Vol. 12

No. 2


There is a simple – yet unseen – mechanism in the human body that regulates and restores our health. This “Great Harmonizer” is actually wired in to the human nervous system and needs only to be properly stimulated in order to maintain health.

The writer C.S. Lewis (of “Chronicles of Narnia” fame) wrote about this internal force in his book called “Miracles.” In it he said, “The magic is not in the medicine but in the patient’s body ... in the recuperative or self-corrective energy of nature. What the treatment does is to stimulate natural functions or to remove what hinders them.”

 The magic Lewis was describing is the body’s Autonomic Nervous System, which controls all body functions and is the home of the subsconscious mind. It alone is responsible for maintaining the equilibrium (or harmony) of the body’s physical and emotional internal environment.

How do we access this harmonizing power?
Herbert Benson, M.D., author and former professor at Harvard Medical School, wrote a now-classic book titled “The Relaxation Response.”  In it he describes how to tap into the healing potential of the body’s Autonomic Nervous System.

The Autonomic Nervous System is divided into two branches: the Sympathetic Nervous System (which prepares us for “fight or flight” in an emergency) and the Parasympathetic Nervous System (which eases the “fight or flight” response when the crisis has passed).

Once the body’s emergency system has been activated, the Sympathetic Nervous System causes adrenaline to be released, raising blood pressure and heart rate, tensing muscles, and producing a myriad of other physiological reactions to help us cope with the crisis.

Ideally (as Nature intended), when the crisis is over, the Parasympathetic Nervous System would kick in and reverse the process back to a state of calm, thus creating a balance of flow and ebb that would sustain the body’s health over time. 

Unfortunately, a fact of life today is that the emergencies we experience far outnumber and outlast the periods of restoration, leading to a perpetual state of nervous excitement with very few intervals of calm. It has been said that living in the modern world is like driving a car with one foot on the accelerator and the other on the brake: Eventually, something breaks  – and this is exactly what happens to our health.

There are two possible solutions to preventing this breakdown of the body. The first calls for the avoidance of all stressful situations, which is, obviously, impossible for most people, although every effort should be made to reduce the causes of stress where we can.

The second solution is to deliberately stimulate the under-utilized calming mechanism of the Parasympathetic Nervous System. Recall that this restorative and regenerative system’s job is to reverse the body’s “fight or flight” reactions by reducing the amount of adrenaline, opening blood vessels, and relaxing tense muscles.
Dr. Benson’s “Relaxation Response” was created to trigger this reaction by calming the entire body through a form of meditation. Instructions for Relaxation Reponse technique can be found in his book, which is widely available.

Another method of stimulating a healthy, calming response was developed 75 years ago and has been proven to be highly effective as well. Once known as “light touch chiropractic,” it is now called “Basic Technique.” True to its original name,  this form of chiropractic employs a light, stroking touch that sedates the nerves and muscles and produces internal quietude. In essence, we reduce body “chatter” by moving it from stressed out to chilled out.

Letting go of stress is an essential tool in healing the physical or emotional trauma that has left the body-mind out of time with itself.
In effect, this calming process “hits the re-set button” when the body has gotten stuck in repetitive emergency mode. Holistic therapies such as the Relaxation Response, chiropractic Basic Technique, and others work with the instinctual healing force that is stored right inside us to promote well-being.

By using these therapies, we are simply invoking this “Great Harmonizer” and letting the body take over. Dr. Benson summed it up best when he said: “There can be no healing in the absence of relaxation,” and this, in itself, is the inherent elixir given to us by Nature.

Newsletter Archives

The following previous issues can be accessed by clicking on the title:

Vol. 12, No. 1: "Surprising Eyes"

Heredity can be either blessed or blamed for many of our physical characteristics...  from the inheritance of Mom’s curly hair to Dad’s bald head to, unfortunately, Grandpa’s diabetes. In fact, just knowing about or having observed a beloved relative suffer from a hereditary illness can create an aura of ticking time bomb in our own lives.

Vol. 11, No. 1: "Natural Immunity"

Human beings have always searched for methods to preserve health in the face of aging, infection and disease. One such route to health has increasingly been the promotion of the body’s own self-protective and self-healing mechanisms.These mechanisms, in turn, are dependent upon the  strength of the body’s “natural immunity,” its inherent ability to defend itself against infection and degenerative disease.

Vol. 10, No. 1: "Reflex Healing"

Chiropractic methods may seem, at times, to be mysterious and have little obvious connection with the object of a patient's complaint. While the "light touch" used at Friedman Chiropractic may possibly appear superficial, it is actually a critical tool for helping the body to regain health.

Vol. 9, No. 1: "Hara and Healing"

There is an old Taoist saying which advises: "When you are sick, do not seek a cure. Find your center and you will be healed." "What is this Òcenter" of which the ancients spoke and what is its importance to natural healing?

Vol. 8, No. 3: "Water: The Overlooked Nutrient"

We can live weeks without food, but no more than a week without water. For health, we need a balance of fluids for all of our cells to function properly.Our bodies consists of from 50% to 80% water. These fluids are what carry nutrients, waste products, and minerals to our cells. The fluid in our bodies can be divided into two main groups: There is fluid inside our cells (intracellular fluid) and fluid outside our cells (extracellular fluid).

