The Thermodynamic Subluxation

 

The Thermodynamic Subluxation

Energy is the currency of life. Currency – from Latin – currens – to flow. There is a river of life that flows through all things. Learn the principles that form its banks, and become a waterman upon it. 

Ecology

When DD Palmer introduced chiropractic in the second chapter of his posthumously published last book, he first described the science of ecology, or bionomics, and the intelligent forces of adaptation present within living things.1 Bionomics was an early term for the science that we call ecology today. It is the study of economics as applied to life on planet earth. This might seem a bit odd to anyone accustomed to the practice of chiropractic as the use of spinal manipulation for the relief of back pain or headaches. But to anyone familiar with the holistic approach to viewing human health and potential present in DD Palmer’s writings, this comparison will seem more apt.

Ecology is the study of energy flows through living systems. Chiropractic at its origins could be described as the application of that same field of study applied to human beings. Humans are living systems. They are both ecosystems and members of ecosystems. By number, the vast majority of cells comprising our body are bacterial, fungal and viral. Cells containing human DNA hold the majority in terms of mass only.2 We are mammals interacting with the ecosystems around us as a Hyperkeystone Species,3 a species that drives complex interaction chains by affecting other keystone actors across different habitats. Humans shape the world like no other animal on planet earth. With that power comes great responsibility. Something DD Palmer’s son, BJ Palmer, intuited and described in his Big Idea speech.

Chiropractic Philosophy and Principles

Chiropractic was founded on 33 principles. The first principle, or major premise, which states that: “Universal Intelligence is in all matter and continually gives to it all its properties and actions, thus maintaining it in existence.”, lends itself to vitalistic thinking.4 Vitalism has long fallen out of favor in the scientific community. Chiropractic and ecology were both in their infancy at the same time in history. In the absence of advanced ecological principals and science, explaining the principles of chiropractic with vitalistic language made sense at the time.

This reliance on vitalism has been problematic for chiropractic. Vitalism carries with it a great deal of intellectual baggage, echoes of a magical past where spirits animated matter, and angels and demons were forces of power in the physical world color our perception of the term to the present. This link to supernatural causation gives the opponent of any philosophy with vitalistic underpinnings an opening to proclaim that same philosophy as pseudoscience. Vitalism itself has meant different things over the centuries. From a pre-rational perspective the approach to vitalism is one that claims a vital force comes from outside the body and animates it with life. From a post-rational perspective the vitalistic approach is one that views living systems as a nested hierarchy of wholes, which cannot be separated from body, mind, spirit, self, society, and culture.5

At its core the claim of vitalism, post Cartesian Split, is simply that the origin and phenomena of life are dependent on a force or principle distinct from purely chemical or physical forces. Intuitively this idea is appealing. Life is a mysterious and ephemeral thing. It cannot be quantified. Some chiropractic philosophers have posited that vitalism may not be the best term to describe the origins of the foundational principles of chiropractic. The term carries too much baggage from its pre-rational origins, and newer concepts such as organicism, may provide a better foundation for exploring the principles of chiropractic. Organicism is rooted in the idea that the entire universe and its parts may be viewed as organic wholes nested within wholes. It rejects pure mechanism as the explanation for the emergent properties of biological systems.6

Just as bionomics transformed into the modern science of ecology over the last century by incorporating new ideas and understandings from other scientific disciplines I believe it is essential to re-examine the principles of chiropractic in like manner. One of the branches of science that has shed a great deal of light on the functions of ecology is thermodynamics. Energy is the currency of life. Thermodynamics, being the study of the energy, is intimately tied to the way living systems express. Within the lexicon of chiropractic terms and principles, the term subluxation and its ties to vitalism have been among the most problematic for the chiropractic profession. The purpose of this paper is to explore the chiropractic subluxation from the perspective of thermodynamics and ecology. In turn establishing a modern framework for understanding terms from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Perhaps this exploration will uncover new ground for expanding the application of the art of chiropractic as a holistic health practice founded upon the organizing principles of the natural world.

The Chiropractic Subluxation

Subluxation has been defined as an interference with the transmission of mental impulses, mental impulses being comprised of regulating information sourced in Innate Intelligence.4 Innate intelligence, another problematic chiropractic principle, is a vitalistic term referring to the organizing intelligence of the universe present within living things that maintains them in existence. As vitalism fell out of favor the chiropractic profession began to turn towards what limited science was available to explain the results chiropractors were seeing with patients clinically, in a way that fit the mechanistic paradigm of the 20th century.

The mechanistic, process oriented, Vertebral Subluxation Complex, or VSC, became the new operational definition which replaced the older, vitalistic, Subluxation. VSC is a collection of the signs of progressive spinal joint degeneration: Spinal Kinesiopathology, Neuropathophysiology/Neuropathology, Myopathology, Histopathology, and Pathophysiology/Pathology.7 This model aligned very well with the three step spinal degeneration process as described by Irwin Korr: spinal dysfunction leading to instability followed by a reactionary fixation process. Vertebral Subluxation Complex is essentially a component of Korr’s process which describes the development of age and injury related osteoarthritis of the spine. However, the vertebral subluxation complex as a concept also includes effects upon other body systems, and emotional experiences such as pain.

Something is lost when viewing chiropractic through this purely bio-mechanical model. The results sometimes seen in chiropractic practice can transcend explanation in this framework. Chiropractic applications that appear absurd from a mechanical perspective: tonal techniques, neurologically based “energy” techniques such as B.E.S.T. or the Network Wave from NSA, could benefit from a more mature exploration of the original principles of chiropractic, which have largely been relegated to antiquated historical concepts by mechanistic chiropractors in modern times. What kind of benefits to mankind could be lost if the chiropractic profession becomes completely mechanistic in its approach? What kind of advancements and contributions to the chiropractic profession and humanity might emerge from exploring chiropractic foundations through the lens of ecological and biophysical concepts? It is important that we not limit our scope of practice to the mechanistic model if these other nonlinear, tonal, applications of chiropractic are providing value to the healthcare consumers who choose them.

Thermodynamics of Life

What is the difference between a corpse and a living man? They both contain all the same matter, yet one is alive and one is not. This is a classic example of Socratic inquiry that many chiropractors have used when explaining the concepts of subluxation and innate intelligence to the public. The fundamental question being asked here is “What is life?” Life is a very unique phenomena, thus the strong appeal of vitalistic ideology for those who study biological systems. The emergent properties of life seem to defy pure mechanism. They even appear, at first glance, to violate the thermodynamic laws of physics. These are the laws which describe the nature of energy, the currency of life.

