Chiropractor expands services to nutrition, stress relief, wellness.

Founded in 1987 as Worthington Chiropractic, Julia Keiser's clinic has expanded to include two other chiropractors, five therapists and a far-reaching mission on health and nutrition.

Now known as Worthington Optimal Wellness, it offers expanded services in stress relief, allergy treatments and corporate wellness programs.

Thirty years ago, chiropractic services were enough for most patients, Keiser says. “But it's not enough anymore. I have to start looking at their physical stresses, people sitting all day. The joke is, sitting is the new smoking.”

Keiser and fellow chiropractors K.J. Shannan and Katie Klein provide on-site workplace seminars and group workshops on nutrition, exercise and stress management. Services include nutritional cleansing, allergy relief based on molecular allergen analysis, and musculoskeletal insights derived with a diagnostic machine originally designed by NASA to assess astronauts returning from space.

Recently, a clinic patient suggested bringing Worthington Optimal Wellness massage therapists to the office of Whalen & Company CPAs during tax season. It's the most stressful time of the year there, says Whalen's Tracy Ceritelli. The Worthington Optimal Wellness staff brought in massage tables and other equipment, and the combination of therapy and pampering boosted morale, she says.

“One of their doctors gave a lecture here in the office, speaking about health in the office atmosphere, ergonomically correct computer screens, and the need to be getting up, moving, eating healthily,” Ceritelli says.

Office work isn't the only culprit, Keiser says, citing emotional stress from constant texting and chemical stress from the toxic substances in our food, air and water. “Our bodies can process some of that, but not all of it.”

Meanwhile, many people yearn for a healthier lifestyle but get injured at the gym or confused in the organic food aisle, Keiser says. “Still, cancer rates are up, cardiovascular rates are up, autoimmune rates are up, diabetes and obesity,” she says. As Keiser learned more about nutritional causes of these diseases, Worthington Optimal Wellness began offering proven nutritional cleansing as treatment for weight control and toxicity.

In a world where pharmaceuticals and expensive surgeries dominate medicine, chiropractic continues with mild and non-invasive manipulations and adjustments.

“In our culture right now we are very focused on the quick fix. You've got acid reflux, so you take Prilosec. Basically what we're doing is suppressing the symptoms and we're not really getting to the cause. I say to patients, ‘If the oil light were on in your car, would you put a piece of masking tape on it?'” Keiser says.

“Chiropractic looks at the nervous system as a giant communication system. Our brains run the show at 730 trillion functions a second. If communication is blocked by spine or neck issues, then you have a problem.”

Medical doctors and patients may be skeptical about chiropractic, and many health insurance plans exclude or minimize reimbursement. Still, Keiser keeps expanding her network of consulting physicians and specialists, adding to her referral base and communicating closely on patient care.

Like many chiropractors, Keiser joined the profession after suffering an injury of her own, falling down stairs in her early 20s. Painful sciatica set in, making it difficult to walk. Doctors prescribed Valium, muscle relaxers and painkillers. Nothing helped.

“In eight months, my menstrual periods stopped. I was 22! Like so many people, I went to a chiropractor as a last resort, when nothing could stop the pain,” she says.

“The chiropractor's third question was if I was having problems with my period. He said the same nerve that is irritated and gives you the pain down your leg is the nerve that controls the function of your uterus and ovaries.

“Well, within about six weeks of treatment, my sciatica resolved, never to return. My periods resumed. He just adjusted me chiropractically, nothing else. He started working on my neck and my lower back, and I started seeing all these fantastic changes, and within two months I never had another migraine again.”

With that experience, “I woke up one morning and said, ‘I have to be a chiropractor.'”

Mike Mahoney is a freelance writer.