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Hello, BIRTHFIT. This is Dr. Lindsey Mathews, your BIRTHFIT founder. Today, I have the one and only Dr. Dan Bronstein on The BIRTHFIT Podcast with me. He is the man, the myth, the legend behind Beacon Chiropractic which is in Grover Beach, California. He also shares a little bit about the two other companies he started, one in particular that helps to guide chiropractors in caring for pediatric, kiddos, pediatrics, and another going around teaching about technique stuff. So if you're a chiro, this is a must-listen to. But also, if you are a parent or thinking about becoming a parent, mom, dad, anybody out there listening, this is the episode that we get into pediatric chiropractic and beyond, really. We talk about birth and the future and the trajectory, which I can never say that word, that kiddos go on.
Dan is awesome. I went to school with him. He's always, always, always been a force to be reckoned with in such a good way. He brings so much good stuff to this world. I'm not only lucky to call him a colleague but also a friend, and I am so glad that someone like him is leading the way in chiropractic pediatrics. So give this episode a listen. If you have any questions, don't hesitate to reach out to Dr Dan Bronstein. His website is chirobeacon.com. That is chirobeacon.com. And he'll be happy to answer any questions you might have. You can also find him on Facebook. He's there. He's in the social media world as well as Instagram. So enjoy this episode. It is full, full, full of information you may have to rewind it, re-listen to it, and sit with some stuff and think about how you would answer some of the questions as well. So enjoy.
Hello, BIRTHFIT. Lindsey here. Hopefully you know my voice by now. I am recording with Dr. Daniel Bronstein. Do you say Dr. Daniel in practice or Dan?
Dan: Oh, man. My patients call me a little bit of everything. But yeah, Daniel is good. That's fine.
Lindsey: I don't think I've ever said that. I've just said "Dan." But it's on the screen right here in front of me.
Dan: Well, I'm trying to maintain a momentum of professionalism, Lindsey.
Lindsey: I love it. All right, tell everybody who you are, give them your elevator speech because I know who you are and how much good you do in this world, but I'm going to play dumb for this episode and try to like show you off to the world. So yeah, tell them who you are.
Dan: Perfect. Well, first of all, Lindsey, thank you so much for having me on the cast. I have a ton of respect and love for you and everything you're doing with BIRTHFIT. I've been in practice for almost seven years as a doctor of chiropractic. I have a practice in Grover Beach, California, which is a dead smack between LAX and SFO. We have a predominantly pediatrics focus practice. The majority of my patients are under the age of five and so we're intrinsically tied to the birthing world here. We're tied to the pediatrics world. Being involved in that level in our community has really made a huge kind of impact in my life. People ask me all the time, how do we get involved in taking care of children and taking care of mommas? Honestly, the answer is just I fell into it. I was always very, very good at taking care of kids. I love taking care of children. My grandmother taught preschool for almost 50 years and she taught me a lot about learning how to play and learning how to love unconditionally, and that's honestly what's translated, I think, the most into my practice. So the type of impact we have at our community is solely based on growing a generation of children that will be healthier than our generation.
Lindsey: I love it. Because you know as much as I do, that I didn't come out of chiropractic school wanting to be all in the pregnancy, pediatrics, postpartum world, and I don't think you were at all in the pediatrics world either.
Dan: Not at all.
Lindsey: Yeah. What made you go, like, full throttle? Was there one specific, like, case or experience? Or how did that pan out?
Dan: Oh, man, that's an awesome question. Yeah. I graduated, what, a quarter after you?
Lindsey: Yeah, I think.
Dan: I think it actually ended up being a year because the time that I spent abroad. In hindsight, we basically came out the same time. And you're right, I was really heavily mechanistic when I graduated. My mantra was "Show me the proof. Show me the research." That was my background. I've been involved in a research in higher ed for many, many years before chiropractic college. The school that we both graduated from put a huge emphasis on wearing the doctor badge at the expense of wearing the healer badge. It was more important for us to check the boxes and bill the provider than it was to actually get sick people well. So when I graduated from that college, I was a little lost because I got into chiropractic because I was an athlete just like you and just like most of the folks that we know. We had an experience that saved our careers. Most people know that I was a water skier in college, I'd been a wrestler and a martial artist for many, many years before that, and I got to the point where my goals, athletically, and my lifestyle were incongruent. Well, and chiropractic really saved me there but I didn't know why at the time.
Well, fast forward, four years at chiropractic college and I got out of school, most people know this about me, I spent four months in Geneva after graduation as a consultant for WHO. We were writing health and safety policy on alternative med or they call it traditional medicine. Chiropractic was included. And then I just, like, "This is not what I want to be doing." So I came home January in 2011 and I was just lost. I had this experience. All those experience had added up to essentially nothing. It's like, "What's my source? Why am I doing this? Why did I get involved in the first place?" Honestly, Lindsey, it came down to me spending time with a lot of really principled docs, a lot of docs who really get the precepts of vitalism, who understand the major premise, which is essentially that there's order out of chaos. The body is capable of healing on its own.
And then, to answer your question full circle, I got to see these really high-power docs make amazing miraculous things happen with the kids in their offices. That really transformative experience or set of experiences set in motion everything that has happened until this point, continued training in pediatrics, continued training in pregnancy. Most of you know that I completed some CAPPA doula training this year and it's just we can't unlearn what we know now. It's completely and irrevocably changed my practice. I love taking care of children because children are not corrupted by the stress and toxicity that most of us as adults are. That means that when we care for them and we find interference in the nervous system, we find inflammation, we find discoordination, we can correct those underlying problems, these kids flourish in a way that most other kids don't. So there you have it.
