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Chiropractor: Mark J. Blessley, NTS., DC

Cathy Sivak, Contributing Writer

What differences do the chiropractic and natural therapeutic care disciplines share?

The difference is the intent and the goal of the treatment. The chiropractor works from a holistic standpoint and analyzes the structure to make changes in the nervous system and the physiology. If a person has pronations syndrome, known as flat feet, their knees internally rotate, that puts pressure on the hips, which turns their whole body toward the side. People don’t notice right away, but over time, it creates an imbalance which adds up. You have a bucket, and it is filling up and filling up. When the bucket is full, you don’t have anymore reserve capacity, that’s when something is going to happen: your body is going to say “I can’t take it any more. I’m going to get sick so that you will stop and pay attention to me.” So the body gets sick, or you have an accident. This may occur over months, weeks or years. We strive to look at the whole person, find out where the problems are way ahead of time; it’s like relieving pressure in a pressure cooker. It can be quick or slow, but that’s the focus.

A lot of other disciplines are symptom chasers: “You hurt here, so I’ll rub that for you.” In a way, that does have the effect to lessen the pressure, but the source of the pain is often not where the person thought it was. Numbness in the wrist could be coming from the cervical spine; you may be able to get the symptoms to go away because of referral relief, or you may be able to get referral release in acupuncture. But it may be temporary relief that is going to come back. We work from a holistic point of view; you’re not just a bunch of parts, you are the sum of your parts. If all the parts aren’t working correctly, there’s friction and pressure coming down that’s unevenly distributed, and that’s what chiropractors address. In natural therapeutics, we’re doing that, but we didn’t have the same tools and knowledge and training, so chiropractics is kind of like moving up a couple of levels.

What are some of your personal and/or professional goals for the future?

My focus has been getting less and less on the sports medicine. We treat a lot of athletes, and they are great to treat, but they are relatively healthy people. My goal right now is to establish a new clinic, Good Health, Naturally, this fall. The focus will be on wellness and health, combining chiropractic and other health modalities, probably acupuncture, with massage therapy. I’m working with a massage therapist who has seven massage therapists working with him already.

There’s a definite need in society right now in the area of wellness. Parker Chiropractic in Dallas, one of the earliest established chiropractic schools, has recently revised its mission statement to be a wellness-oriented school. That’s a huge public statement when a college that has been around since the early 1900s revises its mission to train doctors specifically for wellness-oriented methods.

What are some common myths about the chiropractic and natural therapeutic professions?

The myths on chiropractic are that it hurts and that it just involves the back. You say chiropractic, and many people think popping bones. In reality, it’s useful for many different types of problems, including internal organ problems, PMS, hearing problems.

Chiropractic care is not just for adults, it’s also for children and older people. There has been considerable research on the effectiveness of chiropractic treatment in treating conditions such as babies’ earaches.

On natural therapeutics, a myth in general is that health comes from the outside in. In reality, the body has mechanisms that are genetically programmed for health, and they get misdirected or become overwhelmed by toxic substances in the environment, toxic thoughts or restrictions due to injuries or illnesses. So the two basic premises of natural therapeutics are to find and remove toxicities and to create nutritional adequacies.

How does nutrition factor into your patient care offerings?

I plan to work with people who have weight problems as part of my nutritional treatment goals; obesity in our culture is one of my clinical interests. There’s an interesting concept related to obesity that many people don’t think about; our foods are not as nutritious as they used to be 20 years ago or longer. If the body doesn’t get the nutrition that it needs, the vitamins and minerals, the body says to the brain, “eat.” Unfortunately, the brain can’t say, “You need beta carotene, go have a carrot.” It says, “You need beta carotene, go eat more.” If the closest thing is a donut, you’re going to eat it. Your brain says eat more, and if the food doesn’t have the nutrition you need, you eat more, and you gain weight and you still don’t have the vitamins and minerals. We have to increase our healthy choices and make sure we’re getting the right intake of enough foods.

Do you feel that is important for someone to be passionate about the chiropractic and/or the natural therapeutic field in order to be successful?

You could never make it through the training unless you were passionate. It’s a long row to hoe. You have to be passionate to get to the point of getting into practice, and you have to take care of yourself along the way to make sure you have adequate energy. You need to have the willingness and the desire to help people in general; otherwise you couldn’t make it through. You have to have a dream or a goal or a destination.

The beautiful thing about studying the body is that no matter how long or hard you study, you can never know even know a fraction about it. New things are being discovered all the time. For instance, energy medicine has been practiced for thousands of years, but no one really ever pinned down why it works. Now the beneficial healing energy of people’s hands is becoming more measurable. Researchers are finding healers have the ability to promote certain frequencies, or up-regulate or down-regulate the body’s energy field. They’re finding that people with the innate ability to heal have intuitively figured out how to up-regulate or down-regulate energy fields.

The spark of learning is an important aspect to have if you are getting into the healing professions, because there’s always more to learn. I guess I’m a junkie.

What contributions do you feel the chiropractic and natural therapeutic fields have made in society?

From a microscopic viewpoint, a more balanced person and a healthier person tends to interact with society much more harmoniously. A person who is balanced doesn’t create problems for other people, and is much more productive. Balanced people tend to raise the level of consciousness of community and global progress rather than tear it down. So on a small level, if you add up all the people who feel better and operate more efficiently, it has a global effect. It’s a small thing and a big thing, it all adds up.

The only person you really have influence on is yourself. Work on yourself, and as you become balanced, you will overflow with benefit to others. If everything is working well, the energy effects others, and they become infected and infect others, all in a good way.

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