Showing the body some love

February is a month dedicated to celebrating love. While most will celebrate Valentine’s Day with chocolate or flowers, chiropractor Dr. Rachel Holmberg thinks the best way to show love is by treating your body well.

For the Eaton Rapids native, chiropractic medicine is far more than just cracking backs. What initially drew her to the field was its holistic approach and differing philosophy from other medical professions. A focus on health and wellness is what drives her passion for her work.

“Most people come in because they’re in pain; their lower back hurts, they have headaches or maybe their neck is bothering them. Chiropractic adjustments help your body be in more of a healing state, when everything is in alignment and working correctly, and the nerves are free to do what they need to do. People feel they can function better and live a better life.”

Dr. Holmberg didn’t always know what type of medicine she wanted to practice. After graduating from Spring Arbor University, she spent time exploring different professions but nothing seemed to click. A random encounter with the suggestion, “you should be a chiropractor,” prompted her to visit a local office, where she says “I immediately knew that’s what I wanted to do.”

She went on to study chiropractic medicine at the National University of Health Sciences and, following graduation, moved back to Michigan. She moved to the Gilead Healing Center last March where she now practices family-centered care with an emphasis on pregnancy and pediatrics. This specialized work is one of the most rewarding parts of the job for her.

“I just love being able to work with pregnant moms that may be in pain or have concerns. I’ll do a specific pregnancy adjustment and most of the time they have a great birth. When the mom brings the baby in because she trusts me and wants to see her child healthy too, that’s the best part for me.”

This emphasis on patient care is what Dr. Holmberg thinks is crucial for her to be effective in her job. She spends more time on adjustments than the standard “really quick 10 to 15 minutes.” The additional time with patients lets her practice the skill she thinks is most essential for chiropractors: listening.

“A lot of people come in and are in a great deal of pain. They have a story to tell and a reason for why they are here. If you don’t care or listen to them they’re going to leave with the impression that they didn’t get much better.”

One piece of advice she has for women who are interested in the field is to “keep at it and never give up. It can be difficult if you’re trying to get married, start a family and have a lot of other pressures. Just take your time and go at your own pace.”

As for how people can incorporate more health and wellness into their daily lives, Dr. Holmberg says it doesn’t need to be a huge lifestyle change. “Drinking more water and stretching are small things that will make a big difference. And taking the time to do something for yourself, whether it be a massage or working out, is an excellent way to get your joints moving and show your body some love.”