Norman Allan
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what I do: the pool

first entry

Rosamunda asked me to write about what I do. I wrote an essay about mind/body dialogue, which I thought was a start, but Rosa said that's not what's unique about your practice. Lot's of people do mind/body dialogues. What's unique, she thought, was in part about how I switch, weave treatments, therapies. It's about getting a "handle" on problems, so that we can effect changes..






Again, I can't find the handle to write about what I do. Rosa thought I should try centering on a patient, or several, to describe what I do. I'm not sure if I can go that route for lack of a lot to say about any particular case, but could write brief anecdotes about many... and I shall - under the rubric "what I do", I shall generate notes for the work to be...

I don't know that I do anything truly unique, but I have a lot of very fine tools and I use them creatively. Rosa thought that my knack (as she sees it) for knowing when to switch, and where to switch to, was one of the "unique" features. Referring laterally - "lateral thinking", yes? An example...

What Arthur needed was self-esteem
and accomplishment
so I referred him to my (then) elder's sweatlodge.

Arthur got right into the heart of Two Feather's circle to the extent that the elder used him. Still and all, Arthur would agree that acquiring, firsthand, the native spiritual paradigm, and keeping the fire, are awesome.

I have counseled Arthur over a decade and a half, off and on, and the striking thing - and actually, pretty unique, as far as my practice is concerned - is that our therapeutic relationship is very greatly reciprocal. Arthur "counsels" me almost as much as I "counsel" him, and for the longest time I had misgivings, apprehension, around the "appropriateness" of this... till recently I rationalized that, again, in that Arthur's primary need is estate (and accomplishment), it is absolutely appropriate.



second installment

Chiropractic: vertigo and Gonstead

Shelley had vertigo. Badly. She had been seriously dizzy for three years. She could not lie on her right or left side, which was the way she customarily liked to to sleep, because the world swam about so when she tried. She had to lie on her back. Then the world would only sway some. She was losing sleep. The vertigo was so troubling that her neurologist was considering sending her to a surgeon, even though there was no diagnosis. Her Chinese doctor/acupuncturist, though, the wonderful Xiou Lan, thought there was something wrong with her neck; that one of the lower cervical/neck vertebrae was "out", and she sent her to see me.

Indeed, C6 felt "out"/blocked (and tender). I adjusted it in the Gonstead fashion, nudging C6 forward, back into place. "I think..." said Shelley. "I think..." but then she sprung from the chair where we had done the adjustment and hurried over to the "pelvic bench" and lay down on her left side. "I haven't been able to do that for three years," she said.

Shelley came back once for a "follow up", but nothing further needed to be done then, she was fine and it's a long way to Toronto from Oshawa, so that was the last I saw of her.

Now, there are several comments that we need to make here. First, we do not always see such instantaneous recover, though we do surprisingly often when using the Gonstead technique, and I have to tell you about the Gonstead technique of chiropractic.

Dr. Gonstead, in the nineteen twenties, discerned, decided, intuited, that when the spine failed, generally speaking... when the spine failed a vertebra (and the segment above it, with it) fell backwards off of its disc. And he found that this was so because that's what the anatomy allowed; because (once you are looking for this "posteriority") you can see it, tease it out, on x-ray; and because when you correct posteriority you get superb results.

The Gonstead technique, nudging the vertebra from posterior anteriorly ("sagittally"), is more comfortable, safer, and far more effective then rotating the spine. (It's like picking the fridge up on a dolly and moving forward rather then trying to "walk" it side to side back into place.) Why, then, isn't everybody using it? Ah, it's hard to learn. I had to travel to Wisconsin, five times, and practice and practice and practice.

Now this not to say that rotary adjustments can't/don't sometimes "reduce" the subluxation, the problem. My very first visit to a chiropractor, I had tried to lift a car out of a snow bank and had put my back out, and a rotary adjustment fixed it, pretty much instantly, just fine. But another time, I had had the flu and coughed my neck out of place and I sensed it needed a sagittal adjustment, a Gonstead correction, but my usual chiropractor was out of town. I went to three friends, even learned (through that) a new technique, but it didn't help, till Dr. Innis returned and nudged C6 forward back into place.

On occasion, in my practice, I'll see someone who's has been to four or five other chiropractors and had the spine rotated, or had their neck clicked sideways, to no avail and one (or two) Gonstead corrections will fix the problem.

So this is another of the things I do: I collect really good, effective techniques.