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The Art Of Healing with Dr. John Stenberg

5 years ago

Dedicated to healing and believing in the body’s ability to do it, Dr. John Stenberg shares his journey towards becoming a chiropractor from being a patient himself. Starting from when he was diagnosed with Group B Strep Infection and later seeing his sister develop ulcerative colitis, he found his path closer to chiropractic amidst finding what truly resonates with him. He talks about the people he met who later on introduced him to the practice and shown him the kind of miracle found in believing the concept that the body has the ability to heal itself. Covering multiple things he has learned along the way, Dr. Stenberg shares insights about upper cervical spine, biotech integrity, as well as the philosophy and science of chiropractic. Now, he is a chiropractor at Colorado Springs and is one of four who utilizes the Blair protocol of NeuroStructural Correction.

Dr. John Stenberg is a talented Blair Upper Cervical chiropractor out of Colorado Springs, Colorado at Zenith Chiropractic. Not only does Dr. John has an incredible story that started at birth on why he became a healer, but he has also seen family members get their health back through the miracle of chiropractic. He shares his journey and what it takes to be a dedicated Blair Upper Cervical doctor. Please welcome, Dr. John Stenberg.


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The Art Of Healing with Dr. John Stenberg

We have Dr. John Stenberg out of Colorado. Dr. John is a Blair Upper Cervical chiropractor. He’s doing some great work out there in Colorado. Dr. John, how are you doing?

I’m great, Kevin. I appreciate you having me on. I’m a fan of the show. It’s going to be fun to share a little bit about my story with the audience and chop it up with you a little bit.

I got to spend a good amount of time with you at the Blair Conference. I love all the great stuff you were telling me on all the success you were having in your office. Where are you from originally?

I was born here in Colorado Springs, which is where I live and practice now. When I was young, I moved to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where my dad’s from. I grew up there. That’s where I’m from but Colorado Springs in certain ways has always been home for me and my family. It’s a lot of fun to be back here, get involved in the community and live my life and practicing here. I grew up in the Pittsburgh area in Western Pennsylvania.

How did you like that?

EM 77 | Upper Cervical Spine Upper Cervical Spine: I have a certain appreciation of life that I feel like every day is a bonus for me.

It was fun. It’s the only place that I knew. A small-town USA, which has its pros and its cons, but it was a great community. We got into a lot of different activities, sports and things growing up. We had plenty of opportunities to be kids and to grow up and have fun. Spending the summers coming out to Colorado, visiting the mountains and experiencing that. It has always planted the seed in my head that whatever I did when I grew up, I wanted to do it here.

How did you get into the healing profession? Was there something that happened when you were growing up? Did it come later?

I was born prematurely and for those that are a little bit familiar with some of the complications that can happen in the birth process, I contracted a Group B Streptococcus infection. That’s a bacterial infection that babies could get that affected lung function and brain function and those things. At the time in the ‘80s, they didn’t necessarily have the information and the techniques to manage it like they do now. It was fairly life-threatening at the time. My entrance into this world and my first few weeks and months of life were pretty rough. The name of the podcast is fitting because essentially my parents were told that I was too sick, I was too premature, I wasn’t strong enough and that I wouldn’t pull through. They more or less had mentally prepared my parents to enjoy the brief bit of time that they had with me, but not expecting to take me home. My parents did not accept that report. They expected a miracle. They didn’t give up hope and I pulled through. Lots of prayers, lots of time spent with me, they’re in the NICU and life always finds a way. All that to say how I got into what I’m doing. Since my birth, I’ve had a purpose to help facilitate healing in others. I have a certain appreciation of life that I feel like every day is a bonus for me.

That’s funny you mentioned that because I was a premature baby as well and I had pretty much the similar story going on. Even though you’re so young and you don’t remember that, there is something that is definitely triggered in you. Even at that early stage in your life that it almost makes you a fighter. You don’t remember anything that’s going on, but there’s definitely something engraved in you that made you keep fighting, which definitely sticks with you throughout your life.

