Friday, July 10, 2009

Local Love Fridays: Integration for a Deeper Life - Gateway Chiropractic

Last fall, I managed to do "something" to my back. I'm sure many of you have experienced that "something" - you're just not sure what you did, but all of a sudden there's quite a lot of pain, and you can feel a ridge of muscles that wasn't there before, but you can't seem to get the muscles to behave, and the pain is just... well, taking over your life.

When I went to the doctor, she gave me the requisite icing/Advil instructions, and also said that she really, really wanted me to see a massage therapist.

I went to the wonderful massage therapist, Lisa McVety of Massageworks, and felt much, much better. I worked with Lisa several times, and from the first time I visited her, Lisa said, "I really think you would benefit from my chiropractor. She's really different. You'll either like her approach or not - but it's worth trying."

Well, at first, I chose the "not". Fifteen years earlier I'd had a very bad, single experience with a chiropractor, and it had actually left my neck damaged for quite some time. No one was going to "crack" me.

Over time, however, there were certain areas that even Lisa couldn't seem to help, and then I had secondary problems come up that were related to my ongoing struggles with both fibromyalgia and some sort of hard-to-diagnose rheumatological arthritis.

By January, I was ready to try anything that might mitigate my fairly constant level of pain.

And that's when I met Dr. Diane Babalas of Gateway Chiropractic.

Dr. Diane's BGI (Bio-Geometric Integration) method is, indeed, different.

As Dr. Diane describes it: "The philosophy is what makes it different, because the philosophy of chiropractic is that the body has an innate wisdom. The chiropractor’s job is to remove any interference to the expression of that wisdom. Bio-Geometric Integration – BGI – is a method that allows us to read what the body is saying so that we can very effectively release the tensions and stresses that are stored not only in the bones but in the soft tissues and muscles and organs. So that’s different in that traditional chiropractic medicine would basically be limited to the bony structures of the body and tends to look at the body more mechanistically."

How this translates for us, is that since this model looks at the entire body, it helps Diane analyze where tension is stored and it also gives her tactile tools to help the body learn to release that stored tension. The experience, as a patient, is a series of touches and pressures - no snapping, nothing sudden.

And then you get up off the table and feel much, much better.

A great part of what Diane does is to teach her patients how to listen and react physically to the needs of their bodies over time. To help us to tap into our own body's intelligence.

I know that for me, this has translated into different ways of sitting and breathing, and that pain, which had been my fairly constant companion for six years, has pretty much faded into the distance. It's translated in other directions, as well.

Helping you to get "unstuck" helps in other ways. In terms of Diane's patients, and what she wants people to experience when they come under her care is expressed in the following way: "I’ve adjusted babies just born – a few hours old - and our oldest person is 99, so this is really something that can help anybody, as well as animals – Even though it (BGI) is gentle, it’s actually extremely powerful and the gentleness of it allows for greater depth. The depth of the adjustments is what allows for the effects to be life-changing. So more than people just being out of pain, which in and of itself is a wonderful thing, people feel that they can get a new job, or leave a bad relationship or move and people don’t even really think of it having anything to do with this, and it does and it doesn’t actually. I’m helping the body to move its own energy that’s been stuck and stored."

There's no doubt that, for me, my work with Diane has helped me in all areas of my life - I tend to "live in my head" and the work with Diane has helped me to deal more honestly with my emotions - to allow me to have responses, and keep those responses more positive and useful. All I can say is that I'm "learning" more from my emotions, and learning is always a good thing in my book.

The patient experience itself is friendly and warm. Diane adjusts people in groups - doing this allows for people's bodies to rest and learn during the process, and it also allows for a greater amount of flexibility in creating your own treatment schedule. There is a separate room for private adjustments if you are uncomfortable with the group setting.

The outer lobby is child-friendly and filled with soft colors. Kelly, the office manager, is a delight to work with, and she quickly gets to know each patient. The treatment area is filled with sensual pleasures - soft colors, lovely music (a mix of many different types of gentle pieces, including a great number of Celtic and worldbeat tunes) and pretty lights decorate a corner of the room, natural sunlight filling in the other areas.

There is nothing I haven't loved about this journey.

I'm hoping it may be helpful for some of you, too.

Gateway Chiropractic, 210 Collingwood Road, Suite 100 (Collingwood is across from Westgate, perpendicular to N. Maple/Stadium - parking is just behind Fawzi's Westgate Auto Repair. Here is a maplink). (734) 239 - 6060. Hours are Mon., Wed., and Fri.: 3:30 - 6:00, Tuesdays from 8:15 - 10:30 and Thursdays from 9:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. (Tuesdays switch back to 9 - 11 in the fall).


Momisodes said...

I would LOVE to find a place similar here in Boston. I did "something" to my back as well 2 years ago, and I've been in pain ever since. And like you, I had 1 bad experience with a chiropractor and gave up.

Dr Babalas sounds wonderful, and the facility looks great as well.

Brian Miller said...

T used to work at a chiroprator. she always came home with wonderful things to try on me, which scared me to death. lol.

learning to listen to our bodies and otherwise, i think is a good skill to develop.

i hope you have a great time on holiday!

Jen said...

Momisodes - BGI is practiced in various areas - you might want to check out the Bio-Geometric Integration site - maybe there's someone near you.

Brian - that's what I like about working with Diane - it's all gentle. Deep, powerful, but very gentle.

Luisa Perkins said...

That's just how my chiropractor works! No snapping, crackling, or popping, thank heaven.

Jackie said...

I've seen this on tv. I don't know why, I've always add a bad image of this practice. Your article changed everything...Love the way you explained the whole concept. This doctor's office looks very good and inviting.

Betsy said...

This sounds wonderful! I would love to be able to have a tune-up-- do you think she makes house calls?

Enjoy your vacation!

Ivy said...

I had a similar (bad) experience with a chiropractor several years ago. I wish I had someone like your new chiropractor to visit. I have been trying acupuncture lately with very good results.

Mariposa said...

I have been meaning to see a chiropractor lately for some discomfort in my hips every now and then...I tried it before and it was great.

I wish I can find something like her in my place!

I hope to be back with Local Love this week.

Shan said...

That looks like a lovely place. Thanks for sharing.

Jen said...

Luisa - is your chiropractor also a practitioner of BGI?

Jackie - If I'd seen this on TV a lot, then I might not have tried it. I tend to be suspicious of those types of ads as well. Since the recommendation came from someone I trusted, I was more open to trying it, and it's certainly been a blessing in my life!

Betsy - if you find your way back to MI at some point, you might really want to try this - I can see you and Diane being a great match.

Ivy - I have friends who've had wonderful results with acupuncture. I think it's all a matter of finding the right practitioner.

Mariposa - as you know, I missed LL this week, as I was away. I'll be back with it this coming Friday, the 24th. I hope your hips feel better soon!

Thanks, Shan!