Empowering Women Chiropractic – Vagal Tone & Neurobiology – Drs. Buerger & Haas

Now, here’s today’s host, Dr. Monika Buerger.

Hello everybody. Welcome to ChiroSecure’s “Look to the Children Show.” I’m your host for today, Dr. Monika Buerger, and I am beyond excited once again to have an amazing, amazing guest. I was so pumped for today. It’s unbelievable. I have the amazing Dr. Amy Haas with us. I have secretly deemed her, the Chiro Nerd Mama.

I love it. I love it.

Thank you for being here. Let me tell the audience about…


…I was a little late on the trigger reading through your bio and stuff, so I was doing that on the way to the office today and I was like, “Oh my gosh. Okay. She’s got a long list of amazing achievements. She’s got a master’s and a PhD in biochemistry, she’s done postgraduate work at Harvard and she had a position there [inaudible 00:01:50] enzymology, which I was like, “Oh, I got to talk to this woman.” We’ll I am going to talk to this woman, I am talking to this woman”, where she coincidentally was in the same building and where she met her chiropractic introduction. Is that correct?


And that was Dr. Steven…

Branson. And there are no coincidence’s in this universe.

No, that’s crazy. She is… likes to put the pieces of puzzle together. So she’s known, we’re going to talk about something she’s known for coming up here in a minute, but her specialty is digging in, finding out the mystery pieces, looking at how we as chiropractors, why we have seen these profound changes all these years and what are the, why can that be happening. She loves to study something that I’ve had a relationship. I joke around that I have a love affair with the vagus nerve, the vestibular system and others. And in fact, years ago I got, I started talking about the vagus nerve about 15 years ago and everybody said, “Oh, that Buerger she just loves to talk about the vagus nerve.” And so now I get to nerd out with my, my Chiro nerd friend here. Anyway, so Dr. [inaudible 00:03:10] she tell you that the microbiome, neuroendocrinology, vagus nerve, heart rate variability. How does that fit into the paradigm of chiropractic? Why do we see it important in chiropractic? She’s a private practice and by the way, happy ninth birthday to your practice.

Thank you.

Had a recent birthday. She has teamed up with Dr. Bruce Steinberg and his lovely bride in something that I’ve got to to check into Chironerds.com. Is that right?

Yep. It’s still in process.

Okay, so it’s in the process so she could maybe elaborate on that a little bit about where she is in the process with that. But anyway, without further ado to the world, Dr, Amy Haas, thank you for being here.

Hi. Thank you for having me.

Did I get your last name right?

Yes. Thank you.

Okay, all right. German?


So, see, I knew we have to be sisters from another mother from another lifetime at some point in time.

There you go. It’s funny three years ago today I was actually in Germany.

Oh awesome. Yes.

It’s my first first trip over there.

Yes. Beautiful country, right?

Yes. Very.

Well thank you for hanging out. I was… When I scored you on the show, I was like big win, big win.

I’m super honored to be here. I’ve been looking forward to this.

So you are known for, I guess with a little expression of “We know”, “What we know”. What is it that you know? What’s your expression, I didn’t get that one right. It’s all connected. Even when…

It’s all connected…

Go on.

“It’s all connected in some way, some of which we know and some of what you don’t know”, did I get that right?

Yes. You bet you.

All right, so tell the world what you mean by that.

You can think of the body as individual parts or you can put it together like a puzzle and think of it as the sum of its parts and the sum of its parts is much more intricate and elaborate than each of the parts independently. And they’re all, the parts of the body are connected in ways. Some we know, some we don’t know. We’re finding new science coming forth about number of different topics. There is a paper that was just discussed last week about the possibility that a stress on bone in mice instigates the adrenal stress response, which was fascinating. Just a couple of years ago, we had the discovery of the CNS lymphatic system and the glymphatic system, and all of a sudden it turns out the appendix actually has a function in the body.

Go figure.


I know, right? So all of these different discoveries about human physiology are still happening and we don’t truly understand all of the puzzle pieces of the human body just yet. I’m not sure we will in our lifetimes. And that’s okay. That’s a beautiful puzzle just to kind of observe and say, not can we control it, but how can we empower it?

Oh, beautiful. Beautiful. Because it’s all network, right? It’s all this networking that happens and I have a feeling you’re a lot like me. You find one piece and then it leads you to a rabbit hole, which now it’s four in the morning and you’re like, okay, I’ve got 20 papers open and I just opened up this huge rabbit hole.

We definitely are soul sisters. Oh yeah.

But I have to ask you a question because, again forgive me, I just got to read this on the way to the office today. You talk about there was a paper plopped on your desk like 10 years ago or something when you, was that when you were at Harvard in regards to the, I call the vagus nerve, the big bad Voodoo Daddy.

That’s a good title. I like that. That’s a really good one.

For those out there…

[inaudible 00:07:09]

I think it said it was… Anyway. Was that the one by Kevin Tracey?

I can find out. Hang on.


Oh, there you go. So tell the world the, the vagus nerve, I call him the big bad Voodoo Daddy because he really, he’s, he is your immune system, I, he is your, vagal tone supports your immune system. He controls a whole [inaudible 00:07:34] anti-inflammatory pathway guys.

Absolutely. Right.

Right. He controls your digestion. He controls your stomach acid balance, your bile, your heart rate. I mean, so this real, this he is really the King of Kahunas.

Can you read that or is it all fuzzy?

I can sort of.

Okay, the sympathetic nerve and integrative interface between two super systems, the brain and the immune system. So interestingly, looking back on this title, the actual problem that I have at the title is that they’re not two separate super systems, they’re one super system, but they have different components that aren’t even mentioned here. This was, oh, this was 19 years ago. This is pharmacology reviews in 2000 and I honestly don’t remember when this landed on my desk, but I know it made me go, wow, I need to look at that and they’re… Rabbit hole.

That is the huge rabbit hole. I remember doing the work for the second edition of the chiropractic pediatric textbook. Anyway, long story and going down this rabbit hole and I then I stumbled about Kevin Tracey’s paper in 1998 and where he saw that the immune system is really modulated by vagal tone and so as chiro… Can we [inaudible 00:08:54] on that a little bit as chiropractors? Now you have done, you did a a study in, or a clinical trial, correct?

It was not a clinical trial. It was just a retrospective case series. I was noticing, I was playing with HRV because I’m a nerd, I play with things and by experimental systems I do not experiment on my patients. I observe them. There’s a difference…

There’s a difference.

…in terms of, yes, in terms of a, what’s that thing you’re supposed to get a some sort of approval to do that. But I’m a born lab rat. I’m not used to working with humans. I’m used to working with test tubes, so this whole working with human subjects is a whole different ball of wax to me. So, I observe my patients and I notice if there’s a trend that a lot of people are showing up at the same finding or the same improvement. And I was noticing that many of my patients would start with a lower heart rate variability as measured by standard deviation of end to end interval and over time that would progressively improve because we know it’s not one data point that is important to understand the direction of health.

You can’t make a trajectory off of one data point. You need at least three data points to make any kind of align and you really want more than that. So I started tracing the heart rate variability in patients pretty frequently just to see what was happening. And it turned out there was a really beautiful commonality between many of the people who were having their subluxations corrected with just conservative care, is their heart rate variability was improving almost linearly and then plateauing and staying there. So I found that very interesting and that’s what the paper’s about.

Oh, beautiful. Where can people dig into that paper?

Now that’s an interesting question. It’s published in the Chiropractic Journal of Australia and I think, you know, there’s some political stuff going on with that journal. So to actually find the article is a bit challenging at this point. So I’m going to recommend that people go to a different resource. It’s Chiro.org, it’s Frank Painter’s site. He does such a fantastic job of looking for different research and putting it into a form that chiropractors can access easily. And so if you search a Chiro.org and heart rate variability, you’ll find a link to the full paper.

Fabulous. Thank you for that. Thank you. And they thank you for doing that. That work.

So, I had sent Alan a few talking points and so forth and he’s like, okay, maybe not everybody out there listening is as nerdy as you and I. So can we…


Could you break down a little bit, let’s give the audience some simple bullet points about heart rate variability, because we want it high not low. So people understand that you want a high heart rate variability, that means you’re adapting better to your stress.


What else do you want to tell them? Just some bullet points for people that might not have heard of this kind of lingo before, but they’re like, that’s intriguing.

So, the first step is to distinguish heart rate versus heart rate variability. Heart rate is 60 beats per minute. Heart rate variability is, do you have beats that are 0.61 milliseconds, 0.62, 0.59, they should be a little bit different, and the distance between adjacent heartbeats. So if you take a five minute sampling of your heart rhythm, your instantaneous heart rhythm, you should be able to use just a simple mathematical equation to standard deviation, to give you an idea of how variable that heart rhythm is. And it turns out that I’m in about, oh, I don’t know, 30,000 [inaudible 00:12:43] references that the variability in your instantaneous heart rate is a reflection of how well your body is perceiving it’s environment, internal and external. Integrating that information and executing a timely, an appropriate adaptive response. Now those were a bunch of words, but what that really means is the safety pin cycle.

So what we’re looking, sorry, go on.

No, go…, well what I want to break down for a lot of people out there that know that I talk a lot about the sensory motor loop and adapting to our external, internal environment. So our external environment are those five FARs senses, sight, smell, sound, so on and so forth. But to our audience’s internal [inaudible 00:13:32] senses, which I believe is, are so profoundly modulated with chiropractic care, is that a [inaudible 00:13:40] proprioceptive that interoceptive, so I just want to throw that in there so we can tie that together for those guys out there. Interoceptive system or neural visceral system is modulated by the vagus nerve, by vagal tone. So this…

Big time.

So this is how we’re linking everything together for you all. So when Amy was talking about adapting to what we perceive, remember it’s adapting to those senses that those senses. So I just want to interject that. So we tie this all together for them.

Perfect. It… One of the paradigms that I use with my patients is your body will only adapt to what it sees. And I’m using the word see in a more general sense, not specifically see, but perceives. If your body does not accurately perceive anything, whether it’s your balance, whether it’s your blood pressure, if your body does not perceive that, it will not execute an appropriate adaptive response to change because of that. So both ends of those loop are really important. And the most important thing is that thing in the middle, the integration place where I think that’s the brain or something.

Something like that.

Yes. Something like that.


Yes, exactly. And so now we also know that there’s… We have these brain regions that [inaudible 00:14:59] it’s like a marriage or relationship, they have to have the chemistry between them and then the constant communication and that communication needs to be, it can’t be one person in the relationship has more say so, more power of a communicator, they have to be communicating, all those regions have to be communicating equally, so that they can perceive their world and respond appropriately in a motor function. So, yes. We could just be here forever right.

I think so. Oh yes. This is awesome.

So, how would we tie this together with the vertebral subluxation with finding, detecting, correcting vertebral subluxations, and what does that have to do with a vagal tone?

I’m going to answer that in a way you don’t expect. So I, do you know Dr. John Chung? He’s in Florida.

Yes, yes, yes. Love him.

Okay. So me too. He and I actually were overlapping at [inaudible 00:15:59] University. He’s part of my brain trust. So basically when John says something, I listen and just today he was talking about a conversation he had with a patient. He posted this on Facebook, that it was a patient returning to care and she wanted to have her vertebral subluxations, her upper cervical subluxation addressed and adjusted and this patient wanted, John said, I think he had a screen show on his overhead computer, something like that. And she said, “Oh, that’s interesting. I wonder what’ll happen when we adjust me.”

So he took a baseline of heart rate variability for this returning patient, did a specific analysis and a specific chiropractic adjustment, and you know John, it’s going to be very specific, it’s [inaudible 00:16:45] and measure the change in heart rate variability afterwards. And there was a very strong trend towards positive improvement. That was instantaneously, it was, there you go for a readout. I mean, and when you look at that in terms of what is heart rate variability, it is perception of the body, integration of information and execution of a response. When that improves, that means that the body is literally adopting better, and when the body is adapting better you can logically conclude that the body will be healthier because lower adaptation is kind of bad.

And that leads to, let’s kind of lay this out by the way John, if you’re listening to this, you’re on my hit list to be on the show. You didn’t know that but…


…you are now, I’ve got my hit list. So anyway, and for the audience out there, this leads to whole downstream neurophysiological consequences because when we’re not adapting appropriately we… We’re stuck in that HPA axis cranking, cortisols kicking, initially cortisol’s anti-inflammatory then it switches to the pro-inflammatory, but there’s a whole cascade of things that happen. So we just want to tie that in there for you out there listening that this is a big deal. This is…

Big time.

