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Chiropractor: Mark J. Blessley, NTS., DC

Cathy Sivak, Contributing Writer

Education Information and Advice

How did you choose the Natural Therapeutics Specialist program at the New Mexico School of Natural Therapeutics?

I wrote to 21 schools, I personally visited seven schools, and I picked the New Mexico School of Natural Therapeutics. I moved from Alaska to Albuquerque, took the 1,000 hour course in natural therapeutics and also massage therapy and polarity, which was similar to an associate’s degree. I finished in January of 1989 and went into private practice.

You went on to earn a Bachelor’s of Science in Human Biology and your Doctor of Chiropractic degree from Western States Chiropractic College. What led you there?

I met and married my wife in Albuquerque, and along the way we decided it would be a good goal for me to become a chiropractor. So I started the pre-requisites to get into chiropractic school, which are the same as a medical school course. It’s basically pre-med; you have to take the physics, the chemistry, the organic chemistry, the biology. I did all of that in Albuquerque.

We checked chiropractic schools, decided we’d like to live in the Northwest and chose Western State in Portland. I like trees, and the Northwest is really good for trees. We moved up to Washington State, and I started school. I graduated with Bachelor’s of Science in human biology in December 1995, and got my doctorate in chiropractic in June 1997.

How did you finance your chiropractic schooling?

Similar to medical school, it’s not cheap to go to chiropractic school. Part of what I did to pay for chiropractic school was to use my woodworking abilities. My wife Valerie and I build (and play) harps, and I actually paid for some of my tuition in cash with “harp money” from Blessley Instruments. I paid for several quarters by making them count out $100 bills; it was $4,000 a quarter; that’s a lot of money. Not too many students pay in cash. Most students end up borrowing money and signing checks, a lot of chiropractors end up $100,000 or more in debt by the time they are done. I got out with about half of that amount of debt. I was written up in the local newspaper, The Oregonian, in an article called something like “Local Chiropractic Student is Good With His Hands.”

As a chiropractor, you are required to take continuing education classes. What are your current interests?

Right now I’m taking a 100-hour certification course in chiropractic wellness through the International Chiropractic Association; the instructor is Dr. James Chestnut. His philosophy is very simple, and well put: “Move well, eat well, think well.” Essentially, it means that you will help yourself by doing those three things: get your body moving correctly, maximize all of the joints and keep everything moving; eat right to decrease toxicity; think right, avoid negative thoughts, strive toward the positive, and laugh.

I was recently privileged to take a class with Dr. Jeffrey Spencer, the private personal physician to sports icons including Tiger Woods and Lance Armstrong. The course was “The Winning protocol, the Tour de France.” It explored the preventative treatment, the conditioning and the acute injuries treatment leading to Armstrong’s winning the Tour de France seven times in a row.

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