A Chiropractic Controversy

Have a back ache from that cheap desk chair? A visit with me sure would help, says the chiropractor. Well, maybe not– perhaps a chiropractor isn’t always the best choice for something like back pain, says the doctor.
For years, chiropractors and doctors have been competing to be the doctor that meets all of your needs. And although many of us haven’t been caught in the crossfire of the on-going debate over which can cure your pain better and faster, there have been numerous revelations and discoveries keeping the scales fairly even between the two practices.
[care] Many people are inclined to call doctors right away because they aren’t really sure what chiropractors even do. Psychology freshman Amanda Pasternak thought a chiropractor treats mainly back and neck pains. “I’m aware that they do a lot more, I’m just not sure what,” she said.
Pre-med sophomore Abby Delgoffe would call her doctor right away if she was experiencing pain. “I would go to a doctor to get a referral prescription to go to a physical therapist,” Delgoffe said. “I know that chiropractors can relieve back pain, but chiropractic care is temporary. A physical therapist can make you feel better permanently.”
Those who immediately call the doctor may be missing out. Dr. Harry Settimi, a chiropractor at Infinity Chiropractic in Lansing, said there is more to chiropractics than most might think. “Chiropractic care is the discipline within the healing arts which deals with the human nervous system and its relationship to the spinal column and its interrelationship with other body systems.” He also said that there are several elements that make up the practice of chiropractics, including a diagnosis of the chiropractic adjustment and the use of analytical instruments, nutritional advice, rehabilitative exercises and adjustment apparatus. Sounds like more than just a back crack.
The first hot topic of the medical debate is that of the body’s ability to rehabilitate itself with or without the care of doctors and/or chiropractors. Settimi stressed that chiropractics is a distinct science, art and philosophy based on the principle that each of us possess an inborn, innate intelligence. “This intelligence utilizes the nervous system to coordinate and organize all of our bodily functions all the way to the cellular level.” He explained that the major goal of chiropractics is to reduce or correct any vertebral subluxations, which are misalignments of the spinal bones causing interference to the nervous system.
[spine] Dr. Michael Karkkainen, a general surgeon of the Bay Area Medical Clinic in Marinette, Wis., points out a flaw in this ideology. When a patient does not have any muscle and/or skeletal problems or misalignments of the vertebra (subluxations), but still has something like hypertension or high blood pressure, they cannot be cured by alignments. Rather, it is corrected through medicinal philosophy, which according to Karkkainen, is beneficial because it doesn’t harm the patient’s body and secondly, because it aids the body in its natural ability to heal itself.
On the contrary, Settimi believes the vitality of this philosophy of viewing living organisms as possessing a profound, inborn drive toward health, affords respect to the processes of development and adaptation going on in the body. In other words, each symptom that the body produces should be treated as a sign that something in the body, other than a virus or a bacterial infection, is to blame- in this case, the misalignment of the spinal cord or vertebral column.
Settimi argues against the common misconception that symptoms are a negative thing. Instead, he said, symptoms are just signs telling us that our body is actually just adapting and responding to lifestyle and environmental stresses we encounter.
Karkkainen strongly disagrees. After becoming aware of the chiropractic ideals about symptoms and the body’s potential to change without intervention, he said that a person gets symptoms for a reason. “Your body is an amazing thing,” Karkkainen said. “You can’t separate your body from your mind.” He does, however, agree that your body does have the potential and the means necessary for aiding itself back to functioning order and to the full potential for peak performance. But he does not agree that this is obtainable without the maintenance offered through medicine. He said that symptoms should be treated and recognized as a defense mechanism triggered by your body’s immune system to begin fighting where it is needed.
[body] Interestingly enough, Karkkainen believes that there is room for both chiropractic care as well as medicinal treatment. He said that chiropractic care plays a pivotal role in the healing process when a patient has an issue with a muscle and/or skeletal problem. That, however, is where he believes the first of two problems with chiropractic care begin. “You need to have proper diagnosis,” he said. “A brain tumor isn’t going to be cured by being adjusted.”
Karkkainen said the second misconception with chiropractics is the idea that you need to routinely go to the office to be adjusted or checked up on. “There has been no indication for repeated visits after your prescribed course is finished,” Karkkainen said. “After you are taken care of, your body will try to keep itself in proper alignment.” Karkkainen believes that sometimes combining the two practices gives you the best of both worlds.
Settimi said that chiropractics does not treat symptoms, brain tumors, or any conditions. “We are most interested in removing interferences from your nervous system so that you may function at your peak potential and have opportunity to be your best,” Settimi said. “Taking care of your spine and nervous system routinely are healthy choices.”
With so many reasonings for visiting both the doc and your chiropractor for back ache, you might get frustrated enough to throw out that chair. Sorting through both sides of this debate is a pain in the neck on its own, a result that undoubtedly helps both professions. Hmm, perhaps the two are in cohorts with one another after all…