…as well as mental health and we know that one in five kiddos in this country is diagnosed with a mental health issue. So I kind of want to transition there if we can for a minute doc. So, okay, let’s break this down. Research… If I were to say, is there substantial research for us as chiropractors to say, I mean we, we know what we see in our offices, we know that we see these responses. But as far as research, if I were to step in a court of law or whatever, [inaudible 00:18:44] Is there research out there to says we definitely affect the vagus nerve?

Whew. Directly or indirectly?

Let’s go with directly first.

I don’t think there’s adequate research yet. I think it will be very straightforward for us to do there are great model systems to follow and I think it is eminently accomplish, and I think that is something that should be on the high priority list for chiropractic research. I actually think it honestly, it’s like shooting ducks in a barrel.


You know, we already know the answer. It’s a matter of how to frame it.

Absolutely. And because that’s always been one of my crazy missions is to, because in your bio, you, I know you’ve done a lot of this work. We have the medical arena looking at vagal nerve stimulators and different modes to stimulate vagal tone and I feel, and I know you’re right there too, I can feel it. We should be on the forefront of being able to tell that to the world and lead that chase and how chiropractic can really modulate vagal tone.

Without question.

Yes, we have all these other entities doing it, you know, and we can innately, we have the power to innately modulate vagal tone and I think, I would just love to see that be the one of the forefronts of where we go.

I would love that and there’s a secondary reason for that. I was thinking about the nature of transcutaneous vagal stem that’s being put forth in the medical device arena these days and you can put an input into the vagus nerve through the trachea’s and you can modulate vagal tone that way and you can measure it. The systems exist to measure what we want to see. But here’s a question for you.

If you decrease sympathetic over activation by sensory input to the vagus nerve, therefore vagus tone is more prevalent, but you have not actually effected parasympathetic. If you’re decreasing sympathetic tone, but, and also you’re not addressing the subluxation, you’re still modulating the system from the outside in. You’re tuning a guitar string the way you think it should be, but that may not actually produce the most harmonious chords.

That’s a beautiful point. Beautiful. Absolutely.

And that’s where we fit, that’s where we have this profound ability at least. Yes, absolutely. So when we talk about little fiddle farts, the little ones, so we know that there’s these critical windows of development. I call it the first thousand days. That’s fetal development, the first two years of life and then the autonomic nervous system. So these critical windows things, there are things we, the nervous system brain expects to happen. They, they need to happen in that time and there’s things that shouldn’t happen. And we know that the autonomic regulation, that vagal tone, heart rate variability comes on board the end of the second try and, and the third try during fetal development. So we need mama to be imbalance and adaptable as best as possible. Where do you see these little fiddle farts fitting into this picture?

Couple of different ways. One is prenatally her mama. Absolutely. And you just reminded me of a friend of mine had a car accident the other day and she’s five months pregnant, so that has some pretty serious implications for making sure that she gets that stress response down for sure. So, prenatally the stress on the mama will be reflected as stress on the baby and that’s literally neurological programming. That’s hard wiring.


That’s hard to fight.


You can do it. It’s hard to fight. And then early on in childhood development, if children are subjected to ACE’s, adverse childhood events, again that will prime their nervous system to have a trigger happy stress response, and that skews the autonomic nervous system towards “fight or flight”, or as compared to “rest and relaxation”. Or if we were talking about Polyvagal theory, it skews the response of the nervous system towards “fight or flight” or “freeze”. And when that happens, you’re setting off an entire endocrine hormone cascade, and we all know that the hormone cascade of stress impacts human health. So if there’s anything that could help to redirect the balance of the autonomic nervous system after these adverse childhood events, then it would be expected to really help the longterm health prognosis of these kids who are having these events.

Absolutely. And in that study they found that the life expectancy of those that, that had the high ACEs score, the average child experiences, their life expectancies to be down by about 20 years.

And there was a strong correlation…

Strong, strong correlation. Just last week I received a recent research paper on positive childhood experiences that will negate, they played off of it off the ACEs study, and that positive childhood experiences will help minimize the expense, the responses of the adverse.

Of course.

So, of course, so think about if we have these little fiddle farts that have this dis-regulation and these adverse experiences and we get into their lives and we can create a positive environment, meaning a positive perception of their environment and be a part of being able to negate the adverse offense, events. That is, I just…

Beyond profound.

Right. And we know that these… This getting, I call it getting stuck in limbic lock and load mode, it shuts down the frontal lobe and then, but this is so much tied to not just physical consequences, but mental health as well, and I really want to hit home to the audience about what we do as chiropractors has a profound effect across the boards in regards to physical and mental health. So anything you want to add to that?

Vagus, vagus, vagus and vagus, but also maybe vagus and possibly vagus.

You think so? Because what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.

Shouldn’t stay there. Shouldn’t stay there. Oh, I, dang it. I left my iPad in the sun. It was going to give you a title to a paper. But anyways, the neuro, [inaudible 00:25:36] neurovisceral integration model is a proposed hypothesis, top-down appraisal of how heart rate variability reflects the handling of stress in life, as measured by mental health concerns, depression, anxiety, PTSD in particular. And these studies have shown that higher heart rate variability, not too high, because that’s instability. It’s kind of like blood pressure, you want it not too low, not too high. Right in the Goldilocks zone. So higher heart rate variability was, lower heart rate variability was predictive of someone developing PTSD… (Silence) … suppose predictive of is an interesting word to be able to use in a research study.


So heart rate variability as modulated by the vagus nerve and really HRV is a readout.


So we’re looking at vagus function predicting whether someone will end up with a mental health disorder.

And that’s huge. I mean it’s so huge. And again we take it back to our little fiddle farts because this is more of a [inaudible 00:26:46]. But if we start out with this little guy, this little fiddle fart with colloquy, not sleeping, not pooping, right there because that is, so much all the whole GI system’s massively by vagal tone. We’re really getting an outward appearance. I say there a person’s neurological expression, the way they, their outward expression is giving you a window into their neurological integrity. So the [inaudible 00:27:14], non poopy, non sleeping babies after mom has to sit and bounce with them the whole time or whatever. They’re telling us that, “Hey, I’m not being able to adapt to this, this stress that I’m under.”

Absolutely. Yep.

So okay, I can have you here for hours and Alan’s probably like, okay, you guys stop. What is, what is one last, I know you’ve got a million but one last pearl that you want to leave the world with. Not that you’re leaving the world, but leave this audience with?

The distinction between traditional approach to management of the human body versus the above, down, inside out perspective, recognizing that the system truly is connected in ways that we don’t understand or fully appreciate yet, that sometimes it’s better to remove anything that is obstructing the system from rebalancing itself, than to try to fiddle with the system from the outside in, not knowing what’s going to happen. And really that’s what we’re doing with the chiropractic adjustment is we are removing obstructions that are preventing the vagus nerve from doing what it does best, which is modulating and… modulating the body and keeping everything in an active dynamic equilibrium.

Beautiful. Beautiful. Now I hope everybody can listen. Listen to that segment, repeat, rewrite, repeat and be able to articulate that to the world. Because that was beautiful.

Thank you.

So I guess we better wrap it up before we get that, the red flag, but thank you so much for sharing your wisdom, your, I mean, your beauty, your talent and your time with all of us out there in Chiro land. And I look forward to nerding out with you more and you, so Chironerd.com, and then your practice is, your practice website or where they can find your brilliant [inaudible 00:29:19]

Pathoflifechiro.com, I named my practice after a [inaudible 00:29:25], “Two paths diverged in the wood and I took the one less traveled”, and it has made all the difference, so I went from the traditional academic, to where I am right now and I love what I do. I’m so honored and thankful to do what it is that I can people’s lives and to be able to share how these neurons fire and create ideas and stuff with other people who can make use of them.

Well that’s amazing. And I, that’s one of my favorite sayings. So I think we were sisters from another, from another life, from something else, but.

I’m getting that totally.

Again, hey doc, thank you so much and I look forward to your, what you’re coming out with and keep us in the loop. We’ll have…

[crosstalk 00:30:10]

We’ll have to do a round two.

I’d love that. And at some point you and I are going to have to sit down and have coffee and just like nerd out until all of our brains are fried.

Sounds like a plan. Hey God bless you. Thank you for everything you do for chiropractic and just thanks for being you and I appreciate your time.

And thank you for having me and thank you for everything you do for chiropractic.

You’re amazing.

Well, we’re all in this together. My mantra now is “Alone we can make a difference, but together we can make change” and that’s where we need to go.

Love it.

So thank you all out there for tuning in. Make sure that you join Dr. Eric Glocky, the first Thursday of every month. He has an amazing [inaudible 00:30:54] show, and again, Chiro Secure, thank you so much from the bottom of our chiropractic hearts for allowing us to bring this information to the masses and to help serve more children and save more children. So until next month, I will see you the third Thursday of next month.


Today’s pediatric show “Look to the Children” was brought to you by ChiroSecure and the award winning book series “I am a lovable me”. Make sure you join us next week, right here at the same time. See you next week.

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Empowering Women Chiropractic – Connecting Doctors with Parents and Teachers

Hello everybody, and welcome to ChiroSecure’s Look To the Children show. I am your host for today, Dr. Monica Buerger, and I am beyond excited to introduce you to my beautiful guest today, Dr. Susan [Crom 00:01:10] Weinstein but in my heart she’s a doctor of chiropracty because she’s so brilliant and so well versed in what we do and has an amazing pulse on the neurological component of what we do as chiropractors.

So I am beyond excited for her to be here today. I want to thank ChiroSecure for giving us the opportunity to bring this information to you and to make a change in the lives of children across the globe. So Susan, thank you so much for being with us today.

Well, I’m so excited to be here. Thank you for including me on your show.

Oh, I was so excited. Now a little bit about Susan. She is a retired elementary school teacher of 17 years, but is still a school teacher at heart. She won a Teacher Of The Year Award, not just for her work actually in a classroom, but also for her contribution to her school district as a whole. Today she is the founder of Beyond Paper And Pencil, which I absolutely love that title because it is beyond paper and pencil, right?


And she has a great company where she produces videos, blogs, amazing content, not only to educate teachers but parents, community members. She works closely with different organizations, different entities in targeting their market audience but I’ve had the opportunity to speak with her one-on-one on several occasions and she is a children’s advocate. She’s a teacher, a parent, an advocate for children across the country and her heart is absolutely amazing and her mission is absolutely amazing. So again, thank you for taking the time to be here today.

Well, thank you so much. I appreciate that, wow. I feel good.

Let me ask you, what made you move on beyond the classroom?

Well, that’s a great question, Monika, and I’m going to answer that in a way that will best benefit your viewers, the doctors, because I know that the challenges they’re facing are very similar to the challenges I faced in my classroom. Pretty early on in my teaching career, I developed a neurological model for behavior and learning that addressed the challenges that my students were having and really our nation’s children, with one in five children suffering from a mental health disorder. I realized pretty much from the beginning, that my children’s emotions were really impacting their behavior and their learning and emotions affect how and what a child learns and those unchecked emotions raised the child’s stress level and a stressed brain cannot work.

[inaudible 00:04:28].

So knowing that the emotional center of the brain, the amygdala, when activated … and we know the number one source of activation is fear, and that could be through yelling, teacher yelling in the classroom, a parent yelling, isolation, negative facial expression, body motions, creates anxiety, depression and aggression in the children but it also shuts down the areas of the brain that are so important to learning because the child’s in survival mode, fight or flight. I kill the tiger or the tiger eats me and you become the tiger. So there’s no short-term memory, working memory, long-term memory, attention, motivation, or learning going on.

Absolutely. Are you sure you’re not a chiropractor?

A wannabe, a wannabe. Trust me, I leave that to the experts. So knowing that a learning is a function of multiple parts of the brain working together. In my program I had to find a way to suppress the amygdala and at the same time activate the areas of the brain where learning takes place. Activate the prefrontal cortex, short-term memory, working memory, hippocampus, long-term memory, attention, motivation and learning and what better way to do that than by activating the cerebellum?

Now, just because the therapy Bella makes up 10% of the brain’s weight, it offers a big punch. Over half of the neurons are located are contained in the cerebellum. More than 40 million nerve fibers run through the cerebellum, those information highways and the cerebellum processes information received faster than any other part of the brain.

