I was born in Detroit, Michigan and was raised in one of the suburbs. I am the oldest of five girls. I was aware from an early age that I wanted to do something in healthcare, but I wasn't sure for a long time what that would be. My studies in high school, as well as undergraduate were geared toward pre-med. classes while I was trying to decide what the actual specialty would be.
I was raised fairly traditionally as far as my medical care. If I had any symptoms of an infection I was taken to the pediatrician. Frequently we had a two to three hour wait, after which we would get some type of a prescription, usually an antibiotic. After which, we would get some type of a prescription, many of which were antibiotics. For most any other symptom, I was given aspirin.
My Introduction To Dr. Goodheart And Applied Kinesiology (AK)
When I was just starting undergraduate school, I was looking for a part-time job. My cousin was working for a chiropractor in Detroit and asked if I wanted to apply. I was lucky to be offered the position as a receptionist in the office of Dr. George Goodheart, DC. At the time, I didn't know him at all, but later found out that he was an internationally famous doctor who originated the technology which is known as Applied Kinesiology.
Up to that point, the only thing I knew about chiropractic is that my dad would go to see a chiropractor whenever he was having stomach problems. After he got his spine adjusted he would feel better for a little while. In addition to this, my Godmother's mother-in-law was one of the first female chiropractors in the state of Michigan. Although I was familiar with her and knew her on a personal level, I didn't have a chance to ever be treated by her or before she passed away.
During my teen years up until and including the time I started work at Dr. Goodheart's office, I had intense allergies for which I took antihistamines twice a day from April through November year after year, as well as almost daily headaches.
At one point soon after I began working at Dr. Goodheart's office, the office manager saw me in the back office taking a pill at the water cooler and she asked what it was. I said “oh it's my daily aspirin. I find that if I take it at this time of day it helps me most.” I then asked her “What time of day do you take your aspirin?”
She looked at me horrified, as if she had no idea what I was speaking of and proceeded to tell me that she hadn't taken an aspirin in over twenty to twenty-five years. I don't know who was more shocked at the other person's behavior but we both had a very different reality of how to be taking care of our bodies.
Why I Chose Chiropractic Over Traditional Medicine
As I was working as receptionist at Dr. Goodheart's office, I came to have a much broader understanding of natural medicine and how people can be helped without drugs or surgery. For me it was a life changing revelation. While working at Dr. Goodheart's and after developing a close mentorship with Dr. Terry Franks at that office, I chose to become a chiropractor.
Up to that point, I had changed my mind so regularly as far as which medical field I would be getting into that for a while I didn't tell anybody what I now wanted to do. I figured I would just change my mind. But, from that moment on there's been no waffling in my decision and I continued to do my pre-med. studies and went on to chiropractic school.
As my initial exposure to chiropractic was such a broad application as Dr. Goodheart and his associates applied in the office, I have never been what would be considered a traditional chiropractor, in that I've never done only spinal manipulation. My understanding of chiropractic has always been that it related to the entire body and that diet, nutrition and other types of corrections were beneficial.
As my sisters are all quite a bit younger than I am, they benefited from my working at Dr. Goodheart's office in that their healthcare was primarily natural from that point on, which I'm very happy about. They didn't have to go through the same type of experiences that I had as a child including hospitalizations for pneumonia and having what I feel now, in looking back, was an unnecessary tonsillectomy and foot surgery as well. One of my sisters went to my chiropractic college and now practices in North Carolina.
Certification for Applied Kinesiology
While attending National College of Chiropractic, I expanded on my understanding of Applied Kinesiology by doing weekend seminars and getting my certification as an Applied Kinesiologist. Upon graduation and in looking at opportunities for practicing, I felt strongly that I wanted to associate with a more experienced doctor in order to have the benefit of their experience in years of patient care.
A Fortuitous Decision
Although I had initially planned to practice in Honolulu, instead I accepted a position with Dr. Jan Jensen, DC in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She and I had previously been roommates in chiropractic school at the tail end of her schooling and the beginning of mine.
When I would travel up to Milwaukee to visit Jan, her work was exciting to me. Initially, the thought of the intense study that would be needed to learn the type of work that she did was not what I was looking forward to at the end of so many years in school. Thankfully, I decided to take advantage of this great opportunity.
While practicing in Milwaukee, a special part of my practice was working with many of the dancers of the Milwaukee Ballet Company. A dancer would come in and be unable to execute what they needed to do for a performance in a few days. After treating them, and to then be able to go to their performance and see them on stage creating such magic, beauty and aesthetics for everyone in the audience was totally rewarding.
At the same time, we were also treating several Olympic style weight lifters who experienced great improvement in their abilities as a result of the types of treatment that we were able to apply in strengthening their muscles and correcting things that were creating weaknesses. One of them went on to become a chiropractor as a result of his experience with us in the Milwaukee office.