Lindsey: I love it. Yeah, I like what you said, like, you cannot unknow what you know or experience because it's absolutely true. The school we went to was very mechanistic. Birth is the big picture, that motherhood transition is the big picture, and these kids are why we do it, so right on.
What would you say for somebody that has never A) been to a chiro or brought their kids to see a chiro? Because I get that question all the time, whether it's via social media, or Instagram, like whatever? They're like, "But why does my kid need to come in at a week old or two weeks old or five days old?"
Dan: Yeah, that's a great question as well. I find, where I live in San Luis Obispo, there's a love-hate relationship between allied birthing providers and chiros. I've only been here for seven years and most of the providers that I know grew up in this area, and so I'm still trying to learn the geography a little bit, but I find myself having this conversation with a momma whose now eight-week old first came to see me at about two weeks old. This is a failure to thrive case. She was referred to me by multiple other patients, which is usually how things go in my practice these days.
But this kid was just she'd been born with a pretty significant anterior tongue tie. The hospital that the baby was born in, they basically as a matter of policy, take the baby right after, clip the tie. It didn't really give this momma the appropriate post-surgical care for the kiddo and just kind of kick them out the door. So this kid is not gaining weight and come to see me and we clear a lot of these things out. But as is the case with pretty much all of my patients, I like to work in a team, with other providers. And so we talked about having an IBCLC, like a lactation consultant onboard to help through the process. And one of the go-to lactation consultants in our town is vehemently anti-chiropractic, which is really strange to me.
Dan: And I reached out to this person on numerous occasions to try to build bridges, but we haven't been able to bridge that gap yet.
Anyway, so I recommended that she see this person in spite of her attitude towards chiros and the first thing this person said was, "Why is the baby seeing a chiro? The baby is perfect," except for the fact that the baby can't latch and still has major cranial asymmetry issues because of the post-surgical scarring and all these other stuff. So I encounter this quite a bit. And because of the type of practice that I have, which is fairly intensive on the corrective side of things, the answer that I basically give is that birth, in and of itself, the way that our birthing culture has kind of evolved is largely traumatic, right? Even with mommas who are delivering at home, who are delivering under the supervision of an excellent midwife, working with other allied healthcare providers, my feeling is that the genetics, and beyond that, the genomics of human birth have changed so much that birth itself has become this procedure as opposed to a natural phenomenon.
And I know I'm preaching the choir with you and everybody else at BIRTHFIT, but as a result of that trauma, as a result of that fear, as a result of that stress, our babies are being born more and more into that sympathetic dominance, that stress dominance. And what comes with that is structural changes. What comes with that is neurological changes, neurological interference. So the sooner that I as a chiropractor, any of the other qualified chiropractors that take care of children can check for those signs, the sooner we can change the entire trajectory of that child's life instead of ignoring whatever.
Lindsey: Yeah, that's huge, like the trajectory.
Dan: I've gotten good at it because that's like the theme of my podcast as well. It's full stop trajectory change because what we know is that there's so many kids now that are being diagnosed with developmental delays, sensory processing disorder, autism, being diagnosed with all sorts of analog issues like gut permeability problems. Kids are being diagnosed with hormonal issues earlier and earlier. We're seeing seven, eight and nine-year-olds now who are hitting menses, which is unbelievable.
Lindsey: That's so early.
Dan: It's so early, right? I mean, honestly, like my daughter, she's nine years old now and she's living a totally chiropractic lifestyle, but we're still even seeing issues that are almost prodromal of menses with her right now, which means that it's not just a matter of being isolated and being healthy one on one. It's about the entire community that's changing, right?
Lindsey: Yeah, totally.
Dan: So wanting to tell the parents about the need for getting their kids checked, that's how we describe it. It's not meant to scare anybody but it's just to say listen. In order for us to be healthy now in this new paradigm, we have to do things differently than have been done before.
Lindsey: Yeah, we have to live this wellness lifestyle rather than this reactive, fix the problem, put a Band-Aid on it, you know.
Dan: Totally, yeah.
Lindsey: Yeah. So here's a question, which this is kind of random and I was going to go on a different trajectory with the convo, but this talk I gave this past weekend, which was like awesome. It was at the Power Athlete Symposium, and I talked about the critical period or the primal period from conception to the end of the first year of life. Some people may argue that we've gotten better at diagnosing issues like that, where I kind of call bullshit on that and I say these issues, like what you've talked about -- autism spectrum disorder, allergies, asthma, gut issues, learning disabilities, things like that -- I think whatever is happening in this primal period is influencing all that. So, yeah, what is your opinion or that super important period of life there?
Dan: Yeah. Well, I mean, you know I'm a research guy.
Dan: I've spent the last seven years trying to turn off the empiricism button because what we do is so much bigger than that, and we keep forgetting that evidence-based medicine is a three-legged stool too, right? It's not just what the science says, but it's also the practitioner's experience and the patient's wants, needs, and characteristics. Between three of those things, we get the best possible care for our patient.
