Dr. John Hilpisch shares his story on when he started his journey as a chiropractor. Recovering from broken bones and a broken football career, he saw an opportunity to do better and pursued chiropractic. Dr. Hilpisch breaks down the difference between a “straight” chiropractic and a “regular” chiropractic, covering his own experience on shifting to a straight from a mixer realizing then how mostly everyone has a subluxation or misalignment that is interfering with their full health potential. Dr. Hilpisch went on to study upper cervical, and years later he is now a member of the Blair Upper Cervical Chiropractic Society.
In this episode, we have Dr. John Hilpisch. He is a Blair Upper Cervical chiropractor out of Minnesota. He has been an upper cervical chiropractor for a long time now and he’s still as passionate as ever at what he does. He shares his amazing story that ultimately landed him on the path of being an upper cervical chiropractor. It is amazing to see how everyone’s journey is all connected, even though it may not make sense at the time, but if you stay the course, it ultimately works out in the end. Dr. John shares the miracles he has seen in his office and why there needs to be an upper cervical chiropractor in every major city in the world. Please welcome, Dr. John Hilpisch.
Listen To The Episode Here: Upper Cervical to the World with Dr. John Hilpisch
Upper Cervical to the World with Dr. John Hilpisch
We have a great upper cervical chiropractor, Dr. John Hilpisch. Dr. John, how are you?
I’m doing great, Dr. Pecca.
Where are you located?
My practice is in Lake Elmo, Minnesota. It’s a suburb of St. Paul. We’re right on the Wisconsin border.
Are you from up there?
I am. I haven’t migrated too far. I grew up and practice in Lake Elmo. My family is still here as well.
How did you like growing up North?
I know no difference, but now as I’m getting older, I wonder why I’m here.
How did you get into the chiropractic profession?
I didn’t start out thinking I was going to be a chiropractor. Back in high school, I thought about being a healthcare professional. I looked at how long it took to be a doctor. I said, “I’m not going to school for that long.” Physical therapy was my first option. I shadowed my friend’s dad who had his own physical therapy clinic and it looked quite fun and exciting and it looked like a challenge. I went to a school that allowed me to take my pre-requisites. I was a football star back in high school, I went to this small Lutheran College in Minneapolis and I didn’t take academics all that seriously. I had a lot of fun with my college experience. My grades started to slip a little bit. I broke my forearm in about seven, eight places and so they put plates and pins in. My football career was over at that point.
Was it your dominant hand?
It was not, but I adjust better with this arm. I changed majors about three or four times because my grades started to slip. To get into the physical therapy program was very competitive, so my grades were not that good. I started looking at being an engineer and I was going to be a medical tech and so on. When I broke my arm, I damaged my ulnar nerve and so I had to go to physical therapy. I’m sitting across the table from this therapist and he was trying to get my arm to stimulate and so on. I was telling him what I was going to do and he said, “I didn’t have very good grades. If you buckled down here, maybe you can get back into the program.” I thought, “That’s what I’m going to do.”
I had a call from a kid that I worked at a grocery store with back in high school and he said, “What are you doing?” He was in chiropractic college and I thought, “Really?” I knew he had gone to the local community college that was not too far from my house. I said, “Do those credits actually transfer and do they accept them at the chiropractic college?” He said, “Absolutely.” I dropped out of the private school. I went to community college, and started taking my classes. It’s funny because I had a D in chemistry and I had to retake chemistry and organic chemistry at the same time. God sat me down and broke my arm on purpose to get me back involved. I enrolled at Northwestern College of Chiropractic in Minneapolis. To be honest with you, it was the closest school and I had no idea that there was a difference in philosophies or how they trained you.
Were there any chiropractic adjustments up until now?
None. My mother went to an old Palmer Grad and it was your typical 1960’s chiropractic office. I had Scheuermann’s growing up so my mid-back bothered me a bit. It was just manual adjusting and I thought it was pretty cool. I remember getting home telling my fourteen-year-old brother, “Let me show you what this guy did to me.” It was a nonspecific moving of the bones and I could see myself doing this. I went to Northwestern and graduated. They did an excellent job of getting me through my boards. It was not until I started seeing patients that I had the advantage of working with a guy that was a very successful full-spine chiropractor. He helped me along. He brought me to Dr. Charlie Ward, who was his consultant in his management firm. Those two had a beautiful model as far as how to run an office and how to train staff. It was an absolute godsend. That got me on the path to being a good chiropractor and running a good office.
