The Ripple Effect

Posted on March 20, 2017 in

“Drop a pebble in the water: just a splash, and it is gone;

But there’s half-a-hundred ripples circling on and on and on,

Spreading, spreading from the center, flowing on out to the sea.

And there is no way of telling where the end is going to be.


Drop a pebble in the water: in a minute you forget,

But there’s little waves a-flowing, and there’s ripples circling yet,

And those little waves a-flowing to a great big wave have grown;

You’ve disturbed a mighty river just by dropping in a stone…”

James W. Foley


The average human adult is about 60% water. Babies are more-about 78%! Have you ever thought about how our body absorbs an impact?

My sister and I were attending a concert. We had just arrived, and sitting side by side. I yelled something to her over the song being played. She couldn’t make out what I was saying over the music… I leaned in to tell her again. She leaned in to listen. And wham, we banged heads. Ouch! Felt like I was a young kid again, bruising myself and bumping into things. Clumsy does it! I rubbed my head to ease the initial shock of it. We laughed it off and enjoyed the rest of the song. But boy was that going to leave a bruise-make that two!

My mildly lingering headache towards the end of the concert got me thinking. I started thinking about how kids so often walk around with little bumbles–bumps and bruises on their forehead, knees, or shins. Kids are resilient. They are learning and growing so rapidly every day. In most cases, a passing bruise is soon unnoticeable. Parents look at these bruises cosmetically, eager until they go through their series of colors before they heal completely.

After the fact of the initial bump we don’t usually think about the impact that caused the bruise, and where that force may have traveled inside the body.  Of course, we would if it were to the likes of a concussion. But to a degree, the ripple of an impact felt in our bodies happens regardless of the size of the bruise that shows up. A good visual could very well be a pebble dropping in water, causing a ripple effect out from the initial impact. It’s neat to be in awe of the impact of dropping a simple pebble in a body of water, especially if you like to appreciate the physics of it all. But remember that 60% water in the body? My question is what might that ripple look like? Inside the body. And while the initial impact of a physical force may be what we naturally focus on for a fall, a bump, a break, or a sprain, if we think of the next impact, or the ripple effect in our mostly water body, it is easier to visualize why other areas of the body, and other areas of the spine and nerve system might absorb it. It is also easier to infer then, that a more balanced and aligned system would better absorb and distribute that impact, like a well-supported bridge, a well-aligned car, a well-framed building, or a well-rooted tree.

We can do our best to minimize physical stresses (and emotional and chemical ones too) which our bodies experience by making smart choices and increasing our awareness of their impact. But an even greater way to safeguard and protect our nerve system is through inside-out prevention. When the spine and nerve system are balanced, at ease, functioning with all circuits perfectly, the impact of any force and the ripple effect from it in the body is appropriately absorbed, distributed, and deflected in order to protect function of vital areas of the body that are significant for our survival. When the structure is stronger, outside stress holds less of an impact. A structure of brick is stronger than sand. Structure guides function.

And folks this is the beauty of God’s best engineering, and why I am never in short supply of amazement of this system! The nerve system is wonderfully protected by all sorts of connective tissue. There are those both incredibly tensile and soft, and those literally stronger than steel. Bone is five times stronger than steel if you compare weight to weight. Other connective tissue which protect the nerve system include musculature, joints, discs, and ligaments. Like shock absorbers in your car, how well these protective layers respond to outside physical, chemical, and emotional stress, and allow and empower you to appropriately respond is indeed very much a blessing. A blessing that is very important in all of life’s stages–so that you can continue to heal the best way you were meant to.

Dr. Rachel

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