Dr. Maura Moynihan is one of the most amazing healers I’ve ever been around. She is also my cousin and one of the biggest influences in my life. She has endless heart and compassion. Her aura and energy fills the treatment room like no other doctor I’ve ever met. Dr. Maura is a healer on every level: physical, mental, and spiritual. She does many different types of treatments other than chiropractic that are so valuable and she gets amazing results. She specializes in kids, pregnant women, and spiritual psychology.
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The Miracles Of Pregnancy, Kids,And Chiropratic with Dr. Maura Moynihan
Please welcome, Dr. Maura Moynihan. How are you Maura?
Maura, where are you from?
I am from Long Island, New York, born and raised.
How was it growing up in Long Island?
It was great. It was full. I was the oldest of six. My whole upbringing was really based around just caring for my siblings. Watching my mom and her pregnancies really influenced me in a way that I didn’t even recognize until I got older.
You grew up babysitting, probably a lot.
Yeah, that was a thing. Really close-knit. I loved spending time with my cousins. I loved spending time with just our extended family. When I was in elementary school though, I got sick very often. Strep throat, every month. I was out of school every single month for strep throat or tonsillitis. So much that I’m actually really surprised that they didn’t take them out. That’s what led my mom to seek a different type of care, because the chronic doses of antibiotics were clearly not effective. That’s when she took me to my first chiropractic visit when I was about eight.
Did that help?
I stopped getting sick. Then everybody in my family started going to a chiropractor. It was just a part of our care. How influential that was, was huge.
I used to get chronic ear infections and I was on antibiotics probably once a month as well. My mom didn’t know any better. She’s like, “That’s what you do. You go to the doctor, you get antibiotics and that’s that.”
That is so true. You don’t know until you know and then the whole game shifts.
You also played some sports in high school. You were a big runner.
I paid for a lot of my college through running. It was when I was in my freshman year that there was a woman chiropractor in the athletic training office. I thought she was so bad ass because she would come in and she would adjust the football players and the lacrosse players and everybody. That combines both things, helping people and sports. I talked to her and she really impacted me because she was like, “As a woman, I wanted to have a family and I needed to make my own hours. I can help people on my own terms and support the population that I really feel called to supporting.” That really stuck with me. I started my chiropractic adventure really being clear that I actually was going to focus on athletes.
What were some of the stuff you were dealing with as a runner?
I had a lot of tightness in my calves and shin splints were something that I was really working with often. That was my Achilles heel for sure.
After you saw that chiropractor and college was winding down, did you know immediately that this is what you wanted to do or did it take a little bit?
During college, I had a neighbor across the street who was this phenomenal woman chiropractor. She worked in the city. I started to shadow her during the summers. That really solidified it to me, because I was like, “Look at this woman making a difference, going into the city.” She worked three days a week and she was there for her kids and just had this lifestyle that I was like, “It’s the best of both worlds.” It really shifted my whole paradigm of working hard and paying your dues and to live your dreams. Who am I not to accomplish what I set out to accomplish and support people the way that I wanted to support them? Those women were hugely influential in me being really clear. I only applied to one school for a chiropractic school. I was like, “That’s where I’m going.” I’m sure you can relate, Kevin. I went and again I thought I was going to treat athletes but then that shifted.
Did you pick that school because you always wanted to live in California?
I picked that school because my neighbor, who I shadowed, went to that school. She just embodied all of these qualities that I was, “I want that.” The way that she shared her experience in California, and that’s where she met her husband. They would go skate boarding in Huntington Beach. If I’m going to study my ass off, I do not want to be in Upstate New York again. Bring on the sunshine. It was really clear. It was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
It’s funny when you tell people that you went to school in California. It’s like, “How did you ever concentrate? If I ever went out there, I would never get any work done.” It’s the opposite. It’s so nice out that you want to get your stuff done and then start enjoying yourself. I might have studied more out there.
I’m totally in the same way. Get me out in the sunshine. I want to be out there. I don’t want to be thinking about all of the things that I need to do so let’s just get it done.
