Search This Blog


Monday, April 7, 2014

A Sensitive Adjustment for a Sensitive Nervous System

  I consumed a great book recently; Quiet, by Susan Cain, among the many significant things I learned, was about some fascinating research on the natural born sensitivities of the nervous system.  According to a Harvard child psychologist, Jerome Kagan PhD about 15-20% of 4 month old babies' nervous systems were wired a little tighter (my simplification) and were more sensitive to new sensory input.  As these children became young adults they were healthy and turned out fine, the point though, is that the highly sensitive ones were slightly more than twice as likely to be introverted rather than extraverted.
  So, this got me thinking; if about 1 out of 5 people actually are more sensitive to stimulus simply because their nervous system is built that way, maybe they need a different kind of chiropractic adjustment?  There are over 200 formalized techniques to deliver a chiropractic adjustment, but in a very broad oversimplified way of looking at it, chiropractic adjustments come in two varieties;  segmental and tonal.  Segmental means the individual bones - or segments - of the spine and the curvatures of the spine are addressed.  It's usually done with more force and in more areas of the spine, the stereotypical adjustment that makes a lot of noise is in this category.  Tonal is a type of adjustment that addresses more of the tone and subtle adaptability of the spine, usually with less force and sometimes in fewer areas of the spine.  (I know many of my fellow Chiropractors reading this are cringing at how ridiculously oversimplified this is). This is a much less common way of adjusting.  I probably deliver 1 out of every 50-100 adjustment exclusively this way.
  Now, the whole point to any chiropractic adjustment is to affect the nervous system in a positive pro-healing, pro-adaptability kind of way.  And maybe 1 out of 5 of my patients has a nervous system on the more sensitive side.  So I've been paying closer attention to how people identify themselves, as an introvert particularly.  And using that as a clue to see if they would be someone who would benefit more from the softer adjustment or an adjustment in less areas.  Ultimately I think it's more than 1 out of 5.  Based upon my experience, even before this book and new idea, I suspect it's 1 out of 3 or even more that would benefit more from "less" - less areas of the spine and less force.  Maybe this is why it's called "practice".  It's always a process of learning and growing.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Where do you carry your stress?

Almost all of us carry stress in our body when we get uptight.  The real art is how to pay attention to it.  Recently I've had people in my practice talk to me about:

1) clenching their jaw
2) headaches
3) neck aches
4) pain in the shoulders that causes headaches
5) loss of appetite
6) heartburn
7) loss of sleep
8) anxiety
9) getting sick
10) diarrhea

In each of these specific incidents all these things entirely related to stress in their life.  But more than just the fact that stress was present - that is universal for us all from time to time - it's how they responded to it.  When we suffer with things like this we typically go with how we have been trained; ignore it.  Sometimes with our force of will but often with medications.

I believe a wiser approach is to ask "what is my body trying to tell me?"  Be present to what hurts, lean in to it.  Most of the time, for most of us we need not suffer nearly as much if we would simply push ourselves a little less.  Go to bed when we're tired, one more show is not worth it.  Say "no" to the one-more-thing trying to squeeze it's way into your to do list.

If we listen better to our own needs of rest, recovery and sleep, if we say no a little more often rather than saying yes through gritted teeth, if we have a little more tolerance for outcomes we were trying to control against, in short; listen a little better to the wisest and best within us, we will suffer less.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Back pain is a signal - Here's what to do about it

Before I pass on the following advice, I'd like to be clear about how I personally use Chiropractic care as well as how I recommend using it - for the overall improvement of body, mind and mood function, for the overall improvement of health and immune system and for the overall improvement in quality of life.

Using Chiropractic for the relief of pain only is like going to a nice restaurant and buying an expensive meal, just for the sake of sitting in a comfortable seat.  You miss out on the most valuable aspects of the experience.  I have an older post that gives more detail about this idea, look here.

Having said that many people are still suffering with a lot of pain, and the good news is, there is a lot you can do on your own to help yourself in a very effective way.

1) Get up and move more.  Every hour stand up and change body positions.  Sitting all day at work, in the car, on the couch and at the table is terrible for you, in many ways.

2a) Stretch in the morning.  It does not need to be formal or fancy.  Just a big ole' fashion grunting spastic stretch is great.  Can you picture your baby, dog or cat as they wake up?  What's the first thing they do?  The reason it feels so good, is because it is stimulating your brain in the right way, and your brain rewards you by feeling good.
psoas muscle

2b) Stretching upward specifically helps a particularly important muscle called the psoas.  It attaches at the lower spine and connects to the top of the leg, on both sides.  When it flexes it bends the leg up, like being in the sitting position.  So when we spend all the time we do seated it shortens that muscle, and it pulls on the spine, overtime this increases the chances of the spine functioning poorly and with it more pain.  So, stretch up...  And grunt, it always helps me.

3) Check this out: Foundation Training and do the training daily.  For the most part, pain is a desperate request from your body saying to you "we're not doing something right!"  Follow this training and begin to use your magnificent body in line with the way you were designed.  Also this video can help to avoid common mistakes when doing this exercise.  I personally have gotten a lot from this exercise.  I know the developer of this work has written a book.  I'm sure it's good, in fact quite good, I just can't speak from experience about it.

If you're interested in learning more about this work go to, an indispensable tool to living healthier.

4)  Regarding books I do have experience with is Pain Free by Peter Egoscue.  Very helpful stuff, particularly the chapters related to the low back and pelvis.