I had that huge advantage. I was going to be his first associate and he wasn’t quite prepared to take on an associate. We parted ways and I opened my own practice nine months after I graduated. My dad co-signed on my first business loan, it went on, and we took it from there. I didn’t know anything about upper cervical. It was never exposed to me. I can remember a kid at Northwestern who had a Sherman t-shirt on and it said something about straight chiropractic. I thought, “What is that?”
I started to practice and things went well. I came across another colleague of mine who I graduated at Northwestern with and he was going to give up his practice and be a missionary with his family in Africa. He gave me all of his equipment. In this grocery bag was a mix-match set of cassettes and they were Reggie Gold tapes. I started listening to these cassette tapes in this cassette player that I got when I subscribed to Time magazine. I started lifting into Reggie Gold and it was like, “There’s a philosophy behind chiropractic that I have no idea.”
What’s it like listening to those Reggie Gold tapes because they are literally gold? I’ve heard great things. I’ve never listened to one though.
EM 72 | Upper Cervical Upper Cervical: Think more philosophically about what your role is for your patients.
They were well done. It wasn’t like he did in his basement, he probably had them digitally mastered. They were of good quality. I only had four out of the seven pieces of it, but it brought me into a different dimension. I didn’t know anything about the philosophy of chiropractic. I thought it was, “You look at the TNI nerve and that goes to the adrenal glands. We’re going to push on the TNI to try to get the adrenal glands to work better.” It changed my mindset in my role as a chiropractor. I started to think more philosophically and what my role was for my patients. That was to find the subluxation, analyze the spine, and then remove the subluxation as best that I could at the time with a full-spine model. I started tapping into Sherman a little bit. I went to a couple of seminars down there. The first straight chiropractor seminar I ever went to was in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania. That was an ADIO seminar and Gary Dunn and Terry Romberg brought together 20 to 25 straight chiropractors.
What is a straight chiropractor rather than like a regular chiropractor?
The word straight now means something different and it was a spearhead. Straight chiropractic is about how we do not treat symptoms, we do not add supplements, and we don’t add heel lifts. Our job, as chiropractors, is to find the misalignment in the spine, adjust that segment, take the pressure off the nervous system, and let the body express itself naturally. That’s our only role. We don’t add in anything else. Straight means straight chiropractors versus mixers, which would mean we mix in physical therapy, women’s nutrition, rehabilitation facilities, and all those things. Straight means all we are chiropractors and we don’t add anything to that. I was doing it all. I had a TENS machine, hot packs and so on.
Looking back on it, if you don’t know how to adjust or you’re not trained how to adjust, the spine will never respond. You have to add all these other things to placate your patients and get them to feel somewhat better. Going back to this ADIO seminar, me and my friend went down there and it opened my eyes to a completely new world. I opened the curtain to a whole new world and each speaker hit me on a different level. It’s one speaker after another and after another. They had an open mic at the end of the conference. They’re like, “If you experienced something this weekend and you want to share with everybody, please feel free to come up.”
I’m the guy that sits in the back of the room, I’m not the guy that’s going to stand up there. I thought, “If I don’t get up there and say something and bind myself to this, I’ll probably go home and forget about it.” I went up there and said, “My name is John Hilpisch and I’m a mixer.” They all laughed and I said, “I will make my commitment to all of you in this room. I’ll go back to my office on Monday, get rid of my pinwheel, my hammer and roll my interferential machine into the back room.” I remember walking back and Arnold, who is a French chiropractor guy and he’s got a thick accent. He grabbed me by both shoulders, looked me in the eye and said, “I love you.” That was my very first transformation in chiropractic.
I went from being a mixer to a straight chiropractor. It opened my eyes to the fact that mostly everyone has a subluxation or misalignment that is interfering with their full health potential. With that, it opened up the whole world for me. My office exploded. I got families, kids and grandparents. I’m like, “I don’t care if you can afford it or not, your family needs to be in here.” I would see volumes and volumes of patients using the full spine model. It didn’t take very long until I figured out that if we find a kink in the core or an interference in the nervous system, you remove that interference, we should see help realize itself at a higher potential, but that didn’t happen very often.
