Building Beaches and Brains, with Waves
A brief introduction for patients who are curious about the new sensations they notice within their spines during a gentle adjustment at Light Touch Chiropractic. A sensation they sometimes have trouble articulating…
Our ability to articulate the world evolves from basic material experience, to mechanism and onto complex system. Perhaps it’s a devolution, swimming against a tide of limiting thoughts, to eventually reach a knowing of something that was there all along.
We tend to think of the beach as a place where the water ends and solid land begins. It’s a fair supposition but, even though sand is solid, our northern beaches are as fluid as the ocean. The beach we experience today is not the same one from last year, or even from last week. Destructive storm swells and harsh winter waves impact our coastline, tearing it down. Whilst gentle ‘constructive waves’ of summer then reorganise the beach, building it up. Seasons, tides, the El-Nino oscillation, and the gentle waves all combine and result in the beach we experience on any given day.
The erosion that threatened local family houses on Collaroy and Narrabeen beach in June 2016 occurred due to a combination of storm swells and destructive winter waves. The destructive events threatening the integrity of solid structures and leaving them vulnerable until the gentle summer waves can reorganise the beach to a higher level.
Your world in a Grain of Sand
It was also once thought that our nervous system was fixed and unchanging. We now understand that, like grains of sand on a shifting beach, the structure of the nervous system is shaped according to events in our living environment. The storms of life tear us down but, just like the ocean, we too possess gentle constructive waves.
Recent research has shown that a key result of the gentle style of Chiropractic we use at Light Touch, is the emergence of ‘constructive’ waves of spinal movement which build and reorganise the nervous system.¹
The gentle wave-like movements are created by bundles of nerves, buried deep in the ancient networks of the spinal cord and brain, called Central Pattern Generators. The CPGs evolved millions of years ago to modulate primal functions in the body such as breathing, swallowing, walking, even swimming.
These oscillating patterns of the nervous system, which help synchronise functions across neuron networks, have been referred to as the ‘encoded kinetic melody’ of the bodymind. CPGs can be considered as the rhythm and bass of the symphony that is you, they keep your nervous system (the system that controls your quality of life) working harmoniously.²
Constructive Waves of Health
One of our goals at Light Touch Chiropractic is to fully develop two specific wave-like spine movements which build on each other and have been shown as important for establishing a healthy nervous system. The waves are referred to as the Respiratory Wave (RW) and the Somato-Psychic Wave (SPW).
The many subtle but unnatural stresses present in our modern world confuse the natural systems of our bodymind. This leads to Physically Retained Stress that becomes stored along our spines and throughout our body as patterns of tension, obstructing to the nervous system’s impulses of communication.
The wave-like spinal movements facilitate your nervous system to reorganise and begin accurately self-assessing and adapting to current demands in an optimal manner.¹ This leads to improved basic health, performance and quality of life.²
Respiratory Wave – a foundation for health
We breathe unconsciously but we are also able to consciously control our breath. Thus, it could be said that the breath is a bridge between our conscious and unconscious nervous system.
It is important during a patient’s Initial Phase of Care (IPC) to develop a healthy Respiratory Wave (RW), along the full length of the spine. The RW is the first of the two waves we develop and involves both an unconscious and conscious coordination of breath and spine movement. This wave integrates and redistributes spinal tensions originating from defense patterns that are past their use-by date. Our goal is for every spinal segment to move independently as a refined wave in response to the breath.
The RW re-establishes important connections between the nerve system’s primary feedback mechanisms, providing the nerve system with a clear awareness of its current state and a stable self-referral baseline from which it can build and maintain health.
The second important function of synchronising breath with spine movement is creating a high degree of structural integrity by redistributing the passive and active tension evenly throughout the body to be used in an efficient manner.
A fully functioning RW is an indicator of a successful IPC and is essential to a robust foundation for the development of even more advanced levels of health.
Patients may sometimes notice the Respiratory Wave initiating during their very first Light Touch Chiropractic adjustment. It is described variously as a feeling of lightness, an expansion of the breath beyond normal boundaries or waves of extreme relaxation and ease. It may even be noticed simply as pleasant ability to breath into areas of the body which previously felt tight or ‘stuck’ and can be accompanied by gentle rocking movements or subtle stretching as if beginning to yawn.
The Somato-Psychic Wave – transformation
The second spinal wave developed during your course of Light Touch Chiropractic care is called the Somato-Psychic Wave (SPW), also called the Network Spinal Wave. The constructive SPW initiates as the RW becomes fully established and is unique to the type of Chiropractic we provide at Collaroy. The SPW was first discovered 25 years ago in the U.S. by Dr Donald Epstein who founded this gentle but profound form of Chiropractic.
The Somato-Psychic wave has since been researched by multiple Universities and further developed for its ability to actively remove stress related chaos and establish coherence in the firing patterns of the human nerve system. Studies performed by our research team at Irvine University have shown that the SPW spinal movements may be the first CPG not related to locomotion and represents a new indicator for nervous system health.
The SPW is experienced differently to the RW. Patients will notice sections along the spine begin to unconsciously move as spontaneous ‘waves’ of contractions and relaxation propagate up and down the length of the spine. This can be a novel feeling, almost disconcerting, had we not first established stability in the nervous system by developing the RW.
The SPW soon settles into a deep sense of relaxed self awareness and an opportunity to upgrade to a higher levels of clarity, energy and health. This a very transformative stage of nervous system development and calls on the patient to be pro-active in their progress.
Development of the Respiratory Wave and Somato-Psychic Wave allows the re-integration of physically retained stress and an increase nervous system coherence.¹ This results in improved health and the experience of an increased quality of life.²
Regardless of the storm swells and harsh winter waves that batter our coastline, Light Touch Chiropractic will be providing gentle waves to build more for the Northern Beaches.
We welcome you to discuss how our unique gentle care can help you with your goals for a healthy life.
Phone: 9982 2446 to book an appointment.
1) A highly technical research paper on the physics behind the Respiratory Wave and Somato-Psychic Wave we develop can be found here.
2) A 2800 person study on the resulting improvements in health and quality of life that results from our gentle style of Chiropractic can be found here.
See you soon,
Dr Andrew Maher.
MChiro BScChiro BTechEng CertIV Fitness