There’s no doubt about it. Everything we know about neuroplasticity and the social vagus and the way that the nervous system develops at that age, there are certain things that are imprinted that it becomes, if nothing else, almost an intrinsic duty of ours. To help folks facilitate life to reach their potential because we understand that whether or not it’s something you can put your finger on. You have that appreciation that motivates a lot of what we do. A lot of folks that are in the healing arts or healing professions do have stories like that. How I got into chiropractic is a totally different conversation. I had no intention of being a doctor and doing those things. Growing up, I wanted to do different things that kids wanted to do. I like to be a train conductor or professional athlete or stuff like that. When I graduated from high school, I didn’t have much direction. I went to a local community college. I figured that I needed to get certain pre-requisites and start off my education. I did that and when I transferred, I’ve settled into a biology degree. I figured I wanted to do something to help people. Maybe something in the healthcare field. I got my pre-med degree.

Throughout the whole time, I was working at a hospital through summers and vacations. I was paying attention to a lot of the different departments, the different fields and the different options that were there. I met a lot of folks that were doing a lot of good in helping folks, but it wasn’t anything that resonates with me. I didn’t see a lot of vibrancy there. There weren’t folks that were striving. Nothing settled with me. The only other option that I thought I had is dentistry. I started an internship with a dentist. I had in my mind that that would be my trajectory. I can help people that way. It wasn’t a hospital setting, there was a wellness component to it which was the hygiene aspects and those sorts of things. That seemed like a good idea. Meanwhile going through all that, my little sister developed ulcerative colitis late in her high school career. She’s eighteen years old and got extremely ill out of nowhere.

There may have been some things leading up to that that I wasn’t aware of, but more or less it came out of nowhere. Watching her go through the process of treatments and trying to come up with answers and trying to find relief, an otherwise young vibrant person who would be thinking about the next step of her life, what to do next and what to do after high school and all these sorts of things. It was unfair to watch and hard to see someone close to you go through that. In her journey of seeking out answers, a family friend or someone made an offhand recommendation, “Why don’t you go visit our chiropractor? He’s helped our family with a bunch of different things. I don’t know if he can help you but you don’t have too much to lose.” That’s the place that she was at and that my family was at with it.

Did they put her on all the medical standard medication and everything as well first?

Corticosteroids and the whole bit. What the conversation was at the time with her doctor was, if we can’t get this under control with these medications, then we’re going to be talking about surgery and spending the rest of her life essentially with a bag and all that stuff. Absolutely no hope was instilled in that doctor’s approach. She started seeing this chiropractor and within a couple months, and this is my recollection of the scenario, she had done a total 180 and started getting off her drugs. She was recovering her health and her strength. By all intents and purposes for us, it was a miracle. In all my studies in pre-med and all that kind of thing, I never knew much about chiropractic. It wasn’t even something on my radar. I assumed that it was for neck and back pain which she didn’t have. She had a very functional problem.

By this time, I had graduated college. I was filling out dental school applications half-heartedly because it wasn’t my purpose. It wasn’t something I was passionate about. I went with her to an appointment. I thought, “I want to see what this guy’s into. What is he doing with her that made such a difference?” This guy practiced in Western Pennsylvania for a long time. He did some SOT and some network in a conglomeration of different techniques, different chiropractic approaches. It’s very different than the way that I practice 100%. He was the first person to introduce our family to this concept that the body has the ability to heal itself. Nobody had talked about that.

EM 77 | Upper Cervical Spine Upper Cervical Spine: Chiropractic turns the power back on in your brain.

Up to this point, nobody had considered that with my sister’s health issues. I thought that was a unique perspective. Watching, he had a big open adjusting area. For folks that may be not too familiar with the different types of chiropractic settings, he had a large room with eight or ten tables in it. He had multiple people on the tables at once. He was working back and forth, taking care of someone over here and then coming over and do an adjustment there, and moving around that way. That was one of the first doctor’s offices that I’ve ever been into that everybody seemed to be happy and having a good experience. That was fun to watch and I watched him work on my sister and it didn’t seem like much. Then he asked me if I wanted to get adjusted.

