22 Minutes to Understanding Subluxation and G.A.P with Dr. Gentempo


Dr. Gentempo is known in the world of Chiropractic for many things, but most notably for being able to help someone define who they are ( philosophy) and then give them a formula for defining who they will become in the future.

The video above is from Dr. Gentempo’s Philosophy Formula class where he discusses what is subluxation and the gap between sickness and health.

This video has been viewed thousands of times on his Youtube channel and many doctors claim that this video has elevated their practices and communication with patients.

We decided to transcribe the entire video for you below.

If you like what you hear and have never been through the Philosophy Formula, we encourage you to go to this link and sign up for his 3 free videos.


Now, on to the video:

Hello philosophy formula post graduates,very excite to have this conversation in the post graduate course we’re going to be talking about the gap or general adaptive potential.

Now in some of the open office hours that we’ve had along the way in the core program during the first twelve weeks,we kept coming up with elements of this and there were questions surrounding it and i felt like we needed to devote an entire video speaking specifically about this because to me this is the culmination of all your chiropractic philosophy, all your chiropractic understanding, everything that you’ve been organizing in your mind culminates I believe to this particular model,now as I’ve always said,this is my philosophy and some of my premises,you may not agree with them all, that’s ok, my goal here isn’t to get you to agree with everything that i have to say or everything that i think or all my premises in chiropractic,my goal here is to get you to start figuring out what yours are,so if you do disagree with some of this or if you want to take it in a different direction,great I encourage it.

The goal here is to get you to start thing about these things so you can draw conclusions about them,well philosophy is like ,what the experience should be is that you have this vision of the world, in this case maybe your vision of chiropractic or health care and what starts to happen is as you create new premises or clarify things another light goes on over here and another one over here and then light start going on all over the place, and the illumination of your field of view just keeps going wider and deeper and the further you can see,the wider you can see,obviously the better off you are and as a consequence your patience are,where you have fuzziness or dark areas or blind spots that’s what hurts you.

So the reason that we stay engaged in the process is to continue to illuminate and how we illuminate is through this up here,we use our minds and think about our premises and then we apply those premises to our lives ,to our context,to out actions and most importantly and then in the end we grow not only do we enrich as far as our success and outcome we also enrich relative to our spiritual side ,how we feel about life how we feel about purpose, how we feel about what we do in the world and who we’re being.

So really happy to take this journey with you and to get into these videos and have these conversation on an ongoing basis and as your watching this as always this should be a regular routine for you,you should have pen and paper handy and as questions are occurring to you or comments jot them down so when we have our open office hours you can bring them to the open office hours, you can post them or come inside and hang out and ask your question personally and we can address and handle it there.

So lets kinda talk about where we are right now and how we lead up to this thing called the gap,our premises have been and we’ve spoken around this for some period of time the body is self healing and self regulating,the nervous system is the master system and controller of that body,if you interfere with nervous system function,you must necessarily interfere with the ability to heal and regulate. Subluxations, by their very definition interfere with nervous system function so we want to address subluxation and we want to adjust them and we want to see the body function better.

The question is why do we subluxate, how does it happen?

Why would two different people exposed to similar type stresses,have different subluxation pattern,there’s all kinds of questions that come in here,also is a subluxation a big deal? Is it a good thing or a bad thing?

This is something that is kind of like a pivotal head scratcher, that kind of gets people stuck as they go into this.Is a subluxation a good thing or a bad thing,well if you think it’s a bad thing,why would the innate intelligence of the body make a bad thing happen?In other words what is a subluxation.is it adaptation to stress right?

Basically its an adaptive response,the body is overwhelmed by stress as a consequence it subluxates or goes into defense physiology. So a subluxation is a sign,that an individual is stressed beyond what we’re gonna cal their general adaptive potential.which we’re going to talk about in a minute, not to the point of death but to the point they cannot fully function.So this leads to changes in postural muscle tone ,which affects the alignment of segments which continuously adversely affect the nervous system,that sets up this negative cycle,so we understand that we subluxate because there is this adverse stress that is coming into light and the body goes into defense mode of it goes into defense physiology, mid-brain function, increased cortisol levels, increased adrenaline levels, blood out of the gut and into the trunk muscles,pupils dilated your on this heightened fight flight sympathetic state and that is not something that should not be sustained for an ongoing period of time otherwise it has deleterious effects on health, short term when its protecting your life,it;s a good thing,in the long term,when it becomes a biased to how you operate on a day to day basis,it starts to cause sickness and disease and un-health and unrest and etc and etc in your body and that;s what we’re trying to alleviate.

OK so we kinda get that so subluxation is a good thing its kinda protecting the body,OK well then i guess its’ a good thing,but if the subluxation is a good thing,why would you wanna correct it?If the subluxation is the body’s proper response to stress,number one why wouldn’t it correct it itself,number two,why would you want to correct it,if it’s doing the right thing?

Oh boy, now I’m kinda confused,it’s a bad thing,no it;s a good thing,well if it’s a good ting then why wold i want to correct it.now you start to see how maybe we start working down alleys with our understanding and we kind of hit dead ends and say I’m kinda stuck here,so this is what I’m kinda hoping to bring together in the way of concepts right now that i believe will be helpful and instrumental for you.

