Mr. Caliendo, can you first just please give
us a general idea of what it is you do and the principals that are
surrounded by network spinal analysis?
thing that you want to do is you want to delineate the difference
between the medical model of health care and an alternative model
of health care. The medical model of health care comes from a mechanistic
world view, and what that is is, that's treating the parts. So,
if you have a headache, they are going to give you any type of medication,
whatever it takes to get rid of the headache. When the headache
is gone, you have been cured. If there is no headache, there is
no problem. This is, this has been classically the medical model
of health care. An alternative model of health care is not that
at all. It's recognizing that the body is holistic. This is where
you get the term holistic holism, it's from the word 'holy.' You're
treating the whole body. So what an alternative or holistic practitioner
will do is, they'll look at that headache, and they'll see it a
little bit differently. Of course it hurts the person, and the person
wants to get rid of the headache, but they're looking at that headache
as a sign that the body is giving that person that something is
wrong in their body, anywhere in their body, it can be anywhere.
So, you're not breaking the body into parts, you're looking at the
body as a whole.
also what we're insinuating here is that the body has an intelligence
because I just said that; the body is telling you that something
is wrong. This is actually insinuating that there is actually intelligence.
Every thing that's alive has, inside of it, an intelligence or a
healing force; in China they call it the qi (pronounced "chi"),
India, they call it prana, homeopathy calls it the vital force,
and chiropractic calls it innate intelligence. And all it is, is
it's that thing that knows what to do to sustain human life. If
you put a plant in a dark room with a little bit of light in one
corner the plant will grow towards the light because it's alive
in it's intelligence and it knows what to do to survive, and the
same thing with your body. So, this is the principle that alternative
or holistic health care providers are coming from. There is a lot
of trust in that the body can heal itself. There are times that
the body cannot heal itself, and the person will die before they
heal. This is when you go for medical intervention, so as to help
the body heal itself before the person dies. This is the time that
medicine is brilliant. There is dialysis, there are certain infections
that cannot be fought by the body. So, what alternative practitioners
look into is why is this person's body sick and why is this symptom
being expressed at this time. The symptom isn't there to suppress,
the symptom is there to look at and to learn from. The practitioner
will look at these signals and try to determine where that person's
healing capacities are at and he or she will ask is that person's
body working one-hundred percent. If it is working one-hundred percent,
and the person has symptoms, then you can assume that the symptoms
are part of the healing process.
symptoms aren't bad. If I twist an ankle, the ankle will swell up
and it will hurt. Well, is that a bad thing? No, that's a good thing
because the body is telling you if you walk on it, it won't heal.
The same thing I see in my practice with people with bad backs all
the time. They say, 'I have to get rid of this back pain,' and I
ask them, 'Well what do you do for a living?' They often reply,
'I dig ditches for a living.' For twenty years the person has been
bending and digging, now they can't bend. The body is telling them
that if you continue to bend, you're going to rupture nerve cells
in your brain stem because that is what research has shown. Constant
flexing of the spine can literally rupture brain stem cells. The
body is putting you in pain, literally to protect you. The body
has an intelligence, has an energy, has a knowing of what it needs.
And that is something that the medical model of health care is missing.
They are assuming that once the symptom is gone, the problem is
gone, and that's not the case.
cornerstone is to recognize that the body can do what it has to
do if uninterfered with. This is what most of your alternative practices
deal with. They deal with blockages in the body. This is where you
start getting into the energetics of it, how the body really is
an energy system. Acupuncture frees up energy stuck in what they
call meridians. Once that life energy is freed up, the body is now
free to go and heal itself. Chiropractic deals with blocks in the
nervous system that inhibit the body from freely expressing life
force. So what we do is, we free up the nervous system to help the
body free itself. Homeopathy is the same way. Tai chi is another
one, it's movement, it's working with the subtle energies of the
body to heal. That's the cornerstone.
you believe western medicine has lost sight of the body as a whole
in its attempt to treat the specialized tissues and organ systems
of the body?