I’ve seen volumes of people and it’s like, “Where are these little chiropractic miracles? Where are these changes? Why am I seeing them?” I was like, “I believe in that. I’m not changing that. It must be my technique.” I had no exposure to upper cervical at all at Northwestern. I didn’t know where to go. I remember sitting and taking histories on my patients and they’re telling me all these problems. I’m shaking my head, “Yes,” but in my mind, I’m shaking my head, “No. I have no idea if I’m going to be able to help you because my technique doesn’t support my belief. Where do I go from here?” It wasn’t like the age of the internet where I could Google, “How do I get my patients better? What are the different kinds of a chiropractor?”
The same buddy that went to the ADIO seminar with me, he had gone down to DE Seminar in Atlanta. That was a forum for straight chiropractors. One of the chiropractors I spoke with was Michael Kale. He took over BJ’s HIO Technique and he was proliferating it. He was giving seminars and he had a very successful training facility down in Spartanburg, South Carolina, which happens to be where Sherman College is. He said, “We’ve got to go. I’m going to bring it back there. We’re going to listen to this guy because this is the missing link because he was in that same boat as I was.”
I remember I had a frequent flyer ticket and that was back in the day where you’ve got a certificate if you have many miles accumulated. They give you a ticket, “Here’s a free flight.” My office was a mess at the time, papers and files were all over because I was following down an insurance company. I’ve got all these files lying around. It’s like, “I’ve got this free ticket, we’ll fly down in Atlanta, we’ll see this guy about this upper cervical technique.” I couldn’t find my ticket because they cleaned my office. It was clean, but I couldn’t find a ticket and I said, “I’ve got to do this.” I went to one of the hotels that had a Northwest Orient Outlet where you could buy tickets for $785 back in 1992.
I said, “This is something I’ve got to do.” I coughed up the money and I went down to Atlanta. It made perfect sense. I started reading volume eighteen about the upper cervical specific and subluxation specific. I understood how the spine worked and how it didn’t work. How the interlocking mechanisms of the joints below C3 didn’t allow for misalignment enough to put pressure on the core and the spinal nerve roots. It made perfect sense to me. I was in that limbo stage where I don’t have the technique, I have it in the back of my mind, and how do I get there. I started going to the seminars down in Spartanburg and it was it was unique. He had a unique personality and he had very high energy, but there was something that didn’t click with me with his personality. I love the philosophy.
There was a kid that I had inspired to be a chiropractor. He was at Sherman at the time. In between one of the breaks or after one of the sessions, I sat down with this kid and was talking to him. Sherman was based on upper cervical rationale there and that’s all they taught for years. He was down there and then he tried to go to Northwestern and he did for a couple semesters. He knew the philosophy and tried to fight every student. He ended up going on a Sherman, which was gutsy at the time because Sherman had accreditation issues and only nine states in the union would accept a Sherman grad.
In other words, they didn’t have accreditation and you couldn’t practice and you didn’t have a valid chiropractic license. He took a big chance and he went down there. He told me, “I’m taking this elective here at Sherman. Perry Rush taught this class two or three times at 7:30 AM every week.” The elective was early in the morning. These kids were dedicated to learning about the Blair technique and Perry was instrumental in putting some of the great Blair chiropractors out there. Without him, Blair would have probably withered away into oblivion. Perry was a huge influence on a lot of great Blair chiropractors.
Who taught him?
Dr. Blair taught him. Perry was a wrestler in high school and he was from Southern California. He ended up going to Weldon Muncy in Lancaster, California. He went to Weldon and he was going to be a medical doctor or some other professional. He said, “No,” changed his life, had his body back in shape and plenty of concussions. Perry ended up going to Sherman. He was in the pioneer class. It was the very first class to graduate down there. He crossed paths with Dr. Blair and he specifically said, “Perry, we need to teach the Blair elective at Sherman and I need you to do it.” It’s like that scene in It’s a Wonderful Life where George Bailey wants to leave, “But you leave, Potter’s going to take over the course.” He changed his entire life to stay at Sherman to teach the Blair Technique. I respect Perry for that and for the dedication that he had.
Getting back to my original story, this student said, “The Blair Technique is something you may want to look into.” I looked into it and it pushed aside a lot of the issues that I was having with HIO work. Dr. Blair put the HIO work and advanced it. He talked to Dr. Palmer about that and Dr. Palmer gave him the blessing to take it to the next step. Dr. Blair got his PhC from Dr. Palmer.
What were some of the things that were resonating with you right off the bat?
