Dr. Ohm is a practicing DC in a family, wellness based practice since 1981 and an internationally renowned instructor on “Chiropractic Care in Pregnancy and Infancy” to practicing chiropractors and affiliated Care Providers. She has authored numerous articles and published research papers on this topic. She is the founder of Makin’ Miracles, the Executive Coordinator of the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association, and the Chief Editor of the profession’s family wellness magazine Pathways.
It is her understanding that birth trauma is a common, underreported event and, therefore, it has become her goal to eliminate its damaging effects on the newborn. She is accomplishing this by:
• Adequately training DC’s in specific chiropractic techniques and care for pregnancy, birth & infancy for the promotion of natural birthing.
• forming national alliances for chiropractors with like-minded birth practitioners and attendants
• empowering mothers to make informed choices in pregnancy and birth
• offering patient educational tools which address this issue.
Dr. Ohm is married to Dr. Thomas Ohm, Chiropractor. They have six children, who have all received chiropractic care since conception. They were all born at home and are enjoying the benefits of the chiropractic family wellness lifestyle.
In an interview with The American Chiropractor (TAC )magazine, Dr. Jeanne Ohm (Ohm) tells us why pediatrics could play a role in your practice.
TAC: So how did you come to have such an interest in chiropractic care for kids?
Ohm: I was not the healthiest child—I had asthma, allergies and regular headaches growing up. My mother was going to a chiropractor who was treating her bursitis and never once did he suggest kids come in for adjustments! When I was 19, I fractured my spine and, after a year of orthopedic care with minimal improvement, someone suggested I go to a chiropractor. I was fortunate that this DC knew what chiropractic was and took the time to explain it to me. Within a few months of regular care, to my delight, my back pain was alleviated and my childhood maladies were gone. Because of this care and our newfound understanding of healing, my husband and I went to chiropractic school (PA College of Straight Chiropractic). Fortunately, the school we went to had instructors who were very experienced in adjusting children, so we learned these skills early in our professional career.
TAC: What is the most profound experience that you have been able to witness in delivering chiropractic care for kids?
Ohm: I often get asked this question and there have been so many profound cases. One that stands out was visiting an infant in the hospital who was in a coma-like state. One small adjustment to her atlas and she opened her eyes on the spot. Since then, however, I have come to view ALL adjustments as profound experiences. I am convinced that each and every adjustment enhances immeasurable quality of life for that person. Every adjustment in its own right is lifesaving.
TAC: Do you have any thoughts on how the documentation of the effectiveness of chiropractic care on kids has been represented?
Ohm: Until recently, there has been limited published research about children. Most of it has been case studies and, although this shows us some effects of the adjustment, more research is warranted. As Executive Coordinator of the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association (ICPA) and with the expertise of our full-time Research Director, Dr. Joel Alcantara, I have been very involved in initiating the profession’s largest, most successful Practiced Based Research Network (PBRN). What is so exciting about a PBRN is that it captures the essence of evidenced-based practice as defined by Sackett: External clinical evidence from systematic research, individual clinician experience and practice and especially patient centered clinical research.
The ICPA/PBRN has conducted numerous projects to date and two ground breaking papers have been accepted for publication in prestigious, biomedical CAM journals. Our safety study was published in Explore: the Journal of Science and Healing and our study characterizing the practice of chiropractic has been accepted for publication in the Journal of Complementary and Alternative Therapies.
We are so pleased that the first significant research relevant to chiropractic for children is reaching all health professionals and enhancing inter-professional understanding and collaboration.
TAC: What kind of fears do children have when they visit a chiropractor for the first time?
Ohm: The fears of children largely depend on their parents’ fears…children will often pick up what their parents are feeling. As providers for children, it is so important we spend a significant amount of time with parents, alleviating their concerns and explaining what we do. If a child is still exhibiting fears after the parent has been assured, it may be because the child has experienced painful and invasive experiences at the pediatrician’s office. For this reason, we do not have the child refer to us as “doctor”, as we do not want an association with our care to painful treatments.
TAC: How does a doctor handle this fear?
Ohm: We spend a good amount of time building trust with the child, even an infant, before we make the adjustment. It is important to have their permission, and getting that permission varies according to age. For older children, I explain the adjustment with the analogy of a light switch and I am gently touching their spine as I talk. I invite them to get on the table and proceed with gentle touch and talk. In infants, it is a non-verbal type of communication–gentle touch and handling with soothing words. Only when I feel their bodies relax into my touch do I proceed with the exam and adjustment.
TAC: How do you see the rendering of chiropractic care for kids changing over the next 10 years?
Ohm: When we started practicing almost 30 years ago, it took a bit of education for parents to understand the essence of chiropractic care for children. Now, parents are coming into our practice aware of the many benefits our services offer and insisting on chiropractic care at birth. I attribute this to a shift in the way parents are perceiving “health care.” They are tired of suppressing symptoms with harmful drugs and procedures; rather, they are looking for safe solutions that improve their child’s ability to function better. Parents are more informed and more assertive in carrying out their decisions for health. They are recognizing that the allopathic model is just one approach to health, not the only approach. Today, Complimentary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) is becoming a mainstream choice for family health. A recent study determined that chiropractic was the leading CAM treatment for children. In 10 years from now, I expect that parents will be including chiropractic care throughout pregnancy for safer, easier births and following through with regular care for their entire families. It is truly a wonderful time to be a family wellness chiropractor!
TAC: Are you working on any projects that you would like our readers to know about?
Ohm: My full-time position with the ICPA contributes to the expansion and growth in fulfillment of our mission with Research, Training and Public Education. In research, we are continuing with data collection, compilation and preparation for publication with our numerous PBRN’s. Our members are committed to participating and are, therefore, substantiating the care they love to provide. In the area of training, we offer the most successful Pediatric Diplomate program available. Last year we were in at least 15 locations including North America, Europa and Australia. We are proud of our doctors, their achievements with our program, and we know they are providing excellent care in their communities as a result of their participation. In the arena of Public Education, we are ready to launch our updated website for the public, www.icpa4kids.org,
with even more resources for parents to make informed health care choices. The circulation of our magazine, Pathways, to Family Wellness is exploding, especially since we hit the major news stands last year.
TAC: Please add anything we have missed and you feel should be addressed to the readers.
Ohm: At this very critical time of health care change and in regard to chiropractic’s role in this shift, it is imperative that individual chiropractors continue to achieve excellence in practice, support evidenced-based research pertinent to their practice and find avenues of public education that professionally represent the essence of chiropractic. I do invite all chiropractors to come check us out at www.icpa4kids.com. We are committed to the success of the individual practitioner and of the entire profession.
TAC: Any final words to our readers?
Ohm: It is an exciting time to be a chiropractor. There is a shift of consciousness happening in all sectors of our world, and I believe family wellness chiropractic will play a significant role in this shift. We are privileged to be chiropractors…to be invited into someone’s personal space, to touch them and to be part of their healing is something we should be grateful for every day, every adjustment. Aligning together in this state of appreciation may be the catalyst to bring this profession together and allow chiropractic to take its rightful role.
You can reach Dr. Jeanne Ohm at 1-610-565-2360 or email [email protected]