The second law of thermodynamics states that the total entropy of an isolated system always increases over time. Entropy can be thought of as a lack of order or predictability; a gradual decline into disorder. So the idea that a sperm and an egg would unite and develop into an infant that grows into an adult human being appears to contradict this law, until one recognizes that living systems are open systems, meaning that energy can flow through them. Open systems can increase in order and organization by transforming energy gradients from lower to higher entropy. The energy gradients that living things on earth transform are the energy from the sun and the heat and chemical energy from vents on the ocean floor.8

Ecology Thermodynamics and Health

The dissipation of energy gradients creates an evolutionary drive to enhance the organization of these open, living, systems in ways that increase their capacity to transform the energy gradients of the sun and sea vents. life requires a constant flow of tremendous amounts of energy to maintain itself. The interaction between one living thing and another, and yet another still, creates the potential for entire systems of living things to organize into interdependent webs with capacities to transform greater quantities of energy than a single organism. We see the development of trophic levels in ecosystems, of complex food webs, all optimized to capture and transform solar energy into heat. Stated in brief, living systems transform solar energy into forms of energy with higher entropy and this allows them to exist, reproduce and gives them a reason to evolve to do so better.

Without ecosystems, and the terrestrial environments and atmospheres associated with them, solar energy spends very little time on planet earth. In a barren desert solar energy strikes the sand and most is quickly reflected back into the atmosphere. Only a small amount is absorbed and transformed into infrared radiation by the heating and cooling of individual sand grains on the desert surface. In a tropical rainforest a great deal of that solar energy is trapped by plant life and used for evapotranspiration and photosynthesis. The areas of planet earth that receive the most sun also tend to have the greatest abundance and diversity of life. Where the greatest energy gradients are present, the greatest concentrations of thermodynamically dissipative systems, i.e. living things, will be found as well.

This creates a testable hypothesis. To quote Eric Schneider, marine geologist and ecological thermodynamicist, and James Kay, ecological systems engineer, “As ecosystems develop or mature they should increase in their total dissipation, and should develop more complex structures with greater diversity and more hierarchical levels to abet energy degradation.” This can be observed in the process of ecological succession. This process of succession results in systems with the following.

  • More energy capture
  • More energy flow activity within the system
  • More cycling of energy and material
  • Higher average trophic structure
  • Higher respiration and transpiration
  • Larger ecosystem biomass
  • More types of organisms, greater diversity

As ecosystems experience stress, they will often transition to a lower level of thermodynamic transformational capacity. They begin to appear similar to earlier stages in their successional evolution. They shift closer to thermodynamic equilibrium, AKA death. And this is quantifiable in the real world.

When examining two aquatic tidal marshes adjacent to a power generating facility on the Crystal River in Florida, Kay and Schneider were able to explore the difference in energy flow capacity of a healthy marsh ecosystem, and a marsh stressed by hot water effluent from the nuclear facility that increases the water temperature by 6 degrees celsius. Total energy flow through the stressed ecosystem dropped by 21%. Biomass dropped by 35%. There was a 51% decrease in the total number of cycles in the stressed ecosystems food web. Essentially, the stressed ecosystem shrank in its biomass and ability to transform energy. It became a “leaky” system, less able to capture and transform the incoming energy inputs.

Another method of assessing this capacity to thermodynamically transform solar energy gradients is any measuring the difference in black body temperature between the captured solar energy and energy re-radiated by the ecosystem. Given the same input of solar energy, we should be able to predict the most mature ecosystem would have the coldest black body temperature. When comparing a quarry , a clearcut, a Douglas Fir plantation, a natural forest, and a 400 year old Douglas Fir forest, the coldest site was the mature forest and the warmest was the clear cut. When comparing the amount of solar energy degraded by the ecosystems, the quarry degraded 62% of the net incoming solar radiation. The 400 year old forest degraded 90% of the incoming solar radiation.

Radiative cooling by outgoing longwave radiation, OLR, is the primary way the Earth System loses energy. The balance between this loss and the energy gained by radiative heating from incoming solar shortwave radiation, determines global heating or cooling of the planet earth. When outgoing long wave radiation is measured by satellite over different regions of the globe, we find that there is no difference between the Canadian boreal forest in winter and a tropical rainforest. The cloud cover generated by the thermodynamically costly process of evapotranspiration in plants acts as a barrier for the escape of some of this OLR, keeping it active within the ecosystem as an energy source. In turns this allows more complete transformation of the total incoming solar energy gradient.

The greater the number of trophic levels in an ecosystem the greater the potential for energy gradient dissipation. The abundance and diversity of life in the boreal forest is minuscule in comparison to that of the Amazonian, Congolese, Indonesian and Javan rainforests. Yet both ecosystems are fully mature. Both have undergone the stages of ecological succession necessary to transition from a lower to higher level of ability to transform solar energy gradients towards higher levels of entropy. These stages of succession can be likened to the process of evolution itself.8

Evolution and Thermodynamics

Evolution, from this perspective, that one of the primary reasons life exists is to transform energy gradients from higher to lower levels of organization and potential, would be driven by the forces of physics. The selection of organisms would not simply be the result of their ability to survive and reproduce. Rather, the ability for organisms to engage in complex, systemic interactions that increase the ability of the system as a whole to capture and degrade incoming solar energy would provide a driving force most in alignment with the laws of physics that govern living systems. Jeremy England of MIT has derived a formula based on the physics of thermodynamics that shows even non living matter will spontaneously restructure itself in order to enhance its entropy production capacity. Snowflake formation is an excellent example of this.

If applying energy gradients to chemistry causes them to spontaneously organize in ways that enhance their transformational capacities, this may be the driving force that led for the basic building blocks of life, such as RNA, to form. Just as the formation of snowflakes is an example of dissipation driven adaptation that demonstrates that an increase in order in an open system, a water droplet becoming a snowflake through an exothermic reaction, can increase the entropy in the larger system in which that water droplet is nested. DNA and RNA could very well form spontaneously in order to do the same. Once the basic building blocks of life form, this same drive will continue to act in ways that build more and more complex dissipative structures capable of transforming more and more energy.9

An example of this is the process of transpiration in plants. Only 3% of the water used by plants goes to metabolism and photosynthesis. The vast majority is simply lost through the transpiration process, which is not necessary for most plants, which can still grow normally in 100% humidity environments where transpiration would effectively be zero. Transpiration is very energy intensive and places plants at risk for dehydration. If evolution were completely Darwinian in nature, logic would follow that plants which could avoid expending energy and resources for transpiration would be favored.

