Chiropractic for life

For Georgia, discovering chiropractic has been life-changing in more ways than one. As a six-year-old, she was involved in a serious car accident and suffered multiple long-term issues, but no medical specialist was able to offer solutions for the day-to-day physical discomforts that resulted from her trauma. It wasn’t until she was 16 and exploring a career fair in her home town of Palmerston North that she was drawn to a model of a spine at a chiropractic display. There she met a student from the NZCC who recommended Georgia meet with a local chiropractor. After putting herself under the care of local NZCC graduate, she experienced the benefits of chiropractic, learnt more about the profession and never looked back. Georgia also encouraged her mother and her grandparents to seek chiropractic care, and was blown away by how their quality of life also improved.

“Observing a chiropractor in their practice and watching what they did for their practice members was a lightbulb moment for me. I’d always been interested in helping people, even as a kid and I’d seen a lot of medical professionals growing up but nothing really stuck, but after experiencing chiropractic, it just made sense to me.”

Prevention is better than cure

Georgia’s first-hand experience of chiropractic reaffirmed for her the importance of a holistic approach to wellbeing. “During our first-year philosophy course we heard a famous quote from American Chiropractor, BJ Palmer, who says ‘Medicine is the study of disease and what causes man to die, while chiropractic is the study of health and what causes man to live’ and that resonated with me. Being able to help people before things get bad is a big thing for me.”

A vitalistic approach

Before committing to a career in chiropractic, Georgia did her due diligence and spent time looking at differences between general practice, osteopathy, chiropractic and physiotherapy, “But ultimately, for me, being able to work with the spine and the nerve system made a lot of sense to me – it’s who we are.”

The choice of where to study chiropractic was a no brainer for Georgia. “The values of the NZCC aligned with mine and that was important for me. I also really admired the school’s Research Centre, as well as its overall philosophy. The vitalistic aspect of the NZCC’s teachings stood out for me.”

A home away from home

She admits moving from the small town of Palmerston North to the big city of Auckland was an overwhelming experience for her, but says the family feel of the NZCC turned what could have been a stressful experience into an exciting one. “Our first-year camp really helped, it felt like we were becoming part of the family and it was easy to settle in once I made friends.”

She says her experience as a student at th NZCC is also like no other. “Before studying at the NZCC, I’d never had adults that treat you like equals. Lecturers usually talk at you – not to you – but here you can sit down and have really good conversations with lecturers and recognise that they could actually become your colleagues in a few years’ time.”

Georgia says balancing social life, work life and school life takes effort, but is definitely doable with some self-discipline. “I had to learn good time management and how to make everything fit, but I have never missed out on anything I wanted to do because of work, or school or my social life.” She believes the supportive culture at the college helps with this balance too. “Everyone wants everyone to succeed and we’ve all got each-others’ backs. There’s not a single person in my class I couldn’t go to with a question.”

Paying it forward

As a third year student, Georgia has recently transitioned into the NZCC’s Chiropractic Centre, a time for students to put into practice all of the theory and technique skills they have been learning. She’s looking forward to getting out into the community, to spread the word about chiropractic. “Being able to introduce chiropractic to people who have never known its benefits really excites me, I want to make a positive change in people’s lives.” She’s also keen to play a role in the NZCC’s Koha Chiropractic, an open clinic where communities are invited to receive care and, in return, pay what they can afford. Georgia says paying it forward and taking steps to help others, through initiatives, like the Koha Chiropractic, is what’s it all about for her. “When my chiropractor in Palmerston North offered to mentor me he said to me ‘I will help you and do what I can – just pay it forward’ and that has stuck with me in everything I do.”

With that in mind, Georgia says she would love to come back and mentor at the NZCC to stay connected with the College and give back to future students. “My biggest thing is paying it forward every day, whether it’s holding open a door, or helping someone with a life changing experience, just pay it forward.”

Making chiropractic mainstream

In future, Georgia dreams of paying it forward on the international stage, aspiring to bring a better understanding of chiropractic to the world, and help communities in need. “One thing I have always said is, once I have been in practice for long enough, I’d like to go somewhere that needs help and live there for a while and help however I can.” She says her ultimate ambition is to see chiropractic care offered in hospitals around New Zealand, particularly in maternity wards where she sees huge potential for women and babies to benefit from a holistic approach to wellbeing.