The spinal gateway

The spinal gateway 

What the heck is a spinal gateway?

Touching something unknownEarlier this week one of you lovely people asked me “what are those spots you keep touching on my back’?  What a fantastic question!  I bet more of you have that question so I thought I would take the opportunity to write this week’s article in answer to that very question.  

If you remember my article from a few weeks ago that was entitled “Consciousness & the Spine” I wrote about the five different tension patterns that occur within the spine.  Those tension patterns get created due to some experience(s) that we’ve had that we haven’t been able to fully integrate, and if you remember there are different states of being (consciousness) that correlate with each pattern.  So why is that important here?  Well in order for you to become aware of those tension pattern within your spine you need an access/entry point or a “gateway” into that pattern.  You need to somehow, someway become aware of that pattern in your spine so that the tension pattern can begin to unwind itself.  The spinal gateway is just that.  It is an access point, an opening, into a particular tension pattern in your spinal cord where you can begin to become aware of that pattern.  So when I am making those touches on various spots on your back I am working with your spinal gateways, helping them open and develop so that you can become more aware of yourself, including how you hold tension and where you have resistance.

One of the things I say frequently to many of you is that awareness does so much, in fact I believe it does pretty much everything.  It brings that which was unnoticed or unseen into realization, and then through realization, you as an individuated expression of the One have the capacity or power to work with what is.  The only thing left after the moment of realization is for you to come into alignment with that which was realized.  All of that to say that the spinal gateway is a portal for the light of awareness to realize itself manifesting through a particular pattern of tension in your spinal cord.  This is important and what I feel differentiates Network from a lot of other work out there.  It really is a  self-awareness method.  Its not about me doing something to you, but instead about helping you find your own self, become aware of your own self, so that you can self-regulate, self-align, and self-adjust.  Everything that I “do” is to support your awareness waking itself up to your self and the development of the spinal gateway is one of the prime ways I do just that very thing.  

Development of the spinal gateway 

How the spinal gateways change and grow

Touching something unknown

Spinal gateways live between each of the bones in your neck and also along the sacrum bone in the pelvis.  They have both a very precise structural aspect as well as an energetic portion to them.  This means that they have a particular physical location (which is dependent on the tension pattern that is present in your spinal cord on any given day), but that they also have a nonphysical aspect which can grow.  You can think of the shape of a spinal gateway as a little vortex, spiraling with energy, but anchored into the spine between the bones in the neck and sacrum.  Also remember that just because the gateways are at these precise locations doesn’t mean that they are impacting only those precise locations that I’m touching.  The gateway is just the access point into a particular pattern and the pattern can be either localized to that area or have resonance at various other locations in the spine or body that I am not directly touching.  The beauty of the spinal gateway is that when it is accessed it can find all the other areas in the body that have the same tonal frequency or resonance with that pattern without requiring that it is directly touched.  This is why often you might become aware of some sensation, energy, or tension in a different part of your spine or body when I am touching say a spot on your neck or sacrum.  

The spinal gateways grow with continued care, contact and reinforcement.  This is one of the reason why the frequency of care is so important, especially in the first year or two of care, which is when a lot of the development of these gateways occurs.  It takes a certain amount of repetition to create these gateways and then for awareness to unwind the tension patterns associated with them.  When people first start care the gateways are often small and very close to the physical body.  They are felt as areas of rapport.  This is where your bioenergetic life force lives and as the gateway develops here there is greater awareness of the physical body and a sense of safety that arises.  As care continues and I have you lift your neck or sacrum you are beginning to stretch the spinal gateways both physically and energetically.  This activates your emotional body and emotional energy becomes the fuel that gets the gateway to stretch and grow more.   The energetic portion of the spinal gateway begins to live a few inches away from the physical body in what’s called your emotional field.  With this people often begin to have more awareness of their emotions.  