In my mind I thought, “I don’t have any problems. That’s okay. I don’t need an adjustment.” The way I remember he said something to the effect of, “You don’t have to have a symptom that needs to have an adjustment.” “If you’re game, I’m game.” He got me lay down. He did a little bit of what he does. I don’t remember exactly what he did, but I got my first adjustment there and my sister and I went out. We went to a Starbucks or somewhere. There are a couple things that I distinctly remember in terms of changes that I noticed in my body. Number one was that I felt like I was breathing deeper. A lot of folks have that experience, but the other one that I remember vividly, which was strange at the time was that it almost seemed like colors were brighter. As we’re driving down the road, I thought things look bright and crisp. I noticed those two functional changes and I thought there’s something to what he was talking about because I’m seeing some of it for myself.

It’s like someone turned the power back on in your brain.

That’s a catchphrase that we’ve heard in chiropractic. I experienced some of that. I had a buddy at the time who was studying at Pitt. He was getting ready to go to chiropractic college and he’s the only person I knew that knew anything about chiropractic. I got together with him and said, “What’s the deal? What are you going to go study? Where are you going to go to school? Tell me a little bit about this field.” He went into this whole thing about straight and mixer, and how there are different philosophies in chiropractic, and how we approach taking care of patients which were confusing to me.

That’s the most confusing thing when you hear that for the first time. You’re like, “I don’t even know what you’re talking about.”

I took his input. I started researching a handful of schools and decided on a weekend, I went and visited a handful of schools, Life University in Atlanta, Georgia. I went to Northwestern, which is up in Minneapolis, St. Paul area. I visited D’Youville, which is in Buffalo. I got a flavor of the different options. When I visited Life University, something about the atmosphere there on campus resonated with me and I thought, “This is where I need to be.” I ditched my dental school applications. I went ahead and applied to start the next quarter and that’s what I did. That was October of 2012. I was there January 2, 2013 in my first quarter chiropractic college. A total blank slate. I knew nothing outside of that. One adjustment and a handful of experiences, which was a huge benefit to me going through school and taking it all in. The evolution of how I got into upper cervical chiropractic is taking everything in, assessing it, trying it, learning it and ultimately settling into what made the most sense and resonated most with me.

A lot of people I talked to have that feeling about Life University. They loved the atmosphere. There’s a certain energy there. Would you agree there are only about four or five, maybe six schools in the entire world chiropractically that are teaching sound upper cervical classes at the university?

That sounds to me about right.

I definitely didn’t get that at my school. What was it like at Life? Do they introduce it to you right away? Did you hear it through the grapevine? I have so many people that come into my office like, “How does nobody know about Blair Upper Cervical chiropractic?”

It’s the best-kept secret in chiropractic, which to me makes no sense because it was one of the first evolutions of chiropractors that developed to be the “gold standard.” At Life University, our first technique class was a Toggle-Recoil class. Our first exposure to anything related to taking care of patients was an upper cervical technique. We had a great doctor taught that class, Dr. Franz. He was one of these hardcore knee-chest guys. He was having us read excerpts from Volume 18, the chiropractic Green Book. We got into Volume 18, we got into learning some of the side posture, toggle adjusting. That was our first approach but like everyone else, the vast majority of students, I thought, “That’s great for the top of the neck but what does that have to do with anything else?” I enjoyed it at the time. I took it in. I dabbled with it in the student clinic but I more or less thought, “I need to do more to take care of my patients.” The seed was planted because of the philosophy and the things that he had introduced us to. The seed was planted there.

EM 77 | Upper Cervical Spine Upper Cervical Spine: If you don’t dedicate your time to chiropractic, it’s not going to work for you.

