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What is Naprapathy and How Can It Help?

Naprapathic Medicine is a doctoral level health and wellness practice utilizing integrative manual and nutritional medicine to promote the body's natural healing response. Naprapathy utilizes hands-on healing techniques as well as nutritional counseling, exercise and relaxation methods to evaluate and treat a wide variety of health, pain and mobility concerns. Naprapaths are doctors who align the body through manipulating soft tissue utilizing techniques from various origins including Chinese medicine and the practice of Tui Na.  Although the term "naprapathy" was invented in the United States in recent times, many of the manual medicine techniques have been used for centuries in cultures throughout the world including Europe and Asia.  Naprapathy represents a modern evidence-based approach to manual therapy utilizing a blend of the most effective modern and classical hands-on healthcare techniques.  Tui Na, acupressure, trigger point therapy, active release stretching, yogic and qi gong breathing techniques along with energy medicine based modalities are an integral part of this highly effective manual therapy when performed by Dr. McCormick. 

Soft tissue blockages and muscle restrictions develop in response to mental and emotional stress, physical injuries, poor nutrition, repetitive motion and improper postural alignment. These blockages and restrictions may block circulation in the arteries, veins, or lymph system, and also irritate nerves. During treatment the spinal alignment is corrected through stretching the soft tissue with gentle movements and soft tissue manipulation. All muscular and skeletal misalignment is addressed including back, shoulder and hip pain. This therapy helps restore the body's natural flexibility by release tension, leaving the muscles and connective tissue pliable and in balance. This not only relieves pain and improves mobility, but enhances blood flow, nerve conduction, and the circulation of vital energy (qi).  These are the things essential to promotion of an optimal healing response.

More About Naprapathic Medicine

Naprapathic Medicine specializes in the evaluation and treatment of neuro-muscular and musculo-skelatal conditions through gentle manipulation of muscles, tendons and ligaments throughout the spine and the whole body to relieve pain, alleviate stress, and promote healing by restoring the balance of nerve energy circulation.

The term Naprapathy comes from the Czech work Napravit meaning to correct, and the Greek Pathos meaning suffering. The science of this unique approach to correct suffering was established at the dawn of the 20th Century by Dr. Oakley Smith (a chiropractor). Through his painstaking research Dr. Smith discovered that abnormally tense and improperly balanced ligaments, tendons and muscles can impinge on nerves causing pain and dysfunction in the part of the body served by that nerve: it could mean neuromuscular or organ system pathology. His findings and perspective diverged from the chiropractic perspective he knew well. His treatment focus was no longer on simply misaligned bones impinging nerves as being the fundamental origin of pathology. Many centuries prior to the dawn of the term “naprapathy: manual medicine was used in the practice of Asian medicine. The theories, philosophy and style of manual medicine that most resembles naprapathy is known as Tui Na (translated from Chinese as “push-grasp”) and is used in hospitals wards to this day throughout Asia.

Dr. McCormick completed training at an integrative medicine hospital in Nanjing, China were he was an intern in the manual medicine department. Additionally, he has studied and practiced with numerous chiropractors, physical therapists, naturopaths, naprapaths and tui na professionals since the late 1980's. He has many years of experience teaching yoga, active isolated stretching and rehabilitaive exercise. Additionally, his career experience included being an elite sports conditioning coach and personal trainer.  He brings many years of skill and experience to his work with each individual patient.

The Naprapathic treatment restores the balance, which along with sound nutritional guidance and prescription of herbal and nutritional medicine (when appropriate), allows your body to heal and stay well.

What is Connective Tissue?
 It is the most widely distributed tissue in human body. It includes skin, hair, nails, blood, lymph, fascia, muscles, ligaments, tendons, cartilage, disks, bone, etc. . So your body is a complex network of these tissues which, when in perfect balance, give you strength and endurance to accomplish all those daily tasks with vibrant energy. It is this connective tissue, known as fascia, that serves as the super highway for vital energy to circulate. The imbalance in tissue and energy can happen slowly as a result of daily activities such as repetitive movements, bad postural habits, and poor diet. However, it can also happen suddenly as a result of injury from sprains/strains, falls, and accidents. All this, combined with environmental factors from pollution, radiation, magnetic fields, and most of all--stress--results in connective tissue damage and vital energy imbalance. Connective tissue damage causes restrictions in spinal mobility, blood supply, lymphatic flow, and most importantly, interference to nerve energy conduction. You may be totally unaware of the imbalance until a build-up of symptoms reaches a level your body can no longer accommodate, culminating in pain and loss of function.