So activating the cerebellum, how to activate the cerebellum. Oh, I’ve got a little sound here. The greatest amount of feedback … I’m going to turn that sound off. The greatest amount of feedback to the cerebellum is the of the muscle spindle and golgi tendon. So every time there’s joint movement, flection, extension, you fire the muscle spindle and golgi tendon and the cerebellum is fired and I did that through movement in my classroom.

I did a lot of educational movement. We danced ABCs, numbers, you named it, we danced it. I also created an app for structured movement breaks in the classroom and doctors are activating the cerebellum through the muscle spindle and golgi tendon through adjustments and manipulation.

So the next challenge was how can you best get your message across to the parents? How can you inform, engage, educate, and ultimately get those children under your care? Well, I found out that I was not speaking the same language as my parents, my teaching peers or the school leaders, activating the cerebellum, suppressing the amygdala. I did not speak that language. They did not speak that language, let’s put it that way. It’s the same language and I was not speaking their language and I think that your viewers, the doctors out there, are experiencing similar challenges. By speaking chiro speak, parents aren’t really understanding, it’s not speaking parent language. You’re not getting that amazing message across in the way that parents understand and patients understand.


And if you don’t get your message across, you’re not going to get the buy-in and you’re not going to get the parents to bring their, pay their children in to be treated by you or become your patients. [inaudible 00:08:18].

One second there [crosstalk 00:08:20].

I found a solution that since we are visual species, visual beings, the best way to get the message across is through visuals. I’m sorry, did we … Was I not speaking? Did I turn … Oh, I’m so sorry, I wasn’t … I turned off my volume, so I wasn’t hearing you Monica. So if you were asking questions, I apologize.

No worries, no worries. I find your work so fascinating. I think the reason I click with you so much as a chiropractor is because you speak chiropractic and I just found … Your presentation is absolutely beyond beautiful. So for you chiros out there, she is speaking what we should be speaking to our patients in our community, especially when we talk about that input from the muscle spindles to the cerebellum, et cetera. So I just wanted to throw in there that as chiropractors, when we do an adjustment, we are able to fire that information into the cerebellum, which is so critical for then controlling that sensory input. Actually I call it a three brain circus or three brain loop. The cerebellum will regulate the frontal lobe, which what you talk about in regards to memory, attention, et cetera. Then the frontal lobe will regulate the limbic system, or that amygdala.

So I just kind of wanted to throw that power punch in there, how what you’re presenting is exactly what we do as chiropractors, but then you bring it home and facilitate … You help us allow that adjustment to be even more of a punch, more of an impact by backing it up with movement and I find that just so fascinating.

Oh, well thank you. Thank you so much and I apologize for turning off your volume.

[inaudible 00:10:26].

This moving character had its little musical background and I thought I’d … I didn’t realize I turned you you off.

Don’t worry, I’m sure people want to mute me all the time.

Oh, never, never, never. So we were talking about really the best way to get the message across in a language that parents understand, that patients understand, is by using visuals and that’s through the form of video because 65% of our population are visual learners. The power of video, visuals are processed 60,000 times faster in the brain than text. A 60 second video equates as the same learning power as 1.8 million words of text. Videos on Facebook are shared 12 times more than links and text posts combined.

So if you’re really showing your videos promoting on Facebook, I mean you’re getting your message out to millions. Now, let’s see how much your videos are being watched because hours spent watching videos daily on Facebook, more than 100 hours a day are spent watching videos, and on YouTube more than 500 hours. But it’s not just any video, it’s a video that gets your message across through the language that your audience speaks, your parents speak, your patients speak. So Monika had asked me to create some videos for her and today we’re going to showcase one of those videos that’s the language that your patients speak.

Welcome to Developing Minds Weekly Tip is your baby developing. Normally there are specific infant reflexes, known as primitive reflexes, your doctor looks forward to determine healthy development. Watch until the end for information on possible problematic signs to look for in your child’s development. Today we will look at the symmetrical tonic neck reflex, STNR, referred to as the crawling reflex and helps the infant’s body divided in half at the midline to aid in crawling.

The STNR is elicited when the baby’s head is flexed or bent forward. The influence on tone causes its arms to bend and their legs to straighten. When the head is extended or bent backwards, the influence on tone causes a baby’s arms to straighten and their legs to bend. The STNR is present briefly after birth and then reappears around six to nine months and should be integrated when the baby is approximately 11 months old. Some signs of retention of the STNR include poor muscle tone, poor eye, hand coordination, poor concentration, and sitting still. Poor gross motor skills and difficulty reading and writing.

Remember, early detection and intervention play a key role in allowing your child’s nervous system to heal at its maximum functional level. Contact your family chiropractor today to help your child experience healthy development, combining optimal neurology, nutrition, exercise, chiropractic care together for ultimate neuro development and wellbeing across all ages. To learn more, connect with us. And that is Developing Minds’ Weekly Tip.

Just amazing, amazing what you do and the way … I guess I’ll have to use the pun, the way you connect with your audience is quite profound. Obviously we like that the connect analogy, but beautiful, beautiful work. Susan.

Well, thank you Monika, I appreciate that.

You obviously are very adept in communication and you showed that in your work in the classroom and with parents and actually you have a program that you do for schools, is that correct?

I do. In fact, some of the slides that I showed are from that. It’s, Beyond Paper And Pencil and it’s really showing teachers, the teaching community and school leaders how we can positively impact how our children learn and really activate the brain. It’s been pretty successful and I’ve also created an app for structured movement because we know our attention span is diminishing and those kids need to get up and moving, they’re sitting in chairs all day.


So I’m pretty excited about that.

Absolutely. One of the questions I get asked from teachers if my community that I work with, is it hard to get the kid up … their booties out of the seats and doing this structured movement?

It really is not and especially if you make it a very short … it does not have to be extensive. In fact, some of the videos out there for younger children where they’re getting out of their seats and moving around a lot, it’s hard to get them back and engage but if you have a very short structured movement working both areas, hemispheres of the brain, crossing the midline, 30 seconds, that’s all it takes. 30 seconds you can get up, do your movement next to the desk, sit back down and that’s pretty much what my app does. It’s a very structured 30 seconds to one minute movement and I tested it on teachers actually and they were so motivated. There were no breaks, we had a full day workshop. We ended up ending an hour and a half early because they didn’t want to take any breaks. They were so gung ho and engaged and I really think the movement had a lot to do with it.

Absolutely and they’re able to absorb more of that content.


So they don’t go that … kind of glazed over brain dead look and not being able to imbibe the information. So that’s phenomenal. Very, very impressive. Is there one pearl that you could throw out to the audience because it’s mostly chiros that are listening to this, but where they can maybe connect with a teacher? Something on a teacher level that … If they have a teacher in their practice, let’s say as a patient, is there one pearl that you can give them on how to maybe connect with that teacher, to explain the importance here?

For a chiropractor to connect with the teacher, are you saying?

Yeah, if there’s a teacher on their practice as a patient and they might want to express the importance of movement in the classroom, is there a pearl you can give them as far as how to initiate that conversation or something from a teacher’s perspective?

I just think that the importance, just from a health importance … I mean just not only talking about the health and oxygen of the body and the brain, but just movement period. Just how important it is to get the children out of their seats and taking those breaks because there’s no learning going on. There’s no learning going on, once that brain shuts down, there’s no learning going on. I think another is really how we affect the emotions, how the teachers affect the emotions of the brain without even knowing it, without even knowing it. It’s raising the voice or giving that stare, it’s really activating. These brains are very fragile that we’re dealing with, our children, and we have to be very cautious of how we act around them because like I mentioned earlier, once those emotions, once that amygdala’s activated, there is nothing going on.

Absolutely. I think that’s an amazing key point that you have brought our audience in regards to teachers social engagement with the children. In chiropracty, we talk about the social portion of the vagus nerve and again, I know you’re a chiropractor at heart, I just know you are but we talked about that social engagement portion of the vagus nerve and we see that so compromised these days because of neurodevelopmental struggles to begin with, but then if they’re put in this environment where they’re fear-based or are they don’t understand those social expressions, for me, that was an incredible pearl you handed me today.

Oh, well thank you so much. I get so much from you. I’m so happy that I could share something.

No, that’s incredible and you guys listening to this, I think that’s something profound you can give to your teachers and your practices or even your parents because … Right, Susan? It’s not just the teachers. I mean the parents should be well versed or taught this as well and how to engage with their little fiddle fart from a social structure, from that facial expressions. I think that that’s a profound, profound take-home.

Thank you.

Do you use this too, with … Did you use any of these techniques, or this language or this type of communication with your parents when you were in the classroom?

Absolutely. I did the professional development for everything that I did in the classroom. I made sure my parents were educated. My philosophy as a teacher for 17 years, and I think it may come from the fact that I’m not a parent, so I worship the ground that parents walk on, I think it’s the most challenging yet rewarding job ever. I was always a partner with my parents and we were a family and so anything that I did in the classroom, anything, I did professional development for my parents. So they were always aware, always aware, of what was going on.

Oh, bless you, that is huge. In my practice, I talk about it’s the three Ps. I tell, it’s the parent, the patient and the practitioner. So I say it’s a three P ring circus kind of thing, but we are part of their family, part of their … it’s a team effort and that’s very rare to hear that, I think maybe from a teacher’s perspective, because these children can be very hard to parent and they can be very hard to teach. Is that correct?

There are some children have that find that extra, extra, extra special place in your heart. Sometimes you really have to carve that place because they’re acting up for a reason, and you just have to be able to figure out, kind of tease out, what that reason is. But basically they all need to be loved, they all need to be acknowledged, they all need to be just cherished. That’s my love. They fill my heart, children do.

Absolutely and you can tell, I mean, like I said, I’ve had private conversations with Susan and she is a mother advocate for children to her core. I think you hit the nail on the head. I say that a person, especially a child’s, neuro expression, the way they’re behaving in their environment is a window into their neurological integrity. If you understand that, like you said, they’re not acting out because they want to act out, they’re acting out because they’re trying to tell you where their struggles are from a brain-based perspective and you have been so savvy in regards to being able to peg that from an academic level and translate that into language and videos and incredible learning opportunities for teachers and parents.

Not everybody can do that and you’ve really become very successful in my eyes, being able to translate in that information. So thank you both from a chiropractor and a practitioner’s heart. We need people like you to make the words understandable for our parents and teachers.

Well, thank you Monika, and believe me, I appreciate all that you do and that your viewers do, all the doctors out there [crosstalk 00:24:16].

We’re in this together and hopefully those listeners out there, we’ll be seeing more of Susan out there creating some more incredible stuff for us to use for our communities and our teachers. Any last minute pearls or wrap-ups that you would give? What about the DC [inaudible 00:00:24:41], the chiropractor that needs a little inspiration in regards to, is there help for the children in the future, for academic-wise?

Oh, I truly believe there’s help and I’ve seen it in my classroom, how my test scores, how their behavior, how happy they were just by activating what seemed to me to be pretty simplistic, but just it blew everybody’s minds how these children were excelling. So it’s not that challenging of … it can be done and can be done very easily. Just get those kids out of their chairs.

Booties out of the seats, right?

What is that?

The booties out of the seats, get the booties out of the seats.

Booties out of the seats. In my classroom, 50% of my classroom were standing stations. I gave my children, my students, the option. If they wanted to sit, they could sit. If they wanted to stand, they could stand and it was really surprising how many children chose to stand. They needed to be active, they need to be moving and if a child is going back and forth and their feet while they’re standing, they’re not considered the behavior problem as a child who’s rocking back and forth in their chair, possibly tipping over. So yeah, just get the kids up, get them-

Are you finding the schools being more accepting in this paradigm?

I think some schools are, I think that a lot of schools are looking at budgets, but there are creative ways around it. I mean, I bought bed risers from Amazon, boxes, 24 and I propped my tables and desks on top of risers. I made sure they were secure, but they were the height that children needed … that they could work at standing stations. So you don’t have to buy a $2,000 desk, which some of the standing desks are very expensive, very costly. But you know what? There are creative ways around. It doesn’t have to be 100% of the classroom, start with one or two desks and work from there.

Awesome information. Awesome information. Well, I want to thank you again for joining us. I know you have an incredibly busy schedule, but the information I felt was invaluable and your contribution to the children is absolutely invaluable. So thank you so much for being part of our mission to get out there and change lives and change the future for these little fiddle farts.

