Did you know your notochord is the first to develop when you are an embryo? It is absolutely true! The notochord is the primal axis of the embryo and the precursor to your spine. This is the main axis where the central nervous system (CNS), your organs and the entire support of your body are created. All of your internal organs, nerves and capillaries bud from here to create you. You can essentially think of your notochord as a root for the framework of your spine with neurons that branch to “fruit” organs and tissue. If you have ever been in a chiropractic office, this image is all too familiar. Most chiropractic clinics will have a graphic depicting a spine with extensions of neurons to various physiological systems.
Why are chiropractors so passionate about your spine? Simply put, they understand the importance of keeping your body free from these interferences that impose a threat to your neurons. How do they prevent interference? Chiropractors will adjust your spine to liberate subluxations – also known as stuck vertebrae. Adjustments release the nerve from being pinched that make it reactive. Those reactive fired nerves send pain signals to your body and disrupt organ systems. A cascade of interferences may lead to a myriad of health issues. For example, a patient may experience chronic headaches. Visiting your chiropractor may reveal subluxations in your upper back and neck. With a simple adjustment, this may release the tension that is causing the headache.
Acupuncturists synonymously treat the Hua Tuo Jia Ji points near the spine. Your spine should never be taken for granted. In fact, it has been valued for over 2,000 years in Eastern Medicine. In 110 A.D., Hua To, a Chinese Medical physician discovered the 17 points. Where are these acupoints? They lie vertically about ½ inch from your spine. Your acupuncturist will be able to determine if you are eligible for this treatment. Treating the Hua Tuo Jia Ji points will promote circulation of blood, spinal fluid and lymph. In addition, these points may also relax your paraspinal muscles, expand cartilage and soften tight ligaments. These actions benefit your spine’s vital energy and longevity in health.
These points are aligned bilaterally down your spine. Each is associated with a specific vertebra starting at your third thoracic vertebrae. This system is very similar to osteopathy and chiropractic in which specific Hua To Jia Jia points are associated with controlling organ function. Your health concerns may be resolved with a few simple treatments of your spine. Many conditions such as acid reflux, insomnia, anxiety, hypertension, migraines, constipation, and fatigue can be treated with points along your spine.
As we view our whole system with the viewpoint of Qi (energy) in Eastern Medicine, it can be said that our spine supports and circulates our vital Qi. In fact, our spine transmits this “electrical” impulses through “power lines” if you will. What are these power lines? We call them meridians or channels.
Our entire body consists of 14 networks that conduct energetic flow from and to organs. Our spine is important for the circulation of energy. One of our most valuable meridians goes through the midline of the back. This channel is called the Du channel. There are 20 points that compromise this meridian. Each point contributes an important function in your body. There are many Eastern practices that attempt to revitalize or strengthen this primal energy. One practice is through Qi Gong.
Qi Gong is slow, gentle and repetitive movements to calm your nervous system while promoting healthy circulation of body fluids. One major circulatory practice for the spine is creating dynamic flow of your primal energy known as jing by way of the microcosmic orbit. The microcosmic orbit is compromised of two channels called the Du and the Ren. This is a cultivation method of deep abdominal breathing to create circulation from a point near your tailbone up your spine to the top of your head then down your midline. With deep abdominal breathing and visual meditation, this Qi Gong practice can do wonders to your nervous system, immune system and reproductive issues according to Eastern medicine. All of your vital Qi circulates along these pathways.
Another practice to tap into your vital energy is called Kundalini yoga. Kundalini yoga is also called the “Yoga of Awareness”. This practice is designed to raise awareness while regulating your nervous system, activate your spine and induce pressurization for movement in body points or meridians. Their intention is to awake the kundalini energy by utilizing simple yet dynamic breathing techniques, meditation and chanting. Where is this kundalini energy they believe? It is at the bottom of your spine! According to tantra, this powerful energy is coiled much like a serpent at the base of your spine. Once the dormant energy begins to flow freely through your spine it will awaken your senses, body and mind. It is truly a powerful practice. Like any powerful practice, researching your practitioners and studio is recommended.
As you can see, being mindful of spinal health can be the key to unlocking your senses, your biochemistry and regulating your whole system. Just as we observe in gardening when a tiny sprout grows from a seed to later become a large apricot tree. Our body operates the same way! A little embryo buds this notochord that later evolves to our spine. Make sure you “water” this spine and keep it healthy for it is everything to your vitality and well-being!