As a chiropractor, randomize controlled trials and other gold standard studies are really terrible metrics to determine how well we do what we do because chiropractors use a very different approach. It's very individualistic. There's an art that goes along with what we do in addition to the science and the philosophy. But I also tell people it's impossible for us to get a gold standard because, frankly, like some chiropractors are just better than others at doing what they do.
Dan: There's variability in technique and approach. So going back to your original question, I mean, I'm a huge bench science guy. I like looking at the bench science. I like looking at the underlying mechanisms to see kind of what's happening. I think I would simplify your question into just one common denominator, and we talked about it already and that's midline tethers, or tethered oral tissues or tongue ties or whatever you want to call it. There's, without a doubt, a massive increase in incidents of tongue ties, and there's some hypothesis about why this is and I think it ties into why our kids are so sick.
The biggest hypothesis is that these kids are showing up with a variety of detoxification pathway issues. Most parents will look at this as an MTHFR problem, but MTHFR is just a small problem.
Lindsey: A piece of it.
Dan: It's a small piece that is really part of a humungous, humungous picture. I do have some methylation kiddos in my practice, a lot actually, but this goes hand-in-hand with mitochondrial dysfunction, hormonal dysfunction. It can go along with blood sugar dysregulation. It can go along with gut permeability, like you name it.
Dan: So we have all these like basically compounding issues that over the course of many generations, in my opinion, have sort of mutated. Human beings have become so disassociated with, as you were talking about, their primal instincts, their programming, that the genes are starting to mutate in such a way that makes it more convenient for us to adapt to our technology, to adapt to industry, to adapt to convenience. And now, trying to go back to that primal lifestyle, that primitive, very, I'd say like congruent genetic lifestyle is becoming more and more difficult. That's why it's so difficult to be healthy these days. It takes more time, more energy, and more money to be healthy. Because if you view what the FDA says, we'll save money, but we'll be sick as dogs.
So that's my feeling and that's my observation, and it stinks because when I see a parent has done everything right during their pregnancy, they've done everything like preconception and we still have a kiddo that has some problems, we have to try to figure out how to, again, change that full trajectory generationally. Not just our kids but our grandkids and our great grandkids will be healthy as well.
Lindsey: Yes. That's awesome. Can you elaborate more on the midline issues? Because I know there's people going, "I hope Lindsey asks about this right now."
Dan: Yeah. Well, midline defects can be multiple, and they usually kind of come in in packs. But for simplicity's sake, the most common midline defect is a tongue tie or a lip tie which basically means that there is an adhesion or a fibrous band somewhere inside the child's mouth that's preventing normal tongue movement, typically tongue thrusting, and that contributes to anywhere from latching issues. It can be associated with speech and cognitive developmental issues as well. Actually, I'll do a name drop. I'm going down to study with Monica Berger in February. She's doing a tethered oral tissues.
Lindsey: She's a legend.
Dan: She's so amazing. I just had her on my podcast last week. I'm so excited for the episode. But yeah, I'm looking to kind of up my game in the TOTs world because I see so many of them. I have a rudimentary -- well, better than rudimentary understanding, I think, but the science is changing and adapting so much that the more that we as these types of providers can identify, the more we can help these kids. And the standard really now is if you have a child with a tie, even a posterior tie which is often hidden, and there is no latching issue whatsoever, most progressive pediatric dentists are saying now that it should be revised regardless.
Dan: Yeah, because it has such a big contribution to other developmental things later on in life, that the earlier they get to it, the better. I mean, I'm not a medical doctor, I'm not a pediatric dentist, but I've heard some pretty prominent voices in the world of tethered oral tissues make those assertions.
Lindsey: So is that always associated with like an MTHFR gene variation or do you know?
Dan: I think it's uncertain.
Dan: There's certainly a lot of things that can go into it. And again, remember, MTHFR itself is just a small part of the cycle.
Dan: And it's the most, I say, sexy one because it seems like everybody has a neural testing for it now with 23andMe and ancestry.com and all that.
Lindsey: It could or couldn't.
Dan: I don't know if there's an exact correlation. We know that methylation definitely can contribute to stuff like this. It's almost like the pendulum has swung completely in the opposite direction from a cleft palate to the opposite side which is midline tether. And we know that it's also very much associated with moms taking folic acid in pregnancy as opposed to actual methyl tetrahydrofolate. And certain moms are vulnerable or their children are more at risk. But yeah, I mean, I think that, our buddy Stan, he's the first person to say that the best way to get folate is from gamey meats and getting real food which, you know, I think you and I can definitely...
Lindsey: I love real food.
Dan: No kidding, right?
Lindsey: Well, okay. I know everybody is listening going, "Wow, that's interesting." Yeah, I'm stoked that there's actually more research and more thought going into that side of things because that's something I don't know but it's definitely something that I'm like, okay, if somebody needs to get in on that, the midline and the tongue tie research there.
Dan: In chiropractors, Lindsey, and this is a really important point. The chiropractors and other allied healthcare practitioners, body workers, doulas, midwives, they're championing this knowledge base. The reason is because their paradigm is completely different than the status quo. The traditional American medical infrastructure focuses so much, as you talked about before, on reactive healthcare. Was it a misnomer? It's reactive medicine. And so little emphasis on primary prevention. Chiropractors, in particular, are different because we focus on trying to find the underlying actual causes to these problems to prevent having to constantly put the house fire out later on in life.