Thank you Monika, for all you do.

It’s a team effort, right?

It is, go team.

That’s right, go team and thank you all for joining us. Make sure that you join Dr. Erik Kowalke on the first Thursday of September. He’s on the first Thursday with a Look To The Children show. And again, thank you so much to ChiroSecure for making this show possible, for us to get this information out and to really change the tide on what we’re seeing. One in five children with a mental health disorder in this country is not okay. One in five children with a sensory processing disorder, or neurodevelopmental disorder is not okay. So join us here, the first Thursday, the third Thursday of every month, and get some incredible information so that we can get out there and further change the tide. Thanks again. We’ll see you next month.

Today’s pediatrics show, Look to The Children, was brought to you by ChiroSecure and the award winning book series, I Am A Lovable Me. Make sure you join us next week, right here at the same time. See you next week.

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Empowering Women Chiropractic – NEURODEVELOPMENTAL HOLES

Now, here’s today’s host, Dr. Monika Buerger.

Hello everybody and welcome to another Chiro Secure’s Look To The Children show. I’m your host, Dr. Monika Buerger, and you do not want to leave us today because I have the amazing Dr. Amy Spoelstra from Northern Idaho. I’m in Southeastern Idaho, and for the first time I have somebody hanging out with me in my own state. Amy, hi.

Hi. Happy to be here. I think it’s super cool that we have you in the south of Idaho and I’m the north of Idaho. Two strong women doing work in this field, so cool. Happy to be here.

Baboom, baboom. I know you had to really tweak your schedule to be here and we really thank you for that. Little bit about the amazing Dr. Amy. She graduated from Sherman in 2008. She has a booming, thriving, awesome kick butt peds pregnancy practice, oh say that, peds pregnancy practice, up in Coeur d’Alene with a focus on neurodevelopmental disorders. She’s got an amazing program out. She’s doing a class actually tomorrow and Saturday in your office.


Up in Coeur d’Alene. She’s been out on the road spreading the word of heard awesomeness and really digging in to try to help other docs really understand the fundamentals on children with neural developmental disorders and development in general. Bless you for being here, girlfriend. I know you’ve got a lot on your plate, but we need to spread the word. Let’s do it.

Well, thank you. Thank you for having me and thank you for your influence on me and our profession and the work that you’re doing. So important and so great, so thank you.

Right back at you girlfriend.

Since we’re kind of on that same wavelength about wanting to change the tide, let’s talk a little bit about holes in development. We know that those little fiddle farts, especially in utero, in fetal development, and those first couple of years of life, they undergo different neuroplastic changes than adults do. There’s like five different kinds of type of neuroplastic changes they undergo. I think as chiropractors, we really filter across the adaptive, the developmental, and the reactive. I wanted to pick your amazing brain kind of focusing on that reactive neuroplastic changes and sensory deprivation. You come from a background, let me back up guys. Sorry, I didn’t give her the proper intro that I should have. She comes from a background of neuro optometry. Correct? Your Dad was a neuro optometrist.


So, she sees things. Ha ha. I’m sure you haven’t heard that before.

Yeah, right.

From a different vantage point. Kind of what I wanted to throw into the mix here is this reactive neuroplasticity can be a lot from sensory deprivation like amblyopia and so forth. From a chiropractic standpoint, I look at it as abhorrent afferent information coming into the CNS from the spinal joints and the associated muscles. Can we pick your brain on the spin of things from a visual standpoint? From amblyopia?

Yeah. I think that’s great. I also, because I’m a chiropractor, my background, I always say hey I have a unique life perspective and experience, or I have a unique perspective because of my experience, rather because I grew up in this neuro optometry world. I had a brother with challenges, behavioral, learning, socialization, gut, aggression, socialization, a lot of challenges, like these kids and adults that we work with. My dad was a classical optometrist, my mom’s a school teacher. It really shifted their view on what was happening in his brain and development, and it changed the course of my dad’s life and therefore our lives into the neuro optometry field. Where they practice vision therapy, and he became a leader in that field and contributed a lot there worldwide. Really got me thinking about brain development from a really early age. Which is super strange, but it’s like these people in chiropractic that are like born into chiropractic, they just a part of them, it’s a part of their paradigm, their belief system and just who they are and how they’ve used things.

That’s how neuro optometry was for me. I didn’t know how to view the world not through the developmental neurobiology optometric lens. Then I became a chiropractor, which was really cool because then I didn’t know that the two fields went together. I just thought it sounded really cool to help people with back pain, honestly. I didn’t know until then my field doctor taught me about [inaudible 00:06:11] intelligence, about the nervous system. Then I went to Sherman. I’m sitting in Sherman quarter one learning about the philosophy and some of the basic neurology, and I’m like, wait a minute, these two worlds need to come together. Then I knew at that moment that was my life’s purpose and path.

It’s interesting because yes, to go back around to answering your question, I think that it is important to look at the visual perceptual changes that we can have, but I view them differently than a neuro optometrist would. I work with neuro optometrists now and we have this conversation. Actually, one’s speaking at my seminar. Where they say, hey, we maybe have amblyopia or monocular vision, or we have some visual perceptual or visual functional change in the way we’re using our eyes and perceiving visual input. They, even though they’re very, they’re more wholistic in looking at vision than like a traditional optometrist, they still have this viewpoint, from my understanding and experience in that field, of this is just the way it is and we need to use apparatuses, prisms, lenses to change their visual experience.

My contribution to that is, but it’s all about the brain. If we’re getting, if we’re having abnormal afferent input from muscle spindle fibers, let’s take that one small little piece, conversation, if we’re having that input, which is changing the way the brain is receiving, processing, integrating information, of course they’re going to have visual perceptual changes and they’re going to present just as somebody would present with a symptom like a headache or back pain. They may, it may be contributing to their presentation of the way they’re using their eyes, which then could come around to well then that would create a sensory deprivation, I suppose you could say, or an alteration of their sensory field in the visual sense. Which I know we agree on this, is that we then have to put these together.

We can’t just say it’s like chicken and egg, which came first. Well we don’t know, but we do know we have to start with pillar one, which is hey if we want to make changes with the visual perception, which is really important in total brain function which we know, then we need to first make sure that we’re receiving and processing, integrating, and sending appropriate information within the central nervous system.

Because I always talk about the sensory motor loop. I think I don’t necessarily like the term sensory processing disorder because it’s really a sensory motor loop.


If your abhorrent information in, my motor output is going to be dysfunctional too.


What does that look like? Hey, we keep on coming back to that. Look, the vision, what does that look like? That may look like they can’t converge or diverge, and their eyes don’t work together. It’s a motor dysfunction.

Let me pick your brain some more. For all the amazing docs out there, when you walk into a room, you walk into for the first time with a little fiddle fart. You walk into the room, are there one, two, three red flags that, I mean, you walk in and you look at a couple things and you’re like, boom, boom, boom? Give us the pearls, baby.

Yeah, it’s like the gift and the curse, right?


It’s like a chiropractic standpoint just in even the traditional chiropractic, which I don’t consider us traditional chiropractors I guess. I wish this was traditional, but you see a head tilt and you think of an atlas or you think of the subluxation. It’s like you can’t [inaudible 00:09:52] them all and not see the head tilts everywhere. Kind of like it is a gift and a curse. That’s kind of the same thing with this is when we learn about brain development processing and what I call it deflective disorders, it’s really impossible not to see them everywhere you go in adults and kids. People always just think kids.

That’s a pretty complex question because one of the things is that I like to talk about is when we talk about neurodevelopmental disorders and neuro deflectic disorders, when you ask somebody who doesn’t think that they engage in this demographic much, they think of one thing. What did they think of, they think of severe, I don’t love that term, but like a severely affected autistic individual. They think maybe verbal, maybe non verbal, maybe aggressive, maybe locked in, maybe avoiding visual engagement, maybe stimming. They’re seeing this scenario.

Yeah, we see that. So, you’re looking at things like are we stimming, do we have excessive need to auditory verbally stim, are we doing a loop and feeding the brain in an auditory way, are we deflecting from central vision, or are we deflecting from peripheral vision because that can be the case as well. Especially in ADD, ADHD more presentation, we’ll get that tunnel vision, so a deflection of that dorsal stream. So it can be a lot of different ways.

The biggest thing I want to say just on this topic is that I think understanding that you could have a child or an adult that doesn’t fit that typical mold that you need to learn how to recognize that they’re having the same challenges. You could have, one thing we see a lot and I know you do too, is maybe a teenager or a young adult who has this deflection from processing their own body and their own self. You know the way they present, they look rude, they look like they aren’t taking showers because they’re lazy, they have bad poor hygiene. This is what they look like. They look like a defiant, lazy child. I hate even those words coming out of my mouth, but the thing is, is that’s what society, and that’s what we, and unless you know more, that’s how we label them. But this could be a very disorganized child or adult that really doesn’t have a good sense of awareness of cells because of gaps in development. That’s it.

They don’t have that self-perception.


Yeah, I look at that a lot with proprioceptive and interoception or neurovisceral. Thank you for bringing this up because this is really cool. This is how it’s like how are we going to fit this all into this.

I know.

But I had a group of docs out here last week, but the last several times on the road, I really want to hit home that interoceptive sense, that neurovisceral system because, like we said, for every sensory input there’s a motor output. That might look like poor visceral afferent information, primarily from vagal tone, then the abhorrent motor output might be constipation, might be bed wetting, might be because it might be not enough stomach acid or enough bile. Again, getting into that concept of for every sensory input there’s a motor output. If that loop is not working, what does that present like.

Right. I love that.

Yeah. Thank you for bringing that up because it’s poor self-perception. Do I have to go to the bathroom or do I not? Do I need to eat? Am I hungry, am I not? It’s not just necessarily tracking or vestibular, or I can’t balance. We have to think beyond that [crosstalk 00:13:46].

On that point, I love that and you are the leader in that field of looking at the neuro metabolic piece. I always say like, hey, like with the methylation and the gut healing, that’s an important piece of this puzzle. We have to put it in perspective, which you do very well and you have a great contribution to that, so I appreciate that.

One other piece of that that I always look at just because I feel like connection and brain-based parenting, brain-based mentoring, that’s a whole part of our program, it’s our fourth pillar, is so important in recognizing that when we do lack, or when we have this disorganization, or we have these deflections in processing and gaps in development, we then have an inability sometimes, oftentimes, and it can present in different ways, that’s where we have to break this down, but it can present in this deflection from processing self, own body. But then, of course that’s the foundation for processing and engaging and connecting outside of body to others. The first person to connect outside of body with this, of course, mom, or the person closest to you, and then others.

When we have say an adolescent who is having anxiety, social anxiety, trouble with friends, getting bullied, trouble making connections, picking up on verbal nonverbal cues, more visual processing stuff, we then have to go, look, we’re not treating these things, but we’re looking at the whole picture, the whole brain and where they were and how they were affected in early life, in early brain development that may be creating these deflectic patterns later. It’s really all about like what you said, and we are on the same mission here, it’s like teaching chiropractors that it’s about that input that then creates the output.

So we have foundational basis. If there, especially in those early years of neuroplastic changes on these different realms, if there’s holes, if they’re not meeting certain milestones, if they don’t build those foundations, it might not appear as a problem at that time. But then as they get older, high school age, or adulthood, that’s when those gaps really start to become more noticeable.


We want to kind of back the cart up. I even say now pre preconception care. Back the cart up on how can we make sure that we build those concrete foundational bases so that there isn’t this behavior down the road. Because you and I both know that those kiddos getting diagnosed as teenagers with the mental health disorders, that just drives me bananas. But that there’s something, there’s gaps, there’s holes that have been missed down here and they just become evident.

Right, and they present later. It’s like we always say, end organ manifestation of some disease process or some imbalance, or a challenge earlier. We can understand that. We can grasp that from a more traditional pathophysiology way, or a diagnosis of something like heart disease or headaches or cancer, but it’s the same thing here. Yeah, we’re on the same page with that.

One of the concerns I have actually and see quite often is, well, a couple of things. One, it’s like this work, and you probably get this a lot too, is that people, doctors, are thinking well I don’t work with kids with these challenges, or I don’t work with individuals with these challenges. My response to that is do you work with people, you work with people with these challenges. You just may not know how to spot it because it doesn’t look like that typical presentation like we talked about in the beginning. There’s a lot of these deflections because of all the stressors and lack of adaptation we have now.