I remember when we all came out for your wedding. I remember me and Timmy sitting on the top level of the hotel in Burbank looking out at the mountains and everything. I’m just like, “This is where I need to spend at least some time of my life,” because it’s just absolutely beautiful out there.
Kevin, you’ve always had these inner knowings of such clarity of your next steps. I’ve always appreciated how you’ve just been like, “That. I’m going to live in Huntington Beach. That, and then I’m going back to New Jersey. That.” You’ve had these stepping stones that you’ve laid out for yourself. It’s really beautiful to witness you.
You went out to chiropractic school and you were a dual major. You did acupuncture and chiropractic, right?
I did. I didn’t start that until after the first year. That was crazy. You go to school all day; 8 to 5 some days and then I would have class from 6 to 10 for several nights. It was really intense. The thing was, I loved it. I had really irregular menstrual cycles and then acupuncture completely killed that, 100%. It was such a clear yes inside that I was like, “This is really important. This is healing.” My experience, having gone through the acupuncture program, was that really opened my eyes and my heart to all of the modalities of healing. I’m so grateful for chiropractic. That’s such a foundational tool. There’s just such a growth and a blossoming off of that, for me.
What I noticed about you too is you have an extraordinary curiosity for every type of healing. Even if it’s something you don’t want to do, I feel like you look into it, feel it out, and then it’s either you go into that direction. You do so many things that are so great. Some people are very straight-minded and know exactly what they want to do but they shut other things off that could actually benefit them. From where you started to where you are now, did you ever see yourself going in that direction? Because you brought in your aspects.
I remember that I was very clear that motherhood and chiropractic were going to be such a strong connection for me. I didn’t really understand how until later on. That was one of the foundational interests for chiropractic. I get to have a family and have a career that I can create in a way that’s going to fit for me. I definitely would not have thought that I could just express chiropractic and healing in a way that keeps them evolving. There’s so much to learn. It’s endless. For me, I can have respect for something, like acupuncture, I honor and respect. That is not something that I practice but I have reverence for it. It’s just like a sifting through what lands, what fits. That’s how we find the healers that resonate with us. We all offer something a little bit different.
You have a unique specialty where you specialize in pregnant women and babies. A lot of people come into the office and they have no idea that they can even bring their kid to a chiropractor. We get such amazing results with kids because they’re so young and they heal so fast. You can see miracles happen very quickly. Could you just talk about just treating children, what you’ve seen, what they respond really well to?
The majority of my pediatric population that I work on are newborns, specifically those that have a difficult time latching, nursing, taking the bottle. What I tend to be particularly effective with that is doing a combination of craniosacral and chiropractic. I find that a lot of times, it can be a structural inhibition, whether it’s a tighter frenulum, a tighter jaw. The tighter jaw is merely a compensation for something that’s not working right. Torticollis is something that a lot of babies have from a result of just too much force from being born, whether it’s a long time pushing or obstetricians pulling. As we know, subluxation in the upper cervical spine, to correct that is just the biggest service that we can do for our body, especially when it’s developing and growing.
I’ve seen tremendous things. For example, babies that are considered failure to thrive because they’re losing tremendous amount of weight. We just release the tension and subluxation in their cranium, whether there’s cranial bone overlap. They’ll start eating properly. They’ll start pooping properly. It’s pretty huge. I really love supporting babies who have a harder time meeting their developmental milestones. Although it can be common that babies don’t crawl in the cross crawl pattern, that’s not normal. That’s a really important developmental milestone that affects how we comprehend reading later on in life. It affects how we coordinate later in life. It affects not only our public alignment but it can also affect our eye tracking. Catching that and supporting that, that’s something that is so gratifying and humbling to see. That stuff takes one session and it’s a game changer. Adjusting S2 is just huge.
Everything you do is very gentle, very light. It doesn’t take much at all to realign the babies.