The Blair technique takes into consideration that God forms each and every spine a little bit differently. What Dr. Blair found that once he started practicing the HIO work, when he was at Palmer, they were teaching HIO. He went back and used the HIO, which is a specific upper cervical technique. He went back to his practice in Lubbock, Texas and learned early on that some of his patients would respond and hold their adjustments, but the grand majority were not. He put his practice on hold, went to Sabbatical and back to Palmer College, they had over 20,000 fully articulated spines.
He started looking at the real-life spines instead of the textbook norm where the left side of the spine is exactly the same as the right side. He started looking and found about 77% of the cases that the upper neck, skull and atlas bone were notorious for having asymmetry. There were built-in problems in the way that the analysis system was being used at the time. What they thought they were seeing as a rotated atlas was our natural bone structure. Dr. Blair now knows that we need to take into consideration that each and every sign is a little different, but he didn’t know how to do that.
As the story goes, he was eating a sandwich at the Adolphus Hotel in Dallas, Texas. This whole Protractor View Convergence Angles Theory came into his brain and he figured out, “We can figure out how that person’s atlas angles are formed naturally. Turn that patient around, put them in a head clamp at that particular angle that they’re formed at, shoot the X-Ray down the line of the joint. We can see that misalignment on the radiograph which has never been done before.” Those principles are what you and I are still using now.
It’s amazing that with all the new technology we have now like the Cone Beam CT Scan and everything is further proving Dr. Blair’s work. It’s making it clearer after all these years.
It’s incredible because of the first generation of Blair chiropractors, Dr. Topping and Dr. Fiore out in California. These guys have developed very busy practices and they are not probably as active in the Blair society as they used to be, but they are the most excited now with the Cone Beam CT Scan. This absolutely confirmed what Dr. Blair’s principles theorized. There’s a big excitement. Dr. Blair would have been the very first one to continue on investigating. Until the day he died, he was trying to figure out the best way to make the bone move, how to get it to hold in opposite side and same side context, and double misalignments. He never stopped.
Unfortunately, there are fractions in the Blair work which have stopped at the core major misalignments. Those folks adhere to the ASL and PIR which is still going to clear out the vast majority of it. The HIO work hasn’t gone past 1937. Dr. Blair would have been the first one to embrace the technology changes and the improvements that certainly are still being made in 2018, which is amazing.
A lot of people that go to a Blair seminar get all hyped up about it, but it’s extremely difficult to transform your full spine practice to a Blair practice overnight. How did you do that?
EM 72 | Upper Cervical Upper Cervical: You have to have a genuine desire to make the change.
Our focus in the Blair Society for many years was trying to get those field doctors to convert over. You have to have a genuine desire to make the change. If you keep one foot on first base and you’re going to keep your full spine model and try to maybe use Blair as a part of your therapy or tool belt, it doesn’t work. It can’t work. There are things that parallel my life in my practice, personal life, and spiritual life. If there was a truth, you have to follow that truth and there’s no going back. You can’t turn back. Once I learned about the straight philosophy, there was no way I was going to go back to being a mixer. Once I understood the upper cervical rationale, there was no way I was going to go back to a full spine model. For me, it wasn’t difficult. It was difficult due to the fact that our Blair Society was not well-organized in training and teaching.
For so many years, Dr. Blair was the only trainer and certified instructor and he was an absolute stickler for details. He would make people take the primary dozens of times before he would even let them touch the spine. It was a very protected technique, which I believe is still very important. The doctors that did stick with it, carry it through and became instructors became ultimately successful. They didn’t have time to teach because they had such busy practices. They were getting such great results. Doctors like Roger Morrison and Ciro Rustici perpetuated it. They helped continue on with the seminars. Dr. Muncy did too. It was hard to follow along. The notes that we had were a mix match of what Dr. Blair’s original notes were, where it would go from page 49 to page 87. I was like, “Did I miss something?”
It was tough. I’m a visual learner and some people are audio learners. For me to go back and try to study this stuff, it was tough. I would go to a seminar, my brain would get full, and I would go back home and say, “I can try to do the leg checks now for the next three months, five months, two months or to whenever the next seminar might be.” That was tough because there was no internet. It wasn’t like you could jump on and say, “When is the next seminar?” It’s word of mouth like, “There’s going to be one down in Kansas City in two weeks or a month.” We would get a contingency, go down there, and learn more and more. It was a labor of love for me.
It is much easier for somebody that has the desire to become a Blair chiropractic because we probably have half of our societies as certified instructors, which is absolutely amazing. Your generation is so smart and intelligent if you can be exposed to it. Our focus now is trying to convert doctors to be Blair chiropractors. If we didn’t catch a young, fresh, open-minded student into a Blair chiropractor, it’s so much easier. For me, it wasn’t difficult. It got to that point where I’m like, “I’m going to start converting my practice.”