One of the challenges that I find really troubling, and a very presentation, and I know that you find this as well, is what I call a deep dive in development in a area that’s maybe leaving bigger gaps, like some of these kids that maybe … We get this in in a musculoskeletal sense as chiropractors. If they skip crawling and they walk, we’re like oh, well that’s not good because we need that crawling because it has something to do with the brain, and so that’s a good thing. Well, these kids that read really early and they deflect these other areas, but that’s a deep dive into more abstract processing and neglect sometimes of early brain development. These are the kids that present, like you said, later in life, in adolescents or adulthood, with I have found to be very true here with more severe mental health challenges and major anxieties. That’s a big challenge that we need to know what’s happening there so that we can be the team leaders for these people. Not the only person on the team, but the team leaders.

Yeah. Thank you for bringing that up too because I think as we’re hopefully moving into an area of more brain-based chiropractic that we will see more people in our profession kind of taking that helm and taking that lead in whatever term we want to use, functional wellness or whatever the term is, but we know that one in five children in this country are said to have a mental illness and that’s not okay.

We understand, like you say, if we understand what’s going on from a developmental status, what some of these little subtlety signs or symptoms, and these red flags, and putting the whole picture together and being the leaders in that, and talking to other professionals about what we do and how we fit into that, it’s going to be huge.

Yeah. That’s a big one is making those relationships with other professionals. I think when we know more, and I know you and I are on the same page because we do a ton of collaboration and that’s what it’s all about is, we don’t have to be, and we shouldn’t be, the end all be all, we have all the answers, it’s about our egos. It’s all about what do we know about brain development and about these challenges, and what is our contribution. I think when we know that, then we know that our contribution should be foundational for everybody in this realm, everybody, but everybody in this demographic and realm.

Then it’s really easy because you’re not leading with hey chiropractic is treating any of these this and then you try to bridge that relationship with other practitioners. You say, hey, here’s brain development, here’s what I know about brain development, and oh by the way, the way we work on that is through correcting subluxation. Then they’re like, that makes sense. Here’s what I do. I mean, lead with the brain.

Exactly. Yeah, exactly. Beautiful. Beautiful darling. Beautiful.


What would you say is maybe your biggest challenge with working with this parent, with this group? Let’s go with that right now.

Oh boy. From my perspective, I think a lot of people think it’s hard to actually work and engage with these kids because there are very specific behaviors and deflections that are challenging. Yeah, I’ve been spit on. Yeah, I’ve been head butt. Yeah, all these things happen. That’s not what I find to be the biggest challenge, although I like to teach doctors how to try to avoid those things by understanding [crosstalk 00:21:28].

[crosstalk 00:21:28]

Over the years-

Concussion, a broken nose. Been there, done that.

You know, it’s like it happens less now right because we know how to engage, but sometimes you’re going to get it.

I think one of the biggest challenges for me is, well it’s heartbreaking, and I think the biggest challenge is that when one parent gets it and one parent, and I hate to say it but usually it’s dad who doesn’t see the challenges and then they come later in life and then they start to see them, because I think it’s really … It is really hard. Being a mom, I get it. It’s hard to see the challenges in your own kids. It’s very hard. It’s scary. What I’ve learned is the way to work with that is we just have to give them a lot of love and connection to the parents, understand where they are neurologically and where they are in processing because they’re in chronic stress and fear as well. And give them a lot of information, empower them with information before they even engage in a clinical relationship with you.

Then they make the choice, which is engaging their prefrontal cortex anyways when they make the choice. Then we continue to educate. But I think that’s the hardest thing because it breaks your heart. You can see it just like you see the head tilt and you know I know that person’s life would be better if I just adjusted their atlas. That’s I think that.

Absolutely. I have a saying that I tell the docs that I mentor with is, I’ve been in practice 29 years and it, sometimes, I hate to use the analogy of being an emergency room doc or something because you do want to save the world right and it can become a very big emotional, literally you walk into the room and this is heartbreaking. I have a new patient coming in this afternoon and I’m like, just reading their history, I’m like already heartbroken. But I say care, but don’t carry.


Because if we try to carry and convince and make those debt … And I agree with you, it’s usually the dads-

It is.

And especially dads with sons because you know …

That’s a whole nother conversation.

Yeah. But I try to tell docs care, but don’t carry that load because it will eat you up. What will happen is when you can do that and you free up space, those people that are meant to be in your practice, those kids and families that are meant in your practice, we have a waiting list practice now, like a year waiting list, they will be there, and they will be committed, and they will stay, and they will do what you want. Then ultimately you’re self-fulfilled because that’s when you can feel you make a difference in life.

Yeah. Great Advice. That was a gem. I hope everybody caught that.

One last question. I know you’ve got to go, sorry. See, I could be here with you forever.

I know. This is what we like to talk about.

Is there a pearl or two that you can give the audience, like how to connect? Just one key connection because we know we have to connect with these kiddos. We have to calm them, sensor them, and then be able to connect with them in order to get the chiropractic in. Do you have a quickie pearl?

Yeah. Well one thing is we have to understand that just on the chiropractic side, a lot of these kids, if you’re not sure or you’re not feeling super confident in what techniques do you use and how to adjust them or whatever, have objective measures, and less is more. If you’re not sure, don’t just go adjusting more areas. I think this goes for all humans, but especially these ones. So, just that. On connection, the biggest thing I teach people in the hierarchical approach, we have this hierarchy system of looking at brain development and processing, and the biggest thing is with connection is understand where they’re putting their processing. What is their primary seat of processing?

We do that by looking at hierarchy, but you can do it quickly. If you walk into a room and you see that somebody is, let’s say they’re moving around a lot, their presentation would be like hyper activity or they’re moving, they’re deflecting eye movement, this is their primary seat of attention, maybe their primary way of processing the world because they’re not as efficient in the other systems, so this is one way to look at this, look at that, understand that, and then you try to engage them there as opposed to trying to shut down their primary way of processing and engaging them in a different way.

Example, we have a kid who’s doing this, deflecting from eye movement. Do not try to get them to look at you in the eyes. “Look at me, listen to me.” Don’t do that. I would recommend not making direct eye contact with them. Actually standing next to them or doing peripheral vision with them, not even looking at them. I would decrease your auditory verbal. I would decrease the words that you’re using. I would use low tone, as low as possible. I would lower your body to decrease the visual simulation and visual processing demand. And I would engage more in movement. Then I would do that until we start to make that connection and get their prefrontal active more active. Then I would start to start to engage with them in the way and guide them in the way that we need to work with them.

You can learn to do that really quickly, as you know, but it’s all about understanding where the processing is and where they’re efficiently processing and where they’re not, and then meeting them there as opposed to trying to change them and get them to come to you because that’s not where they are. Eventually they will get there, but that’s not where they are right then.

Beautiful. Beautiful. Yeah. Their neuro expression is giving you a window into their neurological integrity.


If they can’t handle eye contact or whatever it be, or sitting still, that-

Don’t demand it.


You’ll just see an increase in the deflective behaviors. That’s how you’re going to get kicked.

Exactly. Yeah.

But again, thank you so much. Contact Information, Dr. Amy …

You can see me at CDA Health. CDA is short for Coeur d’Alene. CDAHealth.com is our website, but there’s a for doctors section on there. You can go there and you can email us. Dr. Amy Spoelstra on Facebook. I have a Dr. Amy focus page. You can get a hold of me any of those ways.


Or get a hold of Monika. She’ll hook you up.

And I know where to get a hold of you at too.

That’s right, yeah. Monika has my cell phone.

I truly appreciate it. I know this was an effort, but we could not pass up your brilliance, so thank you again and we may be calling on you again to do round two.

Great. Thank you so much for everything you do. Thanks for having me on. I like that Idaho is full of strong women doing this work.

There we go. Double Idahoans right there.


Hey, have a great weekend. Thanks for what you do. Thanks for helping the world and changing lives. We owe you baby.

Thank you. Have a great one.

[crosstalk 00:28:38].

Hey, so this is Dr. Buerger signing out for this month. Join me next month. I’m the third Thursday of every month, 11:00 AM Mountain Standard Time. Next month we have an incredible treat to help you to connect with teachers and learn about some of these little fiddle farts and their actions in the classroom and what they need and what they don’t need and how we can help out. Make sure you join the first Thursday. A special guest host for the Look To The Children Show. That’s the first Thursday of every month.

Again, I want to thank Chiro Secure for their undying dedication to our profession, and especially those of us that are out in the trenches wanting to make a change and wanting to make a difference. Their support has been phenomenal. Thank you Chiro Secure. We appreciate all that you do to help us change lives and change the future. Until next time. You guys go out and keep saving lives, and we’ll see you next month.

Today’s pediatric show, Look To The Children, was brought to you by Chiro Secure and the award-winning book I Am A Lovable Me. Make sure you join us next week, right here at the same time. See you next week.

Empowering Women Chiropractic – Create Your Own Baby Boom in Your Practice

Welcome to ChiroSecure’s Empowering Women in Chiropractic, the Facebook Live show for successful women by successful women, proving once again, women make it happen. Join us each week as we bring you the best in business growth, practice management, social media marketing, networking, leadership, and lots more. If it’s about women in practice and business, you’ll hear it here.

Now join today’s host Dr. Nathalie Beauchamp as she talks impact exposure and systems. And now here is Dr. Nathalie.

Hello everyone and welcome to today’s show of Empowering Women in Chiropractic. First of all, I’d like to thank ChiroSecure for bringing this show together because I know that every time that I interview someone, I learn about so many things and I think it’s just so important that we share our passion and our expertise.

So, for today’s show, I have Dr. Jenna Davis, and we titled the name of the show, I have to read here, How to Create Your Own Baby Boom in Your Practice. So welcome Jenna to the show.

Thank you so much. I’m so happy to be here.

Great. So Jenna, you have to tell us a little bit more about this baby boom because I know it’s also the name of your website. You are a chiropractor, and if you don’t mind telling us a little bit more about how you got into chiropractic and segue in to why you have focused so much of helping children in your practice.

For sure. It’s a bit of a long, slow story of how I got into chiropractic. I always knew I wanted to go into health care of some sort or helping people of some sort. I was a gymnast when I was younger, tried lots of different things. My body did not like the wear and tear gymnastics. And when I was very young, I went and saw a chiropractor just for wellness with my parents. But then over time, that just stopped. And then I was in high school, I had stopped gymnastics due to injuries but I was in still high school gymnastics and I was in, I was the lead in the high school play. And my back would go out for about a week at a time, couple of times a year. And it did while the play was going on. And so, my director said, you have to go see my chiropractor, like this is not okay.

I tried pretty much every other modality out there and it just didn’t hold. And once I started seeing the chiropractor, that we’ll just say reignited my passion for what I didn’t know. And then investigated more, stayed under chiropractic care, went to university. Was still not 100% sure if it was chiropractic or medical of some sort and then decided, no, I think I want to be a chiropractor because I liked the lifestyle. I loved the aspect that I’m actually able to look at the whole person and general wellness. And I had more control over my life.

So I actually, for one of my summer jobs, I worked for the chiropractor that was my chiropractor in high school. So I really saw the business side and understood is this something I truly want to do? And then I decided this is what I want to do and the rest is I guess history.

History [inaudible 00:04:30] You’re in Oakville, Ontario, right?

I am.

So, how did you start, because, you know, the goal I think with this is we have segment on a marketing and so forth, but tell us more about when you started practice, when did you realize you wanted to have more kids into your practice and then what did you do to further your education? Because, you know, most chiropractors I would think see children, but we’d probably go from a range of seeing the occasional children to entire family and that I know some chiropractors are focusing a lot more on adjusting kids. So what was the progression?

Well, I ended up having, I had my daughter at the very end of chiropractic school. So, innately, that was the stage of life I was at. So, there was less fear around touching babies but I wouldn’t necessarily say I had great experience in caring for babies and children. But that was sort of my introduction in recognizing also and seeing the benefit of having my daughter under regular care for me. And I started into practice right away and realized there was one, a love I had for caring for children, but then also, really, truly seeing the issues that we have as adults and being able to trace them back to childhood injuries or childhood illnesses or even all the way back to birth.

