An American Tradition


4 Roses Distillery, KY

When the German, Irish, and English settlers began to move West through what was then Virginia, they found natural mineral springs, an abundance of corn, and an environment that lent itself beautifully to the aging process of whiskey. They applied their knowledge of distillation with the raw materials they had available. A predominantly corn mash whiskey aged in new charred oak barrels yields the caramel color and the complexity of the Kentucky bourbon we have today.

There is a purity to the process and the culture of distilling bourbon. The lessons and secrets of the craft have been honed for hundreds of years. Modern technology has facilitated some of the aspects of production and distribution, but the authenticity of the art can still be found in the hills and valleys of Kentucky. There are men dedicated to conserving and sharing the integrity of this American tradition. Like in all disciplines, there are those who wish to muddle the purity of this tradition.

Those who wish to compromise the integrity of this (or any) industry, for financial gain, “modernization”, or perhaps an “expansion of scope” need to understand one thing: good people do not give their allegiance to things without depth. A tradition with a science, an art, and a philosophy, a profession that requires skill and innovation, and a practice that requires patience, discipline, and trust will keep its integrity.

Distillation is the process of extracting the essence of a thing. When all of the nonsense and all of the noise is removed, what remains is the spirit. When this happens in a person it is called satori. When it happens with whiskey it is called bourbon.

What story does your spine tell?


The story of your spine is your “back story”. Many people know that the spine helps to protect the spinal cord, the neurological freeway that connects the brain to nerves in the body. The spinal cord is not a separate organ from the brain, and in many ways it can be considered the “back of the mind”.

We experience our world through our nervous system (brain, spinal cord, nerves, and sense organs). Sometimes, this world can be stressful on our bodies and our minds and this is reflected in the spine. The body will prioritize stability over freedom when it is under duress or if it perceives it is under duress. This means that whether the stress on the body and the spine is material (physical or chemical stress) or psychological (mental/emotional stress), the body and the spine will respond in the same way.

Sometimes it is important and necessary to trade stability for freedom, but more often than not this state is only beneficial when temporary. Life is the expression of motion and motion requires freedom. This is nowhere more apparent than in the spine. If the spine is not allowed to freely express movement through a balanced and coordinated range of motion, the entire communication system of the body becomes challenged. When there is reduced quantity and quality information being communicated within the body, especially when this occurs over long periods of time, we see the consequences of dis-ease manifest.

Dis-ease can take different forms. Dis-ease can look or feel like pain, fatigue, tension, or challenges with how the body functions. No matter what the symptoms, dis-ease in the body indicates a compromise to the body’s internal communication system.

The role of the chiropractor is, therefore, to address the compromise to body’s internal communication system. In chiropractic, this compromise when found in the spine is called the vertebral subluxation. The chiropractic adjustment is an information signal delivered to mobilize the innate wisdom of the body, in order to allow the nervous system to reorganize where and how ease and dis-ease are present.

“The time has come when we can no longer consider the body as a collection of units, but as an integrated whole.”

The stories that we write with our lives are the stories that are reflected in our spines. To see the integrated whole, we must acknowledge that nothing exists in isolation, there must be a balance of freedom and stability, and that this process of story writing is ultimately a creative one.


We regret things we have done, but wish we had not done. Regret is therefore one possible consequence of action. We experience remorse when we reflect on something we didn’t do, but wish we had. Remorse, then, is one possible consequence of inaction.

In German, there are a few ways to describe remorse. One way is the word Gewissenbisse, which literally translates to “bite of conscious”.

I recently had an elderly woman present to my office with mild low back pain. When she arrived, she came with her two sisters. There was something different, yet familiar, about their stature, their gait, and their communication that I registered before I heard Ingrid (not her real name) speak.

Ingrid was from Germany. She was born in the early 30s, which means she had a front row seat for some of the most significant historical events of the twentieth century.

I knew from her cadence that she was from eastern Germany, and when I asked her where she was from, she politely said “East Germany”.

One of things I lament most about where I live is that I don’t have anyone with whom to practice my German. I studied German in high school and in college. I even took a minor in it. Some of my favorite professors and some of the coolest people I met were through my engagement with this culture. I know it’s all still in there, but there are a few layers of dust on my Vokabeln and my Grammatik.

And here I was, not only with a native German speaker, but someone who had lived a history that few people today have.

But I was in Doctor mode. My priority was to determine what was going on in this woman’s spine, and to help her in the best ways that I know how. She had, after all, come to a chiropractic office, not a tea party.

She explained her complaint, I did my analysis, and I delivered the appropriate adjustments.

