We use a soft-tipped chiropractic instrument called an Activator that delivers a light “tap”. We use the Activator to gently adjust the hands, arms, shoulders, spine, legs and feet in protocols that involve whole-body biomechanical patterns of correction. We think of these patterns of correction primarily as providing information for the brain-body system.
To move with ease and safety, the biomechanical system needs information about the parts of the body in relation to the whole — like the story of the blind men describing an elephant. To know the shape of an elephant, you need to know about the tiny little tail, and the broad, flat torso, and the big flappy ears, and the amazing long trunk. You need to know about every part of the elephant to know the shape of the elephant. If not, you are like the three blind men describing three completely different animals.
In our instrument adjusting, we always cast the net as deep and wide as possible, getting as comprehensive as we can with any injury. If someone is experiencing elbow pain, and there is nothing anatomically wrong, the pain may be due to biomechanical stress. Depending on where the stress is, it may not be enough to adjust only the elbow itself. If the original injury to the elbow also included a twisting in the back (a more core structural issue), the elbow may not resolve without offering biomechanical information about the back as part of the package. Moreover, the brain-body system may need information about not only the elbow and back, but also the wrist and shoulder and maybe even the lower extremity, in order to access a large enough piece of the proprioceptive map (the ‘whole elephant’) to resolve the pain in the elbow. Too little information is undecipherable and too much information is overwhelming. Therefore, in the ASM assessment, the question we always ask is: how much of the “elephant” is involved?
Another important aspect of biomechanical information is the position the body was in (relative to gravity) during the original injury. The most basic positions are the three developmental positions: supine/prone, sitting, and standing. The majority of injuries happen in one of these positions. We do, however, sometimes need to adjust in other specific positions especially after unusual injuries sustained in yoga, dancing, ballet, certain sports, or playing a musical instrument.