Monday, December 7, 2009

Local Chiropractor takes her Practice to the Children of the Dominican Republic

Chicago – The people of the Dominican Republic live with staggering poverty, having very little access to any form of health care and no access to chiropractic care. Dr. Stephanie Maj has just returned from a chiropractic mission to help supply much needed health care and funds to the poorest of the poor in the Dominican Republic.

“I have vacationed in the Dominican Republic and although I knew it was a poor country, I saw first-hand how poverty can affect people,” Dr. Stephanie Maj said. “One community was living on the side of a trash dump, with poor Dominican kids wandering the trash heaps with no shoes. Their toys were old tires and bottle caps.”

In some ways, Dr. Maj notes, the people in the U.S. are more stressed out. The Dominican people lead a simpler life, free of the repetitive stresses such as sitting over a computer all day. Poverty and nutrition are the two biggest factors affecting the health of the Dominican people. The nutrition in the U.S. can be blamed as the biggest factor affecting health as well.

Maj adjusted 900 people in a three-day period. “I would say 75% of the people I helped were children. We would go to a school and adjust every kid in the school, as well as the teachers and staff.” That was for the children lucky enough to be able to attend school. Thousands of Dominican children are abandoned each year by parents who can’t afford to provide for them.

“One barrio we visited, Ponch Mateo, our guide was a teacher named Dumy. He runs a school named ‘Mano a Mano por el futuro’ (hand by hand for the future). Dumy showed us his one room school-house attached to his home. When I say home, I mean a wooden and tin shack with a dirt floor. He has no money to pay teachers and yet supplies a place to help kids get education as well as caring for orphans.”

Dr. Maj practices in the Lakeview neighborhood. She traveled to the Dominican Republic with a group of 30 doctors and 30 students intent on giving free chiropractic care to people. The group was organized by ChiroMission and as a group adjusted 35,000 people in a three-day period.

ChiroMission is the “Doctors without Borders” of Chiropractic. The idea is to teach less fortunate people in Third World countries how to take care of themselves so they’ll have a better shot at avoiding medical problems. ChiroMission has just expanded to Australia to take care of the Aborigines.

“I will never forget the children. Even with these tough conditions, there was joy in their eyes. All they wanted was to hold my hand and to hug me. For every one child I helped, they came back with 5 more. If I helped just one, I consider this trip a success.”

This group had their Chiropractic miracles as well. One man showed up with neurologic problem, a hand tremor like in Parkinson’s disease and drop foot. After being adjusted a couple of times in the morning, he hunted the doctors down at their next location. He walked up exclaiming in Spanish that not only had his tremor disappeared, he no longer had drop foot.

This trip changed Dr. Maj’s perception of poverty and life here in Chicago. “We think this economy is bad yet when you witness first-hand a different reality you realize things aren’t that bad. We need to be grateful for the abundance we have at our fingertips.”

Dr. Maj states, “The mission at Community Chiropractic is to check as many people as possible for hidden health problems and to save them from a life of drugs and surgery. We do this in Chicago everyday yet I realized after this trip that the world needs our help as well. I have been hit by a lightning bold and will never be the same.”

Dr. Stephanie Maj is the clinic director for Community Chiropractic, a full service wellness center offering family health care, acupuncture, massage, orthotics and nutritional counseling. Dr. Maj has been practicing in the Lakeview area for almost 14 years.

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