So let’s talk a little bit further about working some of this through,so the analogy that i give and i gave this on one or two of the open office hours along the way but I’ll repeat it here is that think of your nervous system like a circuit breaker and as a matter of fact as we were setting up,for this particular shoot,we have a bunch of lights around us and so on and we put too many of them on the same circuit and then what happened? The circuit tripped, how does that work? If you think of the house having an electrical system similar to a nervous system,it’s not a perfect analogy but it suffices, so it is the electrical system of the house is kind of like the nervous system of the house,it’s carrying the power to all the different parts of the house that utilize and need that power to function.

Now what happens if you get a surge of stress into a circuit, a particular circuit, what happens at the breaker box? Well the circuit trips or breaker trips, now is that a good thing or a bad thing? Well there is a couple of context here, it’s a bad thing, or let’s start with a good thing, it’s a good thing because if the circuit didn’t trip,it would cause a fire in the house, meaning there would be so much stress on that circuit and the circuit couldn’t shut itself down as a protective, mechanism, well then what would happen? It would catch fire and then the whole house would burn down,so instead the circuit decides to defend the house, it goes into defense mode, it’s saying I will shut myself down,compromise the function of the total system,in an effort to save the system from totally failing or totally burning down,so in that case,it’s a good thing,however if that circuit goes to,lets say the refrigerator ,whats gonna happen?the food in the refrigerator is going to spoil,Is that a good thing or is that a bad thing?well uh its a bad thing as far as the food in the refrigerator but it is a good thing as far as the global needs of the house.so as we access this we should be recognizing that its kind of a lesser evil going into defense protecting yourself from advert circumstances, that’s kinda good but it causes some bad things to happen and they’re maybe not too pleasant.

Now in the medical model what would they do, they’d say oh we’ve got spoiled food in the refrigerator lets open up that refrigerator, take the bad food out, we’re gonna put good food in and what’s going to happen? The food is going to spoil again, and then they’d say oh take that out and out in food,so you can see that that’s kind of dealing with the end problem that’s not really solving the cause what the chiropractor would do, is that they would go back to the circuit breaker box and they would flip the switch and the power in the refrigerator would go back on,however what happens if the power that caused the circuit to trip in the first place, if the surge of stress that caused the circuit to trip in the first place was still present,this just happened to us a little while ago,the circuit will trip again and that’s when you realize that it;s overloaded ,turn the power on it goes off, turn the power on it goes off, we literally just went through this and in this environment dealing with these lights,so what do we have to do we have to decrease the stress in the circuit so that it doesn’t trip,it doesn’t fail,it doesn’t subluxate, so we had to split up the stress and go to run some cables and go to different outlets to spread the stress out,so that it wasn’t concentrated in one area,so it’s a pretty good parallel,there;s one caveat though this is important so listen and pay attention, its important understanding, why this isn’t a perfect analogy is that the electrical system of the house is a static mechanized system,what’s really cool about the nervous system is that the nervous system learns.

Donny Epstein made that point on purpose interview a few years ago and i thought it was profound.The nervous system learns, which means as someone is getting proactively adjusted,when they’re not in defense mode, the nervous system can have emerging from it and unfolding from it increased strategies for more efficiency of function and basically upgrade itself, as your going through the upgrade now you can actually improve the amount of stress or stress levels that you can manage through the day and that what all brings us back to this thing called “gap” general adaptive potential or gap for short.

So what is the gap and why is the gap important,we need to understand the nature of stress and something that we have to understand also cause some people say that the body is so great so self healing,why can;t it just heal itself from subluxation,why can’t it heal itself from everything.

There is in chiropractic, traditionally if you go back to the nineteen twenty seven, Stephesons’ textbook, chiropractic textbook and the thirty three principles, there is a discussion around what is referred to as the limitation of matter,why is that an important conversation,why is that an important discussion,because even though the body is self healing and self regulating,what didn’t we say, we didn’t say the body was perfectly self healing and perfectly self regulating, we didn’t say that the body has unlimited ability to self heal and to self regulate there is a limitation to what the body can adapt to and that limitation varies from individual to individual and quite frankly it’s based upon the gap the general adaptive potential,but the examples i give are this,lets look at stress and the limitations of matter,if i take a human being and put him in front of me and I take a shotgun and put it to their head and pull the trigger, if that person is theoretically unsubluxated and i still blow their head off, they’re going to die, I don’t care how unsubluxated you are, if you are stressed to a point where your heads blown off, you’re not going to survive it. Now OK that’s extreme lets say its not, you are um get your head blown off, lets say that its the middle of winter I put you up into the rocky mountains at high altitude, I strip you naked and you’re out there overnight and you’re supposed to survive the night exposed to those horrible elements, is that going to kill you instantly like the shotgun blast, no.

Is it going to kill you in five minutes, no probably not but over the period of the evening are you going to die at some point and the answer is yes. You’re not going to be able to adapt to the exposure of those elements over a protracted period of time the stress of that will overwhelm your body, even if you were unsubluxated when you started as your body is trying to adapt to that stress, what’s going to happen is that your going to start to subluxate, your going to start going into defense physiology and you’re going to start little by little, shutting down the various systems of the body, trying to protect the core and at some point in time your going to likely die.