Most medical doctors that I've talked to, pediatricians and whatnot, again, like they won't even remotely address something like a tongue tie unless it's having a major symptomatic effect, like a baby can't latch or whatever. So we got to clip the tie and let's see what ends up happening. But even so, I've had IBCLCs who have said, "Okay, we got to clip the tie. Let's get the baby. We'll do some breastfeeding support. And if the baby can't latch beyond that, well, I guess if the baby is in trouble, we're just going to have to put the baby on a bottle for the rest of their lives." I didn't have MDs in the past who have had babies who were having difficulty feeding who have put them on solid food like oatmeal, for example, as early as four months old.
Dan: They're so concerned about the symptom of the baby not gaining weight or not latching that they're more concerned about fixing the house fire by building another, like part of the house as opposed to fixing the cause of the problems. So yeah, we see things differently, and I think that's why chiropractic patients tend to shine a little brighter.
Lindsey: Wow! So what are some other issues that you see with kiddos? I could talk about what we're talking about forever, but let me give people of variety here.
Dan: Yeah. I'd say latching issues are probably at the crux of why I see most babies because babies would come in with constipation with colic. Parents will have issues with like massive acid reflux after the first 16 weeks or so. Underlying, it's usually a latching issue, and the latching issue that I most commonly see is related to upper cervical subluxation misalignment from the birthing process that prevents baby not only from turning his or her head symmetrically, but also maintaining a cervical spine or neck stability.
We know that the three major primary reflexes that a baby is born with, hardwired, is a Moro reflex which is a startle response. I heard somebody say it's a carryover evolutionarily from when we were apes. So if we fall out of a tree, we put our hands back to protect our self. I don't know if that's based in evidence or not, but it makes sense.
Lindsey: Sounds good.
Dan: The other two are a rooting reflex and a suckling reflex. A baby should be able to get food without having to think about, which is why we want baby to go on mom's chest right after birth and try to latch without any help. Having an issue with the upper cervical spine and the neurology that is related to that gets in the way of appropriate rooting, suckling, in some cases, Moro responses if there's a lot of trauma. I just checked a brand new baby yesterday. It does not have a robust bilateral Moro response which is really scary.
And beyond that, if we look for things like what's called an asymmetric tonic neck reflex, which is a primitive almost cross-crawl reflex, if a baby can't turn his or her head, that reflex never integrates in the first place. So it's all these developmental cascading in the future that contributes to delays and you name it. So I tend to see mostly those types of cases. This month, I was blessed because I had four mommas all deliver within about two weeks of each other. And two of them delivered at home, two delivered in the hospital and they all had amazing, incredible fulfilling, empowering births. The babies did fantastic. I finally got the opportunity to check four very, very healthy babies which is something I've been asking for.
Lindsey: That's pretty awesome.
Dan: It is. I mean, because my practice tends to attract those sicker cases, it's really nice to have some healthy kids come in to the practice these days.
Lindsey: Yeah. Wow! I'm just thinking, like, what would the moms -- yeah, well you said they had beautiful birth experiences, but to see they're healthy thriving babies, like they've got to be really freaking proud.
Dan: Yeah. It's really fulfilling to see moms who take control, who take their power back. I mean, these four moms were all in their second and/or third pregnancies. And talking about birth, because fetus is what we're talking about, it's really, really heartbreaking for a mom to come into my practice and say, "Okay. We're on our second or third pregnancy. We just don't want to have happen what happened previously."
Lindsey: But don't you hear that so much? because I hear that all the time.
Dan: Every week, yeah, without a doubt. I think a lot of it has to do it with the fact that moms, they go into birth, I don't want to say "unprepared" because unprepared indicates that they're willfully sort of ignoring.
Lindsey: Right. It's not the right word.
Dan: Right. It's more just sort of -- well, I don't even know. I find that the biggest reasons that moms don't have the birth that they want is, well, most common, is they trust the wrong people.
Lindsey: Yeah, they were led down the wrong path.
Dan: Correct, right. I'm reminded of the last momma that I checked. This was yesterday. She was going for a VBAC. Early on, she came into my office, referred by her doula. We, all three of us, talked about her plan. We made sure she had the right provider and she basically had the same experience, like, "I just do not want to have a C-section again. It was abusive. I felt like I was assaulted. The doctor didn't say anything, took the baby away, the baby was sick." The Apgar score was 3 and 5, I think she said. So it just went totally terrible and she's like, "You know what? I'm changing my destiny with this birth." And even so, when she went to the hospital, she's recalling her birth story to me because I didn't have the chance to get to her. It happened so quickly.
She ended up bumping into her previous OB, who now is a hospitalist at the local hospital. He was on a call. Her OB comes in, checks her, goes out of the room, the hospitalist comes in and checks her. And this is what he says, Lindsey, in it could not be more insulting. He says, "Well, the basketball didn't fit through the hoop last time, so what makes you think it's going to fit through the hoop this time?"
Lindsey: Oh, my God!
Lindsey: What a dick!
Dan: And so those of us who are birth doulas are going, "That is unacceptable!" It is absolutely unacceptable that he would even say something remotely like that and it's coupled with the fact that at that hospital, in particular, is where the NICU was. We have NICU nurses who are saying things along the lines of, "Well, if moms were less strict about their birth plan, if they compromised a little bit more, if they didn't have to have everything their way, then we'd probably have healthier births in the hospital." And I'm just thinking, "Who are these people to tell a mom what she should and should not do, or furthermore, what she is allowed or not allowed to do?"
