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I graduated from Meadville Area Senior High School in 1978. I remember our graduation ceremony vividly. The graduates were seated in the gymnasium with red gowns draped over the sides of wooden folding chairs as we sat discussing college, work or the military - depending upon the direction that our lives were headed.

As the clock approached the time that the ceremony was set to begin, the crowd of nearly 400 students and our families and friends sat up a little straighter and incrementally became more quiet until there was no noise. It was a very solemn event.

At one point in the proceedings the class valedictorian rose from her seat on the stage to address our class. She held a position of distinction that was reflected in the location of her seat. She was the number one student in our class due to her hard work, discipline and intelligence.

When most of us think about intelligence, we think about learning something educationally, and educated intelligence is a good thing.

We doctors of chiropractic work in partnership with a different kind of intelligence that resides in all living things, in particular, the human body.

If you set a plant on a window sill, in a day or two it will have turned in such a way that its leaves are facing the sun. Turn the plant again in the opposite direction and in another day or so it will again have turned its leaves to receive the light it needs to maintain its normal function.

This is an example of the plant's innate intelligence. The plant doesn't use logic to figure out that it needs light, or decides to turn its leaves around to face the window. The plant doesn't think and it is not self-aware.

Yet the intelligence it possesses allows it to go from a tiny seed to a lush plant, to search into the soil to find water and nutrients. The plant can also utilize light and air and transforms those elements into additional leaves, roots and sprouts. This is not random action but intelligence.

I had a patient in my office the other day who had just undergone a surgery within the past few months. She was amazed when her surgeon told her that he had done his part and now her body would have to heal and repair itself over the next few weeks.

Yes, our bodies can repair and heal themselves and it helps when you give your body the right tools to work with - and one of the major tools is food. Our body can do remarkable work with a good diet, as opposed to a poor diet.

You can do more work with a crowbar than you can with a toothpick.

Movement is another boon to your body's innate intelligence. When we move our bodies, remarkable things happen. Lymphatic fluid washes over the tissues, gathering diseased and infected cells.

Next, they are taken to the lymph nodes where they are destroyed or "thrown out with the garbage."

Regular movement with exercise enhances our outlook on life by releasing endorphins that create a sense of euphoria - more commonly known as a runner's high.

This "runner's high" can also be felt when vigorously lifting weights or doing other types of exercise.

The chiropractic meaning of life is to express his intelligence through matter or tissues of our body.

Spinal subluxations or nerve pressure prevent people from expressing life and health to the fullest.

Chiropractors do not treat disease, but do restore ease to the body by removing a major source of interference to the proper expression of health.

From a chiropractic perspective, if I were to encourage you in a manner similar to a class valedictorian, I would say to be sure you do all you can to improve your health: Eat well, move your body and have your spine checked periodically to maximize your potential.

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