Ok so lets say that its not a shotgun blast to the head ,lets say its not being put on a mountain naked in cold weather overnight, lets say it’s McDonalds three times a week and you know bad food and unhealthy relationship you’re involved in. Lets say that its a job that you hate. Is that going to kill you instantly no, is that going to kill you overnight no,but over some period of time will that stress kill you the answer is yes and that is the predicament most people are in.

So lets now translate into this thing called general adaptive potential. I’ll take a marker,so general adaptive potential or gap, basically lets just draw two lines here, you could see i have the two lines here and this is that range of adaptability, like in other words you know the shotgun blast to the head is way out of the gap,being able to adapt to freezing weather to twelve hours overnight you know that’s beyond this gap. This lets say is the area where you can properly manage stress,it’s between these two lines, this is the stress in three dimensions coming in so.

I’ll draw a little bit here for you,disclaimer I’m not an artist, so you see like ok there’s stress coming in and it’s here and it rides up and it kinda rides down and rides up and rides down, and lets say that this is the combination of the three dimensions of stress physical,biochemical, psychological, incidentally I will contend that there is a forth dimension of stress that didn’t exist, you know over a hundred years ago,and that’s electromagnetic radiation, we really can’t escape it on the planet, we’re holing cellphones next to our head,we’re sitting in front of computer monitors all day, you walk out into the street without a cellphone, you still have cell towers transmitting stuff, you’re walking around your house, your hotel they have wireless internet floating around,there is electromagnetic radiation pretty much everywhere. We can kinda characterize it as a physical stress maybe, but i believe it’s almost its own category, its a fourth dimension its ever-present and it’s just another thing that our nervous system has to contend with and deal with in order to try to adapt to the environment and still express life and health.

So we have the stress coming up back and forth and right now you can see the amount of stress that is within the context of these light right and theoretically if this is your general adaptive potential of the nervous system and the stress that you’re experiencing is within the bound of the general adaptive potential,you’re body is going to process that stress and it’s going to dissipate that stress and you know the body is a dissipated system right, so it’s going to take that stress in and its going to dissipate that stress and it’s not going to cause you theoretically to subluxate and to go into defense physiology. Then what happens,well lets say that now some stuff starts to hit the fan and you see that stress is starting to ride up here more often and you see that frequently and now its almost all the time,where you have this stress that is now beyond the general adaptive potential and now it’s starting to spike up and now you may have a brief spike here and then it gets better ok and you say ok the body come back in calms state,but then when it starts being consistent the body goes into like this,you know saying I’m overwhelmed now and it goes into its defense physiology,when its in defense now,it starts to do this thing called subluxation.

So I’ll try to draw a different thing for subluxation here so now what happens? Well you think the gap when your subluxated,you ability to adapt to stress,do you think that increases or decreases? Well whats going to happen is that it decreases and maybe the gap goes down to here now stress that you used to be able to mange,now that becomes toxic stress to you because your gap has decreased,as your gap decreases,it’s more subluxation an when you’re subluxated and in your in that state you think that you make healthy choices or less healthy choices,if you make less healthy more subluxation, right less gap and more subluxation and less healthy choices and less gap and the gap keeps going down in this downward spiral,so its continuing down,till you get to a point where you have no gap. Meaning that is the point where you can no longer adapt to the environment and that is basically the very definition of biological death,you have no capacity to adapt to the environment whatsoever,that’s why we expire ,that’s when we die.

Most people in your community, most people are in your office right now they’re in this space somewhere, this downward spiral, so now what happens? Well they come in and they meet you and they start getting adjusted and that first adjustment, kinda opens up the gap again and then as it opens it up,maybe you’re making some suggestions of healthier choices maybe they feel inspired to make some healthier choices and that opens the gap a little more and you know less subluxation and more healthy choices opens opens the gap to less subluxation to more healthy choices and opens the gap more, and what started down here now becomes an upward spiral all the way back up and the cool thing about the nervous system learning is that you’re not limited saying, you know you can only get to that ceiling and you stop, you can continue to expand the gap to higher and higher levels and you can widen the gap. So hopefully you can see the model coming together now because if somebody says that to me,how can you just very briefly summarize what it is you’re trying to accomplish as a chiropractor whats the single goal you have for every patient that comes into your office, my response would be to widen the gap, now I wouldn’t say that’s good marketing copy. I’m not saying that’s a good compelling patient, you know communication.

It could be if you characterize it right but in the end to me the goal whether its through my adjustment,you know lifestyle recommendations, or anything else i do in the office, the one thing that everything points to is going to be to widen this gap. No matter what they come in with, whether they’re like this, or like this, I want to make that gap wide. I wanna open up, now we’re kinda showing it two dimensionaly, but this is obviously a 360 kinda thing gap affects everything,so we wanna see,you come in here we’re gonna access you, you’re subluxated it tells me that your gap is compromised, your ability to adapt to stress and environment is compromised