The first plants to evolve energy and water saving variants on evapotranspiration arrived 32 million years ago through the development of CAM photosynthesis in which the stoma of the plant is closed during the heat of the day and opens at night to take in CO2. The second group of plants to increase their energy efficiency are the C4 photosynthesis plants, which make up only a small percentage of the earth’s plant biomass, and arrived 9 million years ago. The energy intensive, high transpiration, C3 photosynthesis process is used by plants that make up 95% of the earth’s plant biomass. It appears that a greater capacity for dissipation of energy gradients has been evolutionary favored over pure energy and resource efficiency.

As most of the solar energy captured on planet earth is transformed by this process of evapotranspiration, as much as 90%, one might wonder why evolution continued after plants and cyanobacteria. One possible answer is that animal life evolved for the purpose of movement and to enhance the reproductive success of plants and cyanobacteria. Through the development of ecologies that enhance fertility, spread seed long distances, and balance predator prey relationships, etc, animals have been able to enhance the success of plants and cyanobacteria throughout the ecosphere.10 From this perspective, our role as a hyper-keystone species would take this directive of enhancing ecological resilience and botanical biodiversity/abundance quite seriously. It may be that the current increase in mental and physical illness is the result of a mismatch between our actions as a species and our role in the ecological niche.

CNS as a Thermodynamic Regulator
Robert Melamede, a biologist at the University of Colorado, describes how this fundamental drive of physics towards organizing matter into structures that dissipate available energy gradients contributes the origin of life and evolution. He describes six phases of evolution based upon a natural progression through successive stages of complexity of interaction.

  1. Evolution Phase I: The generation of chemical diversity
  2. Evolution Phase II: Dissipative structures first appear
  3. Evolution Phase III: Simple interactions between dissipative structures form
  4. Evolution Phase IV: Complex interaction between dissipative structures form
  5. Evolution Phase V: The cell
  6. Evolution Phase VI: Speciation

In order to increase the capacity to degrade energy gradients, the mass of a dissipative systems must increase. A given system of a certain size can only handle a particular amount of energy without becoming destabilized. In living things, this means that systems allowing energy exchange with the environment must develop. In other words, a mechanism for ingesting and transforming energy and eliminating any leftover waste, hopefully for further thermodynamic degradation by other living dissipative organisms in the shared ecological cycles. These systems are likely represented by the basic digestive and respiratory systems.

As organisms become larger and more complex they need systems to monitor and govern the functions of all the other systems that comprise them. Succession is not simply an ecological concept. Succession could describe this process of increasing thermodynamic transformational capacity through the evolution of biological complexity. Systems for defense, systems for monitoring energy flows and energy allocation, systems for structural repair, systems to synch the flows of energy in the organism to the flows of energy in the environment, must develop as organisms become larger and more complex. The central nerve system becomes the most logical candidate to monitor and regulate the flow of information and energy within the body of organisms which are complex enough to require a nerve system.11

The Autonomic System and Thermodynamic Regulation

 

“In light of the nonequilibrium thermodynamics by I. Prigogine, the autonomic nervous system as a whole may be viewed as a dissipative structure progressively assembled in the course of evolution, plastically and rhythmically interfaced between forebrain, internal and external environments, to regulate energy, matter and information exchanges.”12
“…the autonomic nervous system as a whole may be considered a complex structure which originated and became organized in the course of evolution by the progressive assembly of discrete neuronal dissipative structures. The main functional role of the autonomic system as a whole is that of inducing, maintaining and regulating ordered exchanges of matter, energy and information within and among its environments, which are the forebrain, the fluid matrix or internal environment and the external environment. Because of its inherited plastic and rhythmic properties, stimuli arising from these environments may in turn contribute to the structural and functional organization of the autonomic nervous system.”

This quotation describes how the functional purpose of the autonomic nerve system is to perceive, interpret, and adapt to the internal and external environments in a manner that allows the human system to be maintained as far from equilibrium as possible. Equilibrium being a thermodynamic state where no energy transformation is possible, a state called death in common parlance. To perform this task it has split itself into divisions that focus on different aspects of adaptive challenges.

The sympathetic division is primarily focused on adaption to exteroceptive stimuli, incoming information from the external environment. It developed to synchronize us with the daily and seasonal cycles of energy availability. It’s first activation is at birth. other predictable moments of sympathetic activation in mammals are upon waking from hibernation, and waking in the morning after an evening of restorative sleep. The sympathetic system is focused on energy mobilization and the ramping up of metabolism in response to external demand.

By contrast, the parasympathetic division is active when the body is least likely to require a response to the external environment. It is activated upon entrance into hibernation, during sleep, fasting, diving, controlled breathing, recovery after stress and exercise, and grooming. What we see is a decreased level of activation with the focus on the restoration of homeostatic rhythms, the organizing, connecting ,and harmonizing to self. The organism disengages from the environment and vagal tone to the heart increases. Proprioceptive input dominates the information processing of the parasympathetic division. It is governing the thermodynamic regulation of energy exchange within self, between the various systems of the individual human ecosystem.

It is this ability to dynamically shift between autonomic divisions in response to consistent natural cycles of energy availability, internal cycles of metabolic demands, and external adaptive challenges, that allows living things to meet the thermodynamic demands of life and act in the most adaptive manner within their ecological niche. This ability to shift between divisions can be influenced by the environment and experience, as neurologically governed organisms have the capacity to learn and fine tune their adaptive responses to the environment based upon anticipation from previous demands. The investment of energetic resources in the pursuit of replenishing energetic stores, while energy is available externally, is essential, as is the investment of some of that energy towards the restoration of internal balance. The process of living is essentially the management of energetic resources so as to be active when our preferred energy sources are available, and resting in a safe place when they are not.12

Perhaps most relevant to chiropractic is the shift towards parasympathetic activation during self and social grooming behavior.

Social Grooming

Grooming describes a behavior concerned with the primary biological function of caring of the body surface. Similar behaviors are ‘‘scratching’’, ‘‘preening’’, ‘‘rubbing against objects’’ and ‘‘dust, sand, mud and sun bathing’’ and by spreading saliva on the fur in a hot environment. These behaviors may be directed at the body of the subject (autogrooming) and also at that of conspecifics (social grooming). Allo- and social grooming find their origin in the interiorization and repetition of the infant – mother relationship. Because grooming mainly occurs after various activities and stressors, it seems to be related to a state of relaxation and dearousal. What is of relevance for the present report is that a behavior directed to the outer surface of the body is accompanied by a reduced attention towards the environment and is accompanied by a shift in the stream of information reaching the biological system, a shift from the information coming from the environment (exteroceptive information) to the information coming from within the organism (proprioceptive information).