You said, “This makes a little sense but I’m going to continue to learn do other techniques.” What was it that brought you back and brought you fully onboard with Blair?

There are two answers to that question. One is the evolution through chiropractic college and the second would be my experience as a patient. I’m a chiropractor patient myself. I don’t ask my patients to do anything that I don’t do. As I’m moving through school, I was getting adjusted regularly by a doc off campus who was taking care of me. A very skilled full spine practitioner with very gentle and precise adjusting of the full spine. That was my experience as a patient. That’s what I felt good with at the time. That was what I had in mind that I would be doing but like some patients, I got to a point where I plateaued with that type of care. I was needing the same types of adjustments frequently to maintain the same level of function and feeling okay. It got me thinking about what it was that I was going to do. I didn’t want my patients to have that experience. I was exploring other techniques. The two that led me back to upper cervical which have no direct connection are I took a bio-geometric integration class, which is a tonal based technique. It uses some of the energy work. It uses some of the different types of adjusting procedures and looks at things from a more holistic perspective that way. They introduced me to the concept of bio-tensegrity.

The idea is that the architecture of the body, the way that it’s designed has both compressive and resistive elements. You’ve got bones that are the structural framework of the body, but you’ve also got the soft tissues that hold everything together. It’s the tension of the soft tissues that hold the skeleton in place and working like it should. You can’t stack up a skeleton without the muscles and tissues in it. It doesn’t stay together. It’s the tension of the system that keeps it balanced. With that, the idea was what you do at any part of that system affects the system as a whole. What that led me to believe is, “Then I don’t have to adjust every single area to affect every single area. Which parts would I want to focus on to get the best result with minimal adjusting, if that’s true with the way that the body is designed architecturally?” Then the second class that had a lot to do with that in school. It was a lower body arthrokinematics class. We were learning a lot about how to understand the biomechanics of the foot, ankle, knee, hip, on up the kinetic chain and all those things. They had a system of assessment that worked in a certain hierarchy. This was Dr. John Down’s paradigm. The one, two, three paradigm which says the top shelf is neurological, the next step is the joint motion and the third level is the soft tissue.

When I started thinking about those types of things, everything leads back to the upper cervical spine as being the most important area of the spine to take care of from a chiropractic perspective. At the time then, the Blair Upper Cervical technique was first offered as an elective course. I jumped right into that. I took it as soon as I could and a lot of the concepts that I learned there about the asymmetries of the body and how we view the misalignments in X-rays and with imaging and how each adjustment is tailored fit to the person’s biomechanics and anatomy. It answered a lot of questions that I had regarding upper cervical, so that was it for me. It all clicked with Blair and all those concepts came to a head. The first thing I did was quit getting adjusted full spine. I went about three or four months without letting anybody touch me, just let my body settle into a pattern of dysfunction. I went and saw Dr. Charmaine Herman. She was the one teaching the elective at the time. I said if you take care of students then I want to do this. She got me started. I got my Blair X-rays. We got first couple adjustments in and what I noticed was that I was doing better with fewer adjustments less often.

It’s strictly in the upper neck.

That was it. I had a handful of adjustments. My brain fog went away. I felt more balanced structurally. I had things that were improving that I didn’t need to have adjusted. I thought that’s the missing link. The thing that I’ve been looking for is how to do this part very specifically. It was a great experience. I thought this is something I can dedicate a career to learning, and perfecting and serving patients with. It accounts for all of the things that I value in chiropractic, which is specificity and doing something that’s scientifically sound but based on firm philosophical principles and something that’s conservative.

You hit it on the head there too. The Blair Upper Cervical method, you definitely need to dedicate a lot of time to. Doctors have been doing it for more than five years. They have dedicated a lot more because if you don’t dedicate your time to it, it’s not going to work for you. You have to be very sound and know exactly what you’re doing.