Then as care continues two spinal gateways start “talking” to each other.  One stretches and then the other stretches and a rhythm starts to develop between the two of them.  This activates the lower mental body where clarity, personal sense of self and discernment lives.  The energetic portion of the spinal gateways grows to about 2-3 feet away from the physical body at this point into your lower mental body/field.  This then continues until a “figure 8” motion begins to develop between two spinal gateways.  The rhythmic motion becomes more organized and fluid.  This activates the upper mental body where you can begin to see beyond boxes and stories and have more a visionary sense of self as creator of your life.  Here the energetic portion of the spinal gateways have now grown to 6-8 feet in distance away from the physical body into your upper mental field and with that your sense of “body” and self begins to become much more expansive.  

Heart Chakra concept. Inner love, light and peace. Silhouette inAll of this spinal gateway development occurs in the first two levels of  Network care.  Then in the third level of care the focus is on the development of the heart gateway, which is similar to the spinal gateways, but there is only one heart gateway rather than multiple like the spinal gateways, and the location is around the physical heart.  The heart gateway develops throughout the 3rd level of care and a coordination is learned between the development of this heart gateway with the spinal gateways that where developed in the first 2 levels of care.  In this 3rd level of care both the heart gateway stretches and grows in distances of several feet away from the physical body and the spinal gateways grow to about 8-12 feet and beyond.  This is where your soul body/field lives.  The coordination that develops between the heart gateway and the spinal gateways is one where your heart/soul is informing your thoughts, emotions and physical body.  

When people are fully in the 3rd level of care as their baseline the patterns of tension that were originally in the spinal cord aren’t really there in a traditional sense of a constricted tension pattern anymore, but instead just mere resonance or tracing.  In that way you can fully glean the awakened or oneness perspective of any pattern that previously had you held in a separative frame of mind.  That becomes the lens with which you see all of life.  The dance between soul/spirit and human becomes evident here and ultimately culminates in where the personal self stops leading the show and the soul prevails as the one that guides this human vessel.  

I hope this helps you understand the importance and function of the spinal gateways and why I am always touching those particular points on your spine.  I like to think of them as portals into more of you and as they grow you get to access more and more of yourself.  It is quite literally upgrading the neurological circuitry and with that you can communicate with more of yourself through having developed these access points into you.  At the most fundamental level they provide you with a way to become aware and resolve tension patterns in your spine and life so that you you can participate more ease-fully with life.  At the more developed levels they allow for integration of various aspects of yourself to come into awareness, helping you transcend perceived limitations of an individuated personal self, into the one heart, one love, one being that we all are.  

Dr. Amanda Hessel, Chiropractor, Network Spinal Analysis & Somato-Respiratory Integration, Boulder, Colorado

Pain as sensation

Pain as sensation

How physical is physical 

Female with pain back pain and neck painPain can be a very intense experience.  While there are many types of pain (i.e. emotional, mental and spiritual), what I want to address here is pain that we feel physically in our body as sensation.  If you have a body it is pretty much a given that you have experienced painful sensations. So what are painful sensations really about and why do some seem to bother us more than others?

Without any labels attached or meanings given to it pain is simply an uncomfortable sensation.  Say for example you stub your toe on the couch.  Nerves in your toe send messages up to brain that say “ouch” and with that a flood of information in the form of chemical messages gets sent back down from the brain to that part of your body to repair any damage that may have occurred.  This is all coordinated by the wisdom of your body.  You don’t have to think to make it happen.  It simply occurs as a natural response.

So how is it that pain turns into massive distress?  Pain turns into massive distress for us when we give meaning to it or resist its presence.  Lets say for example you have pain in your neck and its been there for 6 weeks.  You have a particular thought or judgment that the pain should not be there because its been 6 weeks now, you are tired of it and you start to get scared about why its there and that it may never go away.  This is the first layer of distress.  Often we feel powerless to the expression of pain when we go down this line of thinking and we mentally seek for reasons why the pain is there, search for a label for it and try to do and find things that will get rid of the pain.  Secondly there is also often a belief that this pain is interfering with something you want to do, or will interfere with something you think you want to do in the future, so you equate that “pain=not being able to do something that I want to do.”  You have now given meaning to your pain.  The flurry of distress and resistance arises.  