And so, that allowed me to think, okay, if we could put the, I guess the cart before the horse and start and looking at prevention rather than putting out the fires, a huge impact could happen. As far as from an education standpoint, I’m very big on continuing education and ensuring that I maintain my level of education. So, I’ve taken lots of different courses. I did do most of the ICPA training. I didn’t do all of it because I kept having babies and then having to miss some the classes and just time went on. But I’ve been lucky enough to also speak around the world on many stages.

And the beautiful thing about that is I get exposed to so many brilliant minds in our fields and in other fields where I can actually take a lot more information from them. There’s some brilliant speakers that I saw in Australia and in the UK and in the United States and in Canada. And then I’ve been able to pull from all of those and really figure out what fits for my practice.

And that I think is a big, yeah, the biggest question I get is what course should I take. Should I take this kind of craniosacral course, should I take from this instructor or that instructor? And I said, you should take as many as you can. It’s not a matter of you have to take diplomates in all these different areas, you need to just get the information and then figure out, okay, what really fuels your fire and then dive into that deeper and do your own research and do your own education. And because when we know better, we do better. And that allows us to just serve at a much higher level.

So that brings me to the next point here that, you know, you’ve come up with your own pediatric intraoral palate specific technique. That’s a mouthful to say, right? So, tell us [inaudible 00:07:59]. Well, that’s easy enough. So tell us more about that because I’ve been in practice 24 years. I do adjust kids, I have done a little bit and I have to say when we are out of school, it’s like, oh my goodness, this little infant and so forth. So I mean, it was good to take courses but I know that you dig a lot deeper into specific issues. So I’m assuming this is you realizing from all of those different techniques coming up with something that would work for a specific condition, right?

Absolutely. So, it came to light when I actually, I’ve been seeing more and more infants, and I will say pediatrics, but for myself, my pediatrics are really two and under, is a lot of my pediatrics. And a lot of my babies that I’m seeing are the only or the first chiropractic patient of the family. So, when that started happening, that switched the language I had to use the communication, and then I also was looking at why is that happening.

The technique and the reason we came up with the pediatric intraoral palate specific technique or PIPS technique is it was just trying to come up with, okay, what are we working on? And I do a lot of work and have created strong relationships in our community with many pediatric dentists and some of the lactation consultants and even the Jack Newman Clinic in Toronto who refer a great deal of babies towards me who have suffered with tongue tie issues. Dural tension.

And so, I don’t like to just qualify it as tongue tie because there are tongue ties, if you look at them, they’re quite severe but they might be functional. It’s how much tension is there in the jaw, how much dural tension is there in this baby. What else is going on, which also will interfere with improving their latch even if they choose to get the tongue tie released.

And one of the big things was all the sphenoid work. And I was exposed to a lot of that years ago in Australia initially. But then looking at some of the craniosacral work that I’ve done, but what I’ve recognized was people talk about, okay, check the palate but they’re not relaying it back to how is that impacting the suck reflex. They’re not relaying it back to retained primitive reflexes which we are having or creating when we don’t have all of these developmental stages that we’re hitting as an infant. No one’s talking about infant TMJD. And for my US docs who for different coding, that is something a lot of insurance companies won’t necessarily allow you to say, well, sphenoid fault, that’s not a code, but TMJD is. And it is truly for a lot of these babies latch issues is infant TMJD.

The beautiful thing about the sphenoid which is the palate specific technique, the core of it, is the sphenoid has attachments to every part of the skull, the jaw and the top two vertebra of your neck. And so, when we’re working on that or checking the suck reflex, we’re looking at how the jaw’s moving, we’re helping impact reshaping the cranium, and we’re looking at what’s happening in their upper cervicals, and with the suck reflex, also we’re creating pumping of the CSF. So there’s so many things that are happening together that I now, not just with my babies but with many of my kids, my toddlers, and even some adults who suffer from migraines, doing some of this intraoral work actually has had massive change for them.

That is great. So, you know, I’m listening to you and I’m thinking, oh my goodness, I don’t know all of that stuff. So where should one start? I mean, like I said, I’ve done, I love education as well and I’ve done craniosacral work, I’ve done Dr. Turner’s work on cranium and it was such a powerful experience to even have it done. And I think that’s the other thing too, it’s kind of cool for us chiropractor to get adjusted by other practitioners and see how different a different technique is.

But going back to the kids in the evaluation, you do as gave training and seminars, right? So you do-

I do. Yeah. So I created an advanced pediatric boot camp and that’s a two and a half day training seminar. And so, it’s not just with the intraoral work, but we do a lot of training also on retained primitive reflexes because that is something that no one looks for as far as any profession. We look for if it’s there when they’re newborns, but no one checks if it’s been retained. And that also can be linked to so many things as far as behavioral challenges, bed wetting, toe walking, anxiety, even into adulthood. So, looking for those will also set you apart.

And so, I do a lot of hands on training and it’s so fun because so many of the docs actually will find, they’re like, I have a retained grasp reflex and they’re like what do I do, what do I do? So it’s actually pretty neat to find out what we also have. You can be very high functioning and still have some retained, but is that allowing us to function at our highest potential? No. So let’s look at these things.

I also cover all the neurology that goes on. We talk about exams, we talk a lot about communication, report of findings and then we also talk about marketing and how you become the referral source for your community. The biggest thing I emphasize in these courses is [inaudible 00:13:43] management. And so many of us either feel like we’re on an island or choose to be on an island. But if you are going to start working with more pediatrics, you have to be ready and willing and open to co-manage these babies and children with other practitioners. That is really the key because it takes a village.

And so, the training program I created was as a practicing chiropractor, okay, what would I want to know, so when I go into my office on Monday, I’m able to do some of these things. So a lot less theory, a lot of hands on, and then you will actually be fully certified. In the PIPS technique, at the end of it, we talk about diagnosing tongue tie, how do you recognize it? We play in each other’s mouths with gloves. And we try and make it as educational and fun as possible because really this should be fun. And it’s not, I have docs who have seen pediatrics for a long time coming. I have students coming, I have docs who have been in practice years and years and they don’t really see a lot of kids, but they’d like to.

And so, everyone can take pieces from it and whatever level you choose to use it in your practice, it’s going to be beneficial across the board.

Yeah. And I think, you know, it’s that we’re serving a lot of kids or not. I know hearing your talk, I’m thinking, wow, I could probably do even better serving the kids that I have if I know what I’m looking for because let’s face it, depending on our schooling and if we focus on it, we didn’t get that much. So, you said a co-managing with other practitioners. Being in your community, do you find that other practitioners are receptive, especially more the traditional rounds? You’ve had good reception?

Very good.


Very good because I can speak their language. So, we oftentimes as chiropractors are not referred to as chiropractors by other professionals when it comes to dural tension, tether tissue or tongue tie. We are referred to as body workers. And there’s body workers or chiropractors, it could be an osteopath in Canada, which is different than a DO in the states. It could be some massage therapist, craniosacral therapist. So there’s multiple people that might fall into that category. Body workers is a trusted term. Chiropractors is sometimes a scary term if people are unaware.

So I’ve had great, and I call myself a chiropractor, so don’t, on my card, it doesn’t say body worker. But when you explain I’m a chiropractor, so we do body work and this is how we do it. Just little changes in language allow people to go, oh, because they picture we’re going to adjust a newborn like we adjust a giant linebacker. I always say, it’s not that that would hurt the baby, it’s just actually wouldn’t work. I’ve had great response, I have huge number of referrals from pediatricians, from dentists, from lactation consultants, from family GP. So the whole gamut. They are looking for someone to refer these children to. They are looking for help for these families. And you have to be ready to co-manage and work with them to help these families because these families need help.

And the other thing working with this special population is you also have to make yourself available. A mom who is having challenges breastfeeding her baby, a newborn, can’t wait three weeks to come in and see you. So we have chunks of appointments that are specifically left open, so eats into my time, but I choose to allow that to happen for these babies to be able to be seen fairly quickly.

Well that’s great.

Yeah, and that’s something that chiropractors typically will do. A lot of the osteopaths don’t. So, that’s another piece that you just have to be ready to serve and to love them up and then it all works well.

Well that’s awesome. So, you’re in full time practice, you’re teaching [inaudible 00:18:03] seminar and that’s one thing that I like to ask older women because, you know, how old are your kids now? 14 and …

14 and 16 now.

16. And they’re both in sports like crazy I think.

Yeah, they are.

So they’re keeping you busy. So from a life balance kind of thing and I kind of don’t like to use that word balance because to me, a balance on a scale is [inaudible 00:18:23], it’s things are not moving. So, to me it’s just, I don’t really like using that word. But, how do you feel like you can do the family business aspect of your seminars and so forth and also the practice? How long have you been in practice?

16 years.

16 years. So if there’s people that are listening and they’re new in practice or just old, you know, have been longer in practice, how would you say that you’ve incorporated all of that to have a good life and design your life the way you want it?

Well, I’m not going to lie, I haven’t always done a good job. I’ve always tried but it’s, there’s different challenges at different stages. So, when my babies were little, and I’ve always been a working mom, we’ll call it that. And that works for us and that works for my family and that’s my choice.

I think the first thing I had to do to actually achieve balance was to acknowledge that there was nothing wrong with that. There’s a lot of us that have our own internal guilt of if we, let’s say we’re practicing chiropractors, we have babies and we choose to stay home with our babies, we feel a sense of guilt of whoa, but we’re not serving as a chiropractor anymore. And then there’s other people that have babies and choose to go back into full time practice and then they say, whoa, am I less of a mom because I’m choosing to practice as well. You have to all just own the fact that you are going to do what’s right for you in the moment that you’re in and that is okay.

But what I’ve learned over time and what I’ve always really tried to focus on is being present where I’m at. So, when I was able to release some of that and kind of go, okay, I am doing and loving what I am doing in practice and I’m 100% present for my practice members when I’m there with them, that’s awesome. And then I’m coming home and I will put away my phone and I’ll designate a certain amount of time, specifically I am 100% focused with my children, and that is awesome. And that fills all my buckets but also fills all of theirs.

I’m by nature an entrepreneur and when there’s not something out that I can find that I want, I make it. So, my brain does function faster than maybe some other people and that, so, if I were to not fill that piece, I also would not feel fulfilled and I would probably drive everyone crazy. So, what I’ve, I’ve learned I have to be ready to say no and that’s okay. I get asked to speak a lot. Sometimes it just doesn’t fit into my life so I have to now sometimes say no and realize that other opportunities will present themselves. The universe presents you with many opportunities to choose different pathways and you have to be okay, same, not this time, this is what’s going to be my priority now.

So, balance, I like to look at it from a week by week. And balance for me, I don’t love the word balance either because I don’t actually think it’s true because we’re in constant motion.

Movement, yeah.

But I love to try and just focus that I am giving my all in the moment I’m in and then I move onto the next moment and I’ll give it my all in that moment. And then, sometimes at the end of the week or at the end of the day I’ll really look at, okay, you know what, I recognize, I probably focused a little bit too much on this side today and not on this. So I’m going to start tomorrow fresh and I’m going to do it again. And I’ve had very open dialogue with my kids and they are allowed to tell me if they feel they need my time or they need anything from me and they know they are my top priority, but that I’m also a full time working mom and that is also really important and they’re really proud of me for that. And I’ve also given permission to my team to let me know if I’m not giving what I should there. And if I seem distracted, they’ll pull me aside and they’ll say, okay, you need a moment [inaudible 00:22:57]

Go sit in the corner.

Yeah, pretty much. They put me in the corner and they say, clear your head. Because we all have sometimes things going on that it might be really serious in our personal lives. And we try really hard not to bring it in. Your team knows you so give them the authority and the permission to call us out on it because we call them out. Creating those checks and balances has allowed me two do the best I possibly can and I think it’s going really well.

Good. Good, good, good. So thank you so much Jenna for this wisdom, this information, and I think inspiring us to get even more educated so we can serve our kids and that population. Because I mean, you know, in closing, which conditions do you see the most of and you feel that if you didn’t increase your knowledge that you would not serve the kids as well. So, you’ve mentioned a few but cranial stuff, colics. What else do you see?

Because of all the work I do and because I’m become quite known for dealing with tongue tie and latch issues, I’m seeing a lot more babies who are having trouble breastfeeding and latch. And we might think that’s not a big deal, but if they’re not sucking properly, they’re not actually creating the neurology we need them to. If they’re having tension in their jaw, it’s actually creating dural tension that could lead to loss of cervical curve or no cervical curve forming.