I kept seeing the phrases unfold themselves in my mind’s eye:


Moechten Sie auf Deutch oder auf Englisch sprechen?”

“…Ja, ich kann ein bisschen Deutsch sprechen. Ich habe im Frankfurt am Main studiert…”

Drehen Sie sich seine Kopf, bitte. Nach rechts…gerade aus…nach links…”


German was on the tip of my tongue, but I didn’t say a word of it.

I was afraid I was going to make a mistake. I was afraid that somehow, I might offend her in offering to speak her native language. I was afraid that somehow my credibility with her might be lessened, since I was already young enough to be her grandson, what would it look like if I childishly tried to show off my rusty, but hopefully passable Deutsch?

Resistance gripped me, Uncertainty filled my mind, and I allowed Fear to take that round.

To an extent, remorse and regret fade with time, but I will remember this bite of conscious. Opportunities, once lost, cannot be acted upon, but they can be reminders that Resistance is to be overcome and the only way to best Fear is to do that which scares you.


The Chiropractic Adjustment



I do not use the word treatment.
For me, treatment is something you do to windows or hair; it might be therapeutic, it might address the surface of an issue.
A treatment is a procedure you do in order to fix an ailment or condition.
There is nothing wrong or bad about treatments. They have a place and provide value to those who seek them.
I do not offer treatments.

Conditioning tells us that life, time, and consequences are linear.
Linear simply means that if you do x, you will get y. If you add a lot of A, you will get a lot of B.
Linear thinking works really well is some disciplines. Newtonian mechanics, which helps us to understand and predict how matter works on a large scale is an invaluable part of human knowledge.
However, linear thinking does not apply to biology, which is by its very nature non-linear. Non-linear means that a small input can yield a large output, that if you do something in one spot, it could affect a seemingly unrelated spot somewhere else, and ultimately that the balance of life exists far from equilibrium.
Put it this way – the closer we get to thermodynamic equilibrium, the closer we are to death, which is the ultimate state of material stability.

Composition is non-linear.

When the composer hears the score, they do not say “does this accord with the rules and theories of music?” The composer channels what was once ethereal and formless into something that can be expressed in the physical realm of time and space and instruments.

To say that the lines on the staff, the clef or the key dictate the course of the song or limit the expression of the music is to misunderstand how this process unfolds. Even the notes as they are written on the page are only representations of an unlimited unbound energy that allows the composer to temporarily give it a name.

This is not to say that the composition defies the defined and observable laws of music theory. It means that the defined and observable laws are simply descriptions of what compositions consistently have in common.

Music is not born from theory any more than Nature is born from physical laws. Genesis always has been and always will be the process of the immaterial unfolding itself in the language of the physical world. The size, style, and age of your light fixture does not alter the nature of the electricity that feeds it, even though that electricity acquiesces to the limits of the matter and form. How else could it share its light?

The chiropractic adjustment is non-linear.

Adjusting is a creative act because the chiropracTOR understands that, like the artist, they are facilitating the unfolding of intelligence through matter, which happens to be the chiropractic meaning of life. The adjustment allows the Innate Intelligence that coordinates and communicates with all spheres of the human experience to be unlocked, enticed, and reorganized. An adjustment is something that is made, co-creatively, for the betterment of the individual and by extension all who will be affected by their greater connection to Source.

The clinical impact of the adjustment is profound. It has the ability to affect any manifestation of dis-ease in the body or mind. This is what differentiates an adjustment from a treatment. The scope is far beyond the removal of an uncomfortable or undesired condition. An adjustment is not limited to the linear thinking of the Educated mind. An adjustment takes as its starting point the premise that the the body is a connected, continuous, self-healing, self-regulating, living organism. The adjustment is delivered to integrate and enhance the expression of intelligence, health, wellness, and sanity in the physical form of the human being.

I use the word adjustment.
I offer the service of adjusting people, not conditions or stories.
I deliver this service.

What is Written

My clinic advisor never missed a chance to remind us: “if you didn’t write it down, it didn’t happen.” With a background in the med-legal world, he placed a high premium – and rightfully so – on the importance of documentation. We needed to document what was reported, what was observed, and what was done so that we not only had a record of it (for clinical and legal purposes), but more importantly to witness change over time.

We write to remember, to enshrine an experience in time. Just as the marks on a page are irreversible once made, experience is written in the body. If the body and mind cannot fully be present for and process an experience as it occurs in real-time, the energy of memory will be stored in the tissues and the structures of the body. Often, this leads to a pattern of tension in the body, which leads to stress physiology – the body (and mind) go into defense.