The tendency is to think that the pain is physical since its appearance seems to be coming from your body, so we think we must need something physical to fix it.  However if you really read the paragraph above you will see that the distress isn’t actually in the physical body, but instead its in the mental and emotional factors that we have created about the pain, not  the painful sensation itself.  If we are really experiencing pain simply as the sensation it is, without content and story about it, there is relatively little thought about it at all.  It is simply one of the thousand sensations we experience on a daily basis, and although it may still feel uncomfortable it won’t have any charge to it.  Its more like noticing the sensation that you’re hungry or that you have to go to the bathroom, you still feel the sensation and move towards taking actions that those sensations impel you to do, but there isn’t any question, doubt or uncertainty about what must be done, you simply know as you are tuned to your body.  Same thing occurs when you experience pain as sensation without meaning attached to it.  You simply know what you must do because you are listening to your body.  That may look like stopping and resting, holding the part that hurts, breathing into, etc.  Again you don’t have to figure it out and go through all the mental content about what that sensation means and what you have to do differently, because you are simply listening to the sensation.  

Most the time we are not listening but instead trying to “figure out” when pain arises.  Listening is allowing and taking action from that listening.  If we are trying to figure it out we are in resistance and fix it mode and never feel certain what the right action is.  Having a conversation with your body is like having a conversation with another person.  If you are really listening to them you don’t have to figure out what to say, it simply comes naturally because you are present and attuned to them.  

This is really a life lesson which pain can be one teacher of.  We are often trying to impart onto life what we think it should be and then we resist or try to manage and control everything so that life looks the way we think it should.  While simultaneously we often feel lost and uncertain and beg for guidance and can’t receive it as we don’t recognize it occurring because we are so stuck in our particular perspective of how it should be.  

Knee pain, woman holding sore and painful legTo summarize here when we really listen we know and when we are not listening we always feel like we are searching for something we can’t find or don’t know.  On a body level to really listen we need to stop our stories and thoughts about  our sensations and simply be with the sensation.  One of the best ways I have found to do this is to put my hands on the particular part of my body that’s expressing the sensation and simply bring my awareness there.  I begin to acknowledge the sensations, without content or story, just sensation or feeling.  This allows me to drop the story and simply experience the sensation for what it is.  This often looks like really allowing myself to feel the discomfort rather than move away from it.  Through this process acceptance of the sensation and energy association with the sensation occurs.  Now nothing is interfering with the natural wisdom of the body to bring information in the form of those chemical messages to that part of the body to repair any damage that may need healed.   The biggest interference to healing is the stories we create about what things mean.  When those stories get suspended, even for a few moments, life flows in the way that life flows without us having to figure it out or do it.  

Dr. Amanda Hessel, Chiropractor, Network Spinal Analysis & Somato-Respiratory Integration, Boulder, Colorado

What does your spinal diagnosis say about you?

44785944 - attractive woman with back pain at home in the bedroomWhat does your spinal diagnosis say about you?  

There are hundreds of official diagnoses when it comes to spinal conditions.  People are most familiar with low back pain, disc herniations, cervical or lumbar radiculopathies, scoliosis, degenerative disc disease, spinal stenosis and arthritis of the spine.  Each one of these has a different mechanism for how it shows up in the body.  The aim of modern medicine is to determine which condition is present based on signs and symptoms so that proper procedure can be performed.

People with spinal conditions often turn to a chiropractor when they 1) don’t want to have a surgery that their physician has recommended or 2) their medical doctor has told them that there is nothing else they can do for them except for pain medications.

One of the reasons that chiropractors are successful at helping people in these situations is because we look at the entire spinal system, not just where it hurts or has a “problem”.  We also evaluate the biomechanics of the spine, posturing, behaviors, thoughts and emotions that contribute to what is showing up in your spine.

There are no quick fixes.  Even if you choose to have a spinal surgery, if you don’t simultaneously make some changes in your life, your situation will likely not improve.  I believe this is one reason why so many back surgeries are unsuccessful.  Secondly, when you fuse or alter one part of the spine it will produce changes in how other parts of the spine function, which is why people often develop pain in previously asymptomatic areas of the spine after a spinal surgery.

