Christian doctors

Amazon Chiropractor: A Christian Mission Trip

A Chiropractor in the Amazon? Yep, this was another of my many adventures. These voluntary chiropractic mission trips are several highlights of my career. Here is my story.

“Obrigado” (thank you), they all say in Portuguese as they shake my hand after their adjustment.  “Genada” (you’re welcome), I reply.  Some of the hundreds of patients I treated this week have traveled quite far to see the “Americano Quiropraktor” (American Chiropractor).  I was the only chiropractor in all of northern Brazil; specifically the state of Amazonas, an area larger than the state of Alaska.  That reality really struck me when I started asking some of these patients how far they traveled.  I was surprised when some told me through my translator, Marilia, that they came 3 hours by boat;  stunned when some said they traveled 8 hours; and then I was in disbelief when two told me they came 3 days, sleeping in hammocks as their ferry boat chugged up the miles wide Amazon River!  I had to ask them again, 2 or 3 times “You really specifically traveled 3 days by boat to get a chiropractic adjustment?”  To them, this travel is common.

My wife Susan contemplating the sunrize over the Amazon.

Life here revolves around the Amazon River; not the longest, but definitely the largest in terms of width and volume of water.  They say it carries 100 times more water than any other river.  The city I’m in, Manaus, is the largest city in the area and developed here because it is at the junction where the cool, clear Salimoes River, draining the melting snow from the Andes Mountains 1200 miles west, joins the warm black Negro River, draining the great Amazon rain forest.  A phenomenon occurs here called “the great meeting of the waters”, unique because a distinct division or line can be seen running down the middle of the Amazon River for miles, until these waters mix.  The entire river system is over 3000 miles long and 100 miles wide by the time it reaches the south Atlantic Ocean. Some say this is truly the middle of nowhere.

Dr Tom Potisk adjusting an Amazonian.

I’m here on a furlough relief mission for the Christian Chiropractors Association  The permanent DC and  his wife, and 5 children took a furlough,  traveling back to the US to visit relatives and friends,  and to rest.  I’m one of  5 volunteer chiropractors, each taking a week or two of coverage.

The demand for chiropractic services at this office is extraordinary; some patients must wait 3 weeks before an appointment is available  Most have easy access to the free national health care system, but many are dissatisfied with the poor quality, and lack of anything more than the drugs and surgery offered.  Some told me the doctors they consulted never touched them, barely made eye contact, just looked at the entrance form and handed them a bottle of pills.

Most of the patients I treated had similar problems as those in my own  Milwaukee, WI chiropractic  practice:  headaches, back and neck pain, shoulder, knee, wrist, or jaw problems. Overall they appeared thinner and more physically fit.  A few brought x-rays or MRI scans that they paid for out of their own pockets. Most stated they acquired their trouble from the repetitive motions of their activities, such as farming, or from driving on these few but  extremely rough and bumpy roads. A high percentage sleep in hammocks nightly and wear sandals frequently, contributing to their spinal structural troubles. When these misalignments cause nerve impulse interference we chiropractors call it subluxation.

Typical Amazonian family in for their chiropractic adjustment.

Some had more unique problems, such as arthritis, disc injuries, weakness, and low energy.  As I’ve noticed when I provided treatment in other countries on previous occasions, these patients seem to respond faster and more dramatically than patients back in the US.  I suspect three reasons for this:  their food is fresher and less processed than our own, they are more physically active than we are, and chiropractic treatment is more respected, lacking the foolish stigmas of being dangerous or ineffective as portrayed by medical adversaries and some media.

The most interesting case I saw was a 58 year old man named Domingo.  He was brought in a wheelchair by his wife.  His complaint was leg paralysis due to a snake bite 3 weeks ago!  The drugs he was given were not helping so he came to try chiropractic.  On his second treatment he was able to stand and take a few steps.  I’ve got before and after pictures for any skeptics!  This gentleman is one who traveled 3 days by boat.

Domingo before adjustment

Domingo 24 hours after adjustment!

When people live outside the city of Manaus, they call it living in the “interior”.  I told my translator that we call that living in the “boondocks”.  When I said “boondocks” both Domingo and his wife gave me an odd look.  The translator laughed and explained that in Portuguese “boondocks” means, “rear-end!”  Oops!  They all speak Portuguese here.  A few speak English.

Being 100 miles south of the equator, the weather is always warm.  I’m here in the dry, winter season, so it never rains, but you could cut the humidity with a knife, and the temperature is above 90 degrees daily.

I had a few hours for sightseeing, so I was able to visit the local outdoor market.  It’s a bustling place with many unique smells, sounds, and sights, like large Piranha fish for sale, purple potatoes, and many extraordinary fruits.  A boat trip upriver revealed how quickly it becomes remote and wild.  I saw natives living in small shacks perched on stilts at the river’s edge.  Alligators are common, along with pink dolphins, birds, 15 foot snakes, and, of course, mosquitoes.