Lindsey: Yeah, what she desires.
Dan: Correct, right? And this is why we're in this predicament.
Dan: The best part about this mom -- and I'll finish the story up -- is that she basically looked at this OB and said -- are we allowed to cuss in this podcast?
Dan: Yeah, I think, she just [0:35:17] [Indiscernible] off, "I'm going to do my thing. I have my doula here. I know I can do this." And guess what? She did it.
Lindsey: Oh, I love that.
Dan: Right? It's very empowering to see moms who can actually do this. It needs to be more of a commonality. It's the mom's choices to have an elective C-section. Like, let her have the power to make that decision.
Lindsey: Yeah, it's her choice, it's her body, like her baby, her family. Yeah. How do we change the future? Because I did a podcast the other day with a woman that's in Illinois, and I think she mentioned that they're not allowed to have home births there. Yeah.
Lindsey: And in Alabama, you can't either. Yeah, I need to get my numbers together, but there are still states where you're not allowed to have a home birth with a midwife, like it's illegal. So people either cross the border into another state or they have an unassisted birth.
Dan: Right, which is extremely dangerous in the absence of other options. Yeah, I was reading an article last year, I think, about the situation in Alabama. It's fascinating because everybody is crossing over into Texas right now, right?
Lindsey: Texas or Florida.
Dan: Yeah. It's the same kind of thing we're talking about with regards to surrogacy in my podcast a few months back. By regulating all of these options out, moms are forced with a really unfortunate choice, right?
Dan: It's risk. Having no supervision to do something that sometimes require support, even if it's not a hospital birth but requires support, requires advocacy, or go to the hospital and risk being assaulted, right? Those are not good extremes. And when we have conversations with other allied healthcare providers, chiropractors and/or patients who are of that sort of vitalistic mindset, and these doctors are like, "Oh, why would you want to do anything like that?" It's not like we can even describe it to these people, right? The answer should be, and always should be, "What's it to you?"
You know, it's so funny, Lindsey. I was in a parent-teacher conference with the principal of our school and [0:37:40] [Indiscernible] teacher a few months back. And we have the conversation about not giving her sugar in the classroom, right?
Lindsey: Oh my God!
Dan: Stop [0:37:50] [Indiscernible] particular with treats when she does something right. And we're looking back at these folks and they're basically like, "Well, what's the problem?" And my response, I don't know where it came from, but my response was, it is not within our healthcare philosophy to reward our daughter with sugar. I couldn't believe I had to even explain that, right, or hope to say, "What am I, a Christian Scientist?" Like, no, I just don't want to provide that type of reward system for a kiddo who's otherwise an amazingly healthy kiddo since the [0:38:23] [Indiscernible] message.
Meanwhile, like half of her classmates are overweight and diabetic, like this is why we do what we do. She isn't feeling like she's cheated. None of the pregnant moms that we see in our practice feel cheated. They make these decisions because that's what they want.
Lindsey: Yeah, they're intentional in their choices.
Dan: Oh, totally. This parental choice thing is so, so, so important. You and I live in California and it's getting [0:38:45] [Indiscernible] every day.
Lindsey: I know. I know. Oh, it's really frustrating. It has me thinking, "Okay, if we have kids, where are we going to raise them?"
Dan: It's a different country.
Dan: I mean, listen, I want to say, like, I love living in the U.S. I'm not going to be that guy that hates the country. I live in amazing, amazing place. But I will tell you, especially in the State of California, guys, it is so stinking hard to raise a family here. It is extremely difficult, especially if you're of the mindset like Lindsey and I are because we don't have a lot of choices in the way that we raise our kids. If we decide we are going to depart from the status quo, not only do we get a bunch of scrutiny and a bunch of unwanted antagonism and resentment, but, I mean, with the way that the laws are going right now, there's a good possibility in the future that will get our kids taken away.
Lindsey: Yeah, or arrested or whatever.
Dan: I had a cancer kid that I was taking care of in my practice. He had a very rare form or neuroectodermal tumor, and his mom and his dad, they decided that they were doing chemotherapy after the first year and they started working with CBDs and a homeopath and a few other folks. They had CPS called on them 12 times.
Lindsey: Oh my God.
Dan: Unfreaking believable! And we tried to explain why, like, "You know, these people just don't understand." "Don't you want what's best for your kids? You're a terrible person that you don't want what's best for your kids." "Are you kidding me? No way! That's not what we want. We want what's best for our kids. It's just not what you want!"
Lindsey: Yeah, we have different philosophies.
Lindsey: Okay. So before we run out of time, I want to switch gears and talk about men in the birth world.
Dan: Oh, yes. Yes. Actually, I don't think I actually answered your previous question, but this parlays well into that topic. Yeah. So again, you and me both have a very close friend in Dr. Stan Hom who's down in San Diego. I've been working in birth for, like I said, almost seven years. I'm a bit of a unicorn here in this area because the majority of the birth workers that I liaise with are women.
Dan: Every doula I know is a woman, every midwife I know is a woman with the exception of Stu although Stu and I have never met personally, but I follow him very closely. Most of the OBs that I work with are women with the exception of maybe one or two who are kind of getting retired. One of the things I've had was a really hard time in working with women was being able to empathically connect to women. And I didn't realize at the time, coming through all of this, that there's a bit of a gender gap there. I took it personally. And you know, Stan, he set me straight and he basically said something like, "Men have basically destroyed the birthing culture in the United States so you can't take it personally when people are skeptical. However, if we do this correctly, we may be able to change that for future generations."