No, not at all. Like I said, I really like the combination of the craniosacral with the chiropractic merely because the craniosacral can do a lot of the unwinding for us and it can really help diagnose where the pull is coming from. A lot of times when babies have a preference to look one way more than another or have an easier time latching on a breast than another, it comes from the neck but I’ve seen it come from the pelvis. It can come from the diaphragm. It can come from other structures that have just been compressed in the womb. I find that craniosacral is really helpful in diagnosing where the pull is coming from.
Even babies that are just constantly on edge and they seem restless, they’re not sleeping through the night. You probably see that all the time where you realign them and they’re back sleeping again. They’re not crying all the time. There’s probably a lot of moms out there that they don’t know what to do with that.
There’s such a helplessness. They go to their pediatricians and the babies are just put on drugs a lot of times, whether it’s a reflux medication, that’s the most common one that I see. To medicate a tiny baby, where it could just be a subluxation that’s happening. To educate the public is really important about the benefit, the gentleness, the efficacy of long lasting effects of getting cared, it’s huge.
What might be even more important than babies is helping women through the pregnancy process, right?
Amen, brother. A huge part of my practice is utilizing the Webster technique.
Which is a technique specifically designed for babies and pregnant women.
It’s most commonly known to support babies to create a space for the babies to be in their ideal positioning. It is most often sought after when a baby is breach or transverse. I like to do it on all of my pregnant women because who wouldn’t benefit from having a pelvis that’s encouraging the ideal positioning. It’s a game changer. I’ve had women who come in limping, walking sideways into leaving the room. It’s not only just sacral subluxation, it’s just uterine ligament holding and releasing that is huge. It’s so beneficial. There’s so much relaxing in your system when you’re pregnant and especially towards the end that it really doesn’t take very much. You can correct old chronic misalignments and dysfunctional movement patterns really effectively with not a lot of sessions.
What’s good for the mother is great for the baby as well. I’m sure you see this all the time. At my internship, this one woman, she got an ultrasound and the baby was breach. The Webster technique was done on her and the baby flipped around and it was in proper position again. All through just that ligament work around the womb. That alone just did it. I was just absolutely amazed by that.
It’s a tremendous tool. It can help so many people. Like you said, it not only helps the comfort of the mom, but it helps the comfort and the space for the baby. It’s really huge.
Could you talk a little bit about your experience with the natural birthing process? Or just in general, like water births? Can it be more beneficial than going to the hospital?
I love working with pregnant women. What I have sincerely found is that when a woman needs to open her pelvis in order to birth, she needs to feel safe. Certain women will feel safe, based on their history, based on their upbringing, whatever, in a hospital setting. It’s God bless, if that’s what you feel safe in order to birth your baby, for sure. Let’s just really be cognizant of not having interventions. Let’s support you as much as we are able for you to feel as calm. Have your nervous system in a place where you feel like you can connect with yourself. Get out of your head and get into your body and do what you’re designed to do.
I found that, for me and for most of my patients, because I work with predominantly midwives who specialize in home birth, who specialize in waterbirth, who specialize in having it on a birth center, that population knows about coming in for wellness care, knows about coming in for preventive care, knows that it’s going to be in the highest interest of the baby to come in and get checked after the birth. My role for those women is to give them tools and practices that will just help reinforce them to feel empowered to birth the way that they want and for them not to judge themselves if things happen that are not aligned with their ideal scene. Because life happens. We don’t want to create a scenario where they’re going to beat themselves up over some things that we can’t help.
The baby, they’d start taking in from the first moment. A lot of people shut that out. This little beautiful baby is so young, it’s not taking anything in yet, but you’re processing everything from day one.
My understanding is that they’re in your space, so when we feel stressed, they’re going to feel the stress. Sometimes women hear that, then they take huge responsibility and they’re like, “I have to be perfect.” I’ve seen time and time again when women are like, “I must create the perfect setting,” that they push things down and they don’t allow themselves to have a human experience. Life is still going to happen and things are still going to happen. Feel your feelings and let’s give you some tools so that you can come back to your center and remember what it is that you’re here to do and what your plan is for your baby and your life.