Dr. Alan Beardall And Clinical Kinesiology
One key reason I was so excited to work with Jan Jensen in Milwaukee was because she was doing the work of Dr. Alan Beardall.
Dr. Beardall developed a technology that he called Clinical Kinesiology. To me, what it did was take the information of Applied Kinesiology and expand upon it tremendously. It's a very unique in-depth method of diagnosis and treatment which allows the practitioner to be able to find and correct things that are causing problems in a person's body that frequently are not available to be detected by traditional medical means.
In addition to the diagnosis aspect, the treatment method is unlike anything that I had seen before or since. It allows me to find the body's priority and to detect exactly what physical treatments are needed and in what order so that the body can heal previously unhandled situations.
My decision to practice with Dr. Jensen in Milwaukee turned out to be very fortuitous, indeed. Not only was I introduced to Dr. Beardall, but I also had the opportunity to study with him directly from February, 1984 until his untimely accidental death in September, 1987.
The Move To Florida
In September 1987, I married my husband, Paul, and soon thereafter we decided to move to Clearwater, Florida where I had previously vacationed many times during my chiropractic college years. After taking a small break and going through the Florida licensing procedure, I opened my practice in January, 1989. I have practiced in five offices in and near downtown Palm Harbor ever since.
We have two children; our adult son, Eli and our teen daughter, Sasha. We also have our elderly dog Sweetie, as well as variously changing small animals and fish. We are lucky to have access to the Intercoastal Waterway from our backyard and enjoy using the Pinellas Trail regularly.
Why I Chose To Become A Chiropractic Internist And Certified
Nutritionist In Addition To Being A Doctor of Chiropractic
A major thrust of my entire professional career has been seeking further education when I would find patient situations that didn't resolve.
In my early years of practice when I was doing more traditional adjusting, I found it to be extraordinarily frustrating to have a patient come in with an area of pain, and the pain would reoccur within a very short period of time of delivering a correct adjustment. That spurred me on to determine more what's causing the situation to reoccur.
Frequently, what I found was that perhaps diet or another lifestyle factor was causing that area to repeatedly be out of alignment. Although the adjustment would help, until I detected the true cause and the patient was counseled on the lifestyle changes they needed to make, their situation would never fully resolve.
This desire to continue to find the true underlying cause of a patient's physical situation also spurred me on to do a three and a half year post-doctorate program as a chiropractic internist, as well as becoming certified as a nutritionist.
Working With Pregnant Women and Children
A very special part of my practice is working with pregnant women. Having a chance to make changes in their health is so important and vital to the birth process and their newborn's health. I'm just thrilled to be doing it. With the method of diagnosis that I use it's possible to detect dietary and/or nutritional imbalances in both the mom and the fetus, so they can be corrected as soon as possible and lead to a correct situation before they ever actually become a problem.
With the method of treatment that I use, it's possible to detect and correct nutritional and other imbalances in both the mom and the fetus throughout the pregnancy.
After having an opportunity to be with several friends while they were delivering their children, I have been committed to providing a baby exam in order to determine if there are any imbalances or malfunctions that occurred as a result of the birth process. If those things are corrected as soon as possible the baby’s body can develop and grow without future problems - true preventive health care! The opportunity to have the child have an actual chance of being healthy in their lifetime is very important to me.
Another major shift in the focus of my practice was in the early nineties when I was trained in a method of correcting allergies. As someone who had been affected by allergies for so many years that was earth shattering. I was trained in a method that was based on the work of Dr. Devi Nambudripad, whose technique is called NAET.
In combining that with Dr. Beardall's information, I was able to create an amazingly unique and effective method of actually correcting allergies. My own estimate is that 85 - 90% of the allergies are corrected completely, so that people are then able to eat and/or be exposed to that item without having repercussions. The others continue to do better with avoidance.
I have found that underlying allergies are a key point in MANY people's unresolved long-term health problems. Many of these people had been previously told by other traditional and alternative doctors that nothing could be done for their situation and they would have either live with it and/or take medications for the rest of their lives. In applying the allergy desensitization method that I perfected that is not true for many of these people. They are able to go on and live higher quality, fuller lives.
Resolving Long-Term Health Problems
The particular techniques I have perfected have proven very effective at resolving long-term health problems.
A strong belief of mine is that if a body is not being harassed on a regular basis by things that people are doing incorrectly lifestyle-wise, in addition to the correct treatments being applied, the body is able to fully resolve and heal previously accumulated problems.
One area in particular is old injuries that never fully heal. Again, many people are told that they have to just live with it. When we apply the correct technology we find that's not true. It can be corrected and they can get back to the sports and other activities that they thought would be a thing of the past forever.
In my practice, we treat people of all races, creeds and ages - beginning with newborns, on up to patients well into their nineties!
Susan Player, DC, DABCI, DACBN