Why Naprapathy Works?
By removing nerve interference caused by mental, emotional or physical stressors, the brain is able to communicate without obstruction to all the organ systems in the body. This free flow of energy restores the delicate inner-workings of the body, allowing it to heal and to perform at optimum levels. Regular naprapathy treatments help to maintain the body's natural balance and vitality. There is a famous traditional Asian medicine text that says “where there is pain there is no free flow (of nerve energy circulation), where there is no pain there is free flow.” Maintaining the normal free flow of circulation of vital energy is essential to optimal health and healing.

Methods
A first time Naprapathic visit includes a comprehensive medical history followed by a thorough spine examination and postural analysis along with a vital energy assessment of the nervous system through meridian analysis. Additionally, an evaluation of the "Three Pillars of Health" – Immune System, Detoxification System, and Digestive System - is made to help identify the underlying cause of the patient's condition and pattern of imbalance.

Nutritional and Botanical Medicine Approach
The nutritional aspect of Naprapathic treatment involves balancing the internal chemistry of the body. You may have heard before that "you are what you eat." This is true only if your digestion and absorption are perfectly efficient, and match your needs. Naprapaths are highly trained in botanical medicine and nutritional therapy. This is accomplished through an extensive questionnaire and health analysis. Lab tests and blood panel results are helpful as well.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Should I Expect From My Visit?
Your first visit begins with an extensive review of your health history followed by an evaluation of body alignment, muscle strength, and joint range of motion along with analysis of your nerve energy circulation via meridian analysis. The treatment follows: series of stretches, specific for your condition manipulation, and, if your condition warrants, adjunctive therapy such as col laser, infra-red heat, cryotherapy, electro-therapy, micro-current stimulation, ultrasound, dry needling (acupuncture) and other manual therapies such as gua sha (similar to Graston) and cupping. You may be prescribed therapeutic exercises to do at home and a botanical medicine formula or nutritional supplements from our natural pharmacy. Mostly, however, you will leave feeling regenerated and the pain retreating or, often, already gone. Please, allow us about 90 minutes for your first visit, about 45 for the subsequent ones to accomplish this.

How Does Naprapathic Medicine Differ From Chiropractic and Why Is Naprapathy A More Holistic Approach?
Chiropractic approach is based on the subluxation theory: bones that are out of alignment are realigned by high velocity techniques. Our clinics' practitioners share an approach to care does not support this flawed chiropractic philosophy.  In many ways this opinion was shared by the founder of Naprapathy who a chiropractor and did not fully support "subluxation theory" as the cause of disease, pain and low vitality. Naprapathic Medicine is based on the belief that it is the muscle, ligament, or tendon that holds and moves the bone, so they have to be balanced for the bone to be aligned. This allows for the slow, gentle movements to stretch the tensed, contracted tissue to relieve your pain. The traditional Asian style of “naprapathy” (known as Tui Na) also addresses imbalances of the flow of vital energy through the energetic systems of the body. Promotion of the proper flow of circulation through these various connective tissue structures is essential restoration and maintenance of health including joint and spinal alignment.  

Do You Refer To Other Specialists?
Yes, we do. We also welcome input from your other healthcare providers. In fact Naprapapathic Medicine is gaining recognition as being a vital part of integrative medicine and many doctors in related fields are becoming naprapaths by embracing the philosophy and utilizing their skills in manual medicine.

Is A Naprapath Just A Glorified Massage Therapist?
Naprapaths are complementary healthcare providers and practitioners that hold doctoral degrees in manual medicine, completing a minimum of four years of full-time graduate college study that includes many hundreds of hours of clinical internship. They take national board examinations demonstrating proficiency and safety in their field of manual medicine. Just as the founder of Naprapathy was originally a chiropractor, many doctors from similar manual medicine disciplines have realigned the focus of their practice with the principles of Naprapathic Medicine. Naturopathic Doctors (ND) and Doctors of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (DAOM) extensively trained in Tui Na and manual medicine are among the growing community of naprapaths. Naprapathy practitioners stay updated on new developments in their field through attending continuing education seminars on a regular basis and CEU's are a requirement for ongoing membership in professional associations.

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