It’s the commitment itself.
It’s the commitment and you cannot keep one foot on first base. June 06, 1996 was the day that I started Blair in my office. God has his hand in everything and my brother’s family got into a minor car accident and I thought, “I’m going to start X-raying these guys with the Blair.” I took some stereo X-rays. It was like, “Here we go.” I had a carpet on the floor and I used a rolling chair from the office. I was sweating bullets because I had never done it before, but I was like, “I’ve got to do it.” Every new patient from that point forward, I put Blair on them. They didn’t even know that I was a chiropractor.
I was in a strip mall at the time and our neighbors had a coffee shop and donut shop in big areas. I said, “Can I come to your place because I want to start exposing my full spine practice to this Blair technique?” We would bring in 40 or 50 people at a time from the practice and say, “I’m embarking on a new endeavor, this Blair technique, this is why I love it. This is why it should be good for you.” Some patients were all on board with it. I offered all of them free Blair views because I had already taken their money to take the first set of X-rays. A lot of them got on board and some were like, “I’m not sure, Doc. I liked the old technique.”
As my practice started converting, I saw less and less full spine patients. I’m doing my live checks on my full-spine patients and I say, “You’re good today.” They turn their head on the table and say, “I haven’t been adjusted.” “You don’t need to be adjusted.” They used to get adjusted since I had no metrics by which to measure whether their adjustment was working or holding. I was more than happy to let them go and see the 99% of the patients or the doctors that were still doing full spine. I was willing to take that because I had a vision in my brain that if this Blair technique was as good as I envisioned it.
I didn’t have a success story. I had got my atlas adjusted and I saw some great results. I thought the principle was sound and amazing. I said, “I’m going to do this.” Since the network was so small and less, people are going to be driving all over the upper Midwest to come and see us because we’ve got this Blair work and that’s exactly how it is. I’m not proud of it. We don’t have enough Blair chiropractors. We need more Blair chiropractors to fill in the gaps in the maps and not only the United States but throughout the world. We have patients that drive five hours, six hours, one way to get checked. They would get into their vehicle and drive back that same day.
People from all over are coming in through plane rides.
That’s great for our ego, but it’s not good for the patient. I got better and better. I wasn’t a very good chiropractor when I started, but I knew what I was doing was going to be better than I was providing for my patient. Looking back on it, the conversion was part of my journey. I wouldn’t change it for the world. My oldest daughter went down to Sherman and she started Blair. When she called me, she’d been through two years of undergrad and she was not going to be a chiropractor. She was like, “No way.” Two years after sophomore year, she calls me and says, “Dad, what’s the best chiropractic college?” I was like, “Who wants to know?” She said, “Me,” and I said, “What?” We had no conversation prior to that. I told her to get into Northwestern because selfishly, I wanted her to be around home. I said, “I can help you and I’ll help teach you the Blair technique.” She said, “What’s the best school?” At that time, Sherman had it all and she ended up going down to Sherman. Now, my oldest daughter is in practice with me, which is an absolute honor to see her doing as well as she’s doing. The beauty of the Blair technique is that it’s interchangeable. I can send to another doctor a patient that I’ve analyzed that has got an atlas axis and give him the leg check patterns and the scan pattern. The profession will and the society will perform the exact work and come to the same conclusions.
That’s important because anybody can say, “I’m going to a chiropractor in the United States,” and they have absolutely no idea what they’re walking into. That’s why we could send people all the way across the country and the Blair technique and they can get the same exact adjustment and same exact results. That’s a beautiful thing.
I remember when I attended one of my first couple Blair conferences in San Francisco. It was by the airport and there were fifteen to twenty people there. I’m thinking, “Here we are, the best chiropractors in the world as far as I’m concerned, and we’ve got this crappy little hotel and we’ve got just a handful of doctors.” When the conference was over they said, “We have committees that we’d like people to sign up for if they’re inclined.” I said, “I’ll sign up for the conference committee, so we can have a better hotel than this.”