Sometimes, I know that when I had my first son, there was a lot of talk, “This is good, this is bad, this is right, this is wrong.” That feels not really supportive for my nervous system because there are a lot of contingencies on that. I want to support the woman to feel safe because then her nervous system is going to be in a place where there will be less likelihood of interventions, which is in the highest good for the mom and the baby. I want to support the woman to know that she has tools and choices. My sessions, there’s a lot of coaching that happens as well as body work. That’s just my style.
The last thing I’ll say about that is the right-wrong thing, like home birth is better than hospital birth, I’ve seen so many women who have gone into postpartum depression because they’ve put on all of these demands upon themselves, where sometimes it’s awesome and aligned, and then sometimes other things happen where they’re doing the best they can and that’s more than enough.
They plan for a natural birth but life happens, they have to go to the hospital. But that’s perfectly fine too, right? That’s pretty much what you’re saying.
Yeah. We do the best we can and then if other things happen, we have other tools. You come in for care. I had a really long-term patient who had to have a cesarean. It was after she had a VBAC. She was depressed for a year and a half because she felt like she was a failure.
What’s a VBAC?
A VBAC is a vaginal birth after cesarean. She had three children. She had a cesarean, she had a VBAC, and then she had another cesarean. Just because it was not good for the baby for her to push so they had an emergency cesarean. She did everything “right.” That just happened. Experiences like that, it really solidifies inside of myself. How to best support the mother’s nervous system is to not have judgments, to educate them, to see what fits for them and their family and support them there.
When they get a treatment from you, it’s completely different. I’ve seen a lot of chiropractors and healers and you get the full mind-body experience. You connect pain with emotion. You peel back layers. I’ll have a session with you and you ask all these questions and I don’t even know I’m telling you all this. All of a sudden, I feel like I just release and the pain goes away. You connect things that a lot of other people don’t do. Can you elaborate on just bringing the big picture together in a treatment?
It goes back to my definition of what healing is. It goes back to my Master’s Degree in Spiritual Psychology. A big tenant of that is healing is the application of loving to the places inside that hurt. I’m sure you’ve seen this in your experience, Kevin, people come in with a good chronic subluxation, or the common chronic area of pain. We’re not just our bodies. Maybe our bodies are actually trying to communicate something to us. Granted, if you were in a car accident or you slammed your knee into something, of course there’s pain for that. It’s just looking at the body as the vessel that it is and understanding what is being communicated through. I have had some huge healings for myself personally with chiropractic.
Also, with that being said, the flip side of the coin is I’ve also gotten adjusted time and time again with no relief in certain times of my life, because it wasn’t a physical thing that I was working on. It was more of an emotional thing, it was more of a mental thing, and it was more of an unconscious thing. When someone comes to me, I try to hold a space that I’m giving them a dignity of their process and that they’re not coming to me because of necessarily a physical disease. They very well may be coming for something else that is just being translated as that. It really can resonate with some people. Other people are like, “Can you just rub on that tight muscle? Can you just make it go pop?” I get it. I can do that. I just find it so much more gratifying to dig a little bit deeper. Certain people are into that and certain people aren’t and that’s totally awesome.
Another amazing thing that you do is you don’t work always in the area of pain. Mostly you don’t. Because I’ve thrown my back out completely where my left hip or left lower back hurts and then you’ll work on my right shoulder and everything will release, everything’s connected. Talk a little bit more about that.
Do you know the technique Rolfing?
The inventor, Dr. Ida Rolf, she had this great phrase and she always said, “When you think it is, it ain’t.” You keep on having this chronic right SI joint that keeps going up and you’ve adjusted it 500 times, clearly that is not where the dysfunction lies. I really, really find tremendous value in the practice of Neurokinetic therapy, otherwise known as NKT. I just took the third level and it’s blowing my mind. It just goes back to dysfunctional movement patterns. You could’ve sprained your ankle four months ago and now the pain, although your ankle is “healed,” because of the compensations that you made way back when, your left hip is all funky. If you’re just going to be looking at the hip and not addressing the dysfunction in the ankle, you’re not really going to get anywhere. It’s really expanding the scope and seeing the human form in its highly intelligent ways of how the nervous system operates.
