I was nervous and maybe even sweating. A mother dropped off her 12-year-old daughter for a filling in 1971. I still remember the child’s name. Two-and-a-half hours later, I had finished my first patient visit.
I thought I was going to be a dentist during my four years of school. When I rotated through children’s dentistry, a young lad bit my finger. OK, so kids were not for me. Since I loved surgery, I spent two more years in specialized training.
When I opened my periodontal practice on Cape Cod in 1975, I started to have headaches and sinus issues. Conventional medical and dental providers offered no help. When a chiropractor told me about this “cranial” thing, my world flipped upside down.
By 1978 I felt “cranial” was the greatest thing since sliced bread after seeing the incredible results in my practice. Even though I could not explain it scientifically, I saw that it worked. At 31, I vowed to spend the rest of my career going down this unchartered road to find the answers.
In 1980 I was convinced of the effectiveness of the work for children with asthma and other common pediatric conditions. I was over-the-top excited about the potential of this work. Unfortunately, my referring dental and medical colleagues were not, resulting in losing the Massachusetts practice, losing the Western Pennsylvania practice, and the Pennsylvania State Board of Dentistry wanting to take my license to practice away.
Even though the world pushed back hard, I never gave up. Since I was just starting my career, I felt that I could possibly move the pediatric needle in the coming decades. All I saw was this work as part of a future holistic approach for children.
Being ahead of my time, I found myself in the right theatre (health care) but in the wrong movie (dentistry). After leaving dentistry in 1997, I helped to pioneer advancements for brain-injured children with 15 years of mentoring at The Family Hope Center in Suburban Philadelphia.
The big push happened in 2006 when two Lancaster, Pennsylvania, students asked me to teach them the newborn and infant work. A lot of local mothers were asking them about therapy for their babies. Most people are ready to retire when they reach 60, but my life was just beginning. The door to Heaven opened and I walked through.
The next six years of Wednesday baby day research in Lancaster were the best years of my life. Discoveries came like waves bringing solutions to common age-old infant conditions like colic, reflux, and constipation. I was living the dream.
Tight unhappy babies became loose happy babies. Infants grew up to be healthier and smarter. The seeds of many common diseases appeared to be sown at birth. Wow, my original pediatric vision had unexpectedly led me to the brilliance of the work at birth. I was definitely in the right movie.
For as long as I am able, I plan to continue breaking new ground by practicing and writing about therapy that I could never have imagined fifty years ago. I am so grateful for Holly Steflik and Kim Sherlock teaching this work globally. I am so thankful to have Brian Rossiter captain the technology ship.
Very simply, I find joy in showing the world what is possible for newborns. Some day I am confident the world will get it. My calling is giving me a life well-lived.