Archive for Thursday, November 15, 2001

A holistic new approach

New Health Alternatives tries a different medicine

November 15, 2001

The treatment room at New Health Alternatives includes a hodgepodge of a chiropractor's table, tuning forks, bottles of herbal supplements and colored plastic glasses.

"It's hard to describe what we do," said nurse Carla Smith. "You just have to experience it."

Smith and her husband, Durwin, opened New Health Alternatives in Eudora last month. The clinic relies on various methods of holistic medicine to treat a patient, not just his or her symptoms.

"When I first got my practice about 20 years ago, I noticed I kept having to repeat the same adjustments on people," said Durwin, a chiropractor. "I didn't like seeing that I had to constantly repeat the same thing over and over."

So Durwin began studying kinesiology to learn how to treat the muscles around the bones, which led to studying how nutrients affect the body, and his studies went from there.

Because nursing chiropractic schools don't teach much about holistic medicine, Durwin said he's learned much of what he knows through seminars, and Carla learned from working alongside her husband.

Both believe a person's health is multifaceted, comprising of the body's structure, internal biochemistry and psychological stress, all of which must be balanced to achieve or maintain wellness. A patient may require several different types of treatments to feel better.

"It's like the different layers of an onion: You peel away one layer of problems, and another comes up," Durwin said.

For instance, Durwin may use a muscle test to see how strong a patient's muscles are and what other areas of the body influence them adversely. He might then recommend an herbal supplement, needle-less acupuncture, a few moments spent wearing a particular color of lenses or exposing the area to a low-emitting laser, or wearing a magnet to improve the muscle's performance.

In the office, open by appointment, Durwin may also see how people's bodies respond to stimuli like looking through different colored lenses, hearing particular musical tones, or wearing magnets.

Durwin said everyday exposure to electrical appliances like computers, fluorescent lights and hair dryers can affect people adversely. Patients may seek treatment for ailments ranging from the common cold to neck injuries. One woman comes from Fort Scott for relief from the adverse affects of breast cancer and its treatments, but the Smiths emphasized they don't replace traditional cancer treatments.

The couple ended up in Eudora because the town they lived in previously, which included feedlots and commercial farming, was having adverse affects on their health. The couple decided to look around until they found something that felt right, and they were somewhat familiar with the area.

"We just took a leap of faith," Carla said.

The couple took care when choosing the look for their facility, including picking soothing colors, choosing relaxing music and asking people not to wear fragrances, which can be allergic or toxic to some, in the office.

"A lot of people walk in and say, 'I feel like I'm in my living room, not my doctor's office,'" Carla said.

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