Shannon McCarty of Soul Chiropractic talks with us about her philosophy of healing.
How long have you been in White Bear Lake?
I’ve lived here for 10 years, and my practice has just had its second anniversary.
What is unique about your practice?
I have a very holistic approach. I work a lot with the mental and emotional challenges that come with healing, and how they affect the nervous system and the musculature. So a lot of what I do isn’t just the traditional cracking.
I can push a bone into place like anyone else, but the brain controls everything. My focus is why is the brain is telling the body to [show symptoms].
What do you see is the source of most of your clients' concerns?
What I’ve found [and what medical research is finding] is there’s some history of trauma, be it mental, physical or emotional, that is causing the problems.
How do you find out what the trauma is?
I do a very thorough intake. I ask the basic questions about history, but I ask a lot about their current situation—lifestyle, relationships, work, diet, exercise. I ask a lot about childhood. Did they get what they needed? Was there alcohol in the home? What we’re finding in the medical field is that a lot of untreated childhood adversity is causing 60 percent of disease.
I can actually track how the body responds to stress—the fight or flight. I do thermography, which shows me organ and gland function. And I do an electromyogram that shows where muscles are underworking or overworking. I put it all together and see if the person needs something that I can offer.
How do you help your clients overcome the trauma that is causing them problems?
With breath and with awareness we can teach the body how to unwind tension [from past trauma] and self-heal. The brain creates neural pathways, and the body gets progressively more effective at unwinding tension on its own.
With anxiety, for example, there are areas in our brain designed to help us not unlearn fear. So we play the anxiety out over and over again. Someone will see something that reminds them of something, and the body actually goes into fight or flight, and experiences it as if it’s in that moment. Anxiety is often a dysregulated stress response. I want to help people have the moment where they realize, “I’m not being chased by a tiger,” [that they’re safe in the present moment], so the body can have a moment to have a different response instead of their typical [anxiety] response.
What other types of conditions do you work with?
I treat the typical sports injuries, car accidents. Sometimes I co-treat with physical therapists or other professionals. I welcome all humans who are looking to uncover what’s underneath the pain. I love working with people with anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder. I work with a number of firefighters. I work with children, which is fantastic, because they can learn these strategies young and it sets them up for a much less stressful future.
What else would you like people to know?
I love helping people turn stress and pain into more joy and more life. It’s really humbling to watch people find themselves again and find themselves in a new way.