We have a tendency to think of our bodies as parts. Eyes. Ears. Hands. Kidneys. Liver. Heart. This can be dangerous thinking. It limits our experience and may limit our health. A person who thinks in this manner may miss the benefits of well-researched holistic treatments. An allergic reaction to a certain food often displays itself as small bumps on the skin, but if you only focus on skin you may falsely just treat the skin and miss the greater problem of the food allergy. An ear infection is often the result of fluid not properly draining from the middle ear. This is a mechanical issue, and if you only look at the ear and prescribe antibiotics without addressing the poor fluid drainage, it may seem like enough (see my blog about ear infections). Anytime we limit our focus to think about the body as only parts and pieces, we do ourselves a disfavor and may be putting ourselves in harm’s way. We are more than the sum of our parts. Equally so, the more we learn about the human body, we discover the intricacies in which these cells, tissues, organs and systems interact.
Research has recently discovered the intimate relationship between the immune system and the nervous system. This has spawned a new specialty of study within the medical profession called neuroimmunology. While being a new field for western medicine, chiropractic, acupuncture, homeopathy, naturopathy, and other holistic therapies have honored this relationship for many, many years. Chiropractors have postulated for a century that adjustments could help a person’s nervous system and thereby enhance a person’s immune system. Western medicine is just now beginning to understand and study this relationship. Ronald Pero, Ph.D., chief of cancer prevention research at New York’s Preventive Medicine Institute and professor of medicine at New York University, studied this theory.
He conducted a three year study of 107 subjects. In short, he studied the immune system of those under long term chiropractic care. He discovered a 200% greater immune competence in those who were adjusted versus those people who had not received chiropractic care. He concluded, “Chiropractic may optimize whatever genetic abilities you have so that you can fully resist serious disease. I am very excited to see that without chemical intervention this group of patients under chiropractic care did show a very improved response.” (Pero R. “Medical Researcher Excited By CBSRF Project Results.” The Chiropractic Journal, August 1989; 32)
In 1991 Patricia Brennan, PhD conducted a study that demonstrated an increased immune function following a thoracic (mid back) adjustment. “Phagocytic respiratory burst of polymorphnuclear neutrophils (PMN) and monocytes were enhanced in adults that had been adjusted by chiropractors.” This means that the immune system cells of the body that are responsible for eating up and killing foreign invading cells in the body are enhanced through chiropractic adjustments.
For more studies, please see the Research post.
Research is now validating what we already knew to be true: we are whole beings. Each cell does not act alone, each tissue does not act alone, and each system does not act alone. This is why a chiropractic adjustment can help an ear infection, an acupuncture needle can help with addiction, and crawling helps brain development.