Nektalov Chiropractic & Wellness

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Chiropractic: What Is It? Interesting Information About Chiropractic Care

The global presence of Doctors of Chiropractic (DC) extends to thousands, with over 77,000 licensed practitioners in the United States alone. Annually, millions of individuals seek chiropractic therapy, making it one of the most prevalent non-medical alternative treatment options worldwide.

Since its inception over a century ago, chiropractic education and treatment have undergone notable progress. In the past, some medical practitioners may have harbored reservations about chiropractic care, favoring procedures such as surgery or medication in specific instances. However, today, many healthcare professionals often advise their patients to consult chiropractors for alleviating various ailments, including headaches, joint pain, constipation, and vision problems.

Chiropractic care is considered an alternative to pharmaceutical pain relievers and surgical interventions. It’s not widely known that chiropractors undergo extensive training, similar to medical doctors, where they delve into subjects such as anatomy, physiology, nutrition, and holistic health.

When addressing prevalent issues like low back pain, organ dysfunction, or chronic disease symptoms, chiropractors can offer effective assistance. Research indicates that chiropractic adjustments extend beyond addressing back problems. The neurological impact of an adjustment can alleviate various symptoms experienced by both children and adults, offering relief from a range of unwanted conditions.

In addition to manual spinal adjustments, many chiropractors now provide patients with a range of complementary therapies. These include nutritional counseling, herbal supplementation, spinal physical therapy, and stress management techniques. Furthermore, chiropractors often collaborate with other healthcare professionals such as massage therapists or acupuncturists. By emphasizing preventive care alongside treatment, chiropractors offer a comprehensive approach to maintaining health and wellness, not just addressing ailments reactively.

A chiropractor is a healthcare professional trained to identify and treat vertebral subluxations, which are misalignments of the spine that can affect the function of the central nervous system. These subluxations may cause inflammation of the joint and nerve root, as well as reduced mobility, potentially leading to joint degeneration over time.

 Chiropractors practice within the realm of complementary or alternative medicine, employing hands-on chiropractic adjustments to aid in postural restoration, spinal alignment, and the optimization of nervous system function to promote overall health. These physicians are skilled in using their hands as their primary tool, delicately adjusting the body’s joints, particularly the spine.

Indeed, chiropractic care is a type of manual therapy, alongside practices like Rolfing, integrative manual therapy, massage therapy, and myofascial release techniques. These approaches focus on hands-on techniques to address various health issues and promote well-being.

 A chiropractor’s specialties encompass more than just addressing systemic pain like back pain or a stiff neck. They often adopt a “stress-centered” perspective on health, emphasizing the body’s innate ability to heal itself once obstacles or “interferences” hindering well-being are eliminated.

These interferences, which can negatively affect the nervous system and overall health, include:

  1. Poor posture
  2. Inadequate nutrition
  3. Physical and emotional stress
  4. Muscular tension and tightness
  5. Conditions resulting from various issues, such as compromised digestive health.

Chiropractors excel at identifying and addressing these factors to optimize nervous system function and promote holistic health and wellness.

When performing adjustments on patients, chiropractors aim to restore motion and alignment to the spine. This initial step is crucial as it facilitates the body’s ability to self-regulate, self-maintain, and self-restore. The spine’s direct neurological influence on the rest of the body underscores the significance of this process.

According to the American Chiropractic Association (ACA), the benefits of chiropractic care extend beyond specific issues to encompass general health, recognizing that our body’s structure profoundly impacts overall function.

In essence, chiropractors tap into the body’s natural ability to heal by re-establishing the connection between a correctly aligned spinal column and a smoothly functioning nervous system.

Their training enables them to meticulously assess the spine for vertebral subluxations, where a spinal bone misalignment disrupts the nervous system and causes nerve irritation. In simpler terms, chiropractic care promotes enhanced communication throughout the body, particularly between the spine and the brain, known as the Central Nervous System (CNS).

The central nervous system (CNS) serves as the master regulator of an individual’s overall health by coordinating and communicating with all organs, tissues, and cells in the body. Think of the brain as the primary commander or control center of the CNS and the entire body. The spinal cord, which traverses between the bones of the backbone and comprises thread-like nerves branching out in various directions, serves as the conduit for chemical communication within the nervous system, both with and without direct involvement of the brain.

