What is Network Spinal Analysis?

A holistic approach to healing by network chiropractors

Written By: Twin Waves Wellness Center in San Diego

If you are looking for a holistic approach involving chiropractic, bodywork, and energy work, then Network Spinal (formerly known as Network Spinal Analysis or NSA) could be exactly what you’re looking for. This unique modality uses a “whole” person approach, helping you to feel better in your body and therefore your life.

Network Spinal is a chiropractic technique that is very gentle, organized, and specific. Instead of manual adjustments to the spine, which can involve “cracking” and “popping,” Network Spinal utilizes light touches to the spine, mostly in the neck and sacral (lower) regions. These light touches, known as contacts, help to unwind stored tension and trauma within the spine and nervous system.

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Network Spinal Chiropractors Receive Specialized Training

Network Spinal is unique from other chiropractic techniques and spinal modalities. It also requires a different set of chiropractic skills relating to the patterning of the nervous system, rather than individual segments of the spine. Therefore, a network chiropractor must undergo a significant amount of additional training while in chiropractic school to ensure they address the spine and nervous system in a holistic way.

Is Network Spinal a legitimate chiropractic technique?

Network Spinal Analysis was founded in 1987 by Dr. Donald Epstein. It is an evidence-based approach to wellness and is one of the most researched chiropractic techniques out there. A substantial amount of research has been conducted at the University of California Irvine. Additionally, research has been done regarding the network spinal wave as a central pattern generator.

Where Does Network Spinal Take Place?

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In nearly all cases, the session (known as an entrainment) will take place in the office of a licensed chiropractor on a chiropractic table for about 10-30 minutes.

What is an Entrainment? 

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An entrainment is a network spinal chiropractic “adjustment.” Network chiropractors use the word entrainment to describe how all parts of you (your body, mind, and spirit) will be healing, synchronizing, and working together, in harmony. Entrainment also suggests that the network chiropractor is not “doing” anything to the patient or “fixing” them in any way. Instead, there is this dance between practitioner and patient, both working together to create optimal healing. 

Who gets Entrained? How do I know I’m the right candidate?

Anyone who is looking to enhance their wellbeing and healing can get entrained. People receiving network spinal care come in for various reasons. 

  1. Some people have physical issues that they are wanting to see improvements in, such as:
    • spinal pain (neck pain or low back pain)
    • muscle tension
    • extremity issues (e.g. hip, knee, or shoulder pain)
    • headaches
    • arthritis
    • chronic fatigue 
    • sciatica 
  2. Other people come in to improve their mental-emotional state. These types of people tend to experience or have experienced:
    • anxiety
    • depression
    • stress 
    • emotional or physical trauma
  3. And some people come in because they are looking to “level up” or advance their wellbeing so that they can become the best version of themselves. These types of people are focused on healing and wellbeing as a lifestyle and realize there is no ceiling to growth and transformation. 

What Does Network Spinal Analysis Look Like? 

When people are receiving network care, they may be positioned lying facedown, on the side of their body, on their back, or seated. The practitioner uses his or her hands to assess the bones and muscles of the spine, and also performs several leg checks, which is a typical assessment done in chiropractic care in general. The network chiropractor also uses his or her hands to make light touches to the spine on areas that are really open within the body.

What is the Network Wave?

Twin Waves Wellness Team

Two visible “waves” develop in the spine over time. One is called the respiratory wave. This is the wave of your breath, which reaches from your tailbone all the way up to the base of your skull. The other wave is called the somato-psychic wave. This is a more visible and undulating wave of your body-mind. Every person has a wave that is unique to them, just like how we each have a different gait when we walk. The network wave is a natural strategy of the body that develops over time. 

What might I notice while getting worked on? What can I expect?

Just like how no two people are exactly the same, no two people heal exactly the same way. Network acknowledges the fact that people get changes in their health and wellbeing differently. Therefore, what you may notice or experience while getting worked on may be different than what someone else may notice. Even when we acknowledge these differences, however, there are still commonalities to this work that you may notice or experience:

  1. Some people “feel” a lot internally while lying facedown on the table as they get worked on. This could be in the form of feeling more breath, energy, or movement within your body. Or it could be as simple as feeling more relaxed in your body and mind while receiving the care.
  2. Some people become aware of the position or posture of their body. They may notice that they are holding certain areas of their body differently than before, either when they are lying face down on the table, or once they are seated or standing upright after their entrainment. They may notice that they are sitting or standing straighter or more in alignment than before. They also may notice that their chest and shoulders are more open.
  3. Other people may notice changes AFTER the entrainment, once they are off the table, as the brain and body continue to process and connect. They may have the urge to go out and do something after the entrainment, or to take some sort of action afterward. 

