Pragmatic: dealing with things sensibly and realistically in a way that is based on practical rather than theoretical considerations.
That is a pretty good definition although I was always taught in school that you should never use the word in the definition of the word, but that's being nit picky. I would like to believe that I am pragmatic. I know I am definitely not an optimist. I worked with an optimist in residency and it just about blew my mind how he could spin pretty much everything into sunshine and roses. And fully believe it. That's not me. I also know that I am not a pessimist. Everything isn't doom and gloom. So, pragmatic seems to fit more than anything else.
Monday afternoon the BO texted me that her chiropractor would be out to work on her horse as well as herself and family members. Would I want to have Gem or Pete done? I've had massage work done with Gem and she loves it, but have never had a chiropractor out. I just never bought into the fact that a 90 pound woman could actually move my horse's pelvis or pop a veterbra held in by muscles with more power than her whole body contained back into place. Maybe I'm more of a skeptic.
My answer was no. The more I thought about it though, the more intrigued I became that she also worked on people. I've been holding my stress between my shoulders and even a lovely massage a couple weeks ago didn't do the trick to loosen things up. It did relieve the tension headache I had been suffering with for over 2 weeks which was a win.
With my work schedule and the barn being 45 minutes away I doubted she would still be there when I could make it, but the BO assured me she would and I made the trip up after work. I said a quick hello to Gemmie and dashed inside the house to see what was going on.
The BO was laying face down, fully clothed, on a padded table on the sunporch. The chiropractor was lightly touching her back and neck. I watched in fascination as she would tell her she was about to make contact and then barely even touch her. The BO responded with obvious relief. My brows furrowed as my brain tried to make sense out of what I was seeing. She finished shorty after I arrived by doing some adjustments with a small adjusting tool which again left me puzzled. Where were the twisting, popping, re alignments? Where were the harsh maneuvers and scary back breaking techniques?
As I was pondering this, she looked at me and said it was my turn. I swallowed the lump in my throat and went over.
She began by asking me about my stress levels, diet, exercise and life satisfaction. As she explained that she wasn't just about popping some bones into place and was more about a whole body well being approach, I found myself nodding along and wanting to believe that this could work. As I turned over and laid on my stomach, I tried to quiet the nagging questions in my mind: how on earth does this method work? What is the science behind it? Is it quackery? Does she believe it works or is she just a modern snake venom salesman?
As her fingertips began to explore the length of my spine looking for areas of tension, my mind roared question after question at me. She remarked at how tight my upper back and neck was and then moved down to my feet rolling them in circles and then asked me to look right, center, then left. She murmured something to herself and then moved back up to the base of my skull. She told me she was going to make contact.
I prepared for a push, a pop, something drastic and all relieving.
What I felt was a breath. She touched a spot at the base of my skull lighter than you would flick a piece of lint off your shirt. My brows furrowed. Was that all? How could that do anything? She barely even touched me!
As she continued to make several light contacts, I felt something strange. I felt an urgent need to take a massive deep breath. As I followed the demands of my lungs, I found myself taking the deepest breath I had in a long time. As I exhaled, I felt a ton of tension leave and I could hear the smile on her face as she remarked "good..really good."
The rest of the session followed suit. She would lightly touch some point along my neck, upper back or sacrum and I would feel like jello and breathe deep. At times I felt a little wave run through my neck or an arm and all of a sudden everything just felt better. All of this from the slightest breath of a touch.
After that she began to use the adjustment tool. My right SI joint has been out of whack for years. I have no clue what happened to it, but I can clearly remember rolling on my back on my bedroom floor in college to read a text book and feeling a sharp pain to the area. Ever since then, if I lay on my back on a hard surface and put any pressure to my right buttock, it hurt. She got there and exclaimed that it was all sorts of screwed up. Well, in better terms than that. She used the tool which I thought would hurt, but just felt like a little push.
She moved all along my spine, pushing when needed, into my neck, released part of my jaw and then had me sit up. She worked on my arms, legs and feet.
When I got home, I felt much better. I felt relaxed, happy and was breathing in big swallows of air that made me feel light and free. The question of whether or not this was quackery still plagued me though. After Wyatt went to bed I dug around on the internet looking for answers.
I found several articles that explained the basic tenants of NSA along with an actual scientific study on the effects.
The basis of the therapy is that your body not only holds onto stress, but also the emotions that created it in the first place. As you build layer upon layer of stress it distorts your spine, mucles and bones. This in turns releases more cortisol and gets you stuck in a fight or flight status that causes all sorts of issues with your internal organs and mental/emotional state.
By applying light touch along nerve roots and pathways, the therapist begins to teach your body to release its own stress therby creating new neural pathways to fight off continued or new stresses. It begins to strengthen the parasympathetic nervous system and train it to take a stronger role. Benefits have been proven in all aspects of a person's health not just their spinal alignment.
Whether or not it is quackery in the end makes no difference to me. I felt a difference from before she started to after I got home. I can't go twice a week as she recommended (not enough money trees in my yard), but I will try to make it out there on a semi regular basis.
By the way, she uses the exact same technique on horses. I will be having a session on Gem before our next endurance ride for sure.