Top 7 Benefits of Chiropractic

Does Chiropractic work? And for what ailments?

As outlined by Dr. Dan Sullivan — Doctor of Chiropractic (DC), speaker, author, and one of the nation’s most esteemed holistic health authorities —

One of the biggest challenges that Chiropractors face is the public’s perception of Chiropractic. Many still believe that the benefits of chiropractic adjustments are limited to back and neck pain relief. But that is just a small portion of the benefits that chiropractic care delivers. Some of the greatest evidence today shows exactly why Chiropractors have been seeing amazing results in their offices, each week, for over 120 years, with symptoms and conditions seemingly unrelated to the spine.

It ultimately comes down to the positive influence chiropractic care has on the nervous system. Scientific research has revealed that even minor adjustments can lead to significant benefits, ranging from improved digestion and respiration to strengthened immunity, optimized organ function, enhanced reproductive health, and beyond.

Patients experiencing the following conditions or symptoms may find relief by seeking care from a chiropractor:

  1. Neck discomfort
  2. Headaches or recurring headaches
  3. Asthma
  4. Sciatica
  5. Back pain associated with pregnancy
  6. Acid reflux
  7. Colic
  8. Cardiac issues, such as hypertension
  9. Bell’s Palsy
  10. Frozen shoulder (acromioclavicular or glenohumeral)
  11. Osteoarthritis and joint pain
  12. Neurological issues like epilepsy
  13. Disorders of the brain and central nervous system
  14. Trouble sleeping or insomnia
  15. TMJ (Temporomandibular joint) disorders
  16. Muscle, ligament, and joint injuries
  17. Stomach discomfort or indigestion
  18. Vision or dental issues
  19. Trauma or accident-related injuries

Chiropractic is linked to numerous benefits partly because it has been demonstrated to alleviate inflammation, which serves as the underlying cause of various diseases. Another contributing factor to why chiropractic care can address numerous health challenges is its ability to balance the body’s sympathetic and parasympathetic responses within the nervous system. Many individuals reside in a sympathetic “fight or flight” state, and a chiropractic adjustment in the upper cervical and sacral regions can trigger a parasympathetic response. This response reduces stress and enables certain organs, including the digestive and endocrine systems, to function more efficiently.

A 40-person study published in the Journal of Chiropractic Medicine revealed that after receiving a cervical adjustment, participants experienced stabilized blood pressure, decreased pulse rates, and a favorable response from the parasympathetic nervous system.

This systematic review underscores why many individuals choose to visit chiropractors regularly, even when not experiencing symptoms. They recognize the benefits of reducing chronic stress and maintaining the health of the spine and nervous system.

Chiropractic therapy promotes healing and rehabilitation by reducing strain on the neurological system through adjustments. Unlike many medical professionals, chiropractors do not primarily focus on treating or eliminating symptoms, illnesses, or conditions. Instead, their primary objective is to remove obstructions from the neural system, enabling patients to recover and function in alignment with nature’s intent.

Chiropractic professionals derive great satisfaction from educating their patients about the body’s innate ability to heal itself and its inherent inclination toward health. A chiropractor can aid anyone whose spinal alignment or movement has been disrupted. Moreover, research has shown that chiropractic adjustments can have a positive effect on a broad spectrum of symptoms and illnesses because the central nervous system plays a pivotal role in all bodily healing processes.

Back discomfort:

  • Research has highlighted the efficacy of spinal adjustments and other chiropractic interventions in addressing neuro-musculoskeletal issues, notably low back pain. Back discomfort, particularly in the lumbar spine or lower back, ranks among the primary reasons for adult chiropractic consultations annually. Given the robust evidence supporting its effectiveness in managing lumbar spine and back pain, chiropractic care is now recognized as a form of alternative therapy.

According to the National Institutes of Health

Exercise, massage therapy, and physical therapy are among the additional methods that can provide mild-to-moderate relief from low back pain, alongside spinal manipulation. Traditional treatments such as applying heat, using a firm mattress, and taking painkillers appear to be equally effective in managing low back pain.

Neck Ache:

  • Neck pain is another common issue that can arise from trauma, injuries, stress, poor sleep, aging, arthritis, and degenerative disc disease. Chiropractors employ neck manipulation, adjustments, mobilization, massage, and rehabilitative exercises to alleviate strain on the neck.

