What is Network Spinal Analysis?
Network spinal analysis (NSA), sometimes called network chiropractic or network care, is a distinct form and philosophy that evolved out of chiropractic used for healing and promoting wellness. Network spinal analysis involves a network practitioner or NSA chiropractor using precise, specific, gentle touch on the spine to update and cue the nervous system and improve quality of life. NSA can help to release tension and trauma stored in the spine and nervous system.
NSA chiropractors work with the innate self-healing ability of the body. A key goal of NSA is to teach you to connect with your body and your own natural healing energy. The practice of NSA is to help facilitate and develop this connection. In other words, after working with an NSA chiropractor, you should have a better sense of what your body needs, and how to support your own ongoing wellness.
NSA chiropractic can help with conditions such as pain, tension and other health issues related to stress. NSA helps improve your quality of life, and be a useful way of working with emotional pain and trauma that may be stored in the body. Some patients have described feeling deep emotional releases as a result of an NSA session, and experiencing a sense that life force energy was flowing freely through their bodies again.
NSA chiropractor Michael Diamond, DC, explains, “One of the things that we tend to stay away from is the ‘diagnosis and treatment’ of specific ailments. We don’t chase after what’s going on. We’re not trying to restore you back to who you were before, but rather reorganize you to something brand new, to become your best self and live the life you were meant to live. We literally teach your system how to do things on its own, as opposed to have the practitioner doing it for you. We help your body develop strategies for self-healing and growth.”
What’s the difference between chiropractic and NSA chiropractic?
Both traditional chiropractic and NSA chiropractic are forms of healing that involve adjusting your spine and other parts of your musculoskeletal system. However, network chiropractic is a more gentle approach to doing so. While traditional chiropractic is well-known for the cracking sounds that can occur during a chiropractic adjustment, NSA typically uses much less force and pressure on the body. NSA is also especially focused on supporting an emotional as well as physical release of tension.
NSA chiropractors are licensed doctors of chiropractic who have also received special training in the network chiropractic technique.
How does network spinal analysis work?
The practice focuses primarily on working with the spine, using low-force, gentle adjustments.
Practitioners shift the nervous system from a defense physiology to growth and healing by accessing the nervous system through the spine at specific areas known as spinal gateways. These gateways are areas of ease, which is why such a gentle force can be used. The pressure cues the brain to pay attention to areas that have been holding tension and assists the body in reorganizing defense patterns or stress physiology.
History and philosophy
When chiropractic was first developed over a century ago, one of the founding principles was a recognition of the body’s innate healing ability and life force. Chiropractors sought to support this life energy by making adjustments to the spine and other areas of the body. The goal was to unblock anything that might be getting in the way of the body’s natural healing process.
Today, network spinal analysis is the branch of chiropractic that remains most focused on that outcome. First developed in the early 1980s by Donald Epstein, DC, NSA was originally called network chiropractic. As Dr. Epstein refined and expanded the practice over the next fifteen years, it became more commonly known as network spinal analysis.
Writing in the Journal of Vertebral Subluxation Research, Dr. Epstein himself noted that NSA aims to discover and correct subluxations, or mis-alignments of the spine, just like other forms of chiropractic. However, Dr. Epstein believed that very little force was necessary to adjust those mis-alignments, and his gentle approach could have profound effects on more than just the physical structure of the spine and body. He saw NSA as grounded in neuroscience and quantum mechanics as well as the physiology of how the spine works, and as a means for addressing and healing many forms of stress.
In other words, the scope of NSA was envisioned as a healing approach beyond simply treating back pain, or other conditions traditionally associated with chiropractic. For anyone looking for mind-body-spirit integration, NSA might be a good approach to try.
Candace Pace, PhD (1946-2013), neuroscientist and mind-body medicine pioneer, said, “Network spinal analysis represents the epitome of body, mind, spirit integration. This work will transform the planet.” (Among many substantive accomplishments in psychoneuroimmunology, Dr. Pert discovered the opiate receptor, the cellular binding site for endorphins in the brain.)
The scientific basis for chiropractic is partly rooted in the fact that the spine is the key to accessing the central nervous system. The central nervous system is made up of the brain and the nerves that run from the brain through the spine, connecting the brain to the rest of the body. By adjusting the spine into proper alignment, chiropractic can help reduce stress on the central nervous system. This helps your body to function better overall, and improves a wide range of health challenges.
Network spinal analysis specifically has been found to positively affect the central nervous system. During an NSA session, a patient’s spine can actually experience what Dr. Epstein termed the network wave—the development of healing waves that travel through the spine, affecting the surrounding muscles and help to relax the patient in mind and body. The network wave phenomenon has been documented by researchers as correlating with the efficiency and coherency of the central nervous system. One study by scientists at the University of Southern California demonstrates that over time, NSA can actually help the central nervous system achieve higher levels of organization—essentially, promoting the wellness of the brain and spine.
NSA is practiced by chiropractors with additional training in the NSA approach. An NSA session typically involves lying down on a table while an NSA chiropractic uses light, gentle touches on the spine to reorganize spinal tension, known as Adverse Mechanical Chord Tension (AMCT) diagnose. NSA work also often involves accessing the emotions that may be at the root of some physical pain.
There are three levels of NSA care—basic, intermediate and advanced. Basic care is administered to new patients and those exhibiting high levels of trauma or stress to the spine. Intermediate and advanced care are given to patients who are healthier. Over time, patients progress from receiving basic to higher levels of care.
What are the benefits of network spinal analysis?
While still a relatively new form of chiropractic, NSA has been shown to support significant healing in some people. Because it affects some of the most critical systems of the body, NSA can lead to improvements in physical, mental and emotional health. In other words, if you’re struggling with chronic, multifaceted health problems, NSA is worth considering.
Like any form of chiropractic, network spinal analysis can help improve and correct structural misalignments in the spine. Such misalignments or subluxations can lead to back pain, neck pain, difficulty moving and other disorders associated with the musculoskeletal system. NSA can help to reduce or even eliminate symptoms in some cases.
NSA can also help support chronic health conditions that may be brought on or partially caused by stress. Chronic stress can wreak havoc on the body, and contribute to anything from pain to digestive problems to brain fog. NSA, like other forms of chiropractic, can help calm the central nervous system and reduce stress. This can lead to improvements both in symptoms and overall wellness.
Because NSA can improve the functioning of the central nervous system—the brain and spine—the practice can result in mental health benefits, like clearer thinking. Case studies have also found that NSA can help with conditions like depression. Depression is often the result of a combination of factors, and several, such as stress and physical pain, are directly treated by NSA.
NSA chiropractors are often more focused on their patients emotional health than traditional chiropractors. This is because NSA can be a way to connect with and release deep emotional pain. Case studies report that some NSA patients experience dramatic emotional healing during sessions. This may be because emotions are deeply connected with the spine and the central nervous system.
Safety and side effects
Network spinal analysis is considered a safe treatment approach with no significant side effects. Because NSA uses an especially gentle, light touch compared to other forms of chiropractic or bodywork, it is appropriate for almost anyone, from infants to seniors. Experts recommend discussing any serious health conditions or emotional traumas with your NSA chiropractor before beginning treatment.
The following expert reviewed and contributed to this article:
Michael Diamond, DC, Network Spinal Analysis Chiropractor
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Network Spinal Analysis: A System of Health Care Delivery Within the Subluxation-Based Chiropractic Model.
Journal of Vertebral Subluxation Research, 1996
The Network Spinal Wave as a Central Pattern Generator.
Donald M. Epstein, and Daniel Lemberger.
Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 2016