I’m not a jack of all trades type of a guy. I very much like to settle in and focus on something that I’m doing and work to do it well. A lot of us that get into upper cervical in general or the different techniques including Blair tend to have that motivation. I do have to give a little bit of a shout out to a friend and colleague, Dr. Roger Haddad. He practices atlas orthogonal over in Savannah, Georgia. We went through school together. He got into upper cervical early on and he was always that guy who was reinforcing those concepts to me and telling me what are you doing wanting to adjust hips and ankles, all that kind of stuff. Every Friday night, a group of us would get together and we used to talk about what was going on in school, the things we were learning. Hashing out these types of questions about how do we do the best thing and what’s right and what’s wrong.

He used to talk about the idea that adjusting people isn’t what gets them well, it’s not being subluxated. If our philosophy says that a subluxation, which is a misalignment that’s causing nerve irritation and distorting the communication between the brain and the body and hampering your body’s ability to heal itself. If that’s a clinically relevant thing that we need to be focused on as a profession, then there should be a way to not be subluxated. When I went to see my full spine chiropractor, if I went three times a week, he would adjust me three times a week in more than one area. I started to think, “Is this just the perpetual thing? Are people always subluxated until the moment after the adjustment? How long does that last?”

People think you need to go to the chiropractor three or four times a week to get better, which is definitely not true. What we did touch on is the healing is not in the adjustment. The healing is in the holding. When it stays in place, when your body has 100% nerve flow and it’s able to heal itself, if it keeps popping out, there’s not much healing taking place.

EM 77 | Upper Cervical Spine Upper Cervical Spine: Nobody really looked that far into the rearview mirror to know what got them up to this point.

The only people that were talking about that around campus or in chiropractic were the guys who were focused in the upper neck. In the back of my mind going through school, I always knew that those guys got the best results. There are a lot of cool, flashy things that you could get interested in to, but the upper cervical guys were steady. They knew what they were doing. They got the best results. That was the understanding for me that tied it all together. It’s not in the adjustments, it’s in not needing to be adjusted.

In my experience in chiropractic school, I did not go to a very philosophical school. I went to LACC. A great school. It helps you get through the boards and everything but not very chiropractically sound. I would be in the adjusting room in class and one instructor would walk by, we’re working on the mid-back. He’d be like, “The subluxation bone out of place is right here at T4.” Then somebody else would come around, another instructor will come by and be like, “No, it’s the segment below it.” Then somebody else would walk away and then the person be like, “No, it’s the segment above that one.” No one knew where the actual problem is. What I love about upper cervical is it addresses three things. Where to adjust, when to adjust and when not to adjust, which is probably the most important thing. That was like I know exactly where to go, when to do it and when not to do it. That’s huge in the chiropractic world.

It’s important to make the distinction that those other techniques are not necessarily bad. They’re helping a lot of people. When I think about my values in chiropractic and what I want to offer the community, physical therapists can manipulate the spine. There are a variety of different options for folks who can do that type of work. To temporarily relieve pain, to alleviate muscle spasms, to increase a range of motion and those sorts of goals. For me, if I want to best express the philosophy, science and art of chiropractic, which everything has. There’s a reason why you do what you do, which should be your philosophy. There’s the science that validates what it is that you’re doing in your procedures. Then there’s the art of it, which is taking care of patients and using the technique to deliver on those two other principles. For me, it always came back to doing something unique, doing something specific and something that’s going to be comprehensive.

You’ve probably had this experience too. A lot of patients, when they come to consult with an upper cervical chiropractor, whether it’s Blair and the other technique, it’s first a little bit confusing. You have that first conversation about, “You’re not going to need to be adjusted each time you come in. Our goal is to get you to a point of stability.” Inevitably as you’re working through a process of care with them, there are those conversations when they, especially the first time, they don’t need to be adjusted where it’s a different mindset and it’s a different concept. The folks that get it and were able to connect with them and communicate on that level, they do well. For other folks, we have to spend a little bit more time educating them on the process and the goals. This is probably true for you too. The folks that we see are looking for that. They’re not looking for a generalized approach. They’re not looking for something open-ended. They want to have goals and work towards improvement.