I got involved in the Blair Society. I’m still involved, but not quite as heavily as I was. I got on the board and became the president for a few years because I wanted more Blair chiropractors throughout the world. You and I know that somebody is going to move and they’re going to need a Blair chiropractor in Missoula or Reno or Jacksonville, Florida. If we don’t have a chiropractor for them, what are they going to do? It’s a key part of their life now and that’s what’s helping them meet their full health potential. Our society has blossomed. It’s doctors like Dr. Banitch who took over and her dad that planted seeds that couldn’t be uprooted. We are on the right path. To anybody that wants to be a chiropractor, be a Blair chiropractor. Your opportunities are endless.
You’ve got the world in front of you.
I remember years ago, I spoke at the Blair Conference and I looked up demographics. I took the top 50 populated cities in the United States and 35 of them didn’t even have a chiropractor even in New York. You are probably the closest to New York City right now.
There’s nobody in the State of New York doing Blair.
I don’t know how many millions of people are in New York, New York City. I’ve had patients that I’ve sent up to Dr. Banitch’s office from New York City.
I’m twelve miles Northwest of New York City, but it’s a busy city and it could take an hour to get out to Jersey.
For the price of your help, it’s nothing but we need more Blair chiropractors.
There’s nobody in Europe doing Blair. How do we get people out there?
EM 72 | Upper Cervical Upper Cervical: Our mission statement is to have a chiropractor in every big city in the United States and bring Blair to the world.
We tried and we had a few chiropractors in Italy. I know Jake Hollowell was there. I don’t know the answer. I wish I had a better handle on that. There are probably some logistics and accreditation issues that may play in, but I do see us slowly specking the map here and there. All of Europe is devoid of that. Our mission statement is to have a Blair chiropractor in every big city in the United States and the world and bring Blair to the world. There’s a bigger issue that maybe we need chiropractic colleges in Europe. We’ve got pioneers that started straight in Sherman based on their core beliefs and philosophy for chiropractic. That probably is where it needs to start.
Dr. John, what patients do you see in your office and what conditions respond well?
From the womb to the grave, we have mothers that are carrying throughout their pregnancies and then we will teach them how important it is to get the kids checked because the birth process is somewhat traumatic, but less traumatic if the mothers are under Blair care during their pregnancy. We check newborns, we check children. Kids are so receptive. I don’t mean mentally, but they physically respond well to upper cervical care and it’s very easy to perform on kids. We have a large adolescent population in our office. We have teenagers, teenage athletes, dancers and gymnasts.
Our daughter is an all-American gymnast and I would probably advise anybody to go if they have their daughter in gymnastics. With those repetitive actions, they’d beat the crap out of themselves in practice. If you’re going, you better make sure that your atlas is clear. Your body will be in a better balance. There are lots of young adults and professionals. We have a large senior population as well. On our entrance form, we’ll have, “Pick one option. Are you looking for emergency care only? Are you looking for care that will enhance your life and help you reach your full health potentials?” The seniors always mark that one. They’re still looking for the fountain of youth. Some of my rewarding success stories come with my seniors.
Being a straight chiropractor, I have a tendency not to embellish or get too deep into the patient’s symptoms. I advise my patients from day one that when they come in for their checks, they are not to tell me how they feel, either good or bad. It keeps me clear and objective as the chiropractor. If somebody comes in and they’re hurting, you may bend a little bit to placate to them. I don’t ask for a lot of feedback. Dr. Hall, President of the Blair Society, he and I had this conversation and he thoughts I’m crazy. It keeps me grounded and clear in my job and that is to clear them out.
If I cleared them out, I did my job and it’s their body’s job to do the rest. The cool thing about what we do is that if they follow our protocol, follow our care, they take the Blair views, the full Blair set when they start out. At the one-year point, we’ll do re-exams at the 90-day point and 180-day pointy and then we’ll do a range of motion checks. Then we’ll take a lateral cervical at the one-year point. The changes that we see are amazing. I used to shy away from this because when I was full-spine, we take reactions and it was worse and it was painful. We’re seeing disc spaces increase, the body reabsorbs the calcium spurs, and we’re seeing curves come back. What’s fun is that if I have some patients that can’t wait for their two-year X-ray, their three-year X-ray, and their four-year X-ray. We’re seeing dramatic changes on these laterals cervical six and seven years into care.
I had one lady where her lower cervical had expanded almost double what they normally were with all the exostosis. They were twice the size of her C3 and C4. Between the fifth and the sixth year, that totally absolved itself. Those results are objective and that gets our patients excited because not only obviously they’re feeling the changes but to see that, it’s rewarding for them. It’s always fun for us to see as well. We have had some high ratio of success with infertility. I know a lot of doctors will find a certain condition and hone in on a certain listing. Sometimes they look for a misalignment. The listing is how that bone moves. The atlas is going to move in one direction, it’s going to move in three directions. If the force is from behind, it’s going to move that atlas upward and forward on an anterior and superior either on the left joint or the right joint. That’s what’s called a listing.