A 2007 study published in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics found compelling evidence that patients with chronic neck pain experienced significant improvements in pain levels after receiving spinal adjustments that persisted for at least 12 weeks following therapy. Chiropractors may also utilize craniosacral therapy as a method to address neck discomfort.

Headaches and Migraines

  • Recurring headaches, such as tension and migraine headaches, can be effectively treated with adjustments to the spine, neck, and head. Neck manipulation and adjustments can assist straighten the head’s posture and release pressure and tension on the nerves that cause headaches. According to a group experiment, receiving chiropractic treatment reduced the frequency of attacks by 90% for 22% of participants. Of those who participated in this systematic study, 49% reported a significant decrease in pain severity. Few methods, like chiropractic adjustments, can relieve headaches naturally and without the long-term medication hazards associated with conventional medical treatments.

TMJ:

  • Research indicates that symptoms of temporomandibular joint (TMJ) discomfort, such as pain during sleep or difficulty opening the mouth and chewing food properly, can be managed through adjustments and neck manipulation aimed at improving jaw and neck posture. The Activator Method is one technique shown to be beneficial for TMJ. It involves precisely adjusting the jaw using a small, hand-held tool.

Musculoskeletal System Injuries:

  • Chiropractic treatment is effective in addressing a variety of symptoms stemming from injuries to the muscles, ligaments, and joints. Chiropractors utilize precise techniques, including massage therapy, adjustments, stretching, exercises, and strength training, to alleviate tight muscles and improve posture. This approach aids in addressing symptoms such as spasms, discomfort, tightness, reduced range of motion, and weakness resulting from compensatory muscle contractions. Additionally, chiropractic care can help deactivate hyperactive muscles and activate underused muscles.

Issues with Digestion:

  • Stress and spinal misalignments can hinder the communication between the neurological system and the organs, glands, and tissues of the digestive system, leading to digestive problems. Chiropractic therapy aims to restore the gut-brain connection, enhancing the regulation and function of neurons and muscles in the gastrointestinal tract. Chiropractic adjustments are utilized to address various digestive issues, including acid reflux, constipation, diarrhea, and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). These adjustments also seek to enhance blood flow to the digestive organs and promote better communication between the neurological system and the gut.

Sore Joints:

  • Chiropractic care is considered one of the safest treatments for joint pain, as noted by the Arthritis Foundation. Through precise adjustments of soft tissue, chiropractors can effectively reduce joint discomfort, including that associated with osteoarthritis, while also improving overall function and posture. Doctors of Chiropractic (DCs) can alleviate pressure on specific nerves, reduce muscular spasms contributing to pain, and enhance range of motion in tight joints through active exercises and gentle stretches.

To become a chiropractor, individuals typically complete the following steps:

  • Graduate-Level Coursework: Aspiring chiropractors must complete approximately 4,620 hours of graduate-level coursework, laboratory work, and clinical internships. This comprehensive education covers various subjects related to chiropractic care, including anatomy, physiology, pathology, diagnosis, chiropractic techniques, and patient care.
  • Clinical Internship: As part of their training, chiropractic students participate in a year-long clinical-based curriculum. This involves working directly with patients in a therapy environment under the supervision of experienced chiropractors. During this internship, students gain hands-on experience in diagnosing and treating patients, as well as managing their care.
  • State Licensure: After completing their education and clinical training, individuals are eligible to sit for state licensure board examinations. The specific requirements for licensure vary by state, but typically involve passing a medical licensing exam or obtaining certification from the National Board of Chiropractic Examiners (NBCE). Once licensed, chiropractors can legally practice in their state of licensure.
  • Practice: Upon obtaining licensure in their state, chiropractors can begin treating patients in various settings, including private practices, chiropractic clinics, hospitals, sports medicine facilities, and wellness centers. Continued education and training are often required to maintain licensure and stay current with advancements in the field.

