DSC_0215_SMWith Guest Dr. Veronica Collings

Chiropractors, perhaps maligned more than other doctors, have been called everything from quacks to physical magicians. But like any profession, their talents run the gamut from subpar to extraordinary. In this week’s Wellness for the Real World, Dr. Veronica Anderson takes a crack at the field with Dr. Veronica Collings of Plymouth Meeting, PA, who also uses nutrition to treat her patients. The two Veronicas also share a passion to move their feet. Dr. Collings sings the praises of ballroom dancing to Dr. Anderson, an avid Argentine tango dancer who calls it “vertical sex with your clothes on. But better because it doesn’t end.”

But first, they talk chiropractic. One in 20 Americans visits a chiropractor annually, which explains why chiropractors have grown into the third-largest health-care profession, after physicians and dentists. Chiropractic, which dates back to 1895, is a therapy that focuses on the relationship of the spinal column to the nervous system and on its effects in maintaining good health. It seeks to properly align the vertebrae of the spine in order to restore the normal functioning of the nervous system, thus allowing the body to heal itself. That means no drugs and no surgery.

As a holistic health care provider, Dr. Collings utilizes only natural remedies. We’ve all heard of people going to chiropractors to get their back cracked. But they aren’t patients of hers. A proponent of a non-force technique, a gentle, highly effective form of chiropractic that pinpoints misalignments in the bones, muscles, discs and ligaments, she doesn’t believe in popping, twisting or cracking motions.

She discovered early on in her practice that one avenue to treating her patients was not enough. Aware that a nutritional deficiency can cause or contribute to an array of health problems, she began to employ reflex analysis, a simple, non-invasive natural method of analyzing nutritional needs and nutritional testing. And she offers her patients neuro-emotional technique (NET), which is based on the concept that unresolved emotional trauma is stored in the body and re-experienced as physical symptoms.

Her sugar control program eliminates processed foods, refined white sugar and starches but permits sprouted grain bread that is more protein than starch. Cognizant that withdrawal from sugar and carbs can be as difficult as an addict who gives up drugs; she first does a sugar control adjustment that physiologically balances the blood sugar temporarily. A Total Body Modification practitioner can do this procedure. TBM is a technique that is used to find the organ or area of the body that is stressed, determine the cause and correct it by restoring balance to the nervous system. In other words, while basic chiropractic is used to correct the structure and influence the function, TBM corrects the functional physiology, or how the body works, which may, in turn, influence structure. Working together, the two can produce incredible results. For those without access to a TBM practitioner, Dr. Collings recommends taking gymnema, an herb from India, to decrease cravings.

“The gymnema works amazingly well with two tablets per meal to really decrease the cravings,” Dr. Collings says.

Having successfully battled a weight problem – she joined Weight Watchers at the age of 14, and eventually went from a size 12 to size 2, keeping the extra pounds off her 5-foot-2 frame for 12 years – helps her understand what others are going through.

“I had a gentleman last year who thought he was addicted to food,” Dr. Collings tells Dr. Veronica. “And if you were to look at him and his nearly 400-pound frame, you would have thought he was addicted to food too. In a matter of nine months — and this is not typical because most people don’t lose weight this fast, but because he was so morbidly obese — in a matter of nine months, he lost 130 pounds. Having done the sugar control program two weeks alone got rid of his cravings. And then it was a matter of finding a lifestyle that worked for him. Once he wasn’t craving, it was an easy process.”

She says some of her patients with full blown Type 2 diabetes have done the program and been able to come off insulin while some with female problems, such as uterine fibroids and excessive menstrual bleeding, have been aided by her 12-week colon detoxification, or nutritional correction, program.

“My purpose is simply to provide their body the right tools to heal itself,” she says. “I don’t cure anything in my office. All I do is allow the body to heal itself.”

Not only is she a proponent of healthy eating, but dancing. Studies have shown that dancing keeping both brain and body moving helps prevent Alzheimer’s.

“What they really discovered,” Dr. Collings says, “is that any activity that uses both meditation, so you’re thinking and figuring and configuring, and physical exercise concurrently is going to do wonders to prevent that degeneration.”