Transforming Pain into Purpose: A Chiropractic Journey of Healing and Global Wellness
Throughout this inspiring article, we explore the journey of a Stage 4 Hodgkin’s Lymphoma survivor who turned a personal health battle into a passion for chiropractic and holistic wellness. Shifting from a traditional medical path in college to embracing alternative healing methods, this individual found their calling in chiropractic care, inspired by its natural healing philosophy.
The story spans from offering free care in various countries to developing a comprehensive health approach, emphasizing the importance of combining chiropractic, sports therapy, rehabilitation, and nutrition. Educated at Palmer College of Chiropractic, the protagonist stays at the forefront of their field, with a vision for the future that includes new initiatives to promote global health and wellness.
Can you tell us more about your personal journey and how surviving Stage 4 Hodgkin’s Lymphoma influenced your passion for healing and wellness?
It comes as no surprise that I had a lot of complications from the chemo and the radiation I received, both physical and mental. Once I was in college, I applied to be a medical doctor and even took the MCATs. But something still was not sitting right with me. This is when I decided to seek the help of a therapist, to help me connect the dots in my life.
In fact, my mother first started me in therapy sessions along with yoga when I got sick with cancer and I’m so blessed she was able to recognize so many of my traumas that had been going on for so long. I believe the coaching I received in therapy was how I was able to recognize I was not chasing the right dream.
I took some time off after graduating from college to go home and do some soul-searching. It was not until a friend of mine mentioned seeing a chiropractor that summer, that everything shifted. I decided to shadow a doctor in New Jersey to see if chiropractic was a profession, I was interested in. This was the first time I learned about the chiropractic triad: the science that disease was identified by thoughts, trauma, and toxins.
I watched in awe as he would adjust all these persons and explain to them that the body could heal itself by encompassing the physical and nutritional components of health. I just could not believe that there were doctors out there like this. Before I knew it, I found myself eagerly applying to Palmer Chiropractic College, and boy am I sure glad I did!
All the trips were incredible, but India was one for the books. I’ll never forget it. My most memorable day was the first day we arrived to treat nearly 3,000 orphaned girls. Each one of them nervously lined up to get their health checked. Understand, that most of these girls will rarely see a doctor or receive appropriate medical care due to living conditions. For this reason, most of the girls were very timid and scared of healthcare professionals. I decided the best way to get them comfortable was to be creative and silly. Take off the doctor’s hat in a sense.
When the girls would arrive at my treatment room, I would have the music blasting for them to enjoy—and instead of regular physicals, I made up a dance to test the girls’ range of motion and physical performance. Needless to say, they loved it. Of course, I couldn’t stop there, so I found some star-shaped sunglasses and put them on to make the children laugh. All the while moonwalking in between adjustments. I failed to recognize that all the girls would get word of this.
By the time I could react, there was a line out my door waiting for my autographs and girls handing me letters, wanting to be treated by the “funny” doctor. The next day, I arrived with all the girls handing me letters addressed “to Didi,” meaning my sister. I remember being moved to tears by their sweet gestures.
You mentioned developing a “whole person approach” to evaluate the entire body through the spine. Could you explain how this approach works and why it is essential in promoting optimal health and well-being?
Thomas Edison once said, “The doctor of the future will give no medicine but will instruct his patient in the care of the human frame, in diet, and in the cause and prevention of disease.” He speaks to the idea that if you give the body the fuel it needs, whether it be proper nutrition, exercise, or care, that the body can heal itself.
That is where my job comes into play: educating people on their health from the inside out, including causation, daily habits, and functions, rather than treating the symptoms. Ultimately, guiding patients to reduce inflammation in their bodies to have them function as a better, healthier version of themselves by getting to the root of the cause.
In addition to chiropractic care, you offer sports therapy, rehabilitation, and nutritional guidance. How do these different components complement each other in helping patients achieve good health?
Chiropractic focuses on the musculoskeletal system, particularly the spine, to ensure proper alignment and function. Sports therapy is tailored for individuals engaged in physical activities, aiming to prevent and manage sports-related injuries. Additionally, rehabilitation helps individuals recover from injuries or surgeries by restoring functionality and strength.
Lastly, nutritional guidance addresses dietary factors that may contribute to musculoskeletal issues, such as inflammation or nutrient deficiencies. Ultimately, when these components work together, they can enhance each other’s effectiveness, leading to better overall outcomes for the patient. In some cases, it helps to prevent injuries, promote faster recovery, and reduce the risk of chronic conditions.
Being fluent in both Spanish and English, you have a unique ability to conduct bilingual patient exams. How has this language proficiency enhanced your ability to connect with and treat a diverse range of patients?
Bilingual proficiency helps me to enhance the overall quality of my patient care by improving communication, fostering cultural competence, and promoting patient engagement. It contributes to a more inclusive and patient-centered healthcare environment, ultimately leading to better health outcomes for a more diverse patient population in my practice.
The field of chiropractic care has evolved over the years. How do you stay up to date with the latest advancements and research in chiropractic medicine to provide the best possible care for your patients?
My patients are the driving force behind staying up to date on the latest advancements and research, as they are constantly challenging me. Every day, difficult cases walk through my doors and it’s my job to assess them and give them the best possible care. In a sense, I feel a deep responsibility to come up with an appropriate and individualized care plan ranging from chiropractic, nutrition, modalities, therapies, and even med spa services that are readily available in my wellness center. Health should be all-encompassing.
I believe the real pandemic is in the mismanagement of patients and the lack of education presented to them regarding their health. Being a great diagnostician and putting the puzzle pieces of their journey together is by far the best part of my job.
When I come to a crossroads, I rely on my colleagues, continuing educational courses, and, in some instances, co-management with other specialists to make sure I am doing everything in my power to achieve the best results for my clients. Some days, it’s about keeping it simple; others it’s about thinking outside the box.
What inspired you to pursue a Doctorate of Chiropractic from Palmer College of Chiropractic, and how has this education shaped your approach to healthcare and wellness?
Once I had made the decision to become a Doctor of Chiropractic, I started researching the best and most prestigious colleges in the field. It was an easy decision when I discovered that the founder of chiropractic was Dr. B.J. Palmer, hence Palmer Chiropractic College.
It is without doubt that I received the best schooling from the most incredible professors and mentors. An education that truly shaped my examination, diagnostic and research skills, and proficiency in adjusting the spine. I remain a proud Palmer Florida alumna.
Many people struggle with pain and discomfort in their daily lives. What advice or tips would you offer to individuals looking to improve their well-being and reduce pain without seeking professional care?
Here are my simple tips:
1. Maintain good posture and work ergonomics
2. Stay active
3. Stretch regularly
4. Drink lots of water
5. Stray from sugar
6. Create a balanced diet
7. Get adequate sleep
8. Practice meditation
Your profile reflects a strong dedication to promoting health and well-being. Could you share your vision for the future and any new initiatives or projects you plan to undertake to further your mission of helping people lead healthier lives?
I think we can all agree that over the last three years, there has been a huge shift—people are starting to recognize that the real pandemic is in being overmedicated, malnourished with processed food, and leading sedentary lifestyles. I must believe people are awakening to the movement of chiropractic and its benefits.
So, from where I stand, we are just getting started. It is time to truly roll up our sleeves. That said, not only will I continue to treat the masses nationwide, but I am also looking forward to speaking engagements worldwide to coach and educate as a beacon of light in my field. This was catapulted by my national TV series on TLC, and now I have a duty to fulfill. I could not be more excited for what the future holds.
All photographs credited to Paul Marino