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Holistic Health & Holistic Medicine

C. Norman Shealy, M.D., Ph.D.

Dr. Paul MacLean described the triune brain many decades ago, consisting of the reptilian, limbic and cortex. Although there is great controversy in relation to the evolution of these 3 systems, they do exist and represent the many functions of the brain. The limbic system is responsible for emotion, learning, memory, endocrine and endocrine function. But it is the foot that is the prime determiner of posture and balance, essentially the coordinator of musculoskeletal activity. I now think that, in contrast to conventional physiology, neurology and medicine in general, the key to health is the foot, the mouth, the cerebellum and the limbic system. The cortex is a partial integrator but also the monkey in the wrench. All of these involve genetics and karma. And the cerebellum controls voluntary movement, posture, balance, coordination and speech. As reported extensively by Dr. Brian Rothbart, posture begins with sensory input from the foot ultimately affecting the entire spine and the internal organs associated with various spinal nerves. Thus posture is a major key to function of body and organs. The great neurophysiology genius, Dr. Irvin Korr, demonstrated that even a few millimeters of asymmetry in the sensory input from the feet could affect any internal organ, depending on the torque in various spinal segments and nerves.

Thus the key to posture is the foot. The autonomic nervous system, the fight or flight mechanism, is ultimately influenced by the spinal nerves and the adrenal glands, which set off an alarm reaction to physical , mental or emotional stress.. Of course there are the descending spinocerebellar and spinomotor pathways that provide two way modulation. And the ultimate regulator of the limbic system is the cortex, our center of thinking and ultimately “feeling” of body and emotions. But it also is part of the two way input from below as well as from above.

Dr. Brian Rothbart has reported that a huge majority of people have a mal-developed foot, which starts creating abnormal sensory input to the cerebellum when we stand and walk. It is the ultimate influencer of balance in every part of the body, from legs to spine, arms, neck and head. Under the best of circumstances with optimal nurturing and nutrition, we manage to do pretty well. I remain uncertain how much jaw misalignment, atlas misalignment and effects of these two contribute to ultimate function of pelvis, spine and internal organs. There is some evidence that congenital jaw misalignment may be as common as foot. And obviously any misalignment of any part of the skeleton can affect the rest of the mechanics of the body, and one way or another they are part of the whole.

Poor nutrition is certainly a major contributor to inadequate function. Nurturing is unquestionably at least as important as genetic/anatomical optimal development. Both of these also set the foundation of immune function. Considering the fact that 40% of adults are depressed and 40% have subclinical depressive miasma, I believe these are mainly the result of perceived or unequivocal deficits or abuses of nurturing. This starts the worry warting of the cortex into continuous record playing of anger, anxiety, guilt or depression, all of which keep the limbic system in varying stages of dysfunction. Any accident or significant infection more or less completes the insults which lead to virtually every disease. Then, of course, there is the increasing toxicity of air, water and soil mainly from industry and agriculture!

It appears that, except in acute illnesses, we may help reestablish function by balancing the foot, the jaw or the cortex/limbic system, obviously always assuming at least moderate adequate nutrition. I suspect that craniosacral and spinal or even sacro-iliac manipulation/therapy will fail long term unless the cortical/limbic/foot/jaw balance is also corrected. Spiritual/sacred factors which are primarily the higher function of cortex can sometimes overcome the multiple dysfunctions below in the physical, chemical and mental system. Often this result is essentially a miracle and the result of grace, which is beyond human manipulation.

In general drugs and surgery may be useful in acute situations and can be miraculous in themselves. On the other hand, these virtually never adequately correct chronic problems and, indeed, more often, they add complications commonly called “side effects”. All side effects are really complications! And side effects may result from any technique for cortical/limbic/foot/jaw balance, especially when spiritual and karmic effects are ignored or even any aspect is incomplete. Conventional medicine often is essential for saving life and health in acute situations. For chronic problems, only the most comprehensive holistic approach is optimal. This takes into account physical, chemical, postural, emotional and spiritual balance.


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