Chiropractic care for children is becoming increasingly popular
When it comes to her two young daughters, Talia Scherquist is a stickler for health care. She’s found a practitioner she respects, and whenever an issue arises, she doesn’t hesitate to visit Candace Kremer.
Kremer is not a pediatrician, though—she’s a chiropractor. Scherquist, her husband, Mishu Cioban, and their daughters, Livia and Adina Cioban, are among a growing number of families who see chiropractic doctors as their main source of primary care.
Locally, the trend is partially due to Scherquist’s evangelism. She has encouraged many mothers in her circle of friends to see Kremer at Preference Chiropractic in Chico, where Kremer practices with her mother, Christina McDonald, and brother, Martin McDonald.
Scherquist knows medical doctors have their place in her daughters’ care—after all, Mishu works as an emergency-room nurse at Enloe Medical Center. Yet, barring a broken bone or major ailment, she’ll continue to rely on Kremer when it comes to falls and fevers.
“Usually, the first thing I do is take them to the chiropractor,” Scherquist said in a recent phone interview as Livia, who is almost 4, and 2-year-old Adina played in the background. “Even if it [a chiropractic adjustment] doesn’t solve the problem, it gets their body in the strongest position to be able to fight whatever it is their body is trying to fight. … I have never taken them to our regular doctor for anything other than regular checkups.”
Along with adjustments, Kremer offers nutritional guidance. She’ll recommend supplements to boost immune responses to infections and to fortify the body. She also doesn’t hesitate to refer young patients to another practitioner if she diagnoses an illness or injury that’s beyond her scope of practice.
“We definitely recommend co-management,” Kremer said by phone, “because everybody in this day and age works better with a health team. There’s no way one doctor has all the answers, so we recommend that parents definitely take their kids to a pediatrician. Maybe six times out of 10, we say, ‘Yes, go to a pediatrician right after this,’ and four times out of 10 we say, ‘Go home, let the kid rest, give it one more day, and if the symptoms don’t change, call your pediatrician in the morning.’”
Scherquist, for one, hasn’t needed to pay such visits to the pediatrician. Sure, her daughters have come down with childhood illnesses, but on the whole they’re what Kremer would call “well-adjusted” in all senses of the term.
That’s partly due to the fact that Kremer sees them often. Scherquist comes to the office weekly for her own adjustment, and the girls often want in on the action.
“If they need an adjustment, she’ll give it to them, but if they don’t, she won’t,” Scherquist said. “But they love it. They jump up on the table and they relax immediately. They both relax so much that you can’t have a conversation with them when they’re on the table.”
Parents may bring their babies to chiropractors within the first days of life, for adjustments to counteract the stresses of birth. Kremer, the daughter of a longtime chiropractor, received adjustments at an early age herself.
“My brother and I have both been getting adjusted since we were born, and grew up living the chiropractic lifestyle,” Kremer said, “which means you get adjusted so that you stay healthy, as opposed to people who start under chiropractic care in their 30s or 40s or 50s because they’re having headaches or back pain. My brother and I never thought of chiropractic as a pain thing.
“And then we ate different foods, were taught about being outside and playing and [doing] certain exercises—living a positive lifestyle. So, when I talk about the chiropractic lifestyle, it’s really encompassing all those aspects of health.”
Kremer completed her training 10 years ago at Life Chiropractic College West in Hayward. It was there that she discovered “my passion is really to help other families.”
She has lived and practiced in Chico since and continues to take postgraduate-education seminars focusing on pediatrics.
Scherquist, one of her early patients in Chico, said she’s raved to others about chiropractic care for years, but only after she started her own family did her recommendations really start to click. “When I was just on my own and going to the chiropractor, people just didn’t seem to agree with that perspective,” she said. “Now that I have kids, and people see how healthy our kids are …”
They’re the best advertisement for chiropractic care.
Still, Kremer recognizes that her treatments may not fit everyone. She just hopes parents will come into her office with an open mind and open eyes.
“There’s not ever just one answer,” Kremer said. “People come in and ask, ‘What do you do for a kid when they have a fever?’ Of course I’m going to adjust her, but chiropractic isn’t the fountain of youth; it’s not the magic pill. You still have to make sure that you’re doing all the pillars of health: good sleep, positive talk and love, a low-toxic environment, nutrition, exercise …
“More often than not, I see people making chiropractic hard and scary,” she added, “when it’s really very fun and easy. I learned from my mom’s [chiropractic] approach that we know a lot about the body, but people have been living in their bodies their whole lives. So we can give recommendations, but the person coming to the office is still in charge. If the healthy lifestyle resonates with you, it really is fun and easy.”