When mammals gather together the activation of the myelinated social division of the autonomic system in times of safety should, theoretically, generate resilience within that community over time. In polyvagal theory there are two parasympathetic divisions. One is phylogenetically older, inherited from reptiles, unmyelinated, active during times of inescapable or overwhelming stress, and is responsible for dissociation from a stressor. The other emerged phylogenetically with mammals, is myelinated, and likely developed as a method for mammals to communicate cues of environmental safety or danger with each other. The internal auditory ossicles of mammals are separate from the jaw, allowing them to perceive a different range of sounds than reptiles. This allowed mammals as a group to communicate danger signals in the presence of reptiles without giving away their location to those same predators.13

Environmental and social cues that we are safe shift the focus of the human system towards restoring internal harmony, rather than expending energy in reaction to the outside world. All apes engage in social grooming behavior. Those apes who receive the most social grooming have the highest health status within their communities. They groom to establish relationships, create alliances, amongst other reasons. The amount of grooming received tends to correlate to social status. The loss of social status and the corresponding decrease in grooming frequency will decrease health status. And apes groom each other more than is necessary for basic hygiene. Its purpose goes beyond keeping clean. It is a kind of community glue that confers many benefits.14,15

A question I have heard often heard posed during Q&A sessions with various chiropractic philosophers is: “Why doesn’t the body correct its own subluxations after the stressor is removed?” The most common answer involves limitations of matter. To me this response has always been unsatisfactory. The idea that humans would evolve to subluxate and not have a regular self corrective mechanism built in is counterintuitive.

The knowledge that the parasympathetic nerve system is responsible for shifting the energy application of the body towards the restoration of internal thermodynamic harmony between its various oscillatory systems to build resilience, and that social grooming is an event that initiates this, creates another possibility: humanity evolved to require social grooming to create the internal state required for regular self-correction of subluxation. It is commonly stated in chiropractic philosophical circles that the chiropractor delivers the adjustment, but the body corrects the subluxation. Chiropractic may be the art most focused upon the task of restoring internal thermodynamic harmony of the body, through the removal of subluxation and restoration of autonomic balance.

Thermodynamics of Adaptation

Humans are nonlinear complex adaptive systems. These systems are characterized by feedback loops, spontaneous robust order, emergent organization, and numerous interactions, which have the capacity to change and learn from experience, and react to external perturbations in a manner which may or may not be proportional to the size of the perturbation. A light contact in a Network Spinal Entrainment, or an Atlas Orthogonal adjustment, can make dramatic changes in the CNS that appear out of proportion with the amount of force delivered.16 The butterfly effect, in which a butterfly flapping it’s wings in Brazil causes a tornado in Texas is a theoretical example of a nonlinear impact on a complex system. Memory is a key feature of the human system. We enhance our adaptive capacity and survival value by learning from prior experiences, also known as stressors.

Stressors are factors that push an organism away from a baseline state towards one of lower utility. Stressors may enhance the resilience of an organism, or they may decrease the resilience of an organism. This difference is dependent upon many factors. One stressful event that does not exceed the adaptive reserves of an organism is unlikely to prevent the organism from returning to healthy baseline. However, one that highly taxes the reserves of an organism may cause its baseline to shift towards one of lower utility, or adaptive potential.

In the paper: A system approach to stress, stressors and resilience in humans, by neurologists Oken, Chamine and Wakeland, resilience in response to stress is described in terms of attractor basins with varying depths. For example: in the case of a healthy state vs PTSD, the higher resilience state would be represented by a very deep basin for the healthy state and a very shallow basin for the PTSD state. It would require a great deal of stress to push the system from the healthy basin into the PTSD basin. In a lower resilience state the two basins are both shallow, so very little stress is required to tip the system into the PTSD basin.

Exposure to small stressors in the presence of resources and recovery time deepens the healthy basin and increases survival value, or resilience. Repeated chronic stressors that tax the body’s resilience will gradually decrease the depth of the healthy basin and decrease survival value. Resilience is a measure of how quickly the body is able to return to baseline. Some factors that make the experience of an event more stressful are: novelty, unpredictability (any information-rich input beyond the brains processing ability), threat to one’s ego, or sense of loss of control. The more of these factors that are present simultaneously, the more resilience will be required to adapt to the experience, and the more challenging it will be to recover back the healthy baseline afterward.

This cost to the system of attempted return to healthy baseline in the face of chronic stressors has been termed allostatic load. This allostatic load represents the application of energy by the sympathetic system towards adaptation. The body is not designed to deal with exposure to chronic repetitive stressors without adequate time and conditions for the parasympathetic system to engage and restore internal harmony. Many of the chronic diseases of modern lifestyle: heart disease and type II diabetes for example, could be considered diseases of lost resilience due to chronic energy expenditure towards exteroceptive challenges. The chemistry of the stress response is damaging to the organism if prompt return to baseline does not occur. The epidemic of modern chronic lifestyle illness could be the result of the failure to restore baseline harmony to the system. Stated in thermodynamic terms, chronic illness could be the result of a gradual decline in the ability to transform incoming energy gradients through a loss of internal coherence and systemic organization.17

In chiropractic circles this concept of the healthy state as an attractor basin with varying depths has been described using the terms Cumulative Constructive Survival Value and General Adaptive Potential, or GAP, by various chiropractic thinkers and philosophers. According to Stephenson’s Chiropractic Textbook, Survival Value is that positive value gained with every successful adaptation in organic structures. Cumulative Constructive Survival Value is “A “bank account” of construction after ‘losses” and “liabilites” are deducted; “net gain.” Stephenson’s textbook also describes Survival Value as “That margin of organic success that is an element of evolution; the value given by parent to offspring.”4

In biology and ecology, Adaptive Potential is a less strictly defined term, and more a description of the ability of a living entity or system to adapt in the face of change. Resilience is another term that is similar to Adaptive Capacity or potential, yet different in that it implies a means of maintaining a steady state rather than growth or evolution. The concept of GAP or General Adaptive Potential, as a specific chiropractic term, appears to have its origins in Hans Selye’s work on General Adaptive Syndrome, aka the stress response, combined with Stephenson’s Survival Value, and the concepts of Adaptive Capacity or Potential from general biology. GAP is used, by some chiropractors, as a means of educating the public on the potential for chiropractic to enhance Survival Value through its effects on the autonomic nerve system. In the sense of this paper, to increase the depth of the health basin – which creates the greatest ability to transform energy gradients in the production of entropy.

