|Author's Note: Each patient education article in this column is written to your patients and potential patients.It draws on research documented in Somatovisceral Aspects of Chiropractic: An Evidence-Based Approach, co-edited by Marion Todres-Masarsky, DC. Whenever possible, I have updated the material from the textbook with more recent research findings. Through New York Chiropractic College, I offer two online courses dealing with somatovisceral topics; for further information, visit www.NYCC.edu.|
As full-time practitioners in the northern Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C. (Vienna, Va.), my partner and I have noticed we are dealing with an increasingly sophisticated patient population. This is probably true of your practice as well. The following patient education article demonstrates an application of traditional chiropractic thinking beyond the walls of the adjusting room. Please feel free to use it on your bulletin board, as a front-desk flyer, or as a lay-lecture handout. I hope this article stimulates your patients' minds as well as their referrals. Thank you in advance for your referrals when your patients visit or move to northern Virginia!
You can't read the news or fill up your car with gas without being acutely aware of rising energy costs. When you factor in the geopolitical, national security, safety, pollution, and toxic waste concerns associated with fossil fuels (such as petroleum and coal) and nuclear power, alternative energy sources become quite attractive.
Obviously, any responsible health care provider would favor reducing pollution and improving safety, but what does the alternative energy issue have to do with chiropractic in particular? It turns out that alternative energy is uniquely compatible with chiropractic tenets. Chiropractic philosophy maintains that living things depend on the free and timely flow of information.1 In other words, a lump of organic matter is not alive unless its chemistry is organized by biological information. This information-centered concept of life is a major reason we focus our chiropractic analysis on the spinal nerves, where so much biological information flows.
However, the information-centered concept of life does not merely apply to the individual, but any living thing, including entire ecosystems. In the words of Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Gary Snyder:
"There is more information of a higher order of sophistication and complexity in a few square yards of forest than there is in all the libraries of mankind. Obviously, that is a different order of information. It is the information of the universe we live in. It is the information that has been flowing for millions of years."2
While it certainly is understandable that scientists and policy-makers are trying to figure out what new technology can be brought to bear on the energy problem, we should not forget the living information technology developed over the eons in every climate and microclimate on this planet. For millions of years, the biological information spoken of by poet and practitioner has been evolving intelligent methods of sculpting sunlight into a myriad of useful forms. Some of the information, learned in this evolutionary school of hard knocks and stored in the planet's DNA data bank, has practical applications for your gas tank and other energy needs.
For instance, many green plants carry information in their genetic code that enables them to store the energy of sunlight in the form of sugars and starches - an efficient biological process known as photosynthesis. A second set of bio logical blueprints in yeast cells carries the code for a process called fermentation. When sugars and starches are fermented, one result is a clean-burning fuel called ethanol. A mixture of 10 percent ethanol and 90 percent gasoline can go directly into your gas tank with no modifications to your car. If there are no gas stations selling this mixture in your area, there probably will be soon, as it becomes increasingly price-competitive with conventional gasoline. In the near future, "flexfuel" cars (which are already in limited production) are expected to become more widely available. These can burn mixtures of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline, as well as pure gasoline. Future flexfuel vehicles probably will offer even more options.
To produce an entirely new plant from a seed, a concentrated form of energy is required. For this reason, the genetic code of many plants carries instructions to infuse its seeds with high-energy oils. This offers another way in which the information stored in green plants" can be put to use in the engines produced by our industrial plants. Without modification, most diesel engines can burn soybean, canola and other vegetable oils, either in pure form or mixed with conventional diesel (petrodiesel) oil. These products are called biodiesel fuels, and they also are expected to become increasingly available and price-competitive over the next few years. The exhaust of trucks and busses burning pure vegetable biodiesel oil contains less toxic gasses than petrodiesel exhaust. In fact, biodiesel exhaust has been described as smelling like popcorn.
One further example (there are quite a few others) of how a set of plans from the planet's library of living information can assist us with energy production has to do with chlorophyll - the pigment found in green plants that makes photosynthesis possible. Research on the structure of this energy-transforming molecule has led to the development of new organic dyes. These chlorophyll-like dyes produce electricity in the presence of sunlight, offering new options for the small but growing solar electric power industry.
Just as a chiropractic adjustment seeks to help your body access the living information stored in your nervous system, all of the energy innovations discussed above are efforts to access the living information in the green plants and other life forms all around us. The goal of the chiropractic adjustment is better personal health. Undoubtedly, a major goal of the energy innovators is better planetary health. These planetary health concerns include the prevention of human illness, wildlife endangerment, economic turmoil and international conflict.
The U.S. Department of Energy sponsors an informative Alternative Fuels Data Web site" www.eere.energy.gov/afdc. This Web site and its links offer you a rapid education in the alternative energy field, whether you are interested in becoming an investor, an alternative energy consumer or simply a better-informed citizen.
- Masarsky CS, Todres-Masarsky M. "Neurologic Holism: Chiropractic's Scientific Future." In Masarsky CS, Todres-Masarsky M (Editors): Somatovisceral Aspects of Chiropractic: An Evidence-Based Approach. Churchill Livingstone, New York, 2001.
- Snyder G. "The Wilderness." In Snyder G: Turtle Island. New Directions Books, New York, 1974.
Click here for previous articles by Charles Masarsky, DC, FICC.