Lately I’ve been reflecting over the ten years Path of Life has been serving our community. One of the questions that I ponder is this: how does being under regular chiropractic care affect the trajectory of the life of my patients? It’s a question I think many people want to know, judging by the number of times I’m asked the question, “Will I need to see a chiropractor FOREVER?”
To explore this question, let’s first look at the net effects of other ways we care for our bodies. What’s the long term net effect of a diet comprised of healthy greens, fruits, and veggies, with “clean” protein sources such as grass-fed beef or free-range chicken, as compared to the long term net effect of eating McDonald’s with soda daily? Imagine two people, one following each diet, after ten years of those habits. Do those two people look a little different? You don’t *have to* eat broccoli, greens, juiced carrots and celery, or lean fish or chicken regularly, that’s absolutely your choice. And the consequences are yours, as well.
Here’s another one: Sleep habits. Given, new parents undergo a period of sleep deprivation, and that’s just part of the package... Aside from those early years, what is the net effect of insufficient sleep on human health and performance? Healthy sleep habits include 7-8 hours of sleep daily for adults, more for teens, kiddos, and babies. (much more for dogs!) What’s the net effect of a teen scraping by on six hours of sleep during his/her high school years on his/her ability to perform in classes or athletics? Hm. (That said, good luck with those teens and bedtime... I get it, example was offered purely for academic purposes!) Well, what about adults? If you’re going to bed late because you just need to watch one more episode of Netflix, and this happens on a regular basis - plus weekends - what’s the net effect? Chronic sleep insufficiently is a causative factor in diabetes, metabolic syndrome, heart disease, hormonal imbalance, obesity, and other things you’d probably like to avoid. Will you need to be mindful of your sleep habits FOREVER? Again, that’s your choice, leading to your consequences.
Let’s imagine another example: exercise. Take two people, one who does a variety of cardio and strength training three to five days per week, versus another who is quite talented at holding the couch down and takes this mission to oppose gravity quite seriously. What’s health like in these two people after adhering to these habits daily, after a year? Five years? Ten years? You get the picture.
So, it’s clear that the maintenance of your body, or lack thereof, has a net effect. Let’s apply this to chiropractic care.
My mission as a chiropractor is to restore your body to its best function and then to correct subluxations that happen from daily life, so as to keep the “tires” aligned and moving well. (I say that work ”aligned” with caution: alignment is one thing when the car is parked, and another ENTIRELY when the car is in motion. So really, I’d prefer to keep the moving tires aligned for optimal performance, so to speak - because not many of us are parked all day!!) We hit potholes in life all the time - life’s microtraumas and macrotraumas. In particular, athletes and people who have physical jobs (cough, cough, ME) acquire repetitive microtraumas all the time. What‘s the difference between an athlete whose body continues to perform, year after year, versus one who is sidelined? It’s how well the machine moves, heals, and ADAPTS (a function that’s executed by your nervous system, and is obstructed by spinal subluxation). My intention is to enhance that adaptability in my patients. As a matter of fact, one of the things I do with patients quite regularly is ask them to move their body around after the adjustment - I want to know, has the adjustment restored symmetry of movement, normal position, better performance? Is the body adapting better after their adjustment?
What’s the net effect of keeping the spine in good condition with regular chiropractic care? Well, what I see in my patients after ten years makes me smile. Grandparents who crawl around on the floor with the grandkids and are fully able to support their kids in this chapter of life. Retirees who spend their free time skiing, golfing, and riding their motorcycle. I have patients who would have otherwise had two, three surgeries who are just living life, surgery free, pain free, no problem. I recently went hiking and sledding with someone who, without care, may have otherwise been sidelined from the athletic activities he enjoys most. I have a big grin on my face thinking about a couple who I’ve worked with for years who have not only restored function that had been previously compromised, they’ve INCREASED what they can do and are cross country skiing, hiking up mountains, and enjoying this chapter in their marriage every day! How many people can say that they can do things in their 50s and 60s that they were unable to do in their 40s? Where does that trajectory change? Another example: I care for several women in their 50s and 60s whose recipe for health includes chiropractic and yoga, a beautiful and complimentary synergy. My job is to correct the nagging imbalances that would otherwise keep them from practicing what they LOVE and what keeps them healthy and moving - what’s the net effect of that synergy?
I recently read a beautiful quote by Marianne Williamson regarding the aging process. In her words, “Chapter Three is either a crown of gold or a crown of thorns. The choice seems to be a moment by moment decision, with a powerful lure in both directions. I feel blessed to encounter the women older than me who personify doing it well.” As we enter chapter three, who is helping you to DO IT WELL?
After ten years, I think about my longstanding patients, our practice family, and I see people whose bodies, well-cared for, are ready to adapt to the challenges they are GOING to encounter. (And with a longstanding relationship where I know their neurostructure, they have someone who can help to put them back together after big adventures or misadventures! LOL) The net effect? When you support, promote, and enhance the ability of the body to move, adapt, and heal, you can add life to years and years to life. It’s as simple as that.
Where would each of these people be if they had not continued to get their spines checked and adjusted regularly? What would the trajectory of their life, their enjoyment of life, have been? Frankly, I don’t want to know. I love, love, LOVE seeing my patients out having fun and living life, healthy. I am thrilled to see that for them, and that’s what I want for anyone who comes in to see me. The alternative is, to me, unacceptable and it’s largely avoidable. You can turn in your car at 50,000 miles and get a new one, sure, but you can’t do that for your body - so if you want it to perform up to 300,000 miles plus, regular maintenance is simply one of necessary tools. And that’s why people choose to have a relationship with me. I’m happy to serve as a known and trusted maintenance technician whose job is to enhance LIFE.
So, to make a long story short, that’s the net effect. Life, and the ability to enjoy it. Sound to good to be true? After ten years.... I can confirm, it’s true. It’s a beautiful thing, a privilege, to observe and to be a part of. Thank you to all of my peeps for allowing me to enhance and bear witness to your lives and enjoyment thereof. <3