Another thing too is most of the people that we see have been everywhere else. They’ve been to the neurologist, they’d been to physical therapy and they’d been to your standard chiropractic. In some cases, it’s worked but in other cases, it hasn’t. They have some serious conditions going on and when they hear is talking about the upper cervical spine and how we take precise three-dimensional X-rays and we want to keep everything holding. Holding his healing. A light bulb goes off in their head. They’re like, “That’s my problem. That’s exactly what’s going on. This makes so much sense.”

I’ve been in practice for about a year and a half in Colorado Springs. I know you’re a few years into practice. We’re younger docs and we’re refining all these skills and techniques when it comes to communicating with patients. One of the things that I’ve come to realize based on feedback from patients on a routine basis is that a lot of folks don’t even listen to their story. They don’t know the whole history. They haven’t connected the dots. Once they’ve been talking with folks about, “The time when you fell down the stairs when you were five years old and were knocked unconscious, it has something to do with the state of your health.” I know nobody looked that far into the rearview mirror, but we try to get a big picture idea of where have you been? What got you up to this point? What was the most likely first domino in a series of events that led to you having this decreased expression of health? That’s where we can start to make the biggest improvements. It might not be an overnight success. It might not be an instant gratification type of process, but we can change your health trajectory by identifying and working to correct those problems in a meaningful way. That’s what they’re looking for. Someone to say, “There is a problem, it’s not in your head, it’s been overlooked but we can find it. We have found it and now this is what we need to do.”

You touched on a couple of two very good points. Some of these issues you’ve been having could have started 15, 20, 25 years ago and that’s why it’s very hard for people to connect the dots of what’s going on in their health. It could have happened as young as getting pulled out of the birth canal when you were an infant. That’s very important for them to know. Another thing you said is, you do get the cases where people are not feeling well. You give them that first adjustment and they are good, but more times than not it is a process. This happened fifteen, twenty years ago. It didn’t happen overnight. It’s going to take some time to get you back to where you need to be. I always tell people the first six to eight weeks can be a roller coaster ride; a couple of good days, a couple of bad days.

My wife’s experience with Blair chiropractic was exactly like that. We moved out here to Colorado. The first thing I did was try to find a Blair chiropractor to take care of us. We connect with Dr. Joe Hug, he’s up in Lakewood, Colorado. He’s been practicing Blair for 40 years. We got her X-rays and got her adjusted. She was competing as a high-level track and field athlete at the time. She had some issues related to hurdling and jumping and throwing in different things that she’d been trying to work out technically. He was the first guy to identify some of the imbalances related to her structural misalignment. He started to clear out the neck, which I hadn’t been able to do in chiropractic school in which conventional chiropractic approaches hadn’t got to. She went through it. Her muscles started reorganizing and rebalancing and things started shifting. She didn’t sleep well for three weeks. She had sore, achy leg muscles and all these types of things. This is a healthy fit person. She had that experience and coming out the other end of it, it solved a lot of problems. Initially, that first process of the body breaking some things down to rebuild was not comfortable.

The healing process can be very intense.

I tell people everyone has a problem. Everybody’s okay until they’re not. If a symptom comes up and something happens to you. Unless there was an immediate injury that took place, for most folks that we see, that’s not the case. Things gradually started overtime or came out of “nowhere.” For us, it’s always a problem-solving type of a situation in terms of figuring out where did the wheels come off in this situation? Your body did the best that it could compensate and adapt for that change overtime. Once you start to reach your limits of adaptation, tissues start to fail. When tissue start to fail, we start to have pain or dysfunction or some symptoms show up, which is where most folks enter the conversation of, “What do I do now?”

EM 77 | Upper Cervical Spine Upper Cervical Spine: The mental, emotional, and spiritual aspects of health are integrated with the physical body as well.