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Taking Back Our Bodies

Eating two quarts of ice cream, not eating for two weeks, eating for two hours straight and vomiting immediately after. These are all images of the extreme measures taken by victims of eating disorders. Those with eating disorders often suffer from body dysmorphic disorder and don’t always see the truth in the mirror. Although disorders such anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa are talked about most, what is less known is how many people actually suffer from the consequences of such deadly diseases.
Eating Disorder Awareness Week, which began on campus Monday, Feb. 28, was designed to help those dealing with eating disorders to raise overall awareness about the diseases. RUBI (Respecting and Understanding Body Image) is a student organization on campus concerned with body image and eating disorders responsible for organizing the week. RUBI planned the activities in accordance with the National Eating Disorder Awareness Week also being recognized.
[today] On campus, the highlight of the week for the last five years has been Take Back Your Body Tuesday, which took place in the Wonders Hall Kiva from 7 to 9 p.m., Tuesday, March 1. The event was open-mic style and students freely shared their stories and experiences. Many women and men at all stages of illness and recovery, and also supporters, spoke to the group of almost 90 about their many struggles and hopes.
Ronda Bokram, nutritionist at Olin Health Center and advisor for RUBI, said this event is always the most powerful one of the week. “Students are free to go up there and open up about how they feel,” Bokram said. “It’s OK to just let it out and cry and know that everyone in this room is there to listen and support.”
Kinesiology sophomore Jakki Waldecker was one such student who had an emotional breakthrough and shared a powerful message about her battles with anorexia and bulimia. “Maybe one day I’ll stand up here and tell you how great it is to live,” she said. “Today is not the day.”
Others, like recovering bulimic, Leah, a hospitality and business junior, spoke about their difficulties of living with the guilt and shame that come with the illness. “You lie to people that you love,” Leah said. “You spend energy thinking about things that you don’t need to be thinking about. We aren’t treated as victims of illness – it’s like we are just people that are out of control, extremists.”
Tina Metropoulos, first-year osteopathic medicine student and president of RUBI, commented on the goals of the organization. “Some people who are struggling with a disorder or poor body image are helped by knowing that there are others out there in the same place,” Metropoulos said. “Also, we try to reach those who know someone who needs help. It’s important to spread the message that eating disorders are a big issue, not just to people who deal with them, but to the general public.”
[victim] Other students not only spoke about eating disorders, but also about issues they were having or have had about body image. Quite a few men showed up to the forum, which Borkam said was the biggest male turnout the event has seen in the five years the night has been taking place on campus.
During the last event of the week, Wednesday Without Worry, on March 2, RUBI distributed about 20,000 Twix bars on campus from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Each bar had a positive message stuck to it. The message and small snack were passed out in an attempt to promote guilt-free eating, or in this case, just snacking.
RUBI worked very intently on spreading the message that, while taking care of your body is important, so is overall wellness, and above all, being happy with yourself. Bokram said this event was another important one for students to seek out and enjoy. “It’s fun because it’s a day to not worry about those numbers and to just enjoy a little snack.” It is also in an effort to reach out to those on campus who have not yet heard of RUBI, as this event is often the most remembered one.
According to the National Eating Disorders Web site, as many as 10 million females and one million males are fighting a life and death battle with an eating disorder. Eating disorders are plaguing young women and men across the country, especially college-age students.
For the past few years organizations like RUBI and respective advocates of the cause across campus have been attempting to target the MSU community and raise their concerns for eating disorders. Most students, when asked, had heard of the week but weren’t sure about MSU’s involvement. However, they did feel the contribution was a great idea and something that should be made a “bigger deal.”
Crystal Jackson, humanities and pre-law sophomore, said she’s happy MSU is targeting the community. “People make a bigger deal about their weight than they should,” Jackson said. “I believe that not everyone is meant to be a certain shape or a certain size.”
Beyond raising awareness, the week can also help people learn to help themselves or a friend. Bokram and Metropoulos both hope the awareness week will become increasingly successful each year and more people will be willing to take part in helping those who need help, as Waldecker said, learning to live.
For more information about Eating Disorder Awareness Week, visit the national Web site at www.nationaleatingdisorders.org.To contact Ronda Bokram please call (517) 355-7593 or e-mail her at ronda.bokram@ht.msu.edu. To contact RUBI visit their Web site at www.msu.edu/~RUBI.