(jokingly) Absolutely, that is what I was saying before. They're
not looking deeply enough; they're looking on the surface. Sometimes
you absolutely need western medicine, emergency medicine, because
it will save your life. That's fine, you do that to give yourself
time to heal, and that's what I tell my patients all the time. But
I do think that western medicine is compartmentalizing the body.
Do you, in your practice, utilize other alternative
medicine therapies in treating or diagnosing?
I don't, but I do recommend people to do that.
scientific advancements, if any, have been made in the field of
practice something called network spinal analysis, and it's a specialty
within chiropractic. Chiropractic has been around 103 years now.
One of the raps against chiropractic has been that there hasn't
been scientific research, but more recently they are starting to
come up with it. One of the problems that I have with a lot of the
research in chiropractic is that it's based on low back pain, headaches.
When I was speaking of chiropractic as knocking the medical model,
I was really speaking of my type of chiropractic, I can't speak
for all chiropractic. Unfortunately, the profession is a little
bit divided in its model of health care. Many chiropractic practitioners
practice from a medical model of health care. What their objective
is in care is to get rid of that headache or to get rid of that
back pain. A lot of the research in chiropractic has been along
those lines; it's been oh look chiropractic gets rid of back pain
look at this, and that's great, it really is good for the profession
because the truth is, chiropractic does help get rid of these symptoms.
More recently in network spinal analysis, they have been doing some
quality of life research. A couple of years ago a study came out
in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA)
by Wilson and Cleary. They wanted to know that if somebody came
into their medical office with a headache and they gave them a pill
to get rid of their headache and their headache went away, they
wanted to know if that person was actually any healthier for it.
this was a good question now for the medical profession to start
asking, and it got us a little bit excited too. And what their conclusion
was... no, the person isn't necessarily any healthier when the headache
pain went away. But then they had a problem. The problem was how
do you measure health now. See now they know that you don't measure
health from symptomotology because that's not what health is, or
isn't. How you measure health, what they determined, was you need
what they called health-related quality of life parameters. And
what they are are things like joy in life. Are people happier? Are
people making lifestyle changes for the better in their lives? Are
they happier at work? Are they happier in their relationships? Think
about it, these are things that they've found that would probably
be better measuring peoples' health, and with the treatment that
is given these people, are these parameters improving? So what network
spinal analysis did a couple of years ago, they had 2,800 patients,
many offices around the world participated, mine included, and we
gave out questionnaires. And people were under care anywhere from
3 months to several years. What they asked are certain areas in
their life and how they've changed since they were under care. What
they found across the board were significant changes in peoples'
lives as their nervous system freed up and cleared from these spinal
adjustments. This was huge! Now they are doing follow-up studies
really to follow through with that because this is very, very exciting,
because the medical profession now is looking for parameters to
see how quality of life may improve. Now we are positioning chiropractic
to be one of the modalities to help quality of life.
another study that's on the horizon, it's out in the University
of California Medical School. They have what is called a functional
MRI. This MRI is measuring, I believe, oxygen uptake and utilization
in the brain. They did a scan of someone's brain before they had
a network spinal analysis adjustment. They had the person wiggle
their ankles in flexion and dorsiflexion and then they measured
how much blood flow and how much activity had to take place in the
brain to do this activity of the ankles. Then they adjusted the
person and they had them do the same movement of the ankles and
measured the activity in the brain. They found, consistently, that
after an adjustment, the brain had to work less. In other words
it worked more efficiently; the nervous system was more integrated
and more coordinated. And that's on the horizon, and it's things
like that that they're starting to look into.
With the recent openings of alternative medicine
clinics in many universities like Duke and Harvard and hospitals
such as Beth Israel in New York City, how do you account for the
recent upsurge in popularity of alternative medicine techniques
and the credibility that some therapies are now finally receiving?
this stuff has worked; it's been anecdotal for years. It works so
that's why it's getting popular. Unfortunately, we're talking about
an economic situation also. Even Stony Brook University Hospital
has taken up an alternative section. My personal opinion is that
they are losing patients to alternative practitioners and it's hitting
them in the pocket. Just, why not open up your own wing and get
these people to come in. There was another study done in 1994. This
was published in another medical journal, I'm not sure which one.
