“In Systems Health Care, we understand that there is a physiological hierarchy in which health issues need to be treated to remain resolved. We look for specific physiological patterns that are present when a person is functioning well, and we look for other patterns when there is a problem. Expected patterns no longer exist when the body compensates from injuries or long-term health issues. Therefore, the body doesn’t realize that there is a problem which needs to be addressed. Yes, the body can always heal itself – but if the patterns are wrong, then often it cannot do that. Injuries, as well as other health issues, have specific patterns and indicators that should exist, and if they don’t then we, the physicians, need to figure out why. From gait patterns to injury patterns to organ-dysfunction patterns, we are always looking for a pattern, whether normal or abnormal, along with other specific indicators that tell us what to treat first, next, and last. All of these guide us in how to fix the patient. Simply put, Systems Health Care identifies primary problems by identifying and treating patterns in a systematic, individualized progression.
– Dr. Stephen Gangemi, DC, DIBAK, DCBCN

The Why

My experience with Systems Health Care (SHC) started when I attended a seminar in St. Louis. While Dr. Gangemi was presenting he asked for volunteers who were suffering from headaches. My hand shot up. I have dealt with chronic migraines for 15 years or so at this point. And these were almost a daily occurrence. Within about 15 minutes Dr. Gangemi narrowed it down to gluten intolerance. I stopped eating gluten that day and my migraines disappeared. I then devoted my time to learning SHC.

The body is made up of multiple systems that are interdependent to each other. What you do to one affects the others. That is why it is critically important to treat the whole body instead of focusing completely on one area. In SHC, we take this into account. SHC is designed to help the practitioner understand the hierarchy of the human body and how best to prioritize treatment. Since everything is connected it is important to have an organized system to approach it. SHC provides that.

Through manual muscle testing and other SHC concepts, the practitioner is able to quickly discern what areas need to be treated. There are a variety of treatments employed. Manual muscle testing helps us narrow down what specific area is being effected. Then through the use of myofascial therapy, movement, biochemistry, physiology, and neurology an effective treatment can be given. As you can see SHC is a very in-depth and effective technique that takes the whole body into account allowing the practitioner to confidently treat each patient.

More on Myofascial Therapy

Myofascial therapy is an important part of SHC. Along with the other concepts of SHC and how we are able effectively find the root cause, I like to explain it with this illustration. I like to compare it to Christmas lights. Bear in mind this is a crude illustration and doesn’t exactly represent it, but it provides a good picture in a simple way. Most of us have experience when getting out the Christmas decorations the Christmas lights are all bundled into a tangled mess. It is often frustrating to untangle them and you have to do it with a degree of precision. You cannot untangle any strand or bulb you want, but you must do it in order one bulb or strand at a time. SHC is similar with its prioritization with the whole body. We cannot choose an area of focus to our liking, but rather we must follow the prioritization and hierarchy of the body. One of the most common treatments a SHC practitioner will employ is myofascial therapy.

Life is all about movement. In order to survive we must move. The body is incredibly good at this and will develop compensations when injured or ill to make sure we can move. These compensations are often due to injuries or myofascial restrictions. Oftentimes the body is able to heal with no lasting issue, not so in other cases. These restrictions can become compounded leading to compensations of compensations.

Due to the priority of movement, these myofascial restrictions need to be addressed before treating any deeper issue such as a gut related condition. Further, these restrictions can cause a good deal of problems on their own. Contributing to a broad range of symptoms not just pain. These restrictions do not need to be from an known trauma either, like an ankle sprain. They can come from a number of sources including but not limited to sedentary lifestyle, poor movement patterns, emotional issues, and chemical such as a food sensitivity. No matter the cause they need to be addressed by some form of manual therapy.

Myofascial therapy helps correct the restriction through restructuring and reorganizing the underlying tissue. And as I said before, the body is also incredibly good at compensating, there may be multiple layers related to a particular injury. These can lead to abnormal patterns within the body likely affecting its structural support system known as biotensegrity. Therefore, these issues need to be corrected before treating a deeper issue. Otherwise, you are likely treating a compensatory issue rather than the primary problem.

This is an important part of SHC and you could almost say it is the hallmark but there many other equally important parts to it. Just having the myofascial therapy done has tremendous benefit to the whole body not just the musculoskeletal system. It affects all other body systems. The myofascial system is interconnected with almost every part of the body and it communicates with it through special receptors. A practitioner who treats the myofascial system correctly, effectively treats the entire body.

I hope this explanation helps you understand SHC’s importance and why it is a vital and unique part of what I do. It is one of the main ways I know how to effectively and efficiently treat a patient.


1. Dr. Stephen Gangemi, Systems Health Care