Overall, becoming a chiropractor requires dedication to completing rigorous education and training requirements, as well as obtaining licensure to practice in a specific state

To become a chiropractor, individuals typically follow these steps:

  • Complete Graduate-Level Coursework: Aspiring chiropractors must complete approximately 4,620 hours of graduate-level coursework, which includes studying various subjects such as anatomy, physiology, pathology, diagnosis, chiropractic techniques, and patient care. This coursework also involves laboratory work and clinical internships to gain hands-on experience.
  • Participate in Clinical Internship: As part of their training, chiropractic students typically undertake a year-long clinical-based curriculum. During this period, they work under the supervision of experienced chiropractors, gaining practical experience in diagnosing and treating patients in a therapy environment.
  • Sit for State Licensure Board Examinations: Upon completion of their education and clinical training, aspiring chiropractors become eligible to sit for state licensure board examinations. These exams assess their knowledge and competency to practice chiropractic care safely and effectively. Requirements for licensure vary by state but generally involve passing a medical licensing exam or obtaining certification from the National Board of Chiropractic Examiners (NBCE).
  • Obtain State Licensure: After passing the licensure board examinations, chiropractors must obtain licensure in the state where they intend to practice. Each state has its own standards and requirements for licensure, which may include additional examinations or background checks.
  • Begin Practicing: Once licensed, chiropractors can start treating patients in various settings, including private practices, chiropractic clinics, hospitals, sports medicine facilities, and wellness centers. Continued education and training are often necessary to maintain licensure and stay updated on advancements in the field.

Overall, becoming a chiropractor requires dedication to completing extensive education and training, obtaining licensure, and adhering to state regulations for practice.

The Council on Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) and the Association of Specialized and Professional Accreditors (ASPA) both recognize the Council on Chiropractic Education (CCE), established in 1930, which is currently acknowledged by the Secretary of the United States Department of Education. The Association of Chiropractic Colleges, founded in the 1990s, aims to promote chiropractic services to patients and physicians, support chiropractic schools, and facilitate research in the field. If you’re interested in pursuing a future in chiropractic medicine, you can visit the CCE website to learn about requirements, accredited course listings, and college evaluations.

Here is a list of some chiropractic colleges and schools in the United States that are accredited by the Council on Chiropractic Education (CCE):

  • Logan University
  • Cleveland Chiropractic College
  • Life Chiropractic College West
  • Life Chiropractic College East
  • National University of Health Sciences (Chicago and St. Petersburg campuses)
  • Palmer College of Chiropractic (California, New York, Florida, and Iowa campuses)
  • Parker University
  • Southern California University of Health Sciences
  • Sherman College of Chiropractic
  • Texas Chiropractic College
  • University of Western States

These institutions offer comprehensive chiropractic education and training programs that meet the standards set by the CCE.

When considering careers as chiropractors, the average pay for Doctors of Chiropractic (DCs) in practice is $142,729, with a typical salary range of $121,288 to $196,758. However, pay can vary significantly based on factors such as skill level, geographic location, and the range of services provided by the chiropractor. For example, offering additional treatments or nutritional support to patients may increase a chiropractor’s income.

Approximately 65% of practicing DCs are men, and the majority are self-employed, owning their own clinics. Generally, clinic owners tend to earn higher incomes compared to associates or employees. In comparison, the average pay for medical doctors (MDs) is $195,161, for dentists it is $158,000, and for podiatrists it is $119,000.

Mixer vs. Straight Chiropractors:

While all chiropractors undergo training grounded in the same fundamental principles and concepts, there are notable distinctions among chiropractors in terms of their individual educational backgrounds and preferred methods of practice following licensure.

Certain chiropractors in practice adhere closely to the principles of chiropractic care derived from decades-old vertebral subluxation procedures, employing a traditional and conservative approach. Others opt for a more “modern” approach, integrating various therapeutic modalities to offer patients a broader range of alternative therapies.

The distinction between traditional, modern, and liberal (or “straight vs. mixed”) chiropractic universities and institutions also influences the types of doctors who graduate from these specific institutes.

The terms “straight” and “mixer” are commonly used to describe where certain chiropractors fall along a spectrum and to distinguish between different types, such as traditional versus more modern approaches.

Straight chiropractors generally limit their practice to spine adjustments and typically refrain from offering additional therapies, nutrition guidance, or rehabilitation services in their offices, although there may be variations in their specific beliefs and practices.

On the other hand, mixer chiropractors are more inclined to provide multimodal care, collaborate with other medical professionals, recommend supplements, offer nutritional guidance, prescribe spine rehabilitative exercises, and administer other treatments such as massage and acupuncture.

