeping out of the public square the radical lessons I glean from Scripture. Shame deserved for holding back my desire to evangelize on the new frontier of the Internet, even if no eyes would have read my testimony. Shame deserved for hiding the most mundane things in my life from the public eye. Shame that moves me to begin anew.

And so I begin once more with this newfound resolve. You'll see a few changes on here within the next week. I will get you squared away with what's happening with me right now, and we'll go from there.

I'm honored that you would join me on my own journey. I'm honored to be a part of yours.