They actually found that in 1994 there were more patient visits
to alternative practitioners than all medical offices combined.
People actually went to more alternative practitioners than they
did to medical practitioners, which makes the medical practitioners
now the alternative if you think about it. And people paid out of
their pocket to go. There is not a lot of insurance for massage,
and for chiropractic; it's limited. And to get back to your original
question, I believe that the reason why people are coming over is
because it works.
Is chiropractic now backed by insurance companies
and Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs)?
Yes. Yes it is on a limited basis. Question: What do you think the
future holds for network chiropractic and for alternative medicine
in general, in the United States? I think it is the future. Absolutely,
I see the medical model of health care crumbling. You can see it
happening all over. I've been in practice for twelve years, and
when I first got into practice I spent a lot of time with people
trying to educate them into this way of thinking. They wanted their
pain to go away, understandably, and they couldn't understand what
I was saying. Today, people are coming in looking for it. I believe
that this is the future, and the medical model of health care really
and truly is crumbling and they are going to have to make changes
because it is not working, we are a very sick country.
Does chiropractic believe that all disease
stems from disorder or dysfunction of the spine and vertebrae? Do
you make any exceptions?
what chiropractic believes is when your spine is misaligned or what
we call subluxated (a vertebral subluxation is a vertebra that is
subluxated or misaligned causing interference somewhere in the nervous
system), we believe that when the nervous system is interfered with
or disrupted, or has undue tension on it, it is not as able to communicate
with the rest of the body or to deliver messages. Research has actually
shown that the weight of a nickel over a minute or twos time on
a nerve decreases that nerve's function by 60 percent. Chiropractic
believes and understands that structure equalls function. If a wheel
wasn't round it wouldn't function too well if it was square. So
when a nerve is structurally altered in any way, its functioning
is disrupted. Because the nervous system coordinates and controls
all functions of the body-that's right out of Gray's Anatomy, which
is the bible-when the nervous system is disrupted it causes a disruption
to all parts of he body. So, where does disease start and where
does it end? We believe that disease does not start when it shows
up on a blood test or shows up on an x-ray; it has actually taken
years. Now where does that start? That started on the cellular level,
the molecular level. Now what was it about those molecules, about
the atoms that was off kilter? It was, what we believe, a nervous
system that was under undue tension causing a change in the energy
into the cell, causing a change in the structure of the cell. That
one cell can lead to other cells. This is how disease starts. It
goes from cells to tissues to organs to systems to the whole body.
What chiropractic believes is that most of your diseases do come
from the nervous system.
Now genetics plays a role in there too causing
a lot of hereditary traits like scoliosis and things like that,
my belief is that genetically you may have a predisposition for
a particular disease. What that means is that if your whole family
are asthmatics you may have a genetic predisposition for it. It
does not mean that you have to get it. Things like Down's Syndrome,
Sickle Cell Anemia obviously yes. There are obvious genetic diseases
that no matter what you do you are not going to be able to change
that. What chiropractic does say for the Sickle Cell Anermia patient
or the Down's Syndrome patient, for instance, we still want to get
them worked on and adjusted because that person's body will express
a fuller potential of its genetic potential with a clear nervous
system. That's the goal, to just express your genetic potential,
whatever that may be.