People also tend to express themselves differently while laying on the table. Some people experience more range of breath, while others experience more range of movement. Some even notice temperature or visual differences. As the brain and body connect, it is also not uncommon for the brain to remember old patterns or memories. This is a sign that healing is happening.

No matter what your experience, it is important to realize that you are on your own unique healing journey. There is no “one way” or a “right or wrong way” to experiencing the work. Each entrainment builds on the next and your brain and body learn more each time. And although it may look different from person to person, the overall principle remains the same: Network chiropractic upgrades and works with your nervous system so that you may heal and grow.

What is SRI? How does it relate to Network?

SRI stands for Somato-Respiratory Integration. “Soma” means body, and “respiratory” means breath. These are breathing exercises that involve breath, body, touch, movement, and energy. SRI exercises, known as “stages,” allow you to connect with the natural rhythms of your body.

Not local to San Diego and want to experience the benefits of Network Spinal and Somato Respiratory Integration from home?

Click here to learn more about Somato-Respiratory Integration. We are currently offering an SRI course on the first 3 stages. You can read more about it on our SRI Guide Page.

Dr. Donald Epstein, the founder of Network Spinal Analysis, discovered that there are “12 stages of healing” that we go through on our journey of wellbeing. Each of the 12 stages has an SRI exercise associated with it. SRI exercises can go hand in hand with the entrainments and can be used as an additional tool to support you in your healing. While network chiropractors must earn their doctorate in chiropractic to practice Network and entrain, SRI is something that is supplementary to the entrainment. Many breakthroughs can happen with SRI. Your network practitioner will most likely incorporate SRI into your care. 

Emotional Releases from Experiencing NSA

It is not uncommon for people to become aware of and acknowledge certain emotions that they haven’t before. As the brain and body reconnect, stored tension and trauma are released within the nervous system. This allows us to actually feel things that we haven’t felt before. 

Emotions are a rapid response to various needs of the body. What did you do the last time you got really sad? It’s not uncommon for tears to run down your face. How about the last time you got angry? Likely, your muscles got tense and your heart rate went up. These are all responses of the body. And your body responds based on certain emotions. Network Spinal Analysis helps the body express, connect, and respond to various needs, and emotions are included in those needs.

What do you mean by stored trauma?

When we don’t have the energy to deal with things in the moment, we store those experiences within our body, nervous system, and spine. This is a common defense mechanism of the body, which stores a memory.

Stored trauma can show up as physical ailments down the road, such as pain, muscle tension, and other physical or mental-emotional illnesses. The law of conservation of energy states that energy can neither be created nor destroyed, only altered in form. Therefore, the energy in the body has to go somewhere–it doesn’t disappear, and so we store it. 

How does a light touch do anything?

Twin Waves Wellness Team

Network Spinal is all about using the least amount of intervention, or force, and having the greatest impact. Rather than going to the bone that’s stuck and trying to push it back (like paddling upstream), Network chiropractors utilize gentle and specific touchpoints along the spine. And they contact areas of the body that are very open – essentially, they paddle downstream, instead of upstream. 

We can answer the question about light touch when thinking about force. Do we always need a lot of force to have a big change? Wouldn’t it be more efficient to use less force or energy to get a change? When we think about light forces that have a great impact, they are everywhere – a pitcher in baseball can strike out the batter just by a small adjustment in the position of their fingers or hands. Our iPhones and tablets are able to bring up an infinite amount of information, just by the light touch of our fingertips. A stranger can change the entire course of your day simply by smiling (smiling is a force) at you. The moon is a force that you can’t see, yet its impact on nature is undeniable – from ocean tides to its impact on animals. Thus, we do not always need a big force to get a big amount of change, and the body and nervous system are the same way.

How is energy involved?

