Q. Let’s start off by hearing about your family and where you grew up.
I grew up in a small town in central Illinois. I attended college in Davenport, IA, where I met my husband. We now live with our 2 kids in the Western suburbs of Chicago.
Q. When did you first realize you were interested in becoming a chiropractor?
I was exploring different professions in high school, trying to figure out what I wanted to study in college and met a chiropractor who loved what he did. His passion for helping people and zeal for chiropractic intrigued me and made me want to learn more. I started learning about what chiropractic is and fell in love with the philosophy that the body is a self-regulating, self-healing organism that can express great health. I decided I wanted to do this for a living and met a female chiropractor near my hometown who asked if I had ever been under the care of a chiropractor before. I admitted that I hadn’t and she suggested I try it, so that I could experience the benefits myself. I agreed and became her patient. After a short while, I noticed that my immune system was functioning better (I was chronically sick before then), I was performing better in sports (I was told I had ‘weak ankles’ that I sprained several times a season before chiropractic) & best of all my periods which were once painful and irregular were “normal” for the first time in my life. I had not started under her care for any of those ailments, as I didn’t know she could help me with them, but quickly realized that my health was better under chiropractic. It was then that I knew for certain that I wanted to help others in the same way she helped me. I specifically wanted to help women and children and went on to study for an additional 3 years after receiving my doctorate to become a board certified Perinatal and Pediatric Chiropractor & board certified Wellness Practitioner.
Q. Is there any link between chiropractic care and the treatment of infertility?
Yes. First and foremost, the role of the chiropractor is not to treat any condition or symptom, but rather to optimize the integrity of the spine and nervous system so the body is better equipped to maintain homeostasis and function as it should. There are several ways chiropractic links to and can help infertility.
Every organ, tissue, and cell in the body is impacted by the nervous system and the flow of information goes both ways; outgoing messages from the brain (efferent signals) and incoming feedback from the body to the brain (afferent signals). If there is a misalignment or vertebra not moving properly in a particular area of the spine, it can create inflammation/irritation along the path of those signals. This in turn disrupts the quality and quantity of those signals between the brain and body and the end organ is not able to function optimally. So if a woman has a misaligned sacrum (the bottom bone of the spine), that can impact the organs in that region which are the ovaries and uterus. Similarly, upper neck dysfunction can affect endocrine glands like the thyroid and pituitary glands while the middle back can affect the adrenals.
Another consideration is to look at the balance between the sympathetic and parasympathetic branches of the nervous system. Neurologists have held that the body (down to the cellular level) cannot be in growth and defense at the same time. Anything that pushes the body toward a sympathetic (fight or flight) state will simultaneously down regulate the hormonal and physiological processes for reproduction. Short term stress is fine and a part of life, but it is when stress becomes chronic month after month and year after year that it takes a toll. We now know through research that the stress hormones (cortisol, epinephrine, adrenaline) that come from mental stress (how we think) and chemical stress (how we eat) can also come from persistent spinal dysfunction and misalignment, even without the presence of spinal pain. So when I help improve a patient’s spinal health, this allows their nervous and hormonal system to maintain that parasympathetic state of ‘rest, digest, and reproduce.’
Last to consider is something called ‘allostatic load.’ Basically allostatic load is the sum total of stressors in a person’s life that pushes them towards adaptive physiology (fight or flight) and away from that parasympathetic ‘rest, digest, and reproduce’ state. If you imagine swimming in a lake with a backpack on, your allostatic load would be like rocks in your back pack. The more rocks in your backpack, the harder it would be for you to keep your head above water and talk, think abstractly, breathe easy, and yes, reproduce. As a wellness practitioner I am dedicated to teaching patients how to eat well, think well, and move well (taking the rocks out of their backpack) so their fertility (and overall health) can unfold and express itself as designed. Many would call this the chiropractic lifestyle.
Q. Do you have any examples of a patient being treated for something else but had positive results related to cycle problems?
All the time. I just had a woman this week, who originally came to me for lower back tightness, tell me that since starting chiropractic care, her last 2 cycles were painless and a ‘normal’ flow for the first time in her life. I have patients who come to me once a month just to keep their cycles painless and regular.
Q. Can chiropractic treatment help male infertility?
Yes - men who struggle with infertility have been helped through chiropractic. Like I mentioned earlier, by improving spinal function you are turning down the sympathetic nervous system (fight or fight) & activating the parasympathetic nervous system (the rest, digest & reproduce system).
Combining Billings with Chiropractic Care.
Q. What inspired you to learn and then teach The Billings Method™?
When my husband and I were engaged, we took a Billings class in the Quad Cities. We moved away shortly after our class, but I felt I needed additional instruction. There were no Billings teachers in my area and when I called the Diocese to look for one, the woman told me they were looking for instructors and asked if I would consider teaching. I told her I would think about it but was not very interested. However, the thought kept coming to mind and I felt a calling to teach. I quickly realized how fluidly it went with my chiropractic training and that it was the missing link to helping women with fertility issues.
Q. Does the Billings chart come into play when treating patients?
Sometimes people come to me first as a Billings teacher, while others come to me first seeking chiropractic care. In either scenario, I have used the Billings chart to get a better picture of their cycle and with that information I can be more accurate in my diagnosis and recommendations. For example, I had a chiropractic patient that I was seeing for a few months who eventually told me that she had been struggling with fertility issues for 7 years. She had thyroid problems but was hesitant to take medication for it because of her religion and as a result was told she would probably never conceive. In addition to treating her through chiropractic care and lifestyle modifications, I taught her the Billings method and had chart reviews with her for several months. She conceived by the end of the year and now has a healthy baby boy.
Q. Do you have any recommendations for supplements that can help fertility?
My thought on supplementation is that it is important to give the body what it is deficient in and take away what is toxic. That said, they are not meant to replace a healthy diet. As a Wellness Practitioner, I look at my patients holistically and first help them understand what foods will assist them in sustaining proper function. From a dietary standpoint, my patients are commonly toxic in sugar, gluten, & dairy and are deficient in healthy fat (omega 3 fatty acids), fiber & nutrients coming from plants, and good quality protein (grass-fed, hormone free animals). As far as supplements, I will commonly recommend Vitamin D, fish oil & probiotics on top of eating a healthy diet.
Q. Finally, what do tell the skeptics about chiropractic?
I would first ask them why they are skeptical and then go from there. It may be because of a faulty perception that was handed on to them. There are many misconceptions out there. Or maybe they, or someone they know, had a bad experience. Ultimately I would tell them that chiropractic takes all the best current science and information on anatomy and physiology and applies it in a way to empower the patient to express their innate potential to express real health from the inside out.
BOMA-USA provides education and training for The Billings Ovulation Method® which is a natural method of fertility management that teaches you to recognize the body's natural signs of fertility.
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