As a chiropractor, I often take on the role of educator to empower my clients to realize their health and wellness goals. And because you are with yourself more than you are in my office, it is important to include you in the process. Therefore, I have found it is far easier to enlighten a person’s perspective on health and healing than trying to do it all myself. By being more of a Sherpa than a Guru, I guide clients to see the world and their bodies in a new light. I recommend therapeutic movement and exercise; foods to eat or avoid; and ways to improve mental state. By allowing my clients to choose and own their personal healing path, individuals reclaim their health and becoming their body’s ally. Rather than sit back passively and wait for someone else to make them well, they grab it by the horns.
Consumer health care has conditioned people to adopt several disempowering beliefs towards what health is, and how to attain it. Many people feel they can simply hand over their ‘health’ to their healthcare provider and return in an hour to pick it up. We have also been conditioned as consumers to expect to feel better yesterday and have someone else pay for it. We are constantly seeking a magic bullet or pill, but do not actually believe in magic. By reframing what true health and wellness are and how it is attained, my clients, again, are empowered to be their own body’s ally.
The truth is that the body was designed to self-heal and self-regulate, and when given the correct internal and external environment, the body can do seemingly miraculous things. We often forget that the power that made the body, heals the body and that that power did not leave you when you left mom. Armed with this understanding, we can see how the body is always doing the best it can with what it has at a given moment for the overall betterment of you and with the end goal of survival in mind. Consider that chronically swollen ankle as your body’s own cast, immobilizing inadequately healed tissue. Is this dysfunction or the body’s innate intelligence at play?
In a very general sense, three avenues influence our health, positively or negatively. These avenues are the mental (Emotional), physical (Structural), and environmental (Chemical). Our unique combination of these three influencers of health equates to our personal health state. Each avenue works with the others to establish and maintain homeostasis towards the goal of survival. Just as this relationship between the three avenues can beneficially impact our health and healing capacity, so too can it be detrimental. Special attention must be paid to each avenue to correctly identify causative factors to symptoms or dysfunction so that appropriate treatment may be provided to maximize healing time and potential.
My Clinical Work
Most clients seek my services for physical complaints, along with my special certifications in muscle assessments and treatment. Of the three avenues discussed above, the physical avenue is my main entry point used to improve health and healing in my clients.
Unlike other muscle-specific therapies and techniques that center around finding tight muscles and releasing them, I take a different approach. Through advanced training in AMIT, I can locate, treat, and re-integrate functionally weak or reflexively inhibited muscle(s) that cause dysfunction and discomfort.
Chronically tight muscles are often associated with an opposite (also called an antagonistic) muscle with weakness and/or inhibition. An example of antagonistic muscles is abdominals and back muscles. They are opposite to each other, and they work synergistically for optimal movement, balance, and overall health.
When a weak or inhibited muscle is left untreated, the body brilliantly adapts by offloading the weak muscle and rerouting muscle recruitment. Of course, this comes at a cost: reduced efficiency and hardwiring compensative movement patterns. These new movement patterns alter load and stress on tissues, ultimately leading to inflammation, degeneration, and pain.
To return to our earlier example of antagonistic muscles, I often see functionally inhibited abdominal and glute muscles causing tightness in the lower back. Rather than focus on the area of pain (low back), I focus my work on the abs and glutes, which brings balance to the system. In many cases, tight muscles are not the cause but the response. They will release on their own when there is no more need for their adaptive state.
With this understanding and AMIT, I can individually test and evaluate 200+ muscles per side of the body. Muscles are then facilitated or “turned-on” through specific and unique stimulation to the mechanoreceptors. This system was developed from the integration of diverse techniques ranging from chiropractic, acupuncture, myofascial therapy, lymphatic and vascular reflexes that reestablish the integrity of the involved muscle.
Unless there is underlying pathology, eg. a torn tendon, ligament or muscle, corrections hold, and the body no longer needs to adapt to the inhibited muscles. Additional therapies and rehabilitation are supported by muscle activation, as you cannot strengthen something you cannot contract.
There is a limit and capacity to our tissues. Whether it be bone, organ, or cartilage, acute and repetitive stress can cause serious health issues. This underlines the importance of moving and resting within the design of our body. Assessing for primary faults in range of motion, posture, strength, and coordination leads to better treatment. Understandably physical ailments can cause tremendous amounts of mental and emotional stress, as well as deplete our body’s metabolic reserves.
Chemical: The quality of our internal and external environment logically plays a large role in our ability to function and heal. This includes everything that we put in and, on our bodies, along with all the biochemical processes required to digest, detoxification, repair, and maintenance. From the chemicals used to clean us, our food, our things and more our environment has become increasingly saturated. Avoiding primary food allergens and harsh chemicals from our day-to-day lives drastically improves our ability to recover. Just like it is hard to be productive in a dirty room, your cellular function is reduced in a toxic internal environment.
Jeff Luke is a Chiropractor and owner of M Powered Chiropractic specializing in Advanced Muscle Activation Techniques (AMIT). He is currently practicing in both Austin and Georgetown, Texas. He can be found on Facebook and Instagram
@mpoweredchiro and reached at email@example.com or 512-921-5235.