CHIROPRACTIC WITHOUT THE CRACK- A variety of gentle adjustments offer relief to the stressed out
Abigail Leichman Staff Writer - Bergen Record June 1, 2004
Lying face-down on a narrow massage table, Patricia Capasso is able to tune out just about everything but the pain in her ribs. The sound of traffic on a busy Ho-Ho-Kus street outside fades as she awaits the touch of her chiropractor. She hears soothing music and water rippling over stones in a little fountain near her head.
Dr. Noel Plasker, her chiropractor approaches her quietly, bends her legs up and down by the heels. He runs his hands lightly along her back and pauses to apply pressure in a spot or two. A little "psht" of air passes through his pursed lips and his fingers seem to draw out negative energy. When she sits up 20 minutes later, the paid is gone "I can breathe again," she says with a smile "I'd forgotten how to breathe". Capasso, who recently moved to Ridgewood is one of about 15 percent of the American Population under chiropractic care.
That number is rising, chiropractors say, as people are looking for alternative health-care options. Chiropractic - from the Greek cherios (hand) and praktos (done by) is based on the belief that corrective vertebral subluxations, or "kinks" in the spine, helps the body heal itself and contributes to general well-being.
But the 2,000 or so licensed practitioners in New Jersey don't all use the same approach. From the time an Iowa lay healer named Daniel David Palmer invented chiropractic in 1895, perhaps 100 different methods have been developed. They range from high-force thrusts and manipulations to feather-soft touches. These gentler forms are in high demand.
Capasso sees a traditional chiropractor who recommended Plasker. "I find he's working on a much more gentle level and relieving a lot of the stress I carry around," she says. Does she feel different after a treatment that, to be honest, doesn't exactly look intense? "Oh my God' she says. "It's been a miracle."
Historically, the medical community has been skeptical of chiropractic methods that have little scientific grounding. Yet a 1993 Harvard study revealed that Americans were seeing acupuncturists and chiropractors more often than they saw their primary-care physicians, and most medical insurance plans cover such treatments.
"I always hoped M.D.s and chiropractors could work side by side for the benefit of the patient," says Gary Golembiewski, a Park Ridge chiropractor, "because I think we both have limitations. That's not happening yet, but I've had pediatricians refer patients to me for reasons including low back pain. I would call it co-managing."
Golembiewski uses methods that include Atlas Orthogonal, in which an instrument is used to adjust the upper bone in the neck.
"Chiropractors get a bad rap because people think we're going to twist and pop," he said. "With Atlas Orthogonal, there's no twisting. The instrument delivers a precision adjustment with a low-impact percussive force".
David Porcaro, a Fort Lee chiropractor, says people should get spinal adjustments as regularly as they get their teeth cleaned, and from a very early age. "Stress - physical, chemical, emotional is what kills us before our time, and physical stress starts with the birth trauma," he says. Porcaro is a"holistic" practitioner, mixing low and high-force methods and high-tech imaging tools with physical therapy techniques and nutrition and exercise counseling. He will soon begin a two-year course in Bio Energetic Synchronization Technique (BEST), a complementary chiropractic approach that uses bio-magnetic fields to balance one's "chi" - the circulating life energy thought by Chinese philosophy to be essential for good health.
"If you have emotional stress that causes lower back pain, I can take care of the pain and break the bond, so that continuing emotional stress won't cause the back pain anymore", he says. "And because your thinking is clearer and you sleep better, you'll be able to deal with the stressful situation better."
Plasker was trained in a traditional high-force method, but started using Network Spinal Analysis a few years ago. Practitioners of this fairly new approach claim it releases tension and creates "healing waves" that promote harmony in mind, body, and spirit.
"Wave theory" holds that one person's energies can be affected by those around it, so Plasker and most NSA practitioners prefer to treat several patients simultaneously.
On a table next to Capasso is Irina Shea, a young mother and attorney who's been coming in for care the last three months, seeking general stress relief, tingling in her neck and stomach issues. "It helps you breathe better," she says. "No more tingling in the back of the neck or knots in the stomach."
Diana Buonocore brought in her 13 month old son Theo two months ago. Theo had suffered three ear infections before he was 9 months old, and several friends recommended Plasker. The baby hasn't had any infections since. "We're not treating his ears", Plasker stresses. "What we're doing is relieving tension that may be building up in his nervous system. Once the tension is cleared, then the body has a greater ability to heal." Theo's treatments take place while he toddles about the office with a squishy ball in hand. "I just follow him around to adjust him", says Plasker, the father of three young children.
In the meantime, Buonocore settles down on a third treatment table. "I had pain in my knees from the extra weight of pregnancy, and after coming here for two weeks it was gone," she says. "I had gone to a traditional chiropractor and I couldn't walk afterward because I was in so much pain from the adjustments. Here there's no cracking or twisting, and it feel so much better."
Plasker, however, does not condemn conventional methods. "More forceful techniques provide great results," he says. "If everybody received chiropractic care, no matter the technique, this world would be a better place."
This article is provided by Plasker Family Chiropractic Center
your 100 Year Lifestyle Affiliate Chiropractor in Ho-Ho-Kus NJ
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