What I enjoy about your story is because you definitely had some aches and pains and some things going on, but it was nothing to be overly concerned about. It was almost like day-to-day stuff. When you were telling me, I’ve been seeing this in a lot of people, the C3, the third bone in your neck can be very integrated with your mood, your overall or general well-being. It can be the atlas and axis, but when you do take care of that and they’re still having some trouble, that C3 can be a huge game-changer. That’s what happened to you.

It’s interesting in the way that different techniques developed. The vast majority of upper cervical techniques only focus on adjusting the atlas, which is the top bone in the neck, the one that the skull sits right on top of. Dr. Blair, who developed the type of work that we do, he had a system for analyzing and assessing the bones of the cervical spine down to C4. Those rules apply throughout the entire cervical spine. We can look at each level and identify areas of concern. When I had my first evaluation down, we had identified some issues at the atlas as the primary area, but also at the third cervical so two bones below that. It’s not something that I had adjusted very frequently and very specifically. This experience that you’re talking about happened in December of 2017. I’d been a Blair patient for about two years at that time. I’ve not had that adjustment.

That’s what showed up in the analysis for the day. Dr. Hug laid me down on the table. He adjusted the third cervical and it was great, no real fireworks on the table or anything like that. I can specifically think of several things that happened in life and my personal life and in some things that I had been working through that took a turn for the better. The way I like to characterize it is something in me when I got that cleared out became more coherent. I started to understand the way that certain habits that I had developed were affecting different areas of my life, and what I needed to do to go about correcting those things. It wasn’t even anything necessarily physically related with that adjustment and the increased level of function that I got from having that cleared. Just the awareness of some things in my life.

Almost a higher level of clarity would you say?

Yes, 100%. I took it to the next level in terms of my consciousness and the willingness to do some of the hard work on personal development. Talking with a few other Blair doctors about that, they get the smile on their faces like, “You’ll see that occasionally with those lower cervical segments or that third cervical. It has a lot to do apparently with the mood and mental clarity and different things related to that type of function.” I’ve seen people get well of the aches and pains and different things like that, but having that additional experience cemented for me philosophically that this goes beyond the physical expression of health. This goes to a deeper level of expression, which includes the mental, emotional and spiritual aspects of health.

If we’re being honest, these are integrated with the physical body as well. Having that experience for me and seeing that there’s a smart way that the body is designed so that we can have structural inputs that produce greater levels of function throughout our being. Whether it’s the physical body, the mental, emotional and spiritual self as well. That’s a powerful thing and it’s something that we need to remember as upper cervical chiropractors. When we get fixated on how we can help folks with certain conditions that have done well with our types of care. Whether it’s Meniere’s disease or different types of vertigo and migraines and things like that that traditionally we’re able to help solve. That’s the tip of the iceberg in terms of the full benefit of what folks get out of this type of care with consistent routine checkups and letting their body adapt overtime.

Chiropractic is so much more than neck pain and back pain. It is so much more than that.

It’s an experience that you have to have as a doctor, to tie in some of the philosophical concepts and some of the theories and the things that you believe. The thing about belief is there has to be some action associated with it for it to carry much weight. If I was not a patient that was consistent with my care like I asked my patients to be, I would have missed out on that opportunity. Having that consistency and that dedication to my own care and taking care of my own body has now led me to a greater level of service for my patients. That’s ultimately what we have to offer is an improved quality of life, an improved expression of your best potential. That puts folks in a position to best serve their world and their community, and their family with their talents and their abilities. We have this big idea in chiropractic and that’s at the heart of it, is that it does have the potential to shape lives and to shape cultures and to shape societies when people are expressing more of their potential.

What I’ve been noticing is sometimes you don’t get everything on the first five, even ten visits. Sometimes things through the healing process, the body continues to re-balance. Sometimes your major issue or your major subluxation will show up two, three, four months down the road. That’s why I like to tell people, “Give this a fair shot, give this at least three months. Sometimes things show up down the road and it will be like a miracle once we get to that.” Sometimes you do get everything on the first visit but other people do need more attention, especially if they’ve been out of alignment for that fifteen, twenty-year mark.

