Network Spinal Analysis is a form of chiropractic care which concentrates on correcting posture by relieving stress on the nervous system.

Network refers to the relationship between the nervous system and the rest of the body. As every organ and muscle is connected by the nervous system, the nervous system can be seen as a huge network and an unhealthy nervous system can lead to other illnesses or symptoms. It also follows that an unhealthy organ or muscle can lead to problems in the nervous system that can in turn lead to other problems elsewhere in the body. While NSA is a product of Western medicine, this principle is central to Chinese medicines acupuncture

Spinal refers, of course, to the spine. The spinal chord forms the connection between the head and the rest of the body. At every vertebra, nerve fibres branch from the spine. If spinal posture is incorrect, pressure is applied to the nerve fibres, affecting their performance by either restricting the transmission of signals or allowing signals to jump to other nerve fibres, much like line noise. In extreme cases this pinching can lead to spasm, excrutiating pain, numbness or immobility. In mild cases, it can affect the proper functioning of muscles and organs, and can also lead to interferance in the nervous system that can affect other parts of the body, in the same way as that a denial of service attack on a web site can slow your access to other web sites. This can lead to headaches, dizziness, learning difficulties, slow reflexes and inappropriate muscle tension which can in turn lead to more nerve pinching and so on.

Analysis refers to the practitioners method. Unlike a lot of conventional chiropractors, the NSA practitioner does not directly manipulate the spine. Rather, after talking to the patient and getting a case history, they get them to lie face down on their table, and take full breaths that run all the way along the spine. As the patient breathes, they analyse the movement of their back. Lungs are not muscles. Whereas the heart pumps blood directly, the lungs rely on other muscles to expand and contract them in order to pump air. By watching the movement of the back, the practitioner can identify which muscles are moving and which aren't, and can deduce where nerve signals may be blocked or confused on the spine. They also hold the patients feet and push them into various positions and raise their legs, bending them at the knee. In doing this, they can feel physical tension on the nervous system, which also helps them diagnose nervous health. Actual physical tension on the nervous sytem can directly contract the spine, forming a kind of vicious circle of spinal deterioration.

Using these diagnosis techniques as a guide, the practitioner, gently touches specific points, mostly around the base of the skull, the sacrum and the calf muscles and in doing so, sends information through specific parts of the nervous system. The combination of breathing and the information fed back to the body by the practioner causes the nervous system to literally unwind, freeing tension in muscles and organs and allowing the breathing to become more complete. This full breathing, completely unconciously, becomes like a wave running up and down the spine, and this wave motion corrects the spinal posture.

It may seem pretty far fetched, and to tell the truth, the first time I went to my current chiropractor, I walked out thinking I'd been had. I was used to lying on a weird contraption, being pushed and twisted violently until I saw stars and getting up a little bit taller. I was also used to the problem returning soon after leaving the chiropractor and that's what stood out about NSA. As I travelled home on the train, I noticed how uncomfortable the seats where, and found myself unable to sit in my usual posture. I just had to sit up straight. I just kept getting better.

That night, I had lots of strange, kind of semi-waking dreams that involved a lot of movement. I was aware of parts of my spine clicking and popping, and a whole lotta feeling better. The next morning I woke up earlier than usual, feeling fresher than usual and not really wanting my usual morning coffee.

I have continued treatment on and off for a bit over a year. I had spinal problems from childhood that now only show themselves if I'm really run down. In the past year, I've broken ribs and my collar bone in separate incidents, and I've found my recovery easy compared to similar injuries from before treatment (I have broken my collar bone before). I recommended friends to the technique, and they have also walked out thinking it's quackery until about five minutes after leaving the practice.

If you find a practitioner near you, I highly recommend it, even if you don't have major problems. It can make a huge difference to your overall sense of well being.

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