When I was teaching, massage therapists from the local HealthSource chiropractic office came in on teacher appreciation day. They set up neck massage chairs in a conference room and we were encouraged to sign up for 15-minute sessions.
I mean, first of all, that’s marketing genius. Teachers are some of the most tired, stressed out people I know. Offer a neck massage, and they will be there. (If you build it, they will come?) Second, the office visit I got talked into afterwards (What? They offered me a 30-minute massage and I am bad at saying no.) changed my life for the better.
I was completely skeptical at first. I mean, the basic theory of chiropractic care makes sense. Your brain controls all the functions of your body by communicating through nerves. Your spine protects these nerves. Over time, the bones in can shift slightly and cause the nerves to communicate with your brain less effectively. Still, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to believe that the chiropractor could change much more than making my neck feel better temporarily.
I’d been to a chiropractor before, and though I felt some relief from headaches and neck pain, it always returned if I did not visit the doctor’s office at least weekly. I can commit to something like that short term if it’s going to make me healthier, but I wasn’t sure I wanted to sign up for at least weekly visits for the long haul.
Still, who could pass up that 30 minute massage? So I made the appointment at HealthSource and kept it.
I couldn’t be happier.
The HealthSource approach includes chiropractic adjustments, physical therapy that targets weak muscle groups in the body, and massage therapy. At a typical visit, I arrive and fill out a sheet, listing where I feel pain and how severe the pain is from 1 – 10. There is also a space to write a note. Sometimes I use this for its actual purpose: to write anything extra the doctor should know, like upcoming races, any illness, questions, or concerns. More often than not, I just use it to write obnoxious notes to the staff, who has gotten used to me over the past 18 months or so and tolerates (dare I say enjoys?) my silliness. After I complete my form, I never wait more than five minutes before being taken to one of the three stations I visit each time.
Each time I visit the office, I meet with Dr. Reffell and he adjusts my spine. He also takes the time to answer any questions I may have, check in about recent illnesses or injuries, and ask how I’m doing. He has always seemed genuinely interested in my well-being. On my first visit to the office, he told me that his goal was to make it so his patients eventually don’t need him anymore. I’m finding this to be true as the number of visits I need continues to decrease, even with the intense training I put my body through!
Ah, physical therapy. The station I love to hate. Mike, the physical therapist at my HealthSource, is constantly pushing me and challenging me. He knows what I am capable of and makes sure I’m really working to make myself stronger and healthier. He takes my training schedule into account and plans accordingly. Days with intense workouts mean a warm-up and lots of stretching. If I’m able to do an intense PT session, we do. Best of all, I leave with things I can do at home to improve my strength, fitness, and health. This station also includes just the right amount of harassment about my lack of stretching after long workouts. Perhaps one day I will listen to Mike. Maybe I wouldn’t have calves of death today if I’d stretched after Saturday’s hilly run.
Ahhhh… a massage. Sweet relaxation, right? Not here. Although the massage therapy is nice and relaxing at times, it’s also very intense at others. The goal of massage therapy at HealthSource is not the same as the goal of a massage at a spa. Instead of just helping you relax and unwind, the goal of the massage therapist is to relieve muscle tension. Getting rid of the tension allows the adjustments and physical therapy to work more effectively.
Because of the combination of all three of these things, I’m seeing some real progress. I have more energy, increased flexibility, and fall asleep more easily. I no longer need monthly injections of vitamin B12, but am able to get all of the vitamin I need through supplements now. (I used to have issues with absorption of B12 due to my ulcerative colitis.) I feel myself getting stronger.
I can’t say for certain that all of these things are a direct result of visiting the chiropractor, as I’ve made other changes toward a healthy lifestyle, too. I do know for sure that it played a part.
Please note: I am not being compensated in any way for this post, nor did HealthSource even know I was writing it until I did! All thoughts and opinions are my own.
What about you? Do you dabble in holistic medicine? Do you see a chiropractor? Are you (or were you) skeptical like me?
2014 Race Schedule2.2.14 Miami Half Marathon
4.12.14 Foodie 5k to benefit the Northern Illinois Food Bank
8.31.14: Chicago Women's Half Marathon
10.4.14 & 10.5.14: Twin Cities Ultra Looney Challenge
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