Dr Tom Potisk wrestling an alligator. LOL!

Exotic fruits at the local produce market, and delicious!

The food was excellent with lots of beef, beans and rice .  The people were extremely friendly and hospitable.

It’s rewarding to be of help in this way. The Christian Chiropractors Association can be reached at 1-800-999-1970.  A special “thank you” to my South Milwaukee office staff, associates, patients and my family for allowing me time away for this adventure!

Practice on!

Dr Tom Potisk

PS Be sure and get my free reports for chiropractic practice success on the right side of this website.

PPS And be sure and take the Free DC Success Test - see how you measure up!

Categories: Christian doctors, Mission trip to Amazon

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Tebowing for Doctors

Should a Christian Doctor share his or her faith with patients?

This issue is often a conflict for professionals like doctors because on one hand, The Great Commission reads “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” – Matthew 28:19, 20.

On the other hand we read from St. Francis of Assisi, “Preach the Gospel at all times, and when necessary use words.”

So, what should we do?

Below is an example of a sports professional sharing his faith:

Tebowing

When Tim Tebow revived the failing fortunes of the team in the fall of 2011 he was revered in Denver as something like the second coming of John Elway. After he replaced Kyle Orton, the amazing Broncos won seven of their next nine games. Three of those wins were in overtime, leading some to wonder if Tebow’s very openly expressed Christianity was bringing miraculous divine intervention. Tebow’s quarterback ratings were never very good, however—he ranks only 24th on the list with a rating of only 77, and he is averaging only 128 passing yards a game. Somehow the Broncomaniacs on the Front Range thought that Tebow had been slighted by being passed over for the Pro Bowl, but that unlikely scenario was not helped by the Broncos’ losing the last three games. The final loss was particularly galling—to the Kansas City Chiefs, proud new owners of Kyle Orton—in a game in which Tebow managed only 60 passing yards. But—the Broncos still made the playoffs at 8-8.

In moments of triumph Tebow drops to one knee to give glory to God. Even his most contemptuous critics must realize that he is utterly sincere, but that doesn’t stop their sarcasm. In week 8 Detroit Lions’ linebacker Stephen Tullock broke through the Denver blocking to sack Tebow, and in celebration he dropped to one knee, mocking the downed quarterback. After the Broncos were pasted on Christmas Eve by the Buffalo Bills, noted skeptic and atheist Bill Maher tweeted, “Wow, Jesus just (screwed) #TimTebow bad! And on Xmas Eve! Somewhere in hell Satan is Tebowing, saying to Hitler “Hey, Buffalo’s killing them.” Maher was not particularly worried that he had crossed a line. “All u J-freaks having a cow re my Tebow tweets pls go back to the much longer piece we did on 11/4 Real Time and have a proper heart attack,” he tweeted later.

Green Bay Packers’ quarterback Aaron Rodgers is known as a Christian, but when asked if he supported Tebow’s dramatic public expressions of his faith he just laughed and quoted a line attributed to St. Francis of Assisi, “Preach the Gospel at all times, and when necessary use words.”

– excerpted from an article by Pastor Mark Jeske at Time of Grace Ministry, timeofgrace.org.

I conclude, that at least for doctors, it should be realized that patients come to us for help with their physical health and not for a spiritual lesson. But a doc should not hide the fact that they are Christian if so. And when appropriate, a suggestion about faith can be made carefully, perhaps by first requesting permission.

Here is an example: “I understand and sympathize with you regarding the stress you are experiencing Mrs. Jones. In my Christian faith I’ve learned some scriptures that can help a person like you better deal with it. Can I share them with you?”

And there is good reason to use phrases like “Thank the Lord, If the Lord wills, Praise God, and God bless you.”

Stranger things have happened, but in a recent game against Pittsburgh, Tim Tebow through exactly 316 yards at an average of 31.6 yards each. Coincidence? You be the judge.                                                                       Tim

Tebow’s 316 yards inspire ‘John 3:16’ searches – an excerpt from The Washington Post 1/8/2012

“The Denver Broncos’ playoff win over the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday night was unlikely enough, but Tim Tebow’s passing yardage — the Christian quarterback threw 316 yards — sent commentators over the edge. The Associated Press reported that he also averaged 31.6 yards per completion. The religious connotations to John 3:16, a famous Bible verse, were too much for many to chalk up to chance.”

As holistic and vitalistic doctors, Doctors of Chiropractic especially recognize that spirituality is a vital component of whole health and wellness. We Christian Chiropractors have an obligation both as caring doctors and as followers of Christ to tactfully share the Gospel.

Please share this story to inspire others.

Practice on,

Dr Tom Potisk

PS Be sure and get my free practicing boosting reports on the right sidebar of this website.

PPS Have you seen my other blogs – www.thedowntoearthdoctor.com and www.wholehealthhealing.com?

Categories: Christian doctors

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