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June, 2012

The Zero Balancing Paradigm

By Michele Doucette, DC

Authenticity, passion, and Zero Balancing are my most effective strategies for patient retention and new patient referral; not pre-meditated scripts, bulk mailings, spinal screenings or chasing after patients or convincing them they need my care. And discovering the profound gifts of the leading-edge structural and energetic manual therapy, Zero Balancing (ZB), and adding it to my chiropractic and nutrition practice, has unified my personal growth with the sustainability of my professional practice.

What is Zero Balancing?

According to the Zero Balancing website, this therapy was "developed by Fritz Frederick Smith, MD in the early 1970s. Zero Balancing is a powerful body-mind therapy that uses skilled touch to address the relationships between energy and structures within the body. Following a protocol that typically lasts 30 – 45 minutes, the practitioner utilizes finger pressure and gentle traction on the bones and joints to create fulcrums, or points of balance, around which the body can relax and reorganize."

Dr. Smith credits his success to his father, a renowned chiropractor, who practiced well into the 9th decade of his life. Smith feels his father gave him a head start in life with the early imprint of conscious, compassionate touch.

The field of energy medicine is expanding rapidly and the newer sciences are beginning to offer a vocabulary that will facilitate a quantum shift in how we perceive our human bodies (among other things).

Chiropractors have been ahead of their time clinically, but a unified, integrated vocabulary has been lacking.

Innate Intelligence

We talk about innate intelligence in chiropractic philosophy classes and seminars, but when we go to the table, what does it mean? I remember being taught in technique lab that, as we take up tissue slack along a line of drive, we connect with the innate intelligence of the body before we deliver a thrust. That was about it. It had something to do with tissue slack and bringing a joint to tension, but I never heard any explanation about why that was connecting to innate intelligence or how I would know if I missed the connection.

I think I was being asked to just know that it was there and trust that if I made an adjustment it would be released, activated or stimulated in some therapeutic way. And it probably is, in most cases, but here's the thing: somewhere along the line, the academic, theoretical and practical instruction about the mechanics of touching innate intelligence was lost.

It wasn't until I started studying Zero Balancing that the missing piece was restored and I began to have a more meaningful conversation through tactile connection with the intelligence in another body. Zero Balancing explores the vocabulary, theory and perceptive skills necessary to connect with the bioenergetic field through touch, and primarily through foundational joints in the skeletal system.

Zero Balancing primarily addresses "foundation" joints involved in the transmission of energetic forces through the body: the spine, pelvis, hips and feet, although advanced work includes other joints, the skull, viscera, etc.

Foundation joints are evaluated for tissue held tension, range of motion, joint play, quality of motion and perhaps most importantly, quality of ligament end-feel; it is often through attuned attention to ligament engagement that allows access to the intelligent bioelectric field of the body.

When an imbalance is identified, a fulcrum is applied to the area. A fulcrum is a field of tension or point of contact, which when held stationary, becomes a lever upon which the body/mind re-orients and re-organizes itself via the piezoelectric nature of collagen (discussed below).

When both the energy field and the structural anatomy are contacted simultaneously and consciously, an amazing synthesis occurs, the patient drops into a very relaxed, meditative state. Characteristic feedback signals that occur in the patient: rapid eye movement, eye fluttering, changes in breath pattern, reflex motor activity in hands/feet/face, borborygmus and more. These working signs continually inform the practitioner about the effectiveness of the work and the response in the patient. Working signs determine the rate, rhythm and length of the therapeutic session.

In effect, these signs monitor the connection with the patient's body-centered intelligence. Re-evaluation of a joint after fulcrum placement often reveals immediate improvement in function and end-feel. Clinical outcomes include decreased pain, ease of movement, improved range of motion, greater postural awareness, decreased reactivity to physical, mental and emotional stress, augmented adaptive ability, greater self-awareness and often a global sense of wholeness and contentment.

And the beauty is that both the neuromusculoskeletal and the cognitive benefits occur simultaneously, rather like side-effects of each other. It is one of the most truly wholistic ways of addressing a patient that I have come across. The effects of Zero Balancing are likely mediated through the bioelectric field in concert with the mechanical continuum of connective tissue that unifies every part of the body from the outer envelope of skin, through the deepest cell membranes, and into the DNA (Oschman, 2000).

Advances in bioelectrodynamics support the concept of a global body-centered consciousness associated with the anatomy of the aligned, collagen liquid crystalline continuum in the connective tissues which functions as a superconductor. This liquid crystalline collagen network, although interconnected with the systems, exists outside the nervous system and facilitates communication at a much faster speed than nerve conduction (Ho, Knight, 1998).

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