To work on kids with that and support them as they’re developing these movement patterns is so gratifying. I’m just thinking of this one baby who had torticollis and would only roll one way and only crawl one way. He was just such a dominant sided thing. Telling the parents how important it was. A lot of education has to go to parents because like you said, a lot of people just don’t know the value of taking your child to a chiropractor. Communicating to them, you don’t go out of this, you go into it. It’s just going to shift and morph, but this dysfunction is going to stay there until we address it. The gift of addressing this within the first three years of life is foundational.
Neurokinetic therapy, from my understanding, you treating me with it, is you are turning on muscles that have “shut off” and addressing muscles that are working too hard to just balance out the system.
To be really clear, to use an example, if your right shoulder hurts, seeing if you should stretch your shoulder or not, seeing if that muscle is firing appropriately. Sometimes, muscles can be tight but they cannot be firing appropriately and therefore stretching them would be exacerbating the problem. How many times do we see people with chronic hamstrings and they’ll stretch them their whole entire life and they don’t get any looser because they are working synergistically with something else. If they let go and the other thing isn’t working properly, the whole system gets caput. It’s really a way to find these places inside that are talking to us, usually through pain or tightness, and finding the relationships. That’s why if your hip is hurting, I’m going to go to your shoulder because when we rotate, we rotate our hips and our shoulders together. When we walk, there’s that reciprocal inhibition where one muscle fires and the other turns off in order to effectively move. It’s just really fun and it seems really magical and people are like, “What are you doing?”
It feels like you’re floating afterwards. It’s unbelievable. What I’m very curious about is your spiritual psychology background. Where did you go for that? Because everybody I talked to that’s done it says it’s the best thing or one of the best things they’ve ever done in their entire life. What is that program?
I have my Master’s in Spiritual Psychology with an emphasis on consciousness, self, and healing. I got my degree from the University of Sta. Monica. By far, that is definitely up there with the best decisions I’ve ever made ever. As you know, I was raised Catholic in a very religious household. My relationship with God has always been pretty strong, in the sense of how I would pray to God or spirit or the universe or whatever phrase you want to call it. In my mid 20s, when Jason and I broke up, it was a real dark night of the soul where I was like, “What the hell am I doing? What is the point of anything? Who am I? What am I here to do? How do I even navigate this?” That’s when I found Agape.
Agape is this fantastic spiritual center in Los Angeles. It is non-denominational. It’s just the foundation of loving. I went in there and I was like, “Where am I?” There’s this loud gorgeous music and people. The first time you’re there, they ask everyone who’s new to standup and they say, “I see you. I appreciate you. I thank God for you.” Just to receive that much attention and love blew my heart wide open and blew my mind. This is not anything that I’d ever experienced before in a church setting. It really drove my curiosity to have a spiritual practice and to have a connection with God in a different way. The University of Sta. Monica provides a Spiritual Psychology program with a Master’s Degree. That just really changed the whole game for me. Of course it translates into how I care for another person and it really clarifies how life is designed for you. Even when the big challenges come up, this is designed for you. How are you going to show up? How are you going to be with yourself as you navigate that?
That’s why I think it’s so amazing because not only are you getting this education, you’re going to work on yourself. Not many programs do that. Usually when you’re in a program, there’s an end goal in mind, you’re doing it to learn as much as you can. This is you’re learning and you’re bettering yourself. I believe when those two meet, that’s when you really get to see some progress and growth because you’re applying what you’re learning to yourself.
The whole thing is healing yourself so that you can show up and be the presence of love for others, for sure. Having the experience of going through the healing, going through the process of loving the places that hurt by going through the hurt. It’s so often we’re taught, “No, you’re fine. You don’t feel that way. No, you’re okay.” Not validating, “I’m actually hurting right now. I don’t even have any tools. What do I do when I hurt? Push it down?” That’s what causes illness and disease. Owning it for one’s self, of course you can show up for another in that way.
Did they do that online though?