The depth of this basin, the size of the GAP, the level of Cumulative Constructive Survival Value, the resilience of the human organism, is determined by how well the organism is able to adapt and recover from the allostatic load placed upon it. The primary tool for managing this load is the autonomic nerve system. The success of its adaptation depends upon the proper perception and interpretation of the stressor it is encountering. This depends upon the accuracy of the perceptual lens through which the organism is viewing its environment. PTSD for example, is a hyperactive autonomic system that is improperly interpreting the environment, due to prior conditioning or learning by the autonomic system. The individual is experiencing an overwhelming maladaptive response to the environment, which is decreasing its overall resilience and decreasing its lifetime thermodynamic transformation capacity.17

Sensorimotor Integration

To create the most accurate perception of the interoceptive and exteroceptive environments the the brain combines and integrates numerous sources of incoming information. The process is called sensorimotor integration, and is what generates our perceptions, consciously and subconsciously. No information system, technical or biological, is powerful enough to accurately perceive and adapt under all conditions. Yet the brain must act, and it does so through integrating information within and across its various sensory modalities, giving weight to those it deems most reliable based upon prior experiences. This integrative processing enhances our capacity for constructive adaption to the environment. Developing the most accurate perception possible is essential for the the system to develop a high degree of resilience.18

Yet we know that there is often a certain amount of inaccuracy in our perceptions. The brain fills in gaps. Our prior experiences have tremendous impact on the way we perceive situations. PTSD is a classic example. Because of prior experiences the brain perceives a safe environment as threatening because some elements of the dangerous environment experienced in the past are shared, or similar to, elements of the safe environment experienced in the present. Stage magic is another example. The woman is not being sawed in half, but the magician is a master of creating the perception that she is. Artists can create optical illusions that trick the mind into seeing a static image as in motion, amongst many other types of illusions.

Subluxation and Dysafferentation

Information ascends to the brain along a number of different paths through relays that interact and integrate to create the dynamic and adaptable, dissipative system that is the human CNS. One trend in chiropractic research is exploring the functional changes in the CNS post adjustment. This work presents a major shift in chiropractic theory, as the original subluxation hypothesis predicted that the effectiveness of chiropractic care was due to relieving pressure off peripheral nerve roots, restoring normalized efferent function to the periphery as a result. Newer subluxation models are focused upon a defect of afferent input into the CNS and the restoration of that input, and or the enhancement or restoration of optimal sensorimotor integration within the CNS.

Sensorimotor integration is critical for accurately perceiving and adapting to interoceptive and exteroceptive information. This process is foundational for the optimal allocation of energetic resources by the autonomic nerve system on its mission to satisfy the thermodynamic requirements for maintaining a far from equilibrium energetic state, i.e. maintaining life. The afferent inputs from mechanoreceptors in properly functioning spinal motor units are critical for this process to progress optimally.

Integrating the findings from various studies on joint position sense and spinal joint dysfunction we see that spinal dysfunction leads to reduced join position sense, one component of proprioception. Research has shown that adjusting vertebral subluxations in the cervical spine can alter cortical somatosensory processing, sensorimotor integration of input from the upper limb, and motor control of upper limb muscles. These changes in CNS processing after chiropractic adjustments could include shifts in proprioceptive processing.19 Intrinsic spinal muscles contain a bafflingly large number of muscle spindles per gram of tissue in comparison to the other larger skeletal muscles. The rectus femoris has 50 muscle spindles per gram, the sub occipital muscle group has between 150 and 200, while the inter-transverse muscles of the cervical spine have as many as 250 to 500 per gram.20

This afferent input from position sensors in the spine makes its way to the cranial CNS via various neural pathways where it is included in the multi-sensory integrative process whereby the brain generates a perception of the internal and external environment. A mismatch between inputs from the exteroceptive afferents and interoceptive afferents can generate discomfort at a minimum. In a study by McCabe, Cohen, and Blank – comparing healthy volunteers and individuals with Fibromyalgia Syndrome, it was found that using optical illusion to create a mismatch between internal perception of movement and visual perception of movement caused Fibromyalgia like symptoms in both groups, but to a much greater degree, 89.7% vs 48%, in the Fibromyalgia group vs the healthy volunteers. Symptomatology produced in both groups included: pain, temperature variance, altered body perception and a heaviness in the limbs.21

Accurate and adequate information from spinal joint position sensors is essential for proper sensory-motor integration. Dysfunctional spinal joints are known to be capable of inducing chronically altered nociceptive and proprioceptive input within the CNS. Nociceptive input travels to the thalamus and the hypothalamus. This can result in central sensitization and increased activity of the sympathetic division of the autonomic nerve system in response. Another afferent CNS pathway is into the cerebellar vermis via the dorsal spinocerebellar tract. It has been demonstrated that there is an stimulatory efferent pathway from the cerebellar vermis to pleasure centers located in the septal nuclei of the hypothalamus and corticomedial amygdala and an inhibitory pathway to the adverse emotion centers locates in the hippocampus and dorsolateral amygdala.20

Correction of dysfunctional spinal joints for the purpose of restoring normal afferent inputs into the CNS is the goal of chiropractic according to the Dysafferentation model of Subluxation.22 By normalizing mechanoreceptive inputs it is theorized that the stress response via the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis would be restored to homeodynamic function. The stress response is the choice of the body to shift to an exteroceptive reactive focus and allocate energy towards resisting external forces rather than restoring internal order. If the adjustment is able to restore accurate perception of the interoceptive and exteroceptive environment, the body is likely to react to energy rich environments with cues of safety – by directing energy towards the restoration and repair of its internal organization. This results in an increased depth of the health attractor basin for that individual, aka resilience, or Constructive Survival Value in chiropractic terms.

Further work, by Heidi Haavik, on the impact of locating and removing chiropractic subluxation, according to specific criteria, has demonstrated that chiropractic adjustments result in changes to sensorimotor integration within the central nervous system. The region most impacted by chiropractic adjustment was found to be the prefrontal cortex.23 This creates a strong potential link between the enhanced Sensorimotor Integration that occurs after adjusting dysfunctional spinal joints and the ability of the CNS to perform its duty as a regulator of thermodynamic flows through the human system.