thing is you can talk with people who live their lives in the mechanistic
model (world view) until you're blue in the face about alternative
stuff and if they don't understand the very simple principle of
energy they will never get what you're talking about. You have to
understand that the body is just a bundle of energy. When you look
at who we really are we're made up of cells, everyone knows trillions
of cells (70 trillion cells). Cells are made up of molecules which
are made up of atoms. Atoms are made up of a nucleus with protons
and neutrons and electrons. Science now tells us with the electron
microscopes and bigger and better ways of studying the atom, it
tells us that even an electron-when I was in school we learned that
the electron was a ball that circulated around the nucleus. They
now know that this isn't the case-an electron is just a very, very
quickly vibrating energy, it's mass and energy at times. If we're
made up atoms, which are made up of electrons and protons and neutrons,
if I was a nucleus the first cell of an electron would be across
route 25A, the next orbit would be in the Long Island Sound. So
really if we're made up of atoms, and atoms are made up of mostly
empty space, what are we? Basically we're mostly empty space. We
are vibrating at a very high frequency. When you understand energy
that stops to explain...and this is quantum physics by the way.
Quantum physics is now showing this, this isn't like the alternative
The Bohr model of the atom.
and they also know that an electron is sometimes mass, sometimes
its a particle, sometimes it's energy. And what makes an electron
a particle is the observation of it. When you observe an electron
it becomes a particle. So what does that say? That means that how
you observe someone changes them, literally. There is your explanation
for prayer. Prayer works. How do you explain prayer working on a
mechanistic model? It is impossible to happen. If you understand
that the body is all energy, then these things start to make sense,
how the body works. Energetically, those atoms which make up molecules
which make up cells are getting fed information from this life energy,
whatever you want to call it. So now we're talking about something
you can't really see. If I cut your arm we'll watch it bleed and
it'll heal. If I cut the arm of a corpse it won't heal because it's
dead. So there's something in a live person right, so this energy
force (life force) brings life to even tthe atom. That atom, the
information that is delivered from this life force to the atom is
deterined by the tension in the physical body. If a nerve is real
tense, it changes the frequency of the energy that goes to the atom.
It's tensegrity! There have been studies on this too. Structures
have what they call tensegrity. If you can bring more ease or flexibility
into the nervous system, you're bringing more ease and flexibility,
you're changing the tension of the nerve, you're changing the frequency
of the energy that's going into the individual cells, the individual
molecules, and the individual atoms. So now you're changing it energetically.
network chiropractic, you wanted to talk about that a little bit
and how it's different. Traditionally, chiropractic believes the
vertebral column is made up of 24 vertebrae, vertebrae like donuts;
24 of them stacked on top of another. The canal that's formed, the
hold, is where the spinal cord goes. So your skull protects the
brain. An extension of the brain is the spinal cord. Spinal cord
goes down the vertebral column, which is the vertebrae. When those
vertebrae are misaligned, or twisted, or subluxated in any way it
can cause tension, stretching, torqueing on the nerve. That nerve
now isn't sending its appropriate messages to the rest of the body.
This is chiropractic. Chiropractic is saying that when we take the
pressure off of the nerve by adjusting the spine and putting the
vertebrae back, now you're freeing up the nerve and making the body
healthier. Network chiropractic was born out of traditional chiropractic.
In fact, the name network is from networking the different techniques
in chiropractic. There are a hundred, there are over a hundred techniqes
in chiropractic. And what network did was it took the main concepts
from a lot of these major techniqes and put them under one umbrella.
And it really was the timing and sequencing of the adjustments;
it's all timing. It's when to do one type of force in the body as
opposed to another type of force.
foundation of network chiropractic really comes from the division
of subluxation into two types. Donald Epstein is a chiropractor
from Brooklyn originally who was the developer and the founder of
network spinal analysis (chiropractic). He has written many aritcles,
and he has done the research. The brilliance of his work all started
when he made that division of subluxation into two types. He dividied
it into what he called a structural subluxation and a facilitated
subluxation. A structural subluxation occurs when a vertebra gets
pulled out of place, causing interference on the nerve root. And
the way you correct a structural subluxation is by manually adjusting
the spine. That's when you hear the audible crunches or pops when
you crack your knuckle. That again is a structural subluxation and
that is caused by a physical type of a stress: car accident, falls,
sporting injuries, sitting at a desk in the same position all day,
causes your spine structurally to change posturally. 90 percent
of the profession I would say practice chiropractic strictly from
a structural point of view, meaning correcting only structural subluxations,
which in it of itself is a phenomenal service.
second type of subluation, the facilitated subluxation, is a different
animal all together. It's not caused by physical stress. It's caused
by a mental, emotional, or a chemical stress. It affects the nervous
system a lot differently. It doesn't affect the nervous system segmentally.