They have offerings online. I don’t think they offer the Master’s anymore. Now they’re doing this certificate program. Whatever they offer is extremely valuable. I retook the Third Year, the consciousness, self, and healing, because it changes everything. I volunteer there as much as I possibly can because I just want to be a part of it. I want to support it. It’s where miracles happen.
The people that do the best under any treatment that I’ve seen personally are people that meditate a lot and people that do some sort of yoga or just any type of meditation. Even if they’re in extreme amount of pain, they have that mind connection with their body. When you do remove the structural interference, they’re good to go. They take it and run with it. They hold their adjustments longer. They’re just very in tune with their body and what’s going on. They heal up faster rather than people that are just not in tune with their body and they just shut things out, push things down. Those people are always in the office just looking for something, suppressing everything. I’ve noticed some people that meditate a lot, and are just conscious of their body, they do really well under care because they have that mind-body connection that helps them heal faster. Did you notice that too?
Absolutely. Those are the people that just come in for wellness care and self-nurturing. They usually don’t have a lot of pain.
What are you up to now? What’s new?
Jason does this breath work class. He’s been traveling quite a bit. I’ve been subbing and that’s been so much fun and so inspiring to me. I love it when I sub. It’s great. I love to witness people working really hard to heal themselves in a different capacity. I had this awareness that I felt like my service was changing. I felt like my service in the world was just shifting. That week, two people approached me for coaching, so I am doing that too.
What do you mean by coaching?
Coaching, being a life coach, which was a little bit daunting at first but then I remember that’s essentially what I do with my patients anyway.
They’re coming to you strictly for just coaching?
Do you see yourself implementing chiropractic or any type of healing on them or you’re just going to stick with the coaching?
The two people that I’m doing that with now, one of them moved and she was a patient of mine. The other one is a midwife that I worked with forever. I don’t know, I’m just being curious of how it’s unfolding. It’s an added thing that I can do to support them. As of now, there isn’t any physical. Something is happening and unfolding, I’m excited about it. We’ll just see what happens.
I want to have an entire episode on breath work because it’s probably the best form of meditation I’ve ever done personally. I don’t even know how to explain it. It’s an unbelievable experience. Anything else you want to add more about pregnant women, kids, just being present, spiritualness?
I just encourage everyone to just get the care and be curious about what their modality is. Try a lot of different things and try a lot of different practitioners. There are so many different ways to apply healing, so many different. It evolves. Just being curious. It’s such an active love for our bodies when we take care of ourselves in this way.
A big part of that is just being an open-minded person with everything.
That is a really big help. It’s a painful existence when we are close-minded and that translates into our bodies for sure.
Holding on to emotions and suppressing memories and painful experiences, we carry that with us. That can literally translate into physical pain.
100%, it translates into dis-ease in some form. It doesn’t go away. Like a child doesn’t grow out of a dysfunction, an adult doesn’t lift without moving through it because it’s for us. When we do the work and we heal that pain and suffering, it not only frees us from that pattern but it frees up our, generational. We don’t pass that pattern down to our children. It’s important and it’s for us. It’s work, but it’s the best kind of work.
Would you say your treatments build off each other somewhat?
It might take a couple of sessions to work through, because it’s probably like peeling back layers of an onion. It takes some time to get through everything.
As long as we’re in a body, we’ve got shit we got to work on. That’s where it’s wellness care. Come in and we’ll just keep working on it so that you can show up the way that you desire, so you can help yourself and help others.
Not being afraid to let it go. You probably have people crying tears of joy or just going through an old experience in your treatment and they’re just letting it out and probably twenty minutes later, they feel so much better. They finally got that out and they released that.
The most important thing for that is being a safe space, just not having judgment, knowing that everyone’s on their own path and we’re all doing the best we can and just honoring that person’s path.
Maura, where are you located? How do people find you?
I’m moving my office but you can always find me through my website. I have two very strong leads so we’re in the process of that. My website is RosewoodHealing.com and all my information is on there, you can find me through there.
Thank you so much, Maura. This was a fun time. Glad we did it. Definitely want to have you on again.
Thank you for this. This was really fun.
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