A patient this week wondered aloud: "Why Blue Atlas? Is it a sad Atlas? Or is there meaning behind the color blue?" This made me laugh, but more importantly urged me to spread the word on what Blue Atlas means to me.
Many of you know that there are only 2 named vertebra in the spine. Cervical vertebra 1, and cervical vertebra 2. Named the Atlas and Axis respectively. The Atlas, sits itself directly south of our skull, supporting the weight of the head. It is here where, with the aid of that Axis, up to 90 degrees of rotation can occur (normal looks more like 80 degrees). This movement has prevented us from constantly being a "yes man" by allowing us to shake our head "No" every once in awhile. ;)
You may already assume, because of the close relationship with the head, how important this first cervical vertebra is. However, that's not the only bit we should be informed about. In fact the alignment of this bone is so critical to the health of the other 23 vertebra in the body some chiropractic physicians choose only to adjust this bone! This is with the assumption that the rest of the vertebra in the spine will follow suit and realign. I am not this doctor, meaning I will assess each bone and it's movement, along with evaluating the Atlas.
Let's also not forget the origin of this named bone: Atlas. Yep, you guessed it!-from the Greek God Atlas who was condemned to hold the sky for all eternity. Get it? The Atlas carries and supports our head, similar to Atlas supporting the sky from falling down on Earth.
So there, now you have a brief history lesson on the Atlas vertebra..but why is it blue? Well, this is a play on words I suppose you could say.. There is a calling in my life to be outdoors, and I truly feel whole when I am in the presence of Mother Nature. When brainstorming for the perfect clinic name I knew it must resonate nature, and without question my all time favorite tree popped into my head-the Blue Atlas Cedar. For years I have loved the majestic beauty behind these trees; from their gray-blue needles that pop against the sky during a dreary day, to the spread of the lower limbs encouraging explorative climbing for the young at heart. It was (and is) perfect fit for this clinic.
Daily, I strive to find myself outdoors because of the positive effects it has on my body. These health benefits range from decrease in blood pressure, anxiety, depression, and a renewed sense of spiritual enlightenment. (1) Many articles reflecting these benefits are published by Japanese researchers of shinrin-yoku, or "forest bathing." This is the act of truly "being" while in nature. When was the last time you experienced the gift of nature full heartedly, with all senses? Took time to actually smell the roses? Got your hands dirty squishing a thick layer of moss caked to an ancient Douglas fir? Silenced your brain to actually hear the wind whip through the tree tops, or listen to the song of the birds' chirp? Took time to watch in awe as a spider spins it's web?
Taking time to "just be" is easy to forget with our daily schedules, caring for loved ones and meeting deadlines, but know that your body desires you to slow down and appreciate these fundamental gifts.
Be well until next time friends,
Dr. Kate Herold
Holistic Chiropractic Physician
Blue Atlas Chiropractic
(1)Psychological effect of forest environments on healthy adults: Shinrin-yoku