A Natural Life

This is an article that my friend Carey Parrish wrote about me. It’s shameless self-promotion, but I republished it here:

Chiropractic_symbolThe field of chiropractic medicine is certainly nothing new. People have been seeing chiropractors for years, but it’s only been in the last decade or so that chiropractors and their brand of specialized treatment have been embraced by more and more people around the country. A move toward more holistic approaches to the treatment of disease processes has given chiropractors an edge in this ever growing industry. More importantly patients are not only seeking out this specialty but they are also swearing byits benefits.

While modern medicine has been centered on diagnostic procedures and the ever growing medicinal options available, the high cost of health care and the fact that a lot of medications are beyond the reachof those without insurance coverage, has served to increase the presence of chiropractors in the community of health care. Coming from a background in the medical field, I spent a lot of years being skeptical of anything termed “alternative” medicine. Yet the more friends I’ve seen turn to chiropractors who really improved in their conditions sparked an interest in me to find out more about this field and those who specialize in it.

Here in my hometown one of the most successful chiropractic practices is the Natural Life Clinic, headed by Dr. Dan DeReuter. I’ve seen him myself on a professional basis and I must say I was quite impressed with the results from my visits with him. So much so that I decided to write a blog about the benefits of chiropractic treatment, but this idea quickly became the impetus for a spotlight when I realized that interviewing Dr. Dan would give readers a more in depth look at what he has to offer and why he chose to make this field his career.

Dr. Dan, as he is affectionately known to his patients, is a very nice guy. He has an open personality that is welcoming and immediately puts people at ease. He’s also at the top of his field. Being friends, we have an easy rapport and I was surprised to realize that I’d never asked him anything about his work other than what he was doing for me at the time of one of my visits. We met at a local restaurant and over dinner he told me the story of how he came to be here, doing what he does, and I was riveted by it. So much so that sharing it is something I am very pleased to do.

A father of two, Dr. Dan is originally from Panama. He relocated with his family to Miami when he was in his teens and graduated from high school in southern Florida. And this is just the beginning of his remarkable story.

“I didn’t plan on becoming a chiropractor at first,” he said. “I was a different person when I was
younger. I wasn’t a healthy kid. I had asthma and I was the one who was always sitting on the sidelines while everyone else was playing sports. I remember my dad getting an ulcer and he went to the doctor where they gave him a special diet and his ulcer got better. Years later, in my twenties, I was also diagnosed with an ulcer and my doctor gave me Zantac. I remember wondering where my diet was. You see, my dad lived to be eighty-five and he was never on any medications. But there I was in my twenties and I was getting pills instead of something that would really help the problem.”

“My personal experience with a chiropractor is what really got me interested in the field,” he continued. “I was working as the manager of a Wendy’s restaurant at the time. I was a really keyed up guy back then.I would rather have done something myself than expected someone else to do it right. Plus I had lower back problems too. One night I fell at work and I immediately began having spasms. The pain was excruciating and someone was going to call 911 when a co-worker suggested I see a chiropractor who was just down the street. I was skeptical about it because it was after seven but we called and they told me to come in, that they would wait for me. I was really impressed by that.“I went down there and got an adjustment that really helped my problem. The doctor also performed Applied Kinesiology (a form of diagnosis using muscle testing as a primary feedback mechanism to examine how a person’s body is functioning.) I remember thinking that this must be the coolest job.That’s where I first began considering becoming a chiropractor myself. I started making plans then andit took about four months but I was soon in Atlanta attending school.”

Dan graduated in 1997 and began practicing in Atlanta. A few years later he heard about a job opportunity in Dalton. A practice here was looking for a bilingual chiropractor. He had interviews with a couple of practices but neither of them panned out. Then he went to work for another one but when the time came for the practice to deliver on the promises he was made when he signed on, nothing materialized. So he started his own. “I guess you can say the Big Guy led me to Dalton,” he says, pointing upward.

Dr. Dan believes wholeheartedly in the holistic approach to treating physical ailments. “I remember beingon a mission trip in Honduras and a woman came to me who couldn’t see. I thought they had sent her to the wrong station but I gave her an adjustment and she could see when I finished. The adjustment had restored the spinal nerve balance and her vision came back. She was an older woman and she could suddenly see when I gave her an adjustment. I was floored.

“You see, symptoms are just that: symptoms. You’ve got to treat the underlying condition. The body is designed to be healthy. Healthy is your body’s default setting. Pressure on the spinal nerves really helps. The Windsor Autopsies shed a lot of light on this. People with heart issues were studied and in each case the spinal nerves were involved.”

When I asked how he decides when to refer a patient to a medical doctor, he replied: “In most cases I try chiropractic intervention first, but it also depends on the patient. If someone comes to me with a broken bone, I send them on immediately. But mainly I make that decision only after my treatments aren’t working and the pathophysiology of their condition is more than I can deal with myself.”

I asked Dr. Dan how he deals with the lingering prejudice against chiropractors from not only the medical community but also from some patients. “I used to have to convince everybody,” he explained. “Now I just don’t care. I simply explain what I do and I present the results of my treatment.”

Dr. Dan’s message is simple but profound. “I don’t want people to be conformist about their health. There are other things you can do. You can change your health for the better. As a chiropractor I know that I’m only limited by the number of people I can put my hands on, but if I can communicate with others through something like this article then I’ve reached beyond that.”

Dr. Dan DeReuter is an amazing person. It’s a peculiarity in this day and age to find someone as
passionate about what he does and as committed to his mission as Dan is to his. I know from experience that his approach is far more encompassing than the average medical doctor’s treatment. By getting to the root of the problem, one can often resolve it instead of just masking it by making the symptoms insignificant.

A novel approach? Not at all. The Natural Life is what we all should strive for…and it’s what Dr.
Dan hopes to achieve for everyone who comes to him for help.

Carey Parrish