Energy is everywhere! It’s in the food that we eat, the sun and the stars, the wind, and the waves, and it exists in the body! We can’t always see it, but it’s there. Call it new-aged or “woo woo,” but it’s actually science! The only difference between if something is solid or liquid is the amount of energy it holds. Network Spinal Analysis uses the bound and unbound energy of the body to release stored tension within the nervous system. Network spinal is a somatic (body) technique that additionally has an energetic component.

How Long Will it Take to Get Results? Do I Have to Keep Going?

Twin Waves Wellness Team

Everyone heals differently, and progress isn’t linear. Some people notice changes right away, and for others, it might take a little longer. For long-lasting and sustainable changes to occur, healing doesn’t always happen overnight.

Just like with any major health change, improvements take time. If you’re wanting to lose weight, can you eat healthy for just one day and then expect 20 pounds to magically drop? If you’re wanting to gain muscle, do you go to the gym just once and expect muscle to appear out of thin air? No! The spine and nervous system are no different. 

Many people who receive network care tend to naturally WANT to keep going. It becomes a lifestyle. Just like how we eat healthily and exercise, we also get entrained by our network chiropractor. Network spinal analysis care can become one way we maintain and grow in health. There is no ceiling to the work and the discovery, transformation, and awakening that you will experience.

Based on Scientific Research

The foundation of Network Spinal chiropractic is based on scientific research. There are multiple studies that demonstrate the positive benefits of NSA through objective results. For instance, a professor of Electrical Engineering at USC named Dr. Edmond Jonckheere took up an interest in Network Spinal. He perform an acclaimed study on the actual ‘spinal wave’. What were the results of this scientific research on Network Spinal?

Jonckheere notes that the spinal wave “demonstrates that the neuronal circuitry is embedded in the spine.” The Central Pattern Generator shows up through experiencing Network Spinal adjustments. He goes on to discuss that the wave is a genuine phenomenon!

  • “After some entrainment, the skin area overlaying the dural-vertebral attachments is sensitized to the point where a slight pressure contact is enough to elicit the oscillation. The oscillation rapidly becomes self-sustained without the need for further external pressure sensory input from the practitioner. Likewise, at the sacral level, the attachment of the filum terminale (the distal end of the spine) to the coccyx also creates a sensory-motor loop oscillation, which takes the external appearance of a rocking motion of the pelvis.”

Dr. Jonckheere, along with his colleagues at the University of Southern California’s Department of Electrical Engineering, began to use a tool called Surface Electromyography (sEMG) to study the signals that were recorded along the spines of patients during NSA sessions. The results revealed a definitive relationship between the wave-like motions created during NSA treatment and a patient’s level of healing progress. Electromyography signals conclusively showed that NSA was helping the brain and body to develop an entirely new pattern of behavior.

Why Haven’t I Heard About this Approach? 

Twin Waves Wellness Team

You may be thinking, “network spinal is just the thing I’ve been looking for! Why haven’t I heard about this before?” Chiropractic care, in general, is very cutting-edge, and as an advanced spinal chiropractic technique, network spinal takes cutting-edge to a whole new level. The main hubs for network spinal analysis tend to be in these advancing areas, such as Colorado, California, Washington, and New York. However, you can find network spinal chiropractors all over the world, including Mexico, Spain, Australia, and New Zealand. Network Spinal Analysis was recently featured on Netflix on The Goop Lab with Gwyneth Paltrow.

Network Chiropractic Advocates

Who else enjoys Network Chiropractic? In addition to Gwyneth from Goop, Tony Robbins receives Network Spinal Chiropractic Care. Tony claimed that NSA helped him experience pain relief in his back that was plaguing him for years. He was skeptical at first, but once he tried it, he fell in love with the results. Tony Robbins experienced massive physical and emotional changes through Network Chiropractic.

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Contact Information

990 Highland Drive, Suite 314 Solana Beach, CA 92075


Monday : 8:30 AM - 6:30 PM (Entrainments: 10-12PM & 3:40-6PM)

Tuesday: 9:30 AM - 4:30 PM (Entrainments: 11AM-2PM)

Wednesday: 8:30 AM - 5:30 PM (Entrainments: 10-12PM & 3:20-5:20PM)

Thursday: 10:30 AM - 6:30 PM (Entrainments: 12-1:20PM & 3:40-6PM)

Friday: 9:30 AM - 2:30 PM (Admin Only)

Saturday: By Appointment Only

Sunday: Closed

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