How can something so gentle and non-invasive help?

Debunking the force myth 

We tend to think that if something physical is expressing in our body than we need something really physical to fix it.  There is also the idea that the more aggressive we are in our approach the more likely we will be at getting rid of it.  In this way of thinking the more force, aggression, doing or invasiveness = better results.

A-P-103Have you ever had the experience when you were trying to accomplish something, but you just couldn’t figure out how to do it?  You tried all your old ways of accomplishing, but nothing was working.  After exhausting yourself doing things and stressing out about it you talked with a friend to share your frustration and perhaps get some advice.  Your friend did not offer any advice but instead held an “invisible” space for you to talk while they listened.  At the end of the conversation you did not have an answer but you felt more spacious, clearer, and relaxed.  Your frustrations were heard.  The next day you went back to your project and saw a new perspective that you had not seen before, and alas you made some forward progress.

Your body works in much the same way.  When someone is present with your body, without trying to fix it, your body changes how it functions, postures and holds itself.  Chiropractic may be less aggressive and forceful than surgery or chemical alteration through pharmaceuticals, however when applied with presence its effects are much more profound.  The amount of presence you have in any endeavor is inversely proportionally to the amount of force you need.  The spine and nervous system respond to presence and the body will self-organize, self-regulate and self-heal when in the presence of presence.

Dr. Amanda Hessel, DC, Network Spinal Analysis & Somato-Respiratory Integration

Posture & Joint Health: Don’t’ let Gravity Get the Best of You!

Have you ever been told you have poor posture?

Do you experience pain in your back, hips, knees or shoulders?

Have you noticed that your head is forward of your body?

Posture is more than standing or sitting up straight. Posture has to do with how well your body can work with stress, recover from injury or illness, heal, and function optimally. Imbalanced posture leads to numerous health concerns, including problems with your joints and even your internal organs.

Gravity can wreak havoc on your joints if your posture is not in the best alignment. This creates pain and poor biomechanics that can lead to early degeneration. A common sign of this is when people’s head come forward of their shoulders and body. This condition is called “Forward Head Carriage” and is epidemic in our society. Forward head carriage puts abnormal stress on different areas of the mid-back and low back creating pain, discomfort, muscle tension and sometimes even numbness and tingling down the arms or legs.

“Forward head posture leads to long-term muscle strain, disc herniations, arthritis and pinched nerves.” ~Mayo Clinic

Forward head posture also puts significant stress on your spinal cord. The spinal cord is the bundle of nerves that connects your brain to your body. When there is stress on the spinal cord it tightens and begins to physically fray. That means that messages that travel down that cord from your brain to body (and back up) get distorted and sometimes even lost. Imagine the significance of this if one of those messages that gets lost tells your heart to beat rhythmically or your lungs to breath.

 

Dr. Alf Breig, neurosurgeon & Noble Prize recipient, did extensive research in the area of spinal cord tension and found that, “Loss of the cervical (neck) curve stretches the spinal cord 5-7 cm and causes disease.” Loss of the neck curve occurs when the head comes forward of the body. Below is a list of causes of imbalanced posture and potential effects on your body.

What causes Imbalanced Posture? Imbalanced Posture contributes to:
·         Physical trauma & repetitive motions

·         Emotional & mental stress

·         Chemical toxins in foods & the environment

·         Spinal cord irritation & pull

·         Inflammation in your body

 

·         Wear and tear on your joints leading to degenerative arthritis

·         Muscular imbalances creating tightness in some muscles and weakness in others

·         Increased pain & chronic pain

·         Nerve irritation

·         Decreased blood flow to the brain and other vital organs

·         Poor adaptability

August is “Posture Awareness Month” at BodyMind Alchemy. I invite you to check out our free classes that we are providing to raise awareness of the importance of posture and its implications on your health. Please visit: https://bodymindalchemyboulder.com/events-calendar/in-office-talks/ to find out how to register. Anyone who comes to our talks this month will receive a free postural screening and computerized assessment!

Dr. Amanda Hessel, DC, MS, L.Ac