I am lucky that chiropractic was something familiar to my family my entire life. It had a different meaning to me as a child, but it was something that my grandparents and parents always utilized as part of their healthcare. My first experience was when I was 7 years old and our family friend had just graduated from chiropractic college in Ontario. He had come home to Saskatchewan for a visit and my mom had been talking to him about the horrible migraine headaches I’d been getting on a weekly basis, and how the medical doctor didn’t have an answer as to what was going on with me. Our friend asked if he could check me, and thankfully my parents said yes. Those horrible headaches that had been happening weekly changed to every few months after one adjustment.
When I graduated from high school, I knew that I was not quite ready to focus on my studies in university. Dr Kurt Deutscher, the close family friend who gave me my first adjustment all those years ago, offered me an opportunity to move to his community in northern Alberta and work at the front desk in his office. I reluctantly agreed to move for the summer and give it a try. During my time in his office, I started to recognize a pattern in his patients. Many of them had jobs that were very physically demanding on their bodies and came in the door of the clinic in pain. Others lived a high stress lifestyle and would come in just not feeling like themselves. When the patients arrive, some were in visible pain, often assisted in by a family member. Some very were distracted, cranky and not overly friendly, quiet, frowning, or with visible signs of a heavy mental load. I would try to cheer them up a little or make their time waiting as comfortable as I could, most times unsuccessfully. We would get the patient in the room to see Dr Kurt and it was almost magical. It was as if they were transformed after their adjustment. They would come out if the room a few minutes later moving better, standing taller, looking more at ease in their body, and most importantly, they all seemed to be happier and like part of the weight had been lifted from their shoulders.
It was at this time that I started to truly understand what chiropractic it was about and why it was such a vital part of one’s healthcare team. People came to the office for many reasons, but I saw that often they were in so much greater than just physical pain. Chiropractic helped to make their personal challenges, be it physical, chemical or emotional, so much clearer. It helped them understand that there was always a solution to what was happening, that the solution was not always instant but there was always hope. It reconnected these people with their bodies and helped them recognize the changes they needed to make to improve.
After a year I moved back to Saskatchewan and started at the U of S, of all things, in the College of Education! I never really felt like it fit. Deep inside, I knew that was the wrong decision for me, but I was persistent (some may call me stubborn) and continued down that path for three long years. Finally frustrated and unhappy, I gave into the nagging feeling in my gut that I had chosen the wrong path. A friend of mine at the time suggested investigating chiropractic. They pointed out to me how it was always a part of my personal healthcare routine. My chiropractor in Saskatoon was my go-to for any ailment, and my friend reminded me how I was always suggesting to others that they should go. I changed my trajectory, enrolled in the sciences at the U of S, and never looked back.
In January of 2002, I packed up my car and along with a friend, hit the highway to an epic road trip to Atlanta, Georgia. I knew when I arrived that I had made the best decision I was ever going to make in my lifetime. I was a long way from my home, my family, and Saskatchewan, everything that was familiar, but strangely I felt like I was at home. I had found my place and path. In my four years studying the nervous system and the body, I learned about how truly complex human beings are. Chiropractic is such an essential part of how we can learn to reconnect with ourselves and our health. It is complex and involves the adjustment, movement of the body, nutrition, and mental health. Health is a gift and one that we all need to treasure and protect. There is always an answer to what has gone on in a body that is under stress. We just sometimes need to slow down and listen to what it is telling us. We need to quiet the distractions of life and understand that the body is brilliant, and healing can come in many forms. Chiropractic and the role of the chiropractor is to help one recognize what process is occurring and to facilitate one’s journey in restoring their health.
As stated by BJ Palmer, the developer of the chiropractic profession, “[…] What chiropractic does, is that it simply ‘takes the handcuffs off nature.’” He also said that “Healing is a process afforded you by your creator and is above and beyond the control of man. Your chiropractor does everything possible to help Innate heal – but cannot heal nor can anyone else produce healing for you. When the right adjustment is made, Innate goes to work. You feel the results when dis-ease [sic] turns to ease.”