Friday, December 27, 2013

A Flourishing Life

Below is the outline to a recent class I gave in my office.  This class received a lot of notice so I've posted the outline of the class for those of you who are interested.  If you would like to hear the talk, click this link to access the audio file from Google Drive.

A Flourishing Life
by Aaron Rossi DC
December 11th 2013

I. Mindset
   A. Growth (getting better) vs. 
   B. Fixed (being good)

II. Flourishing – P. E. R. M. A.
    A. Positive emotions 
       1.“Happiness comes from within, and happiness comes from without. “
           a. Set Point 50%
           b. circumstances 10%
           c. outlook, choices, behavior 40%
       2. Exercises
           a.“What went well?”  
           b. A Kind Act – most powerful mood enhancer
       3. Practice of Self Esteem
           a. Self acceptance
           b. personal integrity
           c. self assertiveness

    B. Engagement – 
       1. Flow; where challenge and skill meet, Presence of mind
       2. Drive; Autonomy, purpose, Mastery
    C. Relationships
       1. Communicating with Children
           a. Praise Effort not outcome, 
           b. Positive Constructive Style
       2. Communicating with Partner
           a. 5 love languages – Time, Gifts, Touch, Words, Service

    D. Meaning / Purpose-
       1. Intrinsic - meaningful relationships, personal growth, community contribution 
       2. Extrinsic - wealth, beauty, fame, power

    E. Achievement 
       1. Grit – perseverance and effort
       2. Goals 
           a. Hard to achieve
           b. and Expect them to be
       3. Happy successful effort/work results from:
           a. 25% training and education
          b. 75% positivity, support, perception of stress (challenge or threat) 

III. Your Mind and Your Health 
     A. Positive Emotions and life and death and colds
     B. Your Brain
        1. Relationships
           a. Longevity
           b. Loneliness
        2. Meditation
            a. genetic effect
           b. parasympathetic response
        3. Exercises – 
            a. brain damage insulator: off-hand, cross-crawl, learning cognitive reserve 
            b. Naperville Ill., Texas Public schools
            c. Depressant 
        4. Brain Chemistry changes: received, given, observed

IV. The Weird
    A. Molecules of Emotion
    B. Earth Grounding, Brain Magnetic Sense
    C. Heart Magnetic Field
    D. DNA – selective change and magnetic influence
    E. Placebo Knee surgery

Heartmath – heart and emotion research   

John Gottman – Relationship expert

Brian Johnson's Philosophers Notes

Success Magazine (They're my curator for good stuff- I love this magazine)

TEDx talks: 
Brene Brown on vulnerability: 

Shawn Achor on Happiness:

Health newsletter:             

University of Penn
Signature Strengths Surveys


Flourish by Martin Seligman PhD
Mindset by Carol Dweck PhD
Succeed by Heidi Grand Halveson PhD
How of Happiness by Sonja Lubimurski PhD
Why we Do What we Do by Edward Deci PhD
Happiness Hypothesis by Jonathan Haidt
Flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi 
Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor
Drive by Daniel Pink
Switch by Chip and Dan Heath
Super Brain by Depak Chopra MD
Molecules of Emotion by Candice Pert PhD
Spark by John Ratey MD
Relaxation Revolution by Herbert Benson MD
Think Smart by Richard Restak MD

Monday, October 28, 2013

Medication and FDA enforcement

According to a PEW Health Group report "After Heparin: Protecting consumers from substandard and counterfeit drugs",  in which experts within the FDA were interviewed, there are surprising limitations to what the FDA is capable of doing. 

As expected "the FDA has complete legal discretion" whether or not to allow a drug to be sold in the US.  But to my shock:
  "The FDA does not have the authority to order a drug recall, nor
    may it halt product distribution on it's own.
  "If the FDA finds it necessary to forcibly remove a pharmaceutical
   from the market, it must go through the courts to request a seizure,
   and a separate seizure action is needed for EACH COURT
   DISTRICT where the [drug] may be found."
             2.4.1 Limitations of current enforcement tools and authorities

I am bewildered at how big a job that must be; the US Food and Drug Administration is basically supposed to oversee the safety and legitimacy of every single piece of food, every drug and every medical device that is trying to get sold in the country.  And at best it works like a filter, secondarily like a delayed, massively inefficient enforcer.

There's 314 million of us.  We need to be our own enforcers. 

I am unabashedly extremely conservative when it comes to the use of medication.  While I do believe there might be an appropriate time and place for the use of some medication, I also feel very strongly that medication is OVERUSED to tragic effects in our country.  Assuming that any drug is safe and appropriate just because it is so universally accessible is an error of logic.

I never once had a patient who had a headache, that was caused by a deficiency of aspirin.  But I have had TWO patients die from the "normal" side effects of the drugs they were taking.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Blood Pressure

I've been asked frequently about high blood pressure recently and what can be done about it.

  I've spoke on this subject several times and done extensive research on the subject.  I can boil down my 5 most important things to do to address the cause of high blood pressure. 
  Remembering that blood pressure going high is a symptom of other things and there's not much point in treating it as a stand alone problem.  I even go so far as to say high blood pressure in it of itself is not a problem, it's actually the innate intelligence of the body attempting to regulate and balance out a problem.

5 things that make good changes in your body, that can lower elevated blood pressure:
1) avoid all aspirin, Tylenol, nsaids and eat way less sugar.
2) practice diaphramatic breathing as an ongoing habit
3) meditate daily, 15min+
4) get chiropractic care - that specializes in the care of the upper cervical area.
5) eat more beats with their greens, sweet potato (not yams), cultured veggies and get more sunshine as well - no sunblock.