More About NIS
In your osteopathic consultation, the Neurological Integration System is used to assist your body in attaining its optimum health.
The Neurological Integration System, devised and under constant research and development at Neurolink in New Zealand (neurolinkglobal.com) in association with the Association of Neurointegrative Medicine in Germany (aenim.de), fits perfectly into the principles of osteopathic and naturopathic medicine, which seek to promote health by stimulating and supporting the body’s inherent powers to regain harmony and balance.
The Neurological Integration System involves a set of prioritised treatment protocols that evaluate your neurological circuitry to determine and address aspects of your body function that your brain is not fully controlling. It uses a muscle test and contact with various parts of the body. It is non-invasive, stress and pain free and is suitable for the new-born baby through to the very aged (and also for animals).
The Neurological Integration System
When each of us were born, we were born with a DNA template unique to each of us. That template determines 'normal' and optimum function. The brain operates within the parameters of that template. The parameters of that template represent our individual tolerances. Muscles, glands, tendons, ligaments etc. all have tolerances. The tolerances of one person are very different to those of the next.
When all body systems function within our individual ‘template’ of parameters we have great health. From time to time stresses cause our individual tolerances to be exceeded. They can be physical, pathological, chemical or emotional. This is when the body will start to show symptoms of pain and/or illness. An exceeded threshold may be thought of as a broken circuit. The brain is no longer in full ‘communication’ with certain facets of function: so the body endeavours to compensate.
These thresholds are essentially thresholds of stress. The meaning of stress, and how each individual reacts to it varies. How it affects our individual health will vary. Our tolerance levels to the same stresses are different. Therefore what is stressful for you to the extent of affecting your health will be completely different for the person next to you. That is why some people will always be bound to catch the latest bug that is going around, when another person can be subject to the same environment and never catch it.
The brain controls optimum function, through its neurological circuitry. It is constantly receiving information from every facet of the body, and in turn sends back ‘fine tuning’ messages, many times per second. This means every cell, gland, organ, muscle, tendon etc in the body is constantly monitored via these circuits to the brain.
The Neurological Integration System (NIS) uses a set of prioritised treatment protocols that assess the function of all the body’s systems, and all the factors that have or could translate themselves to symptoms.
These protocols will identify aspects of physiology that are not functioning to the potential of the respective individual.
In evaluating the function of the body’s systems from a neurological point of view, this means the underlying causes of symptoms are being addressed and not the symptoms themselves. NIS leverages the brain’s profound ability to restore the body and all its systems to full potential.
Through our nervous system, we perceive stimuli from the outside world and from the inside of our body. The brain processes these stimuli and - if necessary - correctively intervenes in our bodily functions via the nervous system and adjusts them. Likewise, the activity of all our functional areas are in tune with each other and influence our interactions with the outside world.
Disruption of perception, transmission or processing may sooner or later lead to the development of symptoms or clinical dysfunctions. Causes of these disruptions can be, for example, injuries, infections, emotional stress or toxic loads, including improper nutrition.
Your brain is essentially an ‘automatic signaling system’ – much like a telephone switchboard - that continuously receives feedback from every cell, organ, muscle, tendon and system of the body and in turn sends out ‘fine tuning’ messages, many times per second to keep everything appropriately under its control. When your tolerances are exceeded, symptoms can develop and stay around if unresolved.
Like a fault that can occur at the telephone exchange, your telephone company won't necessarily know your phone is down, until they’re told.
This is like your brain. It knows all about your symptoms, but it no longer 'knows' about the circuits that are down or weakened and that represent the underlying causes of your problem. This hampers your recovery.
With the help of NIS, a neuro-integrative medicine, it is possible to examine the perception, processing and inter-system communication and functionality and to treat disorders. By correcting the disturbances, the self-healing powers of the body are restored or specifically activated. All body systems can work optimally together again, which leads to the disappearance of the symptoms.
Example: Let's take a day-to-day activity like climbing stairs. Among other things, the correct processing of optical stimuli is vital for a smooth motion sequence. Therefore, if the communication between the visual and the motor system is faulty, pain in the knee joint, for example, could occur due to recurring stress of poor communication. The actual cause, however, could be a disturbance in the eye movements. If this is remedied, the joint pain disappears.
The Neurological Integration System puts the brain at the centre of diagnosis and treatment of all complaints. Because, similar to the conductor of a large symphonic orchestra, all bodily functions are co-ordinated by the brain and the nervous system.