When we look at the X-rays, we create a listing for that patient. We then extract the angles from their joints so that we can make the appropriate adjustment for that patient based on their anatomy and their particular misalignment. We probably had 50 women become pregnant with the Blair technique in our office. Some of it is primary infertility where they have never been able to conceive. We have secondary infertility where they’ve had a successful pregnancy and delivery and then they become infertile from there.
It’s on two levels. If you check my website, there are a lot of fertility blogs. A lot of these are due to the hormonal balance in the body. A lot of the hormones that are unnecessary for conception come from the brain itself. When the atlas is out of position, it’s a choke point for fluid coming from the brain and hormones coming out of the brain. Their bodies are not receiving the hormone balance that they need to conceive. From a structural standpoint when the atlas moves, it’ll push your head to one side or the other and that causes a chain reaction. The brain will keep the eyes straight with the horizon, so the shoulder gets pushed down, the hip gets pulled up, and it constraints the hips. Not only is infertility the problem but then the delivery as well. I’m writing a couple of blogs on that as well.
The deliveries of patients that are under Blair chiropractic is minimal. The complications, pain and long labor can almost be eliminated if that mother is placed under our care. We have a protocol for that and we’ll check our patients. As they get closer, the body’s making so many physical changes in that last month of their pregnancy, we check them a little bit closer. Checking doesn’t mean adjusting. A patient comes in to get monitored and checked. Much of what we do as Blair chiropractors is bad adjusting. We don’t need our patients to be there three times a week to be adjusted, that was the old model.
We rely on the involuntary nervous system and the involuntary muscles to reset the alignment. It becomes increasingly difficult to come out of alignment if you make the proper specific adjustments in the upper neck. These mothers’ pelvises are imbalanced. The placenta attaches to the symphysis and when the atlas is off, the pelvis becomes distorted and it tractions the placenta. The baby’s head cannot move down into the birthing canal the way that it should. For all those pregnant mothers or pregnant mother wanna-bes, Blair chiropractic is a huge component to it.
I had a kid that we just did his one-year exam. He’s a senior in high school. This kid came in and he had his third concussion. The doctor said, “You will never play sports again. You’re done.” That’s a devastating blow for an athlete. His parents came in and they had heard about us and they weren’t quite sure. The mother was super skeptical and I said, “This is what we do. He’s still lingering with his concussion symptoms is because of the choke point and the lack of cerebral spinal fluid flow around the brain and cognitive issues.” We got him adjusted and he started to feel better. He was like, “I feel great. I want to play ball again.” He loved playing baseball. He was a soccer player and a football player. The parents are like, “We don’t know, should we bring it back to the other doctor?” I said, “What’s the point?” He was the one that said he could do nothing for him. We got him feeling better. The parents were like, “What happens if he gets another concussion?” I was like, “Then we get his atlas adjusted again.” There’s no further damage that’s going to be done. They were like, “Okay.” He went through baseball, football season, and he got a concussion in basketball. He went back to get readjusted and he was back on the court in a week and a half. That’s life-changing.
We had a new patient and he was a prospect football player who was getting all these big-time offers from big-time schools. During a punt, a guy tackles him as he was catching the ball, takes the guy’s helmet under his chin, and knocks him out cold. He had fifteen years of cognitive anxiety. He went through college and said, “I don’t know how I did it.” He went through law school and said, “I don’t remember the four years in law school. I was depressed and I had anxiety.” The doctors put him on anxiety meds and then he got married and he said, “The marriage was enough to get my endorphins, but I can’t take it anymore.” We gave him his first adjustment. He came to my workshop and I could see his eyes were already clear. Those fifteen years of his life is something he’ll never get back. In addition to that, if he didn’t find out about what we do, his whole life is screwed.
I had a woman who had a bike accident. She was probably 55 years old, went over her handlebars, landed on her chin, and became increasingly anxious. She became nervous and paranoid to the point where she lost her job. They put her in a group home and she couldn’t drive anymore. She came to our workshop and my daughter gave the workshop. After the class, she said, “I don’t know if you can help, I want to show you something.” She laid down on her back on the floor in her office and she goes into these convulsions. She said, “Every time I lay down, that’s what happens to my body.”