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To Sleep, Perchance to Dream

My mom was getting so skinny. She was usually so pessimistic about her health and about daily life, but she was finally sputtering off positive thoughts and words of encouragement. When the funeral finally arrived, my best friend and my ex-boyfriend didn’t even come with me. I woke up absolutely devastated and realized it was all a dream.
[side] Thank God I woke up.
My mom died, no one was there to support me and everything was turning upside down. What was this dream telling me? My first instinct was to feel scared, but when I sought comfort in my Everything Dreams Book, by Trish and Rob MacGregor, which offers insights on meanings of dreams, I was comforted to discover dreaming about death does not necessarily foreshadow that person’s demise.
Dreams are something we all have in common, even if we can’t remember them. Most of us have probably wondered what they mean, if there was a reason we were having them. Sometimes we may even wake up hoping a dream was actually reality.
The best time to try to tackle a dream is right after having one. Amy Hale, a certified hypnotherapist in Ann Arbor, said more often than not, people understand the meaning of their dreams upon waking up from their slumber. She also said the dreamer is the best interpreter, not a book or a psychologist. In extreme cases, hypnotherapy could help by focusing the brain, which allows for a better perspective on interpretation of dreams, events and emotions.
Anne Minniberg, a hypnotherapist in Ann Arbor, said it’s common for people to dream more at different times in their lives, depending on their feelings. “Some people who are stressed or traumatized may be working out the trauma through their dreams,” Minniberg said. “This can be a very useful, therapeutic tool in recovery, as it would provide people useful, therapeutic information.”
Heather Doepke, psychology sophomore, agrees with Minniberg. “I think I’m more likely to have a dream when I’m happy,” Doepke said. “When I’m stressed out or upset, I can’t even get a good night’s sleep, let alone concentrate on dreaming.”
Dreaming is an important part of the sleep process. Dreaming is needed to process emotional data such as fear or excitement, Hale said. “People who are good at remembering their dreams will often notice differences in their emotional content.”
[dream] Even sexually intimate dreams, or dreams about sex itself, are healthy and common for people of all ages to experience. Unfortunately, Hale said if you’re dreaming about a rendezvous with your favorite Hollywood star, it’s more likely a dream of desire, not a prophecy.
Minniberg said dreams about sexual intimacy are most likely wishes that may be unfulfilled, traumatic sexual encounters from the past or pleasant memories of previous encounters. Hale also said everyone has dreams of intimacy, which can range from a touch-and-go all the way to animalistic attraction. “They are still quite healthy and can often determine what a person needs or desires from a relationship,” she said.
Alan Keating, a general business/management freshman, said that dreams gives you a good look into what a person is feeling at that time in their lives. “Dreaming is free thinking without other people’s interjections,” Keating said. “They don’t tell you anything about the person, just them at the time of the dream.”
Contrary to what we might think, Hale said all our dreams unfold in color. But, just because we all dream in color, that doesn’t mean we will recall the images as such. “It’s interesting that because our dreams fade so quickly upon awakening, we often recall them in gray tones,” Hale said.
Not all of us can remember our dreams upon waking, Hale said the average person experiences dreams nightly. “Since our conscious is asleep, it is often difficult to recall that dream actually occurred,” Hale said. “We dream during the REM cycle of our sleep time. Without it, a person is likely to hallucinate in their waking moments.”
Bottom line: sleep and dreams are important. They offer insight to our actual feelings about our daily lives and also make us aware of our wants and desires. Naturally, the only way to have a dream is during sleep, which is very important both psychologically and physically. Minniberg warns, without sleep, people begin to suffer detrimental physical and emotional problems, as well as impaired perception.
Physically, lack of sleep deprives the body of energy it needs to replenish what it lost during the day. If we avoid sleep, our body will shut itself down by either weakening the immune system or making the body more susceptible to illness. “During REM, we dream – without reaching REM, the possibility of a person hallucinating, shadows, insects, voices or other things could begin to happen,” Hale said.
Without the necessary time our body and mind need to get rest and to digress through dreaming, we won’t have a sufficient amount of energy to stay productive. As a result, our thoughts are likely to become more depressed and possibly counter-productive.
Although we may not be able to understand them immediately, dreams play an important role in keeping us healthy and in touch with our subconscious. But remember, not all dreams need interpretation — some are just that: a dream.

