Summertime is almost here which means most of you are gearing up for a lot of activities, whether they are for work, fun, or simply keeping up with your family. I recently sat down with Dr. Andrew Swanson of Gaitlink Chiropractic in Port Gamble to learn about his different approach to chiropractic care. After spending years practicing traditional chiropractic medicine and seeing up to 220 patients per week, he found his patient results were not curative for long-term health. Dr. Swanson has spent the last 26 years progressively evolving his patient-focused approach to chiropractic work through what is called Gaitlink (patent pending).
Gaitlink is a chiropractic technique based on a theory created by Dr. Andrew Swanson. He believes our feet were designed to adjust to uneven surfaces we see in nature. However, the surface we walk on throughout our day is flat and hard. This surface prevents normal foot motion and shock absorption, causing the force from the gait cycle to travel up the leg into the pelvis and spine. In an attempt to stabilize itself, the spine tightens muscles and compresses joints to adapt to this continuous force. The result is a degenerating spine that lacks function and mobility, creating an environment for injury.
I was astonished to learn that the average person absorbs up to 700 tons of pressure, per leg, per day from simply walking. “There are 23 motions in a foot that should have a shock absorbing (springing) capability. Typically in new patients, one foot will have around 19 joints that are locked up. Restoring shock absorbing function to the joints in the arms and legs allows the spine to relax and unlock itself, rather than forcing the joints to unlock” Swanson added.
Dr. Swanson has been working out of Kingston, WA since 1991 before moving to historic Port Gamble recently. He has enjoyed working with professional, Olympic, and collegiate athletes using the Gaitlink method. I asked him about the importance of footwear in sports and everyday life and what he suggests to patients. “There is a trend in sports footwear that is moving to minimalism. The less support and restriction of foot movement in footwear is better for natural movement. You want your foot to move and spring as it was naturally intended to function.” Dr. Swanson said. He also stated he believes all of sports will eventually move to incorporating the Gaitlink method in their sports medicine programs.
Dr. Swanson walked me through what he typically does with a new patient, which I found very educational. He explained the Gaitlink method and a how a path to long-term health is achieved. Patient response to treatment was determined through a collection of data over 3 ½ years with follow up evaluations and pain scale ratings. It was found that 83% of his patients are self-sustaining and no longer need treatment.
Swanson recently held a public seminar about the Gaitlink method in Port Gamble that was open to the public. He is excited to be planning more seminars throughout this year and beyond. Details for the seminars will be posted as they are scheduled on his website at www.gaitlink.com. You can also find information about becoming a patient with his practice. You can also keep up with Dr. Swanson by following the Gaitlink Chiropractic Center on Facebook.
The new location in Port Gamble is located at 32279 Rainier Ave NE Port Gamble, Washington 98364 in the building formerly known as the Tea Room at Port Gamble.