The ventrolateral prefrontal cortex is known to be related to the sympathetic and parasympathetic systems, and stress reactivity. Other brain regions already mentioned are also related: the amygdala, hippocampus and cerebellum. The significance of the ventrolateral Prefrontal cortex and amygdala however, is that they are involved in enhanced resilience in response to stressors. These two structures are tied to the extinction of fear memories, which is important because humans can perceive an environmental context as more stressful through a heightened fear response. In other words, a brain conditioned by fear perceives the environment differently than one that is not. The ability to extinguish fear based memories through new learned experience is critical for our ability to accurately perceive the world after stressful experiences. This is of clinical importance in anxiety disorders and post-traumatic stress disorders.24

The amygdala is related to both the acquisition of fear based memory, and its extinction, while the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex is related to the long term extinction of fear based memory.25 The ability to extinguish fear based memory when appropriate is critical for developing resilience and properly allocating energetic resources outwardly or inwardly. A system conditioned to see a constant demand for the external output of energy will eventually run into a deficit of energy for maintaining internal homeostatic or homeodynamic functions that enable the organism to maintain itself far from thermodynamic equilibrium. Accurate environmental perception is paramount to optimal adaptation and energy allocation. As all of these regions are functionally linked to mechanoreceptive and nociceptive activity within the spine, a healthy spine is critical for dynamic and accurate CNS function relative to managing energy flows.

As proprioceptive input dominates the information processing of the parasympathetic division, the therapeutic effect of chiropractic adjustments in a safe environment is likely to be, in part, through focusing the attention of the autonomic system interoceptively. This shifts the energy allocation of the human system towards recovery from stressors. By assisting the body in transitioning from an exteroceptive to an interoceptive autonomic focus, it both assists in shifting the body’s resource allocation from a focus on resisting external invasive forces, to recovering or developing a highly resilient state. Through repetition of chiropractic care, it is possible that the individual may develop a more optimal state of autonomic tone.

An example of a similar type of resilience training behavior during human development is the game of Peekaboo. Peekaboo is a game that mothers play with their children that involves the rapid cycling between cues of environmental safety and danger, helping to develop the ability of the child to rapidly shift autonomic states as external demand dictates. The mothers smiling face is a cue of environmental safety and activates the myelinated vagus which enhances parasympathetic autonomic tone. The mothers hands obscuring her face signals danger and shifts autonomic tone towards external energy allocation. For individuals encountering regular and or prolonged stressors, regular chiropractic care may serve a similar function in helping to condition the autonomic system to be more capable of shifting focus to internal energy application and restoration to a high resilience state.

Thermodynamic Subluxation

The thermodynamic subluxation represents a condition where optimal energy transformation becomes impossible due to inaccurate perceptions of the internal and external environments, or a prolonged state of internally generated stress that becomes a positive feedback loop shifting autonomic tone towards the sympathetic state, which would be represented as the shallow resilience basin as described by Oken, Chamine and Wakeland. This creates a situation similar to the stressed ecosystem described by Kay and Schneider, which leaks energy, loses coherence, and shifts closer to thermodynamic equilibrium.

The shift to an parasympathetic dominated interoceptive focus when energetic resources are available in the presence of social safety cues is essential for the human being to maintain its organization. The human system will transform energy and degrade thermodynamic gradients whether its focus of action is external or internal. The difference is that an external focus means a lack of internal housekeeping, resulting in a cascade of damaging stress physiology that can become a positive feedback loop if left unchecked. High blood pressure and vascular health is one example of such a positive feedback loop involving stress physiology. The resilience of the individual is decreased in these cases. Being able to direct energy use inwardly builds resilience through repairing internal structures and returning physiology to a dynamically responsive baseline that represents a state of optimal health.

The thermodynamic subluxation concept is an extension of the dysafferentation concept that expands beyond the boundary of the self and into the role of the human being as a dissipative structure within a nested set of dissipative structures represented by ecosystems and ultimately the ecosphere, or Gaia. The loss of accurate interoception, exteroception, and sensory integration due to dysfunction within the proprioceptive system originating from spinal dysfunction, and the resulting maladaptive activity of the CNS, represents a condition whereby the primary role of the human being as a transformer of thermodynamic energy gradients becomes compromised. In this state a gradual build up of entropy within the human ecosystem brings it closer to thermodynamic equilibrium, or death.

An dynamically responsive autonomic system is essential for the human organism to perform its task of transforming energy sourced in the solar energy gradient to higher levels of entropy. The subluxate state is one which comprises the dynamic ability of the autonomic system through perceptual errors and a shifting of energy away from the restoration of internal harmony after the experience of stress, resulting in a state of decreased resilience and transformational capacity. It also represents a state whereby the human, as an ecosystem member, is unable to optimally perform its task as a hyper-keystone species within the ecosphere of Planet Earth. The health of keystone and hyper-keystone species within an ecosystem is critical for that ecosystem to thrive. Humans with the ability to accurately perceive the environment and appropriately respond to it are essential for health of Planet Earth.

Quantum Thermodynamics

This loss of thermodynamic transformational capacity may also be represented within biological systems on the quantum scale. I refer to this as the quantum thermodynamic subluxation, a description of the energetic processes and state transitions as the body subluxates and recovers. This description more closely mirrors the process of ecological succession where a dynamic system gains and loses its ability to transform energy gradients in the face of distress and eustress relative to available resources. Much of the work that supports this subluxation theory comes from theoretical physics and biophysics. As such this model stands on less sure footing. However, there exists a potential bridge between this theory and the pure thermodynamic subluxation theory.

The foundation of thermodynamic subluxation relies upon the function of the ANS as a regulator of the human organism as a dissipative structure. The quantum thermodynamic subluxation relies upon the link between the function of the ANS and human biophysics at the quantum level. Biophysics is the science of the application of the laws of physics to biological phenomena, at all levels, inclusive of both quantum and classical physics. The thermodynamic subluxation relies upon biophysics as well, but does not require any understanding of quantum mechanics for its explanation. Unique to the concept of the quantum thermodynamic subluxation is its relationship to time.

Syntropy and Time

That systems can self organize into successive levels with higher and higher levels of energy transformation capacity would indicate the presence of some law or force that governs that organization. Negentropy, or Syntropy, is the name given for the symmetrical force that counters entropy. Entropy, always moving from a state of high potential to one of low potential, has been called the arrow of time, because it describes a process that is irreversible. Yet living systems move towards states of higher order, so there must be another principle that applies a counterbalance to this process.

This idea involves Einstein’s complete Special Relativity equation, E2=p2c2 + m2c4. You are probably more familiar with this equation written in the format E=mc2. The story behind the difference in these two equations has to do with the variable “p” representing momentum. The full equation is a quadratic, meaning it has two solutions, one positive and one negative. The positive solution indicates the energy diverging forward in time from a cause or source. The negative solution indicates energy converging backward in time from a future cause or source. The implication for the negative solution is an effect occurring before its cause, which runs counter to our observed experience of everyday reality.