We talked her through it and she didn’t want to get X-rays and she’s like, “I don’t think so.” She couldn’t get beyond the anxiety. This is something that you, as a young chiropractor, sometimes you have to do. I said, “We’re not going to X-ray you now. You need it but go home. You think about it. You pray about it. We can help you, but you don’t need to make that decision now. I’ll be here. I’m not going anywhere.” She came back a week later and said, “I thought about it.” It was not a lightning in a bottle. We gave her an adjustment and it all came back. Slowly she started to sleep a little bit better. At three months, she was like, “I’m starting to pick up on my guitar again and started to play a little bit.” She’s starting to get it all back. She’s got to take the public van to come to the office for her visits. She couldn’t drive. What kind of burden on the healthcare system is that? She’s on Social Security. She’s on the medications and the system is supporting her. She would have just drowned in oblivion. She would have been just a statistic.
She started coming back to life. You can see her eyes are getting brighter and she’s talking. She is riding her bike again. All of a sudden, she’s got her job back and she’s driving. That stuff becomes the norm, but at the same time is never any less refreshing. That keeps an old guy like me pushing through in giving my workshop that I have given twice a month for the last 30 years. I still get excited about talking about it and helping people understand what we do. I still love it to this day. I’ll never retire. I might go back a little bit, but I couldn’t ever think about not treating patients and giving Blair care to people.
When you broke your arm, a lot of people would view that as devastating and that the world is working against them, but you viewed it as destiny or fate. It led you on the path you’re on. Where does that come from? You’re saying that it’s all connected and everything happens for a reason.
I’m a Catholic and I’m a very devout Christian. It comes from my belief that I’m honored to form some form of purpose. God gave me those skills and if I don’t use those skills, I know at the end of my life I’ll have to pay for that. I’ll have to atone for those days that I didn’t push it as hard. I felt like God led me down this path. Each one of those little stops along the way, it was my broken arm, the kid that I went to college with, getting the tape from my friend, going to ADIO seminar, becoming a straight chiropractor, and my buddy going to DE. The kid that got me into Blair, the kid that was going in Sherman, his name was Jon Schwartzbauer. He became the President of Sherman College. I got him into chiropractic care and he got me into Blair. I got him into the Board of Trustees when I became the president. Ultimately, I became his boss again.
EM 72 | Upper Cervical Upper Cervical: You have to listen to what your internal voice is telling you and don’t ignore your consciousness.
I think God’s got a hand in everything and that’s what drives me to be better. I could have kept my old X-ray machine and be like, “I’ve got a digital x-ray machine.” It’s about that time I got the digital. Now, we’re doing the CTs. It’s one at a time. It comes from inside. You have to listen to what your internal voice is telling you and don’t ignore your consciousness. Your consciousness becomes greater. It’s like you won’t see the tire ads in the paper until you need tires. You open up your mind to the possibilities, “I need something new.” The opportunities will be as crystal clear as you’ve ever seen. Open your mind and be open to the possibilities.
If something is not congruent with your faith, profession or with anything in life, you have to be willing to make that change and that goes with relationships as well. That would be my suggestion to the young chiropractors and in any of our patients as well. If you don’t like your job, if you’re dreading it and you get a pit in your stomach every Sunday night when you got to go back, you’ve got to find what you love to do. The key is to get paid for it.
I had a mentor, Tony Palermo, who was from Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. He was a great man and he taught me a lot of things. We can’t go to the office to meet our needs, if you need recognition, you’ve got to find that outside of your practice. You are there to serve your patients. There are things that I’ve looked back on life and saying, “I was trying to get that out of my practice.” That was not the right intention. Once I got that clear in my brain, I opened that door and it’s like, “God, you send them, I’ll serve them.”
If there’s one piece of advice that you’ve taken with you through the years that you would like to give the audience, what would that be?
Work on yourself. You have to be right with yourself. I used to listen to cassettes after cassettes after cassettes. Charlie Ward was a mentor of mine and there was an organization called Nightingale-Conant and they would send you a cassette series every month. I would listen to those cassettes back and forth. There’s so much dead time, what do we fill it with? In your generation, you have your phones and you’re checking your Facebook. If you took half the time that you’re spending on your phone and working on yourself, you would be so much better as a person and a chiropractor.
Dr. John, thank you so much for coming on. Where can people find your practice on the internet and everything like that?
Thank you so much.