One vertebra causing one pair of nerve roots to go out of place.
It affects the nervous system multisegmentally, meaning over several
segments of the spine. It doesn't affect the nerve root as much
as it affects the spinal cord itself, and the brain stem actually.
the way that this is caused...I like to bring examples into this...the
first thing people need to know is that the nervous system is what
connects us to our environment. If you go outside and you feel cold,
the reason you feel cold is because the nervous system perceives
it as being cold out, and your body has to adapt to this. The way
your body adapts to this is through the nervous system. So you may
shiver, you may go through a bunch of physiological responses to
the coldness that your body is doing appropriately. If somebody
puts a gun to your head, if somebody threatens your life, and it
could have been 20 years ago it could have been any time, but if
somebody threatens you, your body will perceive your life as being
threatened, and it will go into what is called a fight or flight
response, you may have heard of it. And it's called a sympathetic
nervous system stress response; the sympathetic nervous system kicks
in. One of the things that the sympathetic nervous system controls
is adrenaline being pumped throughout the system. So now what adrenaline
does is...part of the sympathetic response is that all of the blood
and nerve energy goes from your internal organs out to your musculoskeletal
system. So now you have more strength and power than you have ever
had, and that's the fight or flight. It gives you the strength to
either stand there and fight or to run because life knows that your
life is in danger; your body knows this. Part of the stress response
is also your eyes dilate. Your glucose uptake is a little different.
Your breathing changes. And what that does is that positions your
body to protect itself. If you ever see a cat being chased-I like
to use a cat because everyone can relate to this-it takes off. But
when a cat is cornered, what does it do? It arches its back up right,
and everyone knows don't go near the cat when it arches its back
up because that's literally the nervous system now. The nervous
system, spinal cord, has stretched up in a defensive posture.
see, the position, tension, and tone of your spinal system determines
to a great degree what is going on in your life (your life experience).
Psychiatrists and artists have known this forever. If you go to
a psychiatrist and you say to the person "I love you," the psychiatrist
knows when the hands are clenched and the head is forward that's
different from, "I love you," it's the position of where the person
is at. An artist, someone like this isn't ready to kill someone.
Someone like this (he makes mean, scary face and contortion) is
(laughter from the crowd!). So we look at the position, tension,
and tone of the spinal system. Appropriately when that gun is pointed
at your head your body goes through all of these responses physiologically,
appropriately. And you're up like this, and your muscle tension
is real tight, and all the blood and nerve energy goes from your
stomach out to your muscles and you've got all of this energy built
up. Then when the threat is gone (when the dog walks away), the
cat's nervous system should be flexible enough to recover. So what
does it do? It brings its spine back into extension, not flexion.
When the person takes the gun away and you realize that your life
isn't in danger any longer, your system should be flexible enough
to recover...and calm down. When your system doesn't recover completely,
that's where facilitated subluxations are born. The whole spinal
system gets under tension when it doesn't completely recover...that
tension remains in the spinal system. And you look at people as
they get much older, I've seen people literally in their 80s where
they cannot lift their head up like this because their is a lifetime
of stress. See it's not the stress that does it to us, it's the
body's ability to deal with it and to accomodate it and to recover
from it. That's the key, you have to recover from the stress. When
you don't that's a meningeal or facilitated subluxation. And this
is something that Donald Epstein (network spinal analysis) addresses.
And the way we address and correct facilitated subluxations is not
with the manual type of an adjustment where you hear the popping
necessarily. It's more of a lighter touch.