Einstein was able to evade this problem by setting the momentum variable to zero, since the speed of physical bodies is always negligible when compared to the speed of light. With momentum removed we get the equation E=mc2, which you are probably familiar with. When we get into the quantum realm of subatomic particles this negation of mass no longer works, as they move with velocities approaching the speed of light, and cannot be ignored in the equation.

In 1941 a mathematician named Luigi Fantappiè described this backwards in time solution as being governed by the law of Syntropy, a case where it appears to us, moving forward in time, that energy is concentrating rather than dissipating. Mathematically the properties of syntropy are energy concentration, an increase in differentiation and complexity, a reduction of entropy, the formation of structures, and an increase in order and information. As these characteristics are also those of living things, which led Fantappiè to suggest that life is caused by the future.26

Water

If life is indeed caused by the future, if the organizing force of syntropy being referred backwards in time at the quantum level is what allows us to resist the movement towards thermodynamic equilibrium, aka death, then there must be a link between the quantum and classical world that creates a path for syntropy to govern our physiological functions. The hydrogen bridge between water molecules is the most likely agent. Hydrogen atoms in water molecules share an intermediate position between the subatomic, or quantum, level and the molecular level, creating a bridge for syntropy to traverse between these realms.26

Water is a fantastically anomalous substance. We are aware that life requires it. Having liquid water is one of the criteria for concluding that a foreign planet may be capable of supporting life. And the mysteries of water only seem to deepen with time and new discoveries. It has been discovered that there is something akin to a second phase of liquid water that exists in certain conditions. This second phase of liquid water is found on interfacial and intracellular surfaces and has some of the following properties. It excludes solutes forming what are known as exclusion zones. It is ten times more viscous than standard liquid water. It becomes fluorescent to wavelengths of 270nm. It assumes a surface charge of the same sign as its solid surface. Protons will accumulate at its boundaries creating a redox potential of about 100mV.27 But above all, this water, which accounts for practically all water in the human system, can organize into coherence domains. Individual coherence domains can oscillate in unison and exhibit extended coherence as a superdomain that comprises the entire organism.28

“The coherent state is a minimum energy state, where the energy is lower than the energy of the original ensemble of non coherent independent particles, because of the interaction between the atoms/molecules and the self trapped e.m. field. Therefore the coherent system cannot decay spontaneously into into another state having a still lower energy. The coherent state can be dismantled only by a supply of external energy large enough to overcome the “energy gap,” that is, the difference of energy between he coherent state and the noncoherent ensemble of its components before the onset of coherence. The energy gap therefore protects both the integrity and stability of the coherent system and the individual integrity of the components against (small) external disturbances.”28

Quantum Interference and Restoration

Reading this description I am reminded of DD Palmer’s description of the subluxation as a state of too much heat within the organism. Coherent domains are able to accept a certain number of guest molecules within themselves. As a result the energy within the system shifts and a cyclic process of taking energy in and purging energy out becomes necessary. The process has two steps. The first step is the inclusion of new molecules which disrupts the coherence. The second step is the purging of the excess energy out of the system to restore the domain to the low energy ground state where it becomes stable again. On occasion, high energy barriers form that prevent the release of this excess of energy, trapping it within the coherence domain and placing the organism at risk by increasing internal entropy. These energetic barriers, as described by Brizhik, are what I would describe as the quantum thermodynamic subluxation.

These energy traps, when present in a small number of coherent domains within the superdomain, put the stability of the superdomain as a whole at risk. A certain amount of excess is manageable. The body is seen as a multi-well energy system with the low energy, stable, ground state as the ideal low entropy state. There is an energy sink that can absorb a certain quantity of energy before the system loses its ability to transform thermodynamically as a dissipative structure, fulfilling the requirements for life. When the gap between the low energy level and high energy level shrinks, as the coherence amongst the domains is lost and energy levels within the system rise, new ways to purge the excess and restore coherence must be established if the organism is to survive and thrive.28

Larissa Brizhik, in her 2009 paper references the work of Fritz Albert Popp and describes how Infrared imaging of unhealthy patients often shows a very non homogenous radiation distribution. Some of these images reveal the presence of elongated or meridian-like areas of excessive or deficient radiation equivalent to a ten centigrade temperature differential. In cases of chronic disease these patterns can be interpreted as a blockade of energy distribution in the body. It may be that what are described as meridians in energy medicine are pathways for energy to travel between the various coherent domains that aggregate into the superdomain that is the system as a whole.28

The degree of syntropy available to the organism in this model is dependent upon the collective oscillation of the aquatic coherence domains of the body at an energetic ground state with lower entropy. The ability of these various domains to oscillate in unison is dependent on the ability to purge excess energy accumulated through the process of metabolism, perhaps by way of exporting entropy in the form of IR radiation into the external environment by way of a system known to eastern medicine as the meridian system. Blockages in the flow of energy or information in these pathways results in a loss of the ability to transform energy from a thermodynamic perspective, trapping excess heat, or energy, inside the system and moving it away from the low entropy ground state. This represents the quantum thermodynamic subluxation which must be reduced if the body is to purge the excess energy and transition back to the low entropy, high syntropy, ground state.

At this level, this is thought to occur through a resonant mechanism. For example, the application of stimuli through acupuncture or moxibustion along a meridian line may restore flow of energy where it is deficient or purge excess in areas of overabundance. Curiously these types of treatments are described as most effective when applied at a distance from the zone of the problem. Rather, by stimulating a distal, “healthy”, area, normal harmonic resonance is re-established and the energy barrier is cleared, and the low entropy regime restored. If the changes in the coherence non-coherence regime become irreversible, death is the result, as the system is no longer able to purge entropy and perform the task of thermodynamic transformation that allows this phenomenon of life to seemingly violate the laws of thermodynamics.28
While this model may seem far fetched there has actually been some study on the ability of chiropractic adjustments to perform work at this quantum level. A 2005 pilot study by Hossu, Rupert and Harrison at parker College of Chiropractic explored changes in biophoton emission following chiropractic adjustments of three types: B.E.S.T., SOT and Diversified. Biophotons are packets of light emitted from biological systems. The exact purpose of biophotons is not known for certain. They are theorized by some to be a byproduct of metabolism and by others to be a mechanism of transferring information throughout the body. Either way they are a measure of an energetic process occurring in the body. The research on biophoton emission and it’s possible ramifications for biology have been studied seriously since the 1970s when the work was picked up by the brilliant young scientist Fritz Albert Popp.