In all areas of life, we have a tendency to slip back into our bad habits especially when we’re exhausted, when we’re run down, when we’re worn out. The physical body is not much different. You’re going to have a tendency to re-subluxate or to go back out of alignment when your internal resistance is low. When that happens, it takes less of an external force to put you back out of alignment. Our goal is always going to be, “Let’s build up that internal resistance, keep you in alignment as long as possible so that you can take more, so that your body can process more stressors whether it’s physical, chemical, emotional and all those types of things. So that we can break you out of that cycle of reverting back to those bad habits.” For a lot of folks, they can understand that concept even if they don’t understand some of the technical aspects of the phases of healing and the different things that we talked about.

Where in Colorado are you located? Where can people find you to get to your office there?

I’m in Colorado Springs. We’re about an hour and a half South of Denver depending on traffic. We’re the next biggest city in Colorado and it’s booming and thriving right now. It’s a great place to be. I’m excited to be here setting up practice and growing with the community. I’m here in Colorado Springs and my practice is called Zenith Chiropractic. Folks can find me online, Zenith Chiropractic, Colorado. If you search that, you’ll find my website and I’ve got links to social media, Facebook and Instagram. There are different ways that folks can connect and get an idea about the things that we’re talking about here and more. As well as find resources for folks that are either in the area or looking for good upper cervical chiropractic in any part of the country. Consider me a resource. Kevin and I can definitely get folks connected with someone near them who can deliver on some of what we’re talking about, which is the real benefits of chiropractic.

I’m interested in Colorado, California, Washington, Oregon, the medicinal marijuana. I have one patient that literally flies to Colorado to get her daughter CBD, which as we know it doesn’t get you high. It’s non-psychoactive. It has very strong anti-inflammatory properties and it does well with anxiety, depression, seizures and other conditions. How does that work in Colorado where you practice? Do you recommend that to any of your patients? Do some of your patients already use it while coming to you?

Colorado is in an interesting place in that. A lot of these substances are still not legal on a Federal level, so there are certain state laws that allow you to possess and own and use some of that stuff. It’s not something that I’ve done a ton of research in and to be able to stay that I would recommend that. I do have patients who have experienced that either topically or they’ve ingested CBD. I’ve had some folks with a variety of different conditions that say, “We live in a state where I can get recreational marijuana. I would rather take that than OxyContin.” That’s a fair judgment on their part. It’s definitely a part of the culture here for sure. It’s interesting for doctors who are in more health and wellness-oriented industry to consider. We get folks who approach us all the time about offering these products to our patients. One thing which takes the pressure off of me to do that is the accessibility that we have here. Folks don’t have to fly, they can go across town and into any shop and talk to an expert in that field and get a prescription or a green card. It’s something that’s a topic of conversation.

I’m sure we’ll know a lot more information about it as the years to come because it is still fairly new. I found it interesting that you live in a state that enables that for the patients.

I’ll say there are a lot of different perspectives within the community about whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing. Even though we’ve been into it for a little while here in Colorado, it’s very much still a fresh topic of discussion and we’re very much still navigating that.

If there has been one piece of advice that you’ve taken with you over the years that resonated with you and that helped you out, what would that be? It could be absolutely anything.

A good friend of mine, we grew up together. He used to say, “The meaning of life is to live a life that has meaning.” In a lot of ways, that sums it up. Why we’re passionate about what we do is because it matters and because it affects the lives of people. You don’t have to be an upper cervical chiropractor. You don’t have to be in healthcare to do something that matters. Folks that are getting a lot out of life are folks that are focused on doing something that matters, on having a purpose that’s bigger than serving themselves. That’s something that I keep in the back of my mind as I navigate the ups and downs of a new practice and a new family, and all those sorts of things.

John, thank you so much for coming on. I enjoyed this episode and I look forward to having you on again sometime.

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