In their chiropractic practice, Doctors of Chiropractic (DCs) utilize hundreds of different methods, some of which incorporate thrust techniques, although not all. The level of force applied varies across most chiropractic methods. Most adjustments are performed swiftly, employing significant speed to assist with realignment. In addition to manual adjustments using their hands, chiropractors sometimes use instruments as well.

While spinal adjustments are a well-known chiropractic procedure, there are numerous other treatment modalities available. These modalities address issues in various areas such as the spine, neck, head, pelvis, joints, and muscles. Below are brief descriptions of some of the most popular chiropractic treatment modalities, which have evolved over several decades. Depending on your specific anatomy and needs, you may receive treatment from a chiropractor using one or more of the following techniques:

An activator is a portable device that generates a low-force mechanical impulse to facilitate the release of tension in the muscles and joints. It delivers rapid, precise adjustments with minimal force, making it suitable for individuals with sensitivity or discomfort.

Applied Kinesiology involves the assessment of muscle strength variations in response to sensory stimuli applied to the body. By observing these responses, chiropractors can evaluate the function of the neurological system and identify areas of imbalance or dysfunction. This technique is often utilized to determine appropriate treatment strategies tailored to individual needs.

Atlas Orthogonal Therapy (AOT) aims to restore structural integrity by addressing malpositioning of the cervical vertebrae, particularly focusing on the Atlas, the top vertebrae that supports the head. This therapy corrects postural alignment using a percussion instrument rather than manipulation or surgery, employing a gentle touch to alleviate symptoms associated with misalignment of the cervical spine.

The Blair Method focuses on correcting misalignments in the upper cervical area, specifically targeting the Atlas as it connects to the occiput. By addressing misalignments in the first bone of the spine, this method aims to improve overall spinal alignment and function.

Chiropractic Biophysics (CBP) employs a range of techniques, including traditional chiropractic manipulation, rehabilitation exercises, spinal traction, and spinal tissue remodeling stretches, to address abnormal spinal curvatures and promote proper alignment.

Cox Flexion Distraction involves a gentle rocking motion and the use of a moving table to stretch and decompress the tissues surrounding the spine, providing relief through spinal decompression.

Diversified technique utilizes manual thrusts aimed at restoring the body to its natural biomechanical state, addressing misalignments not only in the spine but also in the joints of the extremities.

Gonstead technique utilizes a specialized analysis approach involving nervoscopes, complete spine x-rays, and precise adjusting methods. This technique aims to adjust the spine’s torque to alleviate strain on specific intervertebral discs, promoting proper alignment and function.

Motion palpation is a diagnostic technique used to identify joint dysfunction in both the extremities and the spinal column. It involves mobilizing the patient’s joints through various movements, such as bending, flexing, or shifting, to assess their range of motion. This technique helps chiropractors detect vertebral subluxations and other abnormalities, guiding their treatment approach to restore optimal joint function.

Alternatively referred to as Network Spinal Analysis (NSA), network chiropractic treats the body as an integrated whole. To improve the clarity of communication between the spinal cord and nerves, light pressure is applied to the spinal cord to help activate receptors. This has been linked to better gut-brain communication, heightened self-awareness, and less tension.

Pettibon: Employs specialized exercises and head, shoulder, and hip weights that are carefully created, which patients wear for up to 20 minutes every day until the spine is straightened. Weights aid in changing the alignment of the head, spine, and pelvis, which corrects sensory input to the neurological system and creates new muscle patterns.

Cranial sacral therapy takes the form of Sacral Occipital Technique (SOT), which focuses on the link between the sacrum and occiput (back of the head). In order to optimize organ function and restore normal cerebral spinal fluid flow, this approach closely examines how the sacrum and cranial bones operate.

A method called CLEAR Scoliosis Correction uses vibration therapy, spinal exercises, and adjustments to lessen scoliotic curves in the spine. Scoliosis affects 5–10% of the population, and if left untreated, it can lead to discomfort, joint degradation, and organic malfunction.

Cranial sacral therapy, such as Sacral Occipital Technique (SOT), emphasizes the connection between the sacrum and the occiput (back of the head). By closely examining the functioning of the sacrum and cranial bones, this approach aims to optimize organ function and restore normal cerebral spinal fluid flow.

