– Justi n Ohm, DC –
In 1986 Dr. Larry Webster formed the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association (ICPA) with a simple mission: all children deserve chiropractic care. Then, like now, it was apparent that children were in desperate need of chiropractic care and its intrinsic benefit to the central nervous system. Tragically, exposure to a myriad environmental, emotional and physical stressors has been on the rise. It was no less than visionary to recognize that the future of health was in supporting the spine and nervous system as early as possible rather than allowing the dysfunctional neurological patterns to develop and persist.
This message was no doubt inspiring for many chiropractors drawn intuitively to the care of babies and children. One such inspired chiropractor was my mother, Dr. Jeanne Ohm, who first became involved with the ICPA after taking a class with Dr. Webster in 1995. Already seeing many families in practice, it was a twist of fate and a drive to better serve her community that drew her to take these classes and after being exposed to Dr. Joe Felicia’s class on birth trauma, a fire was lit inside her.
If, when caring for a child’s spine and nervous system, earlier is better, then supporting the mother during pregnancy and thereby minimizing the initial trauma to the baby is best. After Dr. Webster’s untimely passing in 1997, my mother became more involved in the ICPA, developing the Webster Technique into a certification in 2000 and eventually taking on the role of executive director in 2002. Since then, more than 10,000 chiropractors have been trained in the Webster Technique impacting a truly remarkable number of births and therefore babies around the world.
The fulfillment of chiropractic is intaking care of the family as a whole. Over the past decade, the relevance of a salutogenic rather than reactive or pathogenic approach to health has become apparent. My mom, and by extension the greater ICPA membership, have called this focus “the chiropractic family lifestyle.” Those of us who focus on family care in practice know that families who seek out regular chiropractic care have a unique and powerful trust in their body’s ability to express life. It is subtle at first, a curiosity that brings them into the office, but like a seed in rich garden soil, it grows into a lasting confidence that supports the journey of that family.
With confidence comes resilience. More and more families are discovering the supportive role that chiropractic care provides for them. A focused model of care that is directed towards functional improvements rather than symptomatic abatement and perhaps most importantly, that respects and honors the body’s own innate capacity to heal and regenerate, is a powerful and liberating perspective to embody. The family chiropractor is in a unique and privileged role to deliver this perspective. This is so vital in a world seemingly paralyzed by fear.
Chiropractors have always possessed a radical, innate perspective, and I feel this is not about to change, nor should it. In fact, what we need now, more than ever, is for chiropractors to step up in their communities and serve the many families that are choosing a more proactive trusting direction for their health and function. Chiropractic care at its very core has always been focused on the function of the nervous system and the powerful effect it has on all aspects of wellbeing. We would be wise to recognize the importance of this focus. In his last printed words, BJ Palmer said: “May your innate receive and act on that free flow of Wisdom from above-down, inside-out… for you have in your possession a Sacred Trust. Guard it well.”
We must stand for the families in our communities and offer to them the understanding of the chiropractic family lifestyle, trust in the power of healing, awareness of our innate potential, nurturing the realization of health, and confident in the wisdom of “life expresses intelligence.” We are in fact the ones they have been waiting for. The nervous system is the key; chiropractors care for the nervous system; all children and pregnant women and families deserve chiropractic care. We must not forget that.
“May your innate receive and act on that free fl ow of Wisdom from above-down, inside-out… for you have in your possession a Sacred Trust. Guard it well.”