So, for me, that piece and really looking at either the retained reflexes and actually truly understanding the suck and how important that is has made massive change and is so important for us to do and it’s something that’s just not talked about. So we all are really good, instead of just learning different pieces, try and always close the circle and link it back to okay, what will this do if a child can’t do this, what will this do if a child can do that? Because if they’re hungry, they’re colicky. If they’re in discomfort, they’re colicky. If there’s dural tension, they’re colicky. If there’s subluxations, they’re colicky. So we have to look at why.

Yeah, as chiropractor, we always look for the cause. But I guess what we’re saying here is we should even dig deeper when it comes to our kids. So Jenna, if people want to find out more about your course or courses, I should say, how can they find you, what’s your website?


And I have to ask, how did you come up with that name?

You know what, it came to me just because I actually have a large fertility practice as well. And so, that was creating your own baby boom. And so, creating baby boom from that side. And then also with the pediatrics because once you have this knowledge, they’re just going to come. They’re going to flock, and so that, having this knowledge and having this certainty with this understanding, you will create a baby boom to whatever level you’d like it to be.

I was just going to say, right, if the intent is there and the passion is there and the will to learn more. So, thank you so much Jenna for your wisdom. I’m actually excited that I really want to take your course because, like I said, I’ve been touching babies for 24 years and if I can do more and serve them more, sign me up for that.

Okay, sounds good. I look forward to it. Well, I mean, who doesn’t love those little squishy [inaudible 00:26:52]

And I personally love when, you know, I’ve got semi-private rooms and stuff, but I love walking around with the babies and having conversation, oh you’re just babies and so forth. I always say, this is not work, this is just pure pleasure to be able to take care of those kids. So thank you so much.

Thank you.

This was Dr. Nathalie Beauchamp for Empowering Women in Chiropractic and hopefully we all got inspired and empowered today and thanks again to ChiroSecure to put together this awesome show where we are empowering women in chiropractic to be even greater than they already are. Thank you so much.

Join us each week as we bring you the best in business growth, practice management, social media marketing, networking, leadership, and lots more. If it’s about women in practice and business, you’ll hear it here.

We hope you enjoyed this week’s Facebook live event. Please like us on Facebook, comment and share. We look forward to seeing all of you next week for another episode of empowering women in chiropractic. Now, go ahead and hit the share button and tell your friends and colleagues about the show. Thank you for watching. Have a beautiful day. This has been a ChiroSecure production.

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Empowering Women Chiropractic – Prevailing theories in autism

Now here’s today’s host, Dr Monica Buerger.

Hello everybody, and welcome to another ChiroSecure [crosstalk 00:01:00]

Now here’s today’s host, Dr. Monica Buerger.

I’m your host doctor Monica Buerger and I am beyond ecstatic today to have one of the ultimate ultimates in our profession hanging out together. I don’t even know where to start with this introduction and I’d been chomping at the bit for months on this. So Dr. Monique Andrews, also known as the infamous Dr. Mo is here with us today. Thank you so much. I know you’ve got a crazy schedule, but thanks for taking the time to hang out. I truly appreciate it.

I’m excited to be here with you today, Monica. I’m a big fan, so that’s real for me.

It’s a Mo in a Mo show. So a little bit about doctor Mo. She has an incredible record for our profession. I was so impressed reading part of your bio, and upon graduation from Palmer West, she was a recipient of the Presidents Citation of Service Award to The Chiropractic Profession. And for those of you that don’t understand, this is a lifetime achievement award that Doctor Mo was honored with upon graduation from Chiropractic College. That is phenomenal. Thank you for what, the service you’ve done that or that you earned that. That’s, that’s amazing. Doctor Mo is a chiropractor and has a master’s in neuroscience. She’s currently the chair of clinical sciences?

Basic sciences

Basic Science at Life West. She’s had two, three prestigious awards offered to her from Life West. One was in 2015 as the instructor of the year and in 2017 … 16 and 17 as administrator of the year. She has done research in neuroimmunology and behavioral, neurobiology of behavior.

The list goes on and on. She is in the last couple of years really dedicated to neural development disorders and that’s what we’re going to geek out about today. She’s on the circuit lecturing at many amazing events. One of them is autism, one that’s coming up next weekend, I believe, and one of them … Yeah, and one of them is something that’s near and dear to my heart. The kids summit. This year, it’s going to be in Sydney in September. And I’ve been privileged to be on that circuit, three out of their four events. And for me, this is something so spectacular because it is basically a fundraiser. All proceeds go to chiropractic research. So she’s going to be there in September and at New Zealand Chiropractic College for their lyceum, and the list goes on and on. But the world is blessed to have you and I’m blessed to have you on the show. So welcome.

Thank you so much from some police to be here with you today.

So let’s do this. Is there anything I need to add to that, your what you’ve accomplished in this world so far?

No, The only a addition I would make is that I went to Palmer Davenport, not Palmer West. You know we kind of get [inaudible 00:04:24] about those things. So just a Palmer Davenport.

I’m sorry.

Yeah, no, I think actions speak louder than words. So maybe we can just talk about some fun and cool things in neural development.

Absolutely. So in your experience, what are some of the roadblocks that you feel are causing some hampers and on in our kiddos with neurodevelopmental struggles?

Yeah. So we can borrow right from our chiropractic philosophy when this comes, and we think about, we go all the way back to like the three T’s. So any experience that a child has, whether it’s a physical trauma that could be internal toxins, externals toxins, maternal stress, this creates discord in neural development, right?


I’m not someone who really buys into the disease model. I think that something like autism is a biological process and it is a process that maybe starts because there’s some sort of insult that the fragile new brain can’t accommodate too. And what is the definition of health but our ability to adapt to an ever changing environment. And then it’s just a matter of how do those cells respond to that? What are the antecedents and triggers that create an unsatisfactory environment for development?

And I’m totally in with you on that whole game. And I’ve lately added another T, technology. We know that that is … it’s changing neural development and brain development. So that’s just another T that we have to add to the load of …

And we have no idea what’s happening with technology yet. I think we won’t for a long time. I was reading some information the other day about what happens with the dopaminergic reward systems with technology and things like social media and that’s pretty scary actually.

It’s very scary. And we know that the dopamine factor is going to deal so much with their frontal lobe. When these individuals, kiddos go into what we call the frontal lobe flip, then you’re stuck in that limbic drive and we see a whole neural cascade, neurophysiological cascade right there. So I’m with you on that.

In your research and reading, I know you like to nerd out a lot like I do and the many others that are on the forefront of this work. What have you seen, read, heard, in regards to any specific brain regions? I think, personally, I know we used to get into certain specific brain regions, but it’s such a complex, I mean they all have to talk to each other, what’s your take on that?

Yeah. I think, you know, if we go all the way back to, as the brain starts to develop and how it develops, it goes through a series of stages, right? From neurogenesis, migration, maturation, differentiation, etc. Two of these processes are significantly disrupted, it appears, when the brain becomes really inflamed. And I think probably the prevailing theory in autism right now is that what happens with the developmental dysfunction is a response to inflammation in the brain.

And so if I can just briefly summarize for our viewers, what we think is happening is that when there’s some sort of insult, whether that be a physical insult, an emotional insult, a toxic insult, as we’ve been saying, technological insult, what happens is neurons get really excited. And when neurons get really excited, they produce a lot of the excitatory neurotransmitter glutamate and not enough of the inhibitory neurotransmitter, which is GABA, and those are the two main excitatory and inhibitory neurotransmitters in the brain.

And what happens when that happens is that microglia get overwhelmed and they can’t do their job. Now two really important things that glial cells do, one is migration. And what we see with autistic kids is a massive problem with migration, right? So when neurons are born, they don’t just magically show up in the areas they’re supposed to, they have to migrate. And this is propagated via a radial glial cells. So what we see with autism is that cells don’t migrate properly. And we have areas that are close together that there’s a lot of agitation, but they don’t get too distant areas. And if we have time today, we can talk a little about polyvagal theory in how the [crosstalk 00:08:56] to the reward center.

So that’s one problem is migration. And that they do see that in the brains of autistics, that migration is a massive problem. And the other stage of development that gets severely disrupted with autistics is a synaptic pruning and apoptosis. So in actuality, we’re born with way many more … Or our brain develops originally with way many more neurons than we ultimately end up keeping. And somewhere between 40 to 75 get actually killed off as a normal process. In autistics, it looks like that’s not happening. And sometimes you see that’s why their brains are actually bigger. It goes to show that size doesn’t matter, right, because they have massive dysfunction.

Exactly. And those microglia, what’s so interesting is the microglia are responsible as part of our immune cells of the CNS and responsible for the pruning. So those microglia are extremely important in this concept.

Yeah. The microglia, those are the stars of the show right now. And microglia sort of act like … They’re probably the primary immune cell in the brain. It’s funny because until a year ago we pretended like the brain didn’t have any immune system, but they work a lot like macrophages. And so their job is to scavenge and take cells away. And when they’re under-functioning, then we just get an overproduction of neurons that are disconnected. WEll that creates a very disconnected individual, right?

Absolutely. Have you seen the one study where they looked the microglia in the cerebellum with autistic kids?

Well, I’m not sure which study you’re talking about, but the two areas that they’ve been mainly focused on where they see the mass of disruption, are cerebral cortex and cerebellum. And that’s where most of the work that I’ve seen.

Go ahead. Sorry for that interruption. But it’s fascinating to see. I did this lecture for some docs I mentor yesterday, but talked basically about everything that you’re talking about, but we look at the cerebellum putting the brakes on the frontal cortex. If both of those are skewed and the purkinje fibers in the cerebellum are responsible for the GABA production.


And so we know some things that specifically target those purkinje fibers, like gluten and aluminum. So this lends itself to exactly the lecture that I had just the other day.

Yeah. Like you can’t quiet the brain, right?


And so when we have so much of this glutamate, it’s really, it’s like there’s a storm that’s happening and then what happens is we’re not able to connect those regions that are supposed to be connected. And so this migratory problem that shows up, originally, they believed that migration stopped at birth. And now what they know is that migration actually continues for about two years. So it’s that time that’s so critical, right? For there to not be any toxicological insult, as little traumas possible, and we know that there are external factors that often get injected or otherwise that can create dysfunction in the developing brain.

Absolutely. So on that note, is there a little pearl that you give to your students? I know your students absolutely adore you and you’re like the go-to for many things, especially at Life West, a pearl that you would give them for those first couple of years of life to look at, to a red flag. Anything for docs out there that are working in the peds population?

Yeah, I think it’s really important, actually, to get adequate training. And to not shy away from working with really challenged kids, but also to know what your limitations are. And there’s some people out there running great programs and to learn, maybe get certified through different programs and make sure that if you’re gonna work with challenged populations that you’ve done the training to be able to do that. And I’m a big proponent of Chiropractic, but it’s also not the only thing these kids need.

Yeah. Cause there’s so many things we do have to consider these days. And that’s great advice because we’re seeing, those of us in the trenches and in practice, we’re seeing those little fiddle parts come in at a much a higher level of toxicity with a lot more neurodevelopmental challenges. I think being able to pick out some of those red flags and saying, “Okay, is that within my [inaudible 00:13:33] that I feel comfortable working with or do I need to work with somebody else?” So thank you for that. Because I think that’s really part of my mission, is educating people to feel comfortable, or it’s okay if you don’t. But to recognize that and work with somebody that does feel comfortable to follow up on what might be going on.

Yeah. And to create great interprofessional networks. When you look at the detox problem that we have a lot of with a lot of autistic kids. I mean a lot of this is regulated … it’s not like if something … we’re not going to get into a conversation with about vaccines obviously, but if vaccines caused autism, than every kid that had it would have autism. And there are many other triggers and antecedents that go together that, you know, create that confluence of neurodevelopmental dysfunction. And so, you know, what are the other issues that are involved there? And detox, a diminished detox capacity is massive in these kids.

It’s huge. With your background in basically the neurobiology of emotion, of fear, because I love this area and I like looking at pre- preconception care, because the health of the mom and dad, the parents, is so critical, especially the health of the mom prior to pregnancy and especially during pregnancy. Do you have a pearl of wisdom there in regards to … I’m just shooting this out your way, but I want to pick your brain.