The nervous system is responsible for adapting the internal regulation to the constant changes in our environment and for interacting with the environment to control our physical and emotional needs.
The separation of the body systems, e.g the digestive system or cardiovascular system, from one another in a functional capacity is not really possible since they are all intertwined and work seamlessly with the peripheral and central nervous system. The nervous system will respond differently under different mental and emotional states, as its function will be re-routed via the limbic system of the brain in heightened emtional states, thus resulting in an augmented outcome or different function than when under less stressful conditions. It is well known the body reacts differently under stress, and this is just one of the reasons.
It is obvious then that the nervous system must be considered included in all therapeutic considerations and treatments. NIS is a neuro-integrative form of medicine and as such assesses medical problems using three fundamental approaches:
1. The solution to the problem is usually in the system
Most functions in the body are a consequence of a complex, integrated interaction of multiple parts of the nervous system. For example, even with an obvious local, traumatic injury such as a fall causing a strained muscle or fracture, the consequence of the physical injury may be that the individual parts of the neural network no longer work together optimally. Accordingly, the problem is not just an individual muscle, its local joint or even the entire musculoskeletal system; the problem and thus the solution lies in the complex interaction of the whole body system. The individual parts must be reassembled into a functioning whole, like an orchestra, with the conductor being the nervous system.
2. A system-oriented approach is preferable to a symptom-oriented approach
The local symptom should be examined and appreciated, but the cause of the problem can only be found on a global level. The cause of a knee pain may be a faulty eye movement. Let's take a day-to-day activity like climbing stairs. Among other things, the correct processing of visual stimuli is essential for a smooth sequence of movements to successfully negotiate an obstacle like a staircase. However, if the communication between the visual and the motor system is faulty, pain in the knee joint, for example, can occur due to recurring stress. The actual cause, however, could be a disturbance in the eye movements. If this is remedied, the joint pain disappears.
This system-orientated approach also makes it more likely to find a parent problem that causes multiple symptoms. Of course, in the context of injuries, for example, there may also be local, in particular structural, disorders in a body system.
3. Before focussing on treatment and rehabilitation, first check the connection.
Before thinking about the rehabilitation of a particular area of the body, we should first make sure that the connection between the body’s systems works. Rehabilitation, for example, might entail telling the patient to move differently or to do a certain exercise. However, it is important to first see if, for example, a muscle has a stable connection to the brain at all.
We can use a simple analogy from everyday life. You want to print a document from your desktop computer. You press print, but there is no answering purr, clunk, click from the printer. You check the printer is on, yes, the green light is there, present and correct! Ok, you think. Maybe the wrong printer is selected on the computer. No, the tick is on the right printer. Hmm, well maybe you should turn everything off and turn it all back on again - that always works! No, still nothing. Then you notice! Ah, the USB cable is not quite properly plugged in! There you go: it was just a loose connection...
Once we have a stable connection, treatments such as muscle strengthening exercises can be more easily executed and, most importantly, more effective.
Another interesting and important aspect to aid the understanding of neuro-integrative medicine is provided by a look at our embryological development. If one studies the change in anatomy during the embryonic period, it becomes clear that in early stages of development, certain organs, muscles and areas of the skin are very close to each other - in so-called segments. Each segment is powered by its own nerve branch. In the course of further development, the original neighbours may then migrate to completely different regions of the body, but they always remain connected via "their" nerve and its junction point in the spinal cord.
The segmental anatomy explains how seemingly disjointed symptoms may have a common origin and helps us to look for the cause of a symptom elsewhere. For example, chronic bladder infection may be the cause of pain in lower thoracic and lumbar spine muscles. If I am only concerned with back pain, the cause remains undetected and untreated. Neuro-integrative medicine, including NIS, offers a system-wide approach, rather than being symptom-oriented.
Clinical Example: A twenty year old female patient has been suffering from non-specific, recurrent, spasmodic abdominal pain for over two years. All clinical examinations (laboratory examinations, ultrasound, CT, MRI, gastric and colonoscopy) are clear. When examined with the Neurological Integration System, a disturbance shows up in the area of the right elbow joint. Segmental anatomy has taught us that multiple elbow-based muscles have close neural connections to certain sections of the small intestine. Upon detailed inquiry, the patient reported a riding accident with fracture in the elbow joint about six weeks before the onset of symptoms. The wider treatment approach for her abdominal problems, therefore focusses firstly on the elbow joint dysfunction.