So like I said prior, I did a bunch of a CAPPA training this year with a CAPPA trainer who's fantastic. She's one of my favorite doulas in the whole county. At first, she actually told me that she couldn't train me because she felt that having maybe 30 women in the room and one dude would create this sort of barrier for vulnerability, and that irritated me too. But then, again, like I realized, yeah, I get it. I totally get it. Men have ruined the birthing culture.
So what I ended up doing is I ended up doing a bunch of private training with her. We learned about being empathic, about holding space. I mean, and even with the training that I've done with you and Erica and Mumma and all the folks that have really made BIRTHFIT a big thing, it's changed my perspective quite a bit.
Lindsey: How so? Or can you input?
Dan: Well, the biggest problem, honestly, was I wanted to be in control of all the variables of my pregnant women. And that was my problem. I didn't realize it at that point but it was because I was so concerned about my stats and my reputation, all the stuff that mattered to me, it totally stripped all of these moms of their power to be able to do what they wanted. And so when a pregnant mom comes in to my practice, regardless of what their plan is, my trajectory, my focus has changed completely to make sure that I'm very clear on what the mom wants and giving everything that I can to deliver on those promises.
Lindsey: That's cool.
Dan: That holding space piece is really freaking hard for dudes. It's really hard because we cannot understand experientially what women go through in the birthing process. I have attended tons of births. I get it. I've seen a lot of things. Birth, it still one of those things that I love to be a part of. It's one of those things that I love to, but I will never understand what it feels like to deliver a baby in that model. So as a dude, we owe it to the women in our lives, whether that be our significant others, whether that be to the moms in our practices, whether that be to the other birthing providers who are helping these women to meet them where they are and to help them through the process by giving them information, by offering support, and by absolutely not judging so that moms can maintain their power 100% through not just the pregnancy process, but labor and then on to postpartum.
Lindsey: Yeah. I mean, I wouldn't say that's just a male thing to figure out like you said you wanted to control it all. I think that's an everybody thing, you know.
Dan: Well, so let me clarify, because I do agree with you that it isn't just maybe a gender thing. But what I will tell you is the culture that I've observed in, well, I mean, is this in California. Maybe not in other states but especially here, it's very patriarchal. Even with the female OBs that I see, that I work with, there is a large portion of these folks, a large majority of these folks who have a "Do what I say" mentality "or you're fired."
Dan: Right? It's "My way or the highway." The thing that's even crazier and it's most disingenuous is that as soon as the shit hits the fan, most of these folks don't even stick to the promises that they made. I mean I can't count the amount of moms who have a trigger pulled on them in violation of the ACOG guidelines because an OB somewhere thought that the baby might be in distress. Even with one of these other mommas, like the one of the moms that I was seeing this week, the doctor came in, wanted to put an internal monitor in and the mom's like, "No! I don't need one." But then she wanted to do it so that she could go back to her office and catch on and watch Netflix or whatever and just make sure the baby's heart was still beating. Like, what happened? What happened to the burning culture of observe and stay with the momma and do all the stuff? That's why I love midwives because they're so committed to the cause. It's not uncommon for a momma that I have in my practice that does a home birth to labor it out for five, six days.
Lindsey: Yeah, totally.
Dan: But if you go beyond 24 hours, like, who's going to pull the trigger? Oh, you've got to push Pit, you've got to push Cytotec, you got to do all these other stuff like, "Says who?"
Dan: Not ACOG.
Lindsey: Yeah, ACOG doesn't even say it.
Dan: Right. It's like the hospital policy is somehow Trump's best practices. Again, it's a patriarchal culture that's borne in the doctor is the owner of your health and if you do something that's contrary to what the doctor says, you're cavalier with your health. You're putting your life and your baby's life in jeopardy and you're just a terrible person. So, yeah.
Dan: Yeah, yeah. I think, again, I started with the male component of it, but it's really just a permeating patriarchy in the birthing culture. The more empathic we are with our moms, the more open we are. The more, frankly, we're there to empower our mom's decisions, I mean, the better we're going to do. I mean, it's trajectory changing, genomic changing birth which changes the health of our children for the better.
Lindsey: Yeah. Oh, yeah, it would really, really shift the whole, the future supporting and honoring mom's desires as true as we can.
Dan: No doubt. Without a doubt.
Lindsey: Well, what else we got? Oh, man. I feel like we've talked about so much but this is great. Tell everybody what you got going on, like, with your KiddoCast and where they can find stuff like that.
Dan: Oh, thank you. Yeah.
Dan: Well, I know there's probably a lot of lay folks that are listening, which is awesome. We have a podcast called the KiddoCast which is designed for parents. I know we have a lot of docs who are listening to our podcasts as well, and they share it with their families, but the real goal of the podcast is to bring other amazing docs like Dr. Mathews and we talked about Dr. Berger and we just released our episode with Jeanne Ohm. I know you've had her on the podcast in the past. And that's to help normalize what we do in our offices. It's providing this information on a free basis so that parents can be empowered to make the decisions that are right for their families.