Yeah. And so I think that the most critical thing we can arm people with his knowledge. And we now have research looking at the impact of maternal stress on fetal neurological development. So you look at something, I read a study a while ago that they did FMRI in utero, and looking at neonatal migration patterns, and that moms that have high level of stress actually show, they’re like three to four times as likely to birth autistic, ultimately autistic children, which is incredible.

And so you can see very early on the impact. There’s a Canadian psychiatrist that I love reading his name, his [Gavermate, 00:15:44], and he talks about how in psychiatry they talk about mental illness and mental disease and he’s like, it’s not really a disease, it ends up becoming a biological fact of life for these kids. But it starts predominantly from stress and emotional trauma that happens to children. That can happen in the womb that can happen postnatal, also. But if you have a very stressed out mom or dad or that’s the environment, even like you said, preconception, it’s gonna have an incredible impact on what’s happening in those people’s brains and those people’s bodies. And yeah, we can’t negate the impact of maternal and paternal biology on ultimate neural development.

You do a lot with mindfulness and chiropractic. So give me your take on that as far as some tips that maybe you can give patients. Because I think it’s really important that we try to help moms, especially during pregnancy, be as mindful as possible, to bring that stress load down. What do you got there?

So here’s the deal, and that is, we believe what we think. This is a fatal error. Maybe not fatal, but it leads to a lot of suffering. And thoughts, we have this running narrative that’s happening in our brain all the time. And I think probably the most critical thing that we can teach people is you can … Believing what you think is optional, and if you can train people to be mindful, and there’s programs now, I’m actually working on developing a program of mindfulness that people can do to create a more mindful life. But if you can allow people the opportunity to understand that feelings that they have, these are things that we can attend to or not and that we can change our relationship with them just by being aware of it. But that takes focused, intense practice.

It’s something, though, that we can do with as little as 10 minutes a day and really is a shift. I think like anything, if you make recommendations to patients, and this is good for any doctor or student, we have to make it accessible. So give them some tools. If you’re going to say, “Go meditate every day.” Well that’s great. That sounds like a really hard thing for most people to do. They think that means they have to sit in the corner and try and levitate, not thinking about anything. That’s not what meditation is. But Insight Timer is a great app, a free app that’s out there that has guided meditations, and just, you know, give them a basic guidelines. Start with five to 10 minutes a day, and then just be mindful of things that come and go. And I’m just really focused on the fact or the idea that we’re not tied to our thoughts. We don’t have to believe them. So you can really cherry pick. This is a happy thought. This makes me feel good. I’m going to take that. This is not good and I’m just going to leave that because I don’t have to buy into it.

Absolutely. That was beautiful, by the way. Beautiful. And I love the way you said our thoughts can be optional. That’s a good one. That we have that choice and that it’s optional. Beautiful, beautiful.

What’s cool about meditation, and this is, I talk about this when because I do a whole consciousness and chiropractic talk, is those same areas that they have now shown that are activated with meditation are the same ones that we’re showing impact with chiropractic.


Are we changing consciousness with chiropractic? Sure. Why not?

Absolutely. Absolutely. And that leads us to the prefrontal cortex. And what we do see, what the research is validating for us, is that we have an effect on that prefrontal cortex. And we’ve got a few out there, too, in regards to the cerebellum and I like to call it the three ring circus, the cerebellum, the frontal lobe and the limbic system. I love the three brains and they all, they all do tie together, especially in the paradigm with our neural development. Our sensory kiddos are, our autistic Kiddos. So give me your go on that one.

Yeah, I think that with Chiropractic, we are impacting the prefrontal cortex. We can do something like, I like to call it the amygdala hijack, where … Because really the amygdala creates that emotional awareness, emotional response. Then if we can use our thoughts to actually dampen that out, right? So if we are upregulating the prefrontal cortex with chiropractic adjustment and meditation and those other things, then we can, again, mindfully suppress what’s happening with the amygdala, if we’re trained to do so. But what does that look like in the neuro developmentally challenged brain? So Stephen Porges, if we just can to take a couple of minutes to talk about polyvagal theory, the polyvagal theory book, which is a very dense volume to try and read. But if you can get through it, there’s some great pearls in there. There’s a whole chapter on autism.

And so he developed this idea that the autonomic nervous system is not just sympathetic comparison with that, but there’s a third branch, which is the social engagement system. And the social engagement system, this part of the vagous nerve enervates face, eyes, ears, heart and lungs, right? And so he says it’s hierarchical and that we actually start with social engagement. But we know that you know autistic kids, for example, that they have problems with flat affect, with sensitivity to sound, with not wanting to make eye contact, and the idea there is that maybe they have really low vagal tone and that they can’t get that social engagement system up and firing to the level that most of the rest of us do. And it’s why that we don’t want … We don’t even want to try to engage using our social engagement system with these kids, because we need to try and meet them where they’re at. Exactly. They had their social engagement system is not functioning so we can’t try and approach them that way.

Right, right. And I always say, I like to say a person’s behavior, especially a child’s behavior, that outward behavior, is essentially a window into their neurological integrity. What are they telling you by the way they express themselves? And so that when that frontal lobe is offlined, they can’t do that social engagement. They are in what I call limbic lock and load mode and they’re hightailing it for the hills. So on that note, working with the students at college, what are some pearls you give them in regards to chiropractic and getting these different areas of the brain online?

Yes. So number one, highlight the research. I mean the [inaudible 00:22:36] research is incredible and all the time they’re always like, “What’s the latest stuff?” And we actually have a chiropractic science working group I work with a group of students every week and we talk about the latest research. And the other thing is that you have to know your anatomy and physiology. So for example, we’re just talking about polyvagal theory and there’ve been a lot of studies. They’ve been using vagal stimulation in the medical community for about 20 years, right?


To treat things like depression, intractable epilepsy, with quite a lot of success. These to do that very invasively, like they actually implanted and vagal stimulator. Well now they do transcutaneous stimulation, [inaudible 00:23:14], also here. So in teaching them the anatomy and physiology, if you actually look at the course of where the vagous nerve runs, it leaves that juggler foramen inside the carotid sheath.

So now we have chiropractic studies that show that if you put pressure on the carotid sheath, you actually disrupt internal jugular blood flow. Now, well if the vagous nerve is in there, too, isn’t it possible that with subluxation, you’re interrupting vagal nerve, right? So if you look at the core, so it goes through that carotid sheath, but if you pull up, you know, Gray’s Anatomy and look at where is the vegous nerve, it literally runs right in front of the TP of atlas. Or if were subluxated, is it going to impact function? Do we have that data clearly elucidated yet? No. Can we make some extrapolations? Yeah. I’m the queen of extrapolation. I’m making that extrapolation. If you’re subluxated, you’re probably interrupting vagal tone. And iv vagal tone is disrupted, this leads to some of the symptoms that we see in autistics.

Absolutely, absolutely. And that heart rate variability is one of the measures we use in our profession. And we know that that really develops that in the second trimester, third trimester in utero. And without having good vagal tone, we’re going to be brought into this world already compromised. So even pregnancy care is, in my book, is extremely important.

Oh, absolutely. I don’t know why [inaudible 00:24:45] David Fletcher and Amy Hoss are doing amazing work with heart rate variability, but that also has been some … There’s thousands of articles and the medical community has already accepted heart rate variability. We should be jumping full … I mean there should be HRV in every chiropractic office. This is our way to show the impact that we’re having on autonomic nervous system. It’s way sexier conversation then okay, your back pain is getting better. For sure.

Yeah. You’re speaking my … Because what we really need to do is I think we need to be on the forefront of this whole wellness paradigm. We have … I’m preaching to the choir, I know, but to those of you out there listening, we have, we have the clinical findings. We see this in our offices every day. But let’s put the pieces together. Bring the research from other paradigms, connect the dots like you do, like I do, like others do, and start talking in that matter to the public and raising the awareness of exactly what we do. Brain-based chiropractic, essentially.

Yes, and for me that’s redundant, right? Because that’s the story I love to tell and it’s the story that I tell students to focus on. I teach a number of different classes here on campus, but one of them is patient education, which is the class in communication. I said, “Look, if you, if we really are doctors of the nervous system, then focus there.” We now know through some incredible research that when you adjust somebody, you’re impacting brain function. Well, what controls the body? What controls every cell, organ and tissue? Your brain. And you ask anybody that and almost anybody will know it. And now we know that when you adjust somebody, you’re impacting the brain. So let, let’s focus there. And maybe less on the back and neck pain and more on optimizing this vast richness that we call life.

Absolutely. Absolutely. That’s what we need. That’s why you’re being spread so thin because you’re amazing at the way you do articulate this and the way you communicate it, but really everybody needs to hear your message and the way you communicate it. So last minute pearl or two that you want to throw out to the world? I know there’s a lot.

Yeah, I think there’s a lot of tendency in chiropractic to try and want to run in a lot of different directions. I think there’s different roles for lots of us and I think one of the most important things that we can do is find out what’s our individual truth, what’s our authentic truth as a practitioner, as a chiropractor, as a clinician, and follow that. There’s this great quote that, of course, the exact quotes escaping my mind right now, but the idea that a flower doesn’t look to the flowers next to it to bloom, it just blooms perfectly by itself. And I think if practitioners could just start on this journey with the idea that you don’t graduate from chiropractic school as a master. And in fact this is a process that you continue throughout life and that we need to continue to learn and grow and find mentors and do everything we can to offer this, I think, sacred service that we have as chiropractors. That it can do so much and to not limit it to musculoskeletal complaints.

Oh, beautiful. Beautiful. Can you tell us a little bit, you and your partner and you’re good friend. The names I can’t get, but you guys are starting a retreat?

Retreat in Costa Rica. So my wife, Dr. Tamir [Macintire 00:28:12] and doctor Lauren Koedyk from Nikau chiropractic. She’s done a number of retreats and so we’re doing a collaboration with her to do a women’s only, sort of empowerment retreat coming up in Costa Rica in June. And the idea is really to lift women up.

The idea that greatness comes from service and that the greatest gift that you can give is the gift of service. And if we can find a way to lift women up and to just provide an opportunity for them to learn things like meditation, to learn different things, different tools that they can use to apply to become stronger in their own power. That’s the purpose of the retreat. And this is something that Dr. Lauren Koedyk does. She does women’s adjusting seminars. And really, that’s one piece of what she does, but something else she does is really gives the women this gift of personal empowerment. And that’s really the focus of our retreat.

And this is open to chiropractors?

Open to chiropractors.

Okay. And they can find information about this where?

If they go to nikauchiropractic.com/retreats.

Yeah. And your website is drmoniqueandrews.com?


And they can also find you through Life West? Or that website’s the best place for them to get ahold of you?

Yeah, my website, which is drmoniqueandrews.com, is the easiest way to get in touch with me.

Awesome. And if people want to hear you speak, they can contact you through that website as well?

Yeah. All my events are listed on there. Yeah.

Awesome. Awesome. Well good. I know you, we could be here for hours, but I appreciate you taking the time. I know you had to rearrange your schedule for this, but it was so well worth it. And the knowledge you have to share and, and you know what? The heart you have to share. It’s amazing when you combine knowledge with heart and what can happen.

I taught that class the other day and like I got back last week from somewhere with a group of amazing doctors and, and I saw this quote and I think this is so pertinent and it reminds me of you, actually. Singly, we can make a difference, but together we can make change. And I just had to throw that in now because you’ve got that heart and you’ve got that wanting to make the change and that’s very unique.

Ah, thanks so much Monica.

Thanks for hanging out. Well we’ll have to do this again. How about about apart two sometime?


It sound like a deal?

Sounds great.

Awesome. And for all of you out there, thanks for joining in. The first Thursday of June, we have a special guest, Dr. Eric [inaudible 00:31:05], I think. I hope we got that name right. And next Thursday, Dr. Nicole Lindsey has an amazing show empowering women. So make sure you join in. And I want to thank ChiroSecure for everything they have put forth for us to bring these special shows, to bring you the information, bring you cutting-edge things. Monique Andrews is on the leading edge in our profession, and to have her and other guests like her available to you, the public, is really something unique and I want to thank ChiroSecure for that. So until next month, I’m signing out and you guys go keep changing lives and changing the future.

Today’s pediatrics show, Look to the Children, was brought to your by ChiroSecure and the winning book series I am a Loveable Me. Make sure you join us next week right here at the same time. See you next week!

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