Dr. Schalow, can you describe what the NUCCA procedure (National Upper Cervical Chiropractic Association) is all about?
In short, it is the simplest way to re-establish normal physiology for the entire vertebrate by correcting a misaligned relation between the head and neck. Some people will distill this down to the simple concept of "getting fixed," but it is more complex than that. There are six basic misalignment factors that we carefully track and reduce. This takes pressure off the central nerve system at the brain stem region. Although there are other ways to describe how it works, that is the description that I like to use.
How did you become interested in this work?
As a violinist, I found that it is possible to make far reaching and profound changes in how the end product turns out by controlling just one important factor. For the concert violinist standing up, simply letting the weight rest on the left foot frees up the shoulder muscles and opens up the sound. For the orchestra, placing a conductor on the podium who has relaxed shoulder and arm muscles allows the players to relax and their sound opens up. All of a sudden the orchestra sounds good! When I got into chiropractic, I wondered if there were an approach that recognized the importance of "the key" that unlocks a whole series of healing events. That approach is the NUCCA procedure.
Did you always know you wanted to be a NUCCA practitioner?
Once I discovered the NUCCA procedure, the next question was if I could actually perform the adjustment. All the practitioners that I met had thick arms and wrists and lots of muscle. I'm not built that way, so I wondered if I even had the strength to produce the forces necessary to make the adjustment happen. Since the patient does not feel the adjustment, the force of the adjustment is built up in the adjuster's body and transferred through manual contact.
As it turned out, it doesn't take huge muscles to do this work, just coordination, exactly like violin playing! The rest was just practice, practice, practice...
There are a few people still that are skeptical about the NUCCA procedure. What seems to be holding them back?
There seem to be two groups; those who are skeptical-yet-scientific-thinkers, like me, who have questions and work to answer them; and those who are merely opinionated, who upon hearing that it is possible to bring someone's hypertension down with a NUCCA correction, or any of the diverse symptoms that improve, cannot change their attitudes and accept the observable. I believe it is just a matter of being patient. It's all right there in High School Biology. I'm sure if they think about how the dots really connect, more people will come to recognize this work for what it is. The bottom line is - Skepticism is good if it leads you to ask, and answer, the right questions. But we all need to fight ignorance with vigor!
Is there research that supports what is observed in the NUCCA practitioners' clinics?
Dating back to the 1940's there are case studies, case reports, and more recently double blind, placebo controlled studies. These all show that the procedures and effects of the NUCCA correction are well supported. Of course, you don't really need a study to prove anything at all, just to examine the variables involved. Do you need a double blind study to prove that New York's Carnegie hall is a better hall than Philadelphia's Academy of Music? Do you need a double blind study to show that parachutes are effective in getting people to the ground safely? In the same way, after seeing thousands of patients recover from a laundry list of conditions, you don't really need research to support that fact, only to study how it is happening. What is interesting to me is much of how it happens is already known in the physiology field going back to the 1890's.
Can you be more specific?
From Magnus' , FM Alexander, and Coghill, we see that the head/neck relationship in activity is important for the functioning of the parts. From basic anatomy of the Central Nerve System we see how the unconscious brain communicates postural responses. Putting the two together - conscious involvement with hidden, unconscious activity, we see that there are two specific areas that can be addressed. NUCCA addresses the hidden areas of the brain and removes insult on the spinal cord. That refreshes all the communication systems between the brain and body. For the vertebrate, it is essential for proper function.
How can people get started as patients?
Call us at 815-398-4500 and make a new patient appointment. We love to sit and hear people's stories and find out what the underlying problem is. Sometimes, the underlying problem is not the atlas subluxation complex at all. Sometims, it is only food allergies, or another disease process working. In those cases, we find the right practitioner who can help.