For more information on dreams or the dreaming process, contact Amy Hale at (734)664-6681 and/or Anne Minniberg at a.mininberg@worldnet.att.net

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Make No Excuse

If Jessica Achtman’s boyfriend and was blowing her off she would be depressed and would probably offer some excuses as reasoning. If he called a few hours late she’d be upset, but at least he called. Achtman, a hospitality business sophomore, confesses to the realities of typical dating scenarios.
Chances are, if you’re a heterosexual woman, no matter how liberated, you have probably given a man the benefit of the doubt, as Achtman described, and given him another opportunity to get it right. Many women are just like Achtman and make excuses for their male counterparts, fail to pipe up when they get upset and even find reasons for male shortcomings.
[list-o] These topics are all spotlighted in the New York Times Best selling book, He’s Just Not That Into You: The No-Excuse Truth to Understanding Guys, by co-authors, Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo. The book tackles issues of women excusing men when it is entirely unnecessary and wrong to do. The authors serve the brutally honest truth to the “excusers” in all of us and point out the error of our dating disasters. With excuses such as, “Maybe he doesn’t want to ruin the friendship,” or “Maybe he wants to take it slow,” under inspection, the offers some reassurance that men are just “losers” sometimes, but the book also leaves many women feeling like they are doing something wrong in relationships.
According to Dr. Barb Walkington, a social worker and counselor at the MSU counseling center, there are many reasons. “After researching the problem a little further, there are really a lot of reasons that girls need to come up with reasons to explain their beau’s behavior.”
The first issue that women face is the way they are socialized in society. Girls are accustomed to being on the receiving end of relationships, and can be the more submissive of the two partners. Instead of putting her foot down or swearing off their inconsiderate counterparts, she may make up excuses to avoid feelings of rejection. Feelings of rejection are common catalysts, for girls to generate excuses that take the place of responsibility from men. “When there is an explanation for the boy’s behavior, there are less damaging consequences to the girls sense of attractiveness and/or desirability,” Walkington said. Unfortunately, women are socially held responsible for the success and failures of the relationships. As a result of this “duty,” females are thought to be more supportive and go to more extreme measures to make the relationships work. The cultural notions of a woman’s intuition, nurturing and the ideology of being a caretaker pressure women to explain their partner’s behavior and rationalize it. She wants
As Walkington hinted, another common reason that ladies excuse men of their disrespectful behavior has to do with self-esteem. Self-suggested explanations provide women with the comfort to maintain a safe level of confidence in themselves and their role in their relationship.
When it comes to the male end of the relationship, Dr. Walkington also said that the behavior of men is also a result of socialization. “As men, they are taught to not take any responsibility in interpersonal relationships.” For example, they don’t take responsibility for not calling a girl, or feel they have to apologize for everything that causes a problem in a relationship. This may shed some light as to why a guilty conscience does not elicit an apology from guys before their fiery female demands one. It might be valuable for women to consider this, but not offer it as reasoning for being undervalued by men.
Pete Cumming, an engineering sophomore, said he wouldn’t necessarily call a girl when he said he would. “I mean, if I wasn’t really interested in them or just honestly didn’t remember, I wouldn’t.” However, he did say that he would have some remorse for her feelings. “I would feel bad, but then in a way [I would] feel like, ‘who am I to feel bad for them?’ They’re probably better off since I don’t have any interest in them,” Cumming said. “I don’t want to lead them on.”