Vol. 8, No. 2: "Fibromyalgia"

Fibromyalgia is a condition that affects over 8 million Americans, 80% of them female. People with this chronic condition have symptoms of severe fatigue and multiple sites of aches and pain in their muscles, ligaments and tendons. Years ago, people with this condition were told they had fibrositis, myalgia, rheumatism or were just plain hypochondriacs.

Vol. 8, No. 1: "Food Allergies"

Many medical experts predict that between 50%-60% of all Americans have negative reactions to some foods. These reactions are not restricted to the intestinal tract but can also cause brain, immune system, genitourinary, musculoskeletal, respiratory and skin symptoms...

Vol. 7, No. 2: "The Law of Polarity"

Since ancient times there have been many seekers of Nature's secret laws of healing. One such doctor was Randolph Stone, DO., DC., who explored the world in hopes of determining the common denominator of all healing systems. He concluded that there is an unseen field of electro-magnetic energy that both runs and heals the body. Dr. Stone organized his discoveries into a method he called Polarity Therapy ...

Vol. 7, No. 1: "Toxic or Tired?"

Fatigue is epidemic is our society. Common causes of this malady can vary from life-style choices to dietary indiscretions. Many people are aware that their exhaustion may come from poor food and emotional pressures, but an often overlooked factor is "auto-intoxication." Autotoxemia is poisoning with toxic substances formed within the body.

Vol. 6, No. 1: "The Importance of Posture"

There is an old adage that states: "The shape you are in determines the shape you are in." The implication is that the way one's body looks reflects one's general health. This idea goes back to the ancient Greeks who appreciated an erect and poised body in athletics and the arts, particularly statuary. Hippocrates, the Father of Medicine, exhorted: "In all diseases, look to the spine."

Vol. 5, No. 1: "The Four Stages of Healing"

An understanding of how the body-mind becomes ill can be helpful in guiding us through the healing process. The body becomes ill and gets well in an orderly manner whether the stressor is nutritional, mechanical, or emotional. The stages of disease in the order of progression are Acute, Sub-acute, Chronic, and Degenerative. All stages are various degrees of a condition called "inflammation." ...

Vol. 4, No. 1: "The Healing Field"

Many people wonder what is the mechanism in the human body that co-ordinates our daily physiology and also heals illnesses and injuries. A simple finger cut, for example, goes through many stages of tissue healing. How does the body know what type of connective tissue to lay down and when the scar is ready to fall off? ...

Vol. 3, No. 6: "Understanding Your Gut Feelings"

Most of us believe that important decisions are made via the intellect or the reasoning part of the mind. Current scientific research reveals this to be only partially true. It appears that we think with our minds but experience our emotions from another locale within the body: the stomach area. ...

Vol. 3, No. 5: "Retracing: The Untold Story"

There is a belief among many health practitioners working with natural therapies that a person who is in the process of getting well may undergo some sort of a "healing reaction" in order to fully heal. The "healing crisis," as it is known, occurs at a point when the body's self-healing mechanism has begun to "retrace" its own history of illness in order to completely heal and rid itself of the accumulated residues of disease...

Vol. 3, No. 4: "May the Force Be With You"

The physicians of the ancient world believed that health comes from a power within the human body which they called "Vis Medicatrix Naturae" or the healing power of nature. The Greek physician-philosopher Plato observed that every living thing is activated by an "inherent vital principle" which both runs and heals the body-mind complex...

Vol. 3, No. 3: "Change Your Thinking...Change Your Life"

The philosopher-psychologist Henry James observed almost a century ago:
"The most profound discovery of my generation is that, by changing one's thinking, one can change one's life."
Increasingly, science is finding that, by engendering positive and uplifting thoughts, we can not only improve the quality of our emotional and spiritual lives, but we may be also able to influence the quality of our physical health. ..

Vol. 3, No. 2: "Is It Mind? Is It Body? Is It Body-Mind?"

Except for a small number of physical complaints such as injuries or acute infections, there is an increasing array of health complaints being labeled as having a "stress-related" or emotional component. By current estimate, almost 90% of present health issues have emotional stress as a partial cause of disease. How can we, as health consumers, know if a disease derives from emotional or physical causes or from a combination of both? To find the answer to this question, it is helpful to look to the past. ...

Vol. 3, No. 1: "Fatigue and Its Remedies"

At various times throughout our lives, all of us will experience a sense of tiredness or fatigue. Sometimes this feeling will last a day or two but, for some people, it can persist for months, years, or even a life-time. It is important to understand that serious fatigue, that is, fatigue that is not attributable to temporary over-exertion, is actually a symptom of some other process going on within the body-mind unit. Prolonged fatigue is not an illness in itself, but a manifestation of a health imbalance. ...



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Jeffrey I. Friedman, D.C.
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(415) 459-4646

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(707) 773-0288

DISCLAIMER: This newsletter is intended to provide health information to improve quality of life and assist users to better understand their health and arrange more easily for healthcare services. It is not an attempt to replace the need to seek healthcare services nor to provide specific healthcare advice. Information provided should not be used to diagnose or dispute a qualified healthcare professional's judgement. If you have any questions, please give our office a call or check with your local healthcare professional.

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