I confess. I once led a previous life as a recording engineer and producer, prowling the seamy, sordid underbelly of Hollywood in the ‘70s and ‘80s. I worked with elite artists of the era and those of us engineering at that level knew pretty much all there was to know about audio, acoustics and hearing. No brag. That’s just the way it was in the rarefied air at the time. After all, we made our living because we owned some of the most highly educated and trained ears on the planet. We knew what we were hearing to an extraordinary degree, using a combination of good hearing and importantly, training ourselves to hear. Ironically, though, less-than-perfect hearing was common in the music biz. Two guitarists I worked with were virtually deaf in the right ear; both the late Frank Zappa and the persistent Stephen Stills.

So it was that I knew my right ear didn’t hear as well as my left in the upper mid-frequencies. I wasn’t concerned. We all knew how to adjust. The weirdest part of it was waking in my Laurel Canyon home with my head on the pillow. With my right ear buried, I could hear distant birds or crickets chirping in my left ear. But with my left ear on the pillow, I heard few of those chirpy sounds in the distance. My right ear was notably deficient compared to my left. That hearing imbalance, along with other obvious things, eventually convinced me that chiropractic works.

Then to now Chiropractic is the modern-day application of what is known as spinal manipulation therapy (SMT). SMT is known to have been used by the ancient Chinese over 2000 years ago. The modern concept of chiropractic was advanced by D.D. Palmer in his practice in Davenport, Iowa during the late 1800s.

Palmer, like many doctors and healers of that era, was admittedly eccentric. Medical turf wars were escalating between drug-oriented doctors in line with pharmaceutical companies and healers in other modalities. Nonetheless, he founded a school that is now a leader in the field of chiropractic medicine.

For much of the twentieth century, chiropractic battled public skepticism fostered by the conventional medical profession. By the 1980s though, chiropractic had become known to be a viable medical technique. Low estimates find 20 percent of Americans seek chiropractic care yearly.

One basic theory of chiropractic is that the natural healing ability of the body relies on the capacity of the nervous system to communicate easily with all parts. Since the nerves of the body, with the exception of some cranial nerves, travel through the spine, with vertebrae out of alignment, the nerve impulse is compromised. SMT readjusts the spine and improves that energy flow. Healing follows.

Most people seek chiropractic to treat back pain. That’s what took me to Dr. John Cathcart of West Los Angeles in 1990. I tweaked my lower back in the simple movement of reaching for a saltshaker. I was bedridden for days, the pain unbearable. A fellow engineer, Steve Strassman, recommended Cathcart. Cathcart’s medical manner, patient attention and the easy adjustment made it the friendliest visit to a doctor’s office I had ever experienced. There was a pleasant release of pressure after the spinal adjustment. It was an original and obtuse experience, devoid of context. What mattered most was that I could sit comfortably in my car as I drove home to Hollywood and by evening nearly all pain was gone. Results matter to me.

The next morning I awoke dreamily to another perfect day, (I love L.A.) My head lay gently on my left side and I heard chirping robins and blue jays cawing. Crickets and squirrels, cars in the distance; all sounded different. Then it struck me. That slight difference was improved frequency response in my right ear at about 5 kHz, midrange that had previously been lacking.

I muted my right ear. Both ears were now equal. Somehow full frequency range was restored to my right ear. Could it have to do with the chiropractic adjustment? A swirl of recollected knowledge collated and it all made sense.

Cocaine blues Recording engineers in the 1970s worked long hours. Some resorted to artificial stimulants to work beyond when their bodies and ears should have called it a day. Mixing a record required delicate balances of hundreds of sounds and musical instruments ranging in varied frequencies. Too much high frequency and a mix sounded brittle and edgy.

Every one of my contemporaries realized that artificial stimulants tensed the muscles of the head and neck. The resultant tension wreaked havoc with the ability to hear high frequencies by distorting the entire hearing system of tubes, tissues and bones. Mixes done in the speed of the night often were useless the next day.

I realized that the chiropractic adjustment I had received helped release chronic muscle tension around my neck, shoulders and head. My hearing changed. I know. You can call me an expert.

When I reported that news to Cathcart, he chuckled and told me the story of Palmer’s first patient, a deaf janitor. The janitor’s hearing supposedly was restored by a chiropractic adjustment. It made sense.

Recently, a friend told me she saw an attack of that story online by some narrow-minded yahoo. The critic claimed Palmer’s adjustment couldn’t have reversed the janitor’s deafness because the auditory nerves do not pass through the spine. True. But auditory nerves are not the only things that affect hearing. Hearing is a holistic thing. So is chiropractic.

Be well.

Heartland Healing is a metaphysically based polemic describing alternatives to conventional methods of healing the body, mind and planet. It is provided as information and entertainment, certainly not medical advice. Important to remember and pass on to others: for a weekly dose of Heartland Healing, visit HeartlandHealing.com. and like us on Facebook.

Subscribe to The Reader Newsletter

Our awesome email newsletter briefing tells you everything you need to know about what’s going on in Omaha. Delivered to your inbox every day at 11:00am.

Become a Supporting Member

Subscribe to thereader.com and become a supporting member to keep locally owned news alive. We need to pay writers, so you can read even more. We won’t waste your time, our news will focus, as it always has, on the stories other media miss and a cultural community — from arts to foods to local independent business — that defines us. Please support your locally-owned news media by becoming a member today.

Leave a comment