CLEAR Scoliosis Correction is a method that utilizes vibration therapy, spinal exercises, and adjustments to reduce scoliotic curves in the spine. Scoliosis, affecting 5–10% of the population, can lead to discomfort, joint degeneration, and functional issues if left untreated. This method aims to address scoliosis early to prevent such complications and promote spinal health.

Toggle Recoil involves delivering a swift, gentle thrust to a joint limitation area, followed by quickly removing the hands from the contact point. This technique aims to restore proper joint function and alignment.

Upper Cervical Chiropractic focuses on the relationship between the upper cervical spine and the central nervous system. By utilizing precise, non-invasive, soft touch techniques, practitioners determine whether realignment of the neck’s bones is needed. X-rays of the head and neck may be used to assess and guide the treatment process.

The Webster technique employs a range of adjustments and sacral analysis to alleviate the effects of sacroiliac (SI) joint dysfunction and sacral subluxation. By enhancing the neuro-biomechanical function of the pelvis, this technique aims to reduce stress and tension throughout the torso. It is commonly used during pregnancy to facilitate a smoother, safer birth process and postpartum recovery.

Chiropractic care is indeed safe to receive. Despite concerns about the delicacy of the spine and spinal cord, research consistently shows that chiropractic care is one of the safest options in modern medicine. Chiropractors undergo extensive training to ensure precision and caution in their adjustments, contributing to patient safety. Therefore, while spinal manipulation may seem intimidating, the careful approach of chiropractors makes the treatment safe and effective.

According to a 2007 study conducted in the United Kingdom and reported by The National Institute of Health, treatment outcomes for 19,722 chiropractic patients were analyzed. The study found that minor side effects, such as transient soreness similar to post-exercise discomfort, were relatively common after cervical spine manipulation. However, the risk of serious adverse events immediately following treatment or up to seven days later was deemed “low to very low.” Another study indicated that visiting a chiropractor did not pose a greater risk than visiting a primary care physician. These findings highlight the safety of chiropractic care compared to other medical interventions.

Although chiropractic care is generally considered safe, there is a possibility of experiencing some minor adverse effects. These risks are minimal, but after adjustments, you may experience temporary discomfort, stiffness, or tenderness. Fortunately, most mild side effects resolve on their own within a day or two. It’s essential to communicate any concerns or unusual sensations with your chiropractor to ensure your comfort and well-being throughout the treatment process.

Indeed, seeking care from a chiropractor can offer an alternative to medication, potentially avoiding the negative side effects associated with certain drugs. Furthermore, chiropractic care may help individuals avoid unnecessary surgery, which carries its own risks and may not always provide successful outcomes. By addressing pain and other symptoms through non-invasive chiropractic methods, individuals can potentially achieve relief and improve their overall well-being without resorting to medication or surgery.

In recent years, the media has raised concerns about the potential for serious side effects, such as internal bleeding, stroke, neurological issues, or vertebral artery dissection, from receiving chiropractic care. However, numerous investigations have found no evidence linking chiropractic adjustments to a higher risk of stroke or other serious complications. It’s important to recognize that while any medical procedure carries some level of risk, chiropractic care, when performed by a qualified professional, is generally considered safe.

A chiropractor is a healthcare practitioner trained to identify and treat vertebral subluxations, or spinal misalignments, that can interfere with the nervous system’s ability to communicate with the body. In addition to spinal adjustments, chiropractors utilize various holistic therapeutic modalities such as soft tissue mobilization, stress management techniques, and dietary counseling to promote overall health and well-being. Through their expertise in spinal health and their holistic approach to care, chiropractors aim to help patients achieve optimal function and vitality.

Doctors of Chiropractic (DCs) undergo formal education similar to that of medical schools attended by primary care physicians. This typically includes four years of undergraduate studies followed by an additional four to five years of graduate school, including internships and passing licensing exams, to become a DC.

The practice of chiropractic dates back to the late 1890s and is considered one of the safest patient treatment modalities available today. Chiropractic care is a valuable option for individuals experiencing a range of ailments, including headaches, stomach problems, back or neck discomfort, traumas, and neuromusculoskeletal issues. Through spinal adjustments and holistic therapeutic approaches, chiropractors aim to alleviate symptoms and promote overall health and wellness.

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