The KiddoCast runs in 15-episode seasons so we're dead smack in the middle of Season 2 right now. All of my episodes are in the can. They're amazing, unbelievable, incredible episodes. I'm so honored and privileged to hear from these giants in our profession and outside of our profession. This episode is going to run concurrently on the KiddoCast as well. So people who don't know Lindsey will have an earful of Dr. Mathews. But yeah, go to iTunes, Stitcher, Android, and you can subscribe to the podcast there. It's also available on our website at www.chirobeacon. That's chirobeacon.com. We hope you enjoy it, so.
Lindsey: What about your seminars?
Dan: Yeah. You know, we've done a lot of expanding this year, which has been a blessing and a curse. I love my practice, but I was just calculating my mileage and I think I did about 65,000 miles this year which is about 40,000 miles too much. But it was because we started two new companies this year and the goal was to spread the message to other chiros, to help raise the bar in pediatric and pregnancy care. You know, the company that we started, myself, Dr. Kristina Stitcher and Dr. Skip Wyss, is called Practice Evolution Prime. This program is a 12-month program online-based with frequent consulting calls between the three of us.
It's there to help set the standard, not necessarily about practice building for chiros but about setting the standard in care delivery for principled pediatric care. That means that, for example, if you're a chiropractor and you want to learn how to take care of kids, this program takes the baseline information that you may have learned from school, that you may have learned through ICPA. And it brings it up to the level of experts. It's not a program for everybody but we really want people who are invested in taking care of kids to give it a look and see what they see.
I've also spent a good amount of my time this year on the road with Dr. Steve Hoffman in Chiropractic Mastery. My primary analysis and practice is MC2. I love it, based on Torque release but it also has some overtones at BGI, MLS, NSA. It allows us to deliver a specific adjustment at the right place and the right time with the appropriate intensity to allow our patients to do this in perpetuity without needing chiropractors for the rest of our lives. To be fair, I mean, I still see wellness patients every two weeks because that's the way that I like to see these patients. But I find the longer my patients under care, the less they need chiropractic because their nervous systems are working perfectly. That's the point.
Lindsey: Yeah. That's brilliant.
Dan: So, yeah, there you have it.
Lindsey: I want to ask you. I didn't tell you. I was going to ask you this. But what do you think will be or should be the biggest step that we need to take to shift the birth world or birth as it is in our country?
Dan: You mean chiros or just "we" in general?
Lindsey: "We" in general.
Dan: Yeah. Well, okay. So I can tell you what I've done, and I don't know if this is for everybody but certainly, I think, it may set the tone. In my practice, the biggest thing that I've done to help my patients and help my team was to stop accepting assignment on managed care providers or third parties, insurance, et cetera. And I know a lot of people are like, "Man, that sucks. I want to have access. I pay for this insurance and I'm not getting it."
Lindsey: Right. But explain it because, yeah, they don't get the big picture.
Dan: Yeah. And I know, believe me, I know it because I've done working groups with my patients almost every single year for the past six years. My best patients, they're like, "We love what you do here. We love this practice but I have a hard time referring people to your practice because you're too expensive." Now, again, if you're a doctor, this is probably going to make a lot of sense to you. But if you're a patient or you're just a momma who's interested in learning about this stuff, the reason that I say this is because doctors have completely lost the ability to do what they're trained to do when they're controlled by a third party, okay? Now, even if your doctor is taking insurance, okay, I'll say you're Blue Shield beneficiary and your doctor is a Blue Shield provider in your network. Blue Shield is going to tell your doctor what he can and can't do. So yeah, maybe you have no out-of-pocket expense, but you're not getting the best care because the doctors are playing the algorithm based on whether or not he can get paid, which is really freaking dangerous, okay?
As a chiropractor, especially in the State of California, Covered California does not cover chiropractic care. It covers E&M codes, meaning exams and whatever, but it doesn't cover the actual adjustment which makes absolutely no sense. Anybody who signed up was duped into signing up for Covered California because they thought they had chiropractic care now has absolutely no way of getting care unless they pay out of pocket. So now they're paying their premium and they're paying out of pocket for care.
When you have this type of care as we talked about before, it's not cheap and convenient to be healthy in this culture, and it's unfortunate. So till we have a truly, I don't want to say universal healthcare, but until we have a truly universal system that acknowledges that the doctor-patient relationship is more important than a third party middleman, the patients who want to really have the benefits of this lifestyle have to make that investment in the appropriate providers. And if that means they pay their midwife or a home birth at $5000 a pop. I mean Jeanne was more cavalier about it. She's like, "If you can't afford it, take a loan out. This is the most important thing that's going to happen."
Lindsey: Yeah, she's funny about that.
Dan: She's super funny about it. Well, I mean, talked about Jeanne Ohm, love it. Yeah, six home births, four unassisted. That's heavy duty. But yeah, I think that's the mindset, the shift.
Lindsey: Yeah, totally.
Dan: Quoting the book that you made me read. What an amazing book. But that's the mindset, the paradigm shift that we really have to go under and it comes from taking ownership of our own health.
Lindsey: Yeah. That's good.
Dan: Okay, taking ownership of our own health, not being reactive, but actually being proactive so that we don't need medicine unless it's an absolute emergency.
I think, honestly, Linds, we're going to have to hit rock bottom before that happens. It's unfortunate because as a chiropractor, I'm going to try to soften the blow but a lot of people are going to get hurt. And it's already happening. Look at the opioid epidemic in California and the rest of the country. I mean, everybody is strung out on opioids because we play this game that's very dangerous for their health. It's about doing whatever we want, living fast, dying young, and then taking medicine to try to solve the symptom later without fixing the problem. So that's my word of advice. If you're a chiropractor out there, my best advice is to make sure you're making care accessible and as affordable as you can so people can get themselves out of purgatory, out of slavery, and start getting healthy.
