"Mixed onions" by © User:Colin / Wikimedia Commons. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Mixed_onions.jpg#/media/File:Mixed_onions.jpg

Locks and Onions




In the chiropractic profession there’s often been heated discussions as to what is the “priority” or most important area to correct. Using imaging such as X-ray, thermography, MRI, CT, neuro/ortho tests, palpation, neurological findings, range of motion and other procedures, chiropractors and healthcare practitioners determine where the patient has problems.


For example, upper cervical practitioners concentrate on the top of the spine while other practitioners start at the bottom of the spine. Then there are those who say ignore that, just work on the area that hurts, while others say don’t treat pain, address the area of dysfunction.


Various disciplines in chiropractic do not agree on which area is of prime importance in care. Which one is right? They ALL are.



In mathematics you need to follow a certain order of operation to solve problems: exponents and roots are done first, multiplication and division follow with addition and subtraction last. What does that have to do with taking care of patients?


Quite a bit! Every patient has his or her unique order of operation. Patients need to be adjusted, corrected or released in a certain order to realize the ideal correction.


People are like combination locks. It’s not enough to know the numbers that make up the combination. You also need to know the order the numbers go in or the lock won’t open. It’s not enough to know where the subluxations are; you need to know which ones are most important and in what order to correct.

Ask the Body:


A powerful way of getting information from the body is by the use of binary biofeedback devices. This is a physiological response to stress. The body reacts to physical, chemical, emotional and other stresses in many diverse ways that are used by chiropractic and other practitioners to obtain information. These include:


  • Manual muscle testing
  • Short leg reflex
  • Occipital drop
  • Galvanic skin resistance
  • Sweating
  • Heart rate variability
  • And probably hundreds more


An effective way to determine the order of operation is to “ask the body.”

Wisdom of the Body:


We pay homage to the wisdom of the body, the innate intelligence – so why not use this wisdom to determine what is subluxated and in what order it needs to be corrected? Thousands of chiropractors working on millions of patients have discovered that this phenomenon works very well in clinical practice. One of the important benefits of this approach is that you address the patient’s problems in the “order of operation” and you respect the wisdom of the body and then you stop. You cannot over-adjust.


There are two ways of addressing patient care:


  1. The empirical or vitalistic approach (learning from the wisdom of the body) and
  2. Mechanistic or rationalist approach which relies on intellectual theory to guide our care.


This schism is reflected in many healings arts, including chiropractic. In fact, in chiropractic Dr. B J Palmer (son of the founder of modern day chiropractic) and others, referred to this as Innate vs. Educated. The question every Doctor of Chiropractic must ask is which way does he or she wish to practice – empirically or mechanistically? Do we follow the Innate or the Educated?



As a result of working empirically (or innately) on hundreds of thousands of patients we consistently find that the body wishes to be addressed in a non-linear manner. The body will send you places you may not intellectually understand – at least not at first. From a limited intellectual understanding it may make no sense, but the body is wiser than we are. That is why the results are so often superior to any other method, getting results on the most difficult cases often after others have failed. The results will often impress patients and surprise the practitioner.

Onion Adjusting:


It is said that people are like onions, meaning that they have many layers. We find this clinically. As superficial subluxations are corrected, deeper ones will emerge or reveal to be corrected.


People are not the same even after a single adjustment correction. They respond to that intervention by unwinding, retracing and otherwise reacting in a unique way and their unique dance of healing needs to be respected.

The Difference between Chiropractic and Medicine


This is an important aspect of natural healthcare. Natural healthcare’s purpose is to release stress, correct subluxations and create balance and harmony. As this occurs people may detox, have emotional release, experience old trauma and feel other changes in their beings. Chiropractic and other forms of natural, empirical healing are thus expressive healthcare.


Medicine often approaches symptoms as inherently bad and therefore they must be combated. Medicine is thus known as suppressive healthcare. For that reason medical care does not elicit retracing. It does the opposite and prevents the person from retracing often interfering with the patient’s natural healing abilities. Medical care looks at symptoms only and is really “crisis care”. Chiropractic examines the source of health problems and is therefore “prevention care.”

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