Dr. Dennis P. Martell, Health Education Coordinator at Olin Health Center, has another approach to explain the whirlwind of relationship cover-ups. He said that in the males’ defense, this is not a problem that only women face. “[The need to make up excuses] does not just happen to women, men can, and do, feel this way,” Martell said. “No one teaches us how to communicate and/or be in a relationship. If we do not get it from our families, we just have to learn by trial and error…We tend to make a lot of mistakes when we get into them [relationships] and many women, as well as many men, believe they need them or they are not whole.”
Dr. Martell also delved into the supposed masculine fear of commitment and the way that this insecurity affects both girls and boys. “This type of cover up behavior (excuses) stems from the fact that many men do no want to commit to relationships, especially at your age, and thus the old rule applies, which states, ‘The person who is least committed to a relationship has all the power.’,” Martell said. “This is true, and since men seem to be less committed in most relationships, they have the power…and many times, [women] make excuses for them and allow them to do things just to hold on to them.”
Some of the hard to handle truths that the book points out are pretty obvious, but often difficult to accept for women. For example, the authors address the issue of men not returning calls and virtually disappearing from the face of the Earth. One hundred percent of men polled on the topic confessed that when, “…they had ‘disappeared’ on a woman (they) said that they were completely aware of what a horrible thing they were doing, and no woman calling them up and talking to them would have changed that.” Similarly, all of the men that were surveyed about not calling said that, “…They’ve never been too busy to call a woman they were really into. As one man said, ‘A man has got to have his priorities.’” While women that read the Behrendt and Tuallo’s book may feel enlightened (and even hurt) by these responses, it is important to realize where these notions are coming from.
The prime author is a man. While he offers a male perspective, one would think that a man telling an audience of women why what they are doing is wrong by making these excuses is a little demeaning. Yet, the book has been a success and Dr. Walkington explains this to be caused by a socially influenced phenomenon. She describes the situation as being, “internalized sexism.” Basically this means that in a male dominated society women are seen as inferior and as a consequence of these gender obligations, often women are more likely to listen to and confide in what a man says, as opposed to another woman.
Another psychologically influenced societal tension involved is one of “horizontal oppression.” Dr. Walkington describes this to be the idea that women compete with women for the spots that they do hold in society. Women are striving to keep their own places in society, so when another woman makes advancements or sets the “standards bar” a little higher, this affects all women, eventually forcing them to make similar advancements. This is a common in horizontal levels of not just gender but class, race and age groups.
So what’s the problem with this entire art of making up excuses? Whether female or male, not being truthful with yourself or your partner is never a good idea. As Dr. Martell points out, there are numerous consequences of this ever-present excusing pattern. “The consequences can be anything from general unhappiness with the relationship and your self-esteem, to life-long depression,” Martell said “Honest communication of self and with self, is the most important skill to learn.”
Relationships involve two people. “Give and take” means exactly that, and women should be undoubtedly satisfied with those aspects of a relationship. No one, including Behrendt or Tuccillo, has the right to make a woman feel like the victim of inconsiderate men and their irresponsibility; women should demand respect or dismiss a current underachiever, as should men that make excuses for women. Stay honest and you are not doing anything wrong. As Greg Behrendt advises in a moment of clarity, “Don’t waste the pretty.”

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