I’ve always been kind of “out of” the chiropractic camp. The idea of grinding and cracking my spine has never really appealed to me. Couple that image with the one time I did manage to go and wound up with a neck that was more injured than when I went in, and you have one Money who has been more than reluctant to seek care from a chiropractor. For the past six years I’ve been somewhat of an acupuncture junkie…until this past summer when I woke up to find my left side almost entirely numb. Don’t get me wrong, I still like acupuncture, but at the moment I am a total chiropractic junkie. To be exact, I am a Koren Specific Technique junkie. Ever heard of it? Yeah, me neither. But let me just tell you, my experiences with it have been amazing!
It’s kind of funny how something that can feel like the biggest curse in the moment can turn out to be the biggest blessing later on. When I woke up numb and weak from my eyebrow to my finger tips and from my hip to my toes on my left side, I can’t say that I felt blessed. In fact, at that time, all I really felt was fear. A lot of it. My fear was compounded by hearing things like “stroke,” “MS,” and “ALS” tossed around. Fortunately, after several doctors, multiple unnerving potential diagnoses and three MRIs later, I discovered that my C5-C6 and L5-S1 were herniated with neuroforaminal narrowing.
Armed with a great referral from a trusted teacher, I walked into a small, friendly chiropractic office and met Dr. Mark. In truth, I met Dr. Mark while they were still throwing around MS and ALS as diagnoses. I think it would be fair to say that I walked through his door with not only a numb left side but a raging, acute anxiety disorder. I also walked in with my old fear of chiropractors. Much to my delight, I quickly discovered that Dr. Mark is not a ‘cracker and grinder.’ After his own accident in Colorado where he fell 30 feet and suffered multiple serious injuries, Dr. Mark understood better than anyone that manual adjustments could be painful. At the same time, he also understood the great healing power chiropractic care could bring. (To read more about Dr. Mark click here) It was during his own healing that Dr. Mark discovered and later became trained in the Koren Specific Technique. Dr. Mark uses an AthroStim gun to make his adjustments. The AthroStim delivers 12 taps per second, which is perfectly in tune with the natural neurological feedback system of our bodies. Better yet, the Koren Specific Technique directly asks the patient’s body exactly where it needs adjusting so that it can heal itself. It will also look for and clear emotional blocks to healing. (To read more about KST and how it works in easy to understand language click here)
This story does not end with my regaining sensation in my left side and greatly reduced pain and anxiety relief. Although all of those things happened rather quickly and without any discomfort on my part, that is only where this story begins. You see, in the course of talking with Dr. Mark, I learned about the application of KST to children (for an easy to read explanation click here). I began to wonder about bringing my daughter. I have heard countless people rave about the benefits of chiropractic with their children. But could my daughter with autism benefit? Dr. Mark assured me that she would. Then I was worried about her behavior in the office. For starters, she isn’t always an enthusiastic fan of appointments. Not to mention the fact that despite being a sensory seeker, she generally prefers that people that she doesn’t know well keep their hands to themselves. Nevertheless, there was something about Dr. Mark and his healing abilities that just really felt right for my daughter.
Dr. Mark has gentle, open, playful and loving energy. The AthroStim feels good and I thought she might think it was fun, so I went ahead and made an appointment. It was amazing! My daughter met Dr. Mark and loved him. Not liked…Loved…as in she chooses Dr. Mark over the playground on a regular basis. The first appointment was like nothing I’ve ever seen before. He started out gently letting her feel my wrist as he applied the AthroStim to it. She was intrigued and had no problem letting him adjust her. Dr. Mark would ask where she needed adjusting and right when he’d get the answer, she would stop what she was doing and walk over to him for her adjustment. Every single time without fail. You could literally feel her entire body sigh with relief as if to say, “Finally! Somebody who gets me!” She was relaxed, if not playful with him. What was most incredible was that he got a significant amount of extremely accurate information about her without my saying a word about her history. He picked up her reflux, constipation, sensitivity to mold, fragrances and chemicals without so much as a peep from me. The best part? She was happy, content and clearly feeling better.
When we arrived home my husband noticed the change in her immediately. She was more focused. The quality of engagement with her was deeper. Her eyes sparkled and she held your gaze for a long period of time. The color in her face looked beautiful and her behavior was greatly improved for almost the entire week in between appointments. Score!