Lindsey: Awesome. I love that. Okay. So last question.
Lindsey: Three things you would share or offer as advice for a mom and her family going through the motherhood transition.
Dan: Yeah, I mean, I'd back it up all the way to mom and dad are starting to think about getting pregnant.
Dan: Yeah, I have a couple of mommas here in preconception phase right now and we're working through that.
Okay, so three pieces of advice. Number one, with all of my moms, when we do a preconception or pregnancy or postpartum consult, if I've never met the momma before, the first question I ask is, "Describe your vision of your birth. Describe your ideal birthing situation. I'm not talking about insurance. I'm not talking about any of these other stuff. How do you envision your birth?" And that takes mommas by a surprise because they haven't had a think about that before. In most cases, nobody asked those questions.
Lindsey: Yeah, very rarely have they thought about it.
Dan: Yeah, nobody has asked them the question. I mean, the birth plan I was standing like, birth planning comes later. It's "How do you see this happening?" That sets the tone so that we can provide the appropriate care, we can find the appropriate team members, and then just knock all the dominos down in succession. So that's number one.
Number two, if you're in this mode, talk with your partner. Interview a ton of different providers. You make sure you feel good about the direction that you're going in. I tell people all the time, even when it comes to chiropractic, if your bullshit detector is going off, you're probably right. So hone that bullshit detector and really feel at home with the providers that choose midwife, OB, doula, whatever, okay?
And then number three, it's a shameless plug, like you've got to have a chiro on your team. You absolutely have to have a chiro.
Dan: And so the sooner that you're under care with somebody who is trained in pregnancy, the better your outcomes are going to be statistically. I mean, we know that births, moms that are under care, under Webster specific care tend to be about a third less lengthy. Later times they shrink, outcomes improve, and that's because the chiros are so well-trained. They're the only ones who are trained to make sure that baby has everything that he or she needs to find the exit when the time comes. Birth trauma decreases both to mom and baby. Intervention decreases. It's so, so, so prudent. I mean if you need to find the appropriate recommendations, obviously, I mean, go to BIRTHFIT. I mean, the BIRTHFIT providers are all topnotch, incredible people. I'm honored and privileged to share the professional certification with everybody on that list. Go to ICPA. Look for providers in your area that are at minimum Webster-certified. That's the standard of care in chiropractic pregnancy care. Honestly, like if you don't know who to go to, call my office and I'll find you a referral.
Lindsey: Yeah, totally. I mean, that's all the referrals that are our chiros on the BIRTHFIT page. They all have to be Webster-certified.
Dan: Yeah, as they should be. As they should be. So we have a better certification program that raises the standard, which I don't think is ever going to happen because Webster is so comprehensive. That's the standard of care and it's being topped by living legend right now. So if you're not Webster-certified, you got to get out there and get that done first thing.
Lindsey: Yeah. Well, awesome. Okay. Remind people where they can find you at.
Dan: Sure. You can go to my website, www.chirobeacon.com. It's chirobeacon.com. You can call our office at 805-481-1566. Whether you're in California or not, it doesn't matter. You want to get an appointment with my office, I'm happy to talk to you. If not, you're not in the area, you can't make it up to San Luis, I'll find you a referral. The advantage that docs like Lindsey and I and many of our friends have is that we talk a lot of people, so we will find the right provider for you and go from there.
And check out the KiddoCast on iTunes, Android, and wherever you get awesome podcast.
Lindsey: Awesome. Thanks so much for hanging out, Dan.
Dan: Thank you for having me, Linds. Love you lots. Thank you.
Lindsey: Yeah. All right, my lovelies, I know there was no room for any fluff in there. That was full of information. You may even have to go back and listen to this episode again. Like I said, if you want to reach out to Dr. Dan, do not hesitate. His website is chirobeacon.com.
If there's one thing to take away from this episode, Dan touched on it, and it is to be an advocate for your own health. You are the person in control of your body. You are the person in control of your thoughts, your actions, your life, your birth team, all of that good stuff. Even though I'm living in California where people are trying to take away personal freedom rights, that's weird, but yeah, even though there's that happening, you still have to stand up for who you are, what you believe in, your personal health care philosophy, especially if you're embarking on this motherhood transition and maybe you and your partner have not had any personal healthcare philosophy discussions, spend some time. Write it down, come together, brainstorm, meet in the middle.
I'll use vaccinations as a hot topic because. Why not? Like if you know that you don't want to vaccinate and maybe your partner does or hasn't researched as much as you, start thinking about that now prior to pregnancy, prior to conception because those are the types of conversations you're going to need to have. And it's much better to have these conversations, these really tough conversations about what to do when kiddo has a cold. Okay, do we go the antibiotic route or do we go the apple cider vinegar, hot water, lemon route type of thing? These conversations are much better had without fear, without heavy emotions, without either party being reactive. So think about that. Think about where you stand in your health care philosophy. Think about where your partner stands and then come together and start to discuss in a loving, loving, loving way. So be an advocate for your own health and your body and determine your values.
Yeah, listen to this episode again. It is full of information. And enjoy the rest of your week.
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