Just as a journal will reflect the evolution and complexity of a person over time, so too will their body.  The vital element in the development of both is expression.

Have you ever had a thought or a problem – a to-do list, what you really wanted to say to that jerk, a schedule, what you wished you said to someone you cannot or will not see again – and tried to keep it in? In writing it down, you give it a chance to be expressed. It no longer has the same hold on you because you have allowed it to exist in a different medium.

I see chronic stress physiology and the patterns of tension held in the body as anchors to the past. When in this state, your mind fights to defend the sense of self of the person you were.

When the communication between the brain and the body is permitted to be expressed, those patterns of tension and the need to defend a sense of self you have outgrown will cease to inhibit who you are now.

I like to write because it helps me to keep a record of where I came from. It serves as a point of reference, a measure of success, and an instrument to acknowledge how the unpredictable, unexpected, and sometimes unwanted is ultimately shown to be exactly what was coming and what was needed.

Writing is a way to honor experience, create memory, and revisit a time and a version of us that in every way contributed to who we are today and what we will have the opportunity to write tomorrow.


It was not until I was in the high country of the Sierra Nevada in eastern Yosemite that I learned to be quiet, and to slow down. Here my ears opened, my eyes relaxed, and both my gait and breath changed.

It was here that I was formally introduced to John Muir, and I sensed an immediate kinship with him and an affinity for his philosophy, his love of Nature, and his pace of Life.

That there is “a Universal Intelligence in all matter, which continually gives to it all its properties and actions, thus maintaining it in existence” is the Major Premise of chiropractic. It is the foundation upon which its philosophy of Life is grounded, and it is nowhere more evident than in the harmony and ecosphere of the mountains.

Indeed, as John Muir wrote, “the clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness”.

Ignis Mutat Res

The pre-Socratic Heraclitus related the kosmos to an everliving fire; kindling in measures and being quenched in measures. The world, like the beings that inhabit it, are constantly in a state of flux. Changing, they stay the same. His use of contradiction and paradox, I think, was designed to transcend the dichotomy and exclusivity of a logic that had not yet been “invented” by the rational minds that followed him.

In a figurative and a literal sense, fire transforms things. It is at once destructive and constructive, varying only by the way in which it is understood and tempered. Prometheus may have introduced us to the external phenomenon, thermodynamics is introducing us to The Science of Fire, and yet perhaps our most important relationship is the measure in which fire is being kindled or quenched in our own hearts.

“Thus the role …

“Thus the role of the chiropractor is to mobilize the biological resources of the organism, – to allow it to do for itself as much as it is able to do. He does not whip a tired organ into activity by stimulants, nor squelch over-excited nerves with sedatives or narcotics. What he accomplishes is not accomplished at the expense of masking symptoms, side-effects, and the general physical deterioration that so often follows dependence on drugs.”

— C.W. Weiant, DC, PhD

I often use the analogy of a smoke alarm when discussing symptoms and medications with my people. Symptoms, especially pain, are the body’s innate way of cueing your brain into the fact that something needs to be addressed. The role of medication is to alter your body’s chemistry. A major consequence of this altered chemistry is that the cause of the problem remains, but the signal alerting your brain that something needs to be reevaluated gets turned down or turned off. This is analogous to taking the batteries out of the smoke detector. The smoke detector is trying to tell you that there is a fire in the kitchen. Just because the alarm stops blaring does not mean you have addressed the cause of the smoke.

For me, Chiropractic is about helping people to develop strategies to access greater levels of resourcefulness. As Weiant says, to “mobilize” those biological resources. Mobilization is a direct result of establishing and improving clear lines of communication. When the system is clear, the message is clear, and the body can organize – and mobilize – accordingly.

As BJ Palmer says in Volume XXXII,

Have you more faith in a knife or a spoonful of medicine than in the Innate power that animates the internal living world?

One Sound

The sound of one hand clapping is the sound of the Big Bang. It is the sound of supernovas exploding, of atoms colliding, of birds singing, and of the clink of dishes in the sink. It is the One sound that imparts form on the entire manifest universe, and you are that sound.

The nerve system organizes the internal and external waves of this sound as they shape and direct the experiences of life. The symphony of sounds with which we identify are ultimately the facets of the diamond of the One sound.

The basic principle of Chiropractic is Tone. Transcending and including the tradition of Chiropractic, Network Spinal Analysis brings deeper awareness to the body and empowers you to connect, transform, and awaken to your life, using the spine as the vehicle for change. It does not give you anything or take anything away. It simply helps you to rediscover what you have always heard and what you already hear – who you really are, the One sound.