The second appointment was such a delight! I picked her up at school and she asked for the playground. I said, “We have an appointment to go see Dr. Mark today.” Without skipping a beat she ran for the car saying, “ I want Dr. Mark!” When we pulled into the parking space she pointed at his ramp and door and said, “I want to go in there. I want Dr. Mark.” In we went. In the waiting room she pointed down the hallway towards his office and said again, “I want to go in there. I want Dr. Mark.” When it was our turn to go in, Dr. Mark and I caught up a little about what I’d observed during the week. In the midst of our conversation, my daughter took his AthroStim gun off the wall and handed it to him as if to say, “Come on Buddy, get to work already!” They did the same dance that they did the first time. Dr. Mark asked questions and she responded without any verbal exchange, stopping what she was doing to walk over and get her adjustment right when he’d get the answer of where it was needed.
Not all of our appointments have been super smooth. She has had a couple of meltdowns along the way, typically during the worst of the mold season. I don’t have to tell you how stressful it is when your child suddenly looks possessed and starts screaming and crying. Regardless, Dr. Mark is always easy going and even-keeled, sometimes using grounding techniques that settle her in less than a minute. (I’ve already thought of asking him to move in…so far no luck.)
The gains we’ve seen have been wonderful. Her gross motor coordination is fantastic. She used to be the kid who could trip over nothing. Recently, she was balancing on a beam with a curved top surface and able to turn around several times on it, while everyone else was falling off. Before starting KST, she wouldn’t have been able to balance on it in one spot for long, never mind walking and turning on it. She can also now write and color! She’s had such difficulty being able to apply enough pressure to the paper and make letters, but now all her school papers come home with her handwriting on it. She is more focused and more present. Her language, her greatest challenge, is moving forward. Her stomach pain seems greatly improved. Her cheeks are rosy and she’s happy. She is more social and engaged with both peers and adults. She has always been ahead academically, but her cognition seems even more clear and she is sharing what she can do with others. We are seeing a plethora of imaginary play. On New Year’s Day, we went to a local mall to let her play in the children’s play area. The local mall has a number of sea-themed climbing creatures and a fun, fast slide. Normally, we would have had to hover to ensure she play safely, follow the rules, not push, etc. For the first time in her life, Mr. Money and I sat down on the side with all the rest of the parents and just watched her play. We never once had to hover as we used to. She was 100% appropriate, waiting her turn, getting out of the way when she was done, cheering others on, watching out for little ones, helping up little ones who stumbled and all while wearing the most beautiful, happy smile. During that time, not one person would have been able to tell that she was anything other than a completely typical five year old. It was amazing! The list goes on and on. It seems that since starting KST with Dr. Mark, she has just taken off. The best part for us is how much she loves it…and she knows it helps her feel better.
Recently, when she was home sick with a viral infection, she spontaneously asked for Dr. Mark. The most poignant example occurred just the other day. Something was going on that made it really challenging for her to control her behavior. She was a little wild and hyperactive. It seemed like we were reining her in almost all day, catching her before she crashed into someone or accidentally broke something. About half way through the day, after I cued her to be gentle yet another time, she looked at me with this expression that clearly meant, “I just can’t help what I’m doing and I don’t like it!” At the same time she said, “I want Dr. Mark!” Clearly she was telling us that she really couldn’t control what was happening and that she knew just exactly what she needed to be back in control. We took her to Dr. Mark the next day and sure enough by that evening all was well again.
My spinal problems turned out to be a pretty big blessing after all. I am so grateful to have found this practitioner and this method of healing. I don’t know where it will take us, but I do know that it is an integral part of her healing. The best part remains that she adores him and looks forward to going. Just a few weeks ago when we went for our appointment, as we headed down the hall, Dr. Mark took a quick detour into an office on the right to get something. My daughter knows his office is at the end of the hall to the left. She didn’t skip a beat, following him into the office on the right and immediately leading him out by the hand saying, “come with me, let’s go down there,” while pointing to his office. Music to my ears…and really cute to see this little five year old leading Dr. Mark down the hall.
For more information on KST click here.