The results of the study on biophoton emission and chiropractic adjustments found that all three techniques created changes in biophoton emission, but in different ways. In the case of BEST technique their was an 11.9% increase that started at the end of treatment and continued to rise thereafter. Diversified both increased and decreased biophoton emission at different ends of the spine, having an effect both local and distal to the segment adjusted. Biophoton emission increased with SOT blocking at the end of the intervention.29 More study is obviously required, but this theory is an interesting line of inquiry for the future, and expansion into this realm may create new opportunities to serve humanity at higher levels if this is, in fact, an area of biology that chiropractic can regularly impact in a positive way.

Discussion

Chiropractic originated as a profession with a grand vision for its role within the human enterprise. In some aspects that role has been fulfilled. Chiropractic is the largest non-pharmacy driven healing profession on earth. In others there is a significant mismatch between eh professions original goals and the publics perceptions and uses of the profession. The earliest chiropractors saw the impact of their art as aiding in the evolution of the species and our social structures towards a more peaceful and ideal world. The public perception of the profession is as an alternative method for relieving back pain, neck pain, and headaches. In light of what has preceded this paragraph, what is the practical application of thermodynamics in the chiropractic profession?

Essentially, what was just described was a model whereby the laws of physics interact with the laws of biology to generate and evolve life in order to degrade solar energy gradients through the production of metabolically generated entropy. That life evolved in complexity in order to more thoroughly accomplish this task. That complexity generated advanced organisms and ecologies that require management. The central nerve system is a key component in the managing of that solar derived metabolic energy in humans, and must function at a very high level to do so.

This central nerve system monitors energy flows and the demands of the internal and external environment and attempts to allocate energy in response to the demands of both of these environments in a way that creates the maximum state of resilience while still fulfilling the requirements of a species to be an active reproducing agent within the ecosystems it is a member of. As the adaptive limits of the organism are approached, perceptual errors begin to occur that lead to a decreased ability to organize and adapt the human system.

While this paper has been about the thermodynamic effects of the organism as a result of the subluxation, it is important to also recognize that movement is a critical piece in the adaptive process. Movement is required for the human ecosystem to engage with plants and animals in the gathering of energetic resources, as well as in defense and reproduction. Movement has its source in the metabolically demanding modulation and coordination of muscles, bones, tendons and ligaments, and all other systems associated with maintaining those. Resting and active muscle tone is governed by the central nerve system and any perceptual errors created by spinal dysfunction will affect movement in addition to the purely energetic aspects of thermodynamic function.

This particular aspect of thermodynamic dysregulation has been the one adopted by the public as the reason for the existence of the chiropractic profession. But it is only one aspect, and dysfunction within the body must typically be present for a long time before enough perceptual errors surrounding the activity and tone of the musculoskeletal system accumulate to generate enough degeneration for pain syndromes to occur. Meanwhile the non-musculoskeletal affects of thermodynamic dysregulation have been present, decreasing the resilience of the human system, and decreasing adaptive capacity and perhaps even Cumulative Constructive Survival Value.

All activities of daily living should have the purpose of enhancing resilience and combatting entropy through actions that work to maximally transform solar energy gradients. The way we move, eat, think, innovate new technologies, etc. must all be subservient to this goal if optimal health and Cumulative Constructive Survival Value are to be created and passed on to our progeny. That is how the thermodynamic subluxation relates to the common concerns of the average person. It is an impediment to their ability to perform the basic requirement of daily life. The resilience of the human system is significant, and can be taxed excessively for many years, even decades, before the system reaches a level os suffering high enough to cause that person to seek an intervention.

This is especially true in a time when technology is being used to augment the adaptive capacity of the average person. Automobiles, refrigeration, mechanized agriculture, any other significant labor saving technology represents a reduction in adaptational demand. From an evolutionary perspective this places humanity in a unique situation. The demands of life on Planet Earth are being reduced through the product of our applied intelligence. This is an adaptive strategy that has been effective for some time. But we do not know the long term outcomes for our species. We are very aware that the current adaptive strategies of humanity are having a significant negative effect upon the surrounding ecosystems of which we are a member. Also there is a shifting burden of disease upon our species from acute to chronic illness, which is increasing even in the children – an indication that something in our adaptive strategy needs to shift and better align us with ecological principles. The chiropractic adjustment, by enhancing perceptual acuity of the CNS and thermodynamic efficiency/resilience, may be one small part in the overall evolving adaptive strategy of the human species.

Conclusion

All these individual bits of data add up to create a picture that shows how the CNS is the same system that monitors and regulates thermodynamic flows through the mammalian organism by allocating and directing energy expenditure or investment in response to environmental stressors in a manner that enhances resilience and maintains the system as far from equilibrium as possible, and that it does so by creating an integrated perception of the internal and external environment and responding to this perception based upon prior learning and memory, be that genetically encoded or learned through prior experiences.

We also see that this process does not occur perfectly in all situations and requires optimal functioning of sensors receiving and transmitting incoming data to the CNS. Errors, or deficits, in incoming information prevent optimal sensory-neural-integration which leads to sub-optimal adaptive responses, decreased resilience, and a loss of thermodynamic transformational capacity, shifting the individual closer to thermodynamic equilibrium.

I propose that the subluxation represents an entropic cascade resulting from altered sensorineural integration secondary to altered afferent CNS input from the spine. This cascade requires that, like a stressed ecosystem, the body drop to a lower level of thermodynamic transformational capacity, closer to equilibrium. In ecology this represents a lower level of succession. In the human body this represents a decreased level of adaptive capacity. In historical chiropractic terminology, a state of decreased cumulative constructive survival value. It represents a state of decreased health.

The ability to match energy expenditure to the external environment in the most adaptive way possible is critical for any sufficiently complex organism. In humans, the autonomic nerve system is the system that accomplishes this task. Dysfunction within the spine acts as a barrier to accurate environmental perception and prevents optimal direction and allocation of energetic resources, a fundamental task of living beings. The loss of optimal energetic allocation represents a state of lost or maladaptive thermodynamic transformational capacity. As a result there are potential mechanisms for the chiropractic adjustment to restore optimal perception of environment which is necessary for optimal energy allocation and environmental adaptation, the end result of the chiropractic adjustment being a fine tuning of the thermodynamic transformational capacities of the human organism, a primary task of all living creatures. The human being representing the only hyper-keystone species on the planet, optimal functioning of the human CNS is essential for the health of Planet Earth as a whole.

Peter J Fox DC

References

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