Dr. Neil Brown, 36, is a chiropractor who believes that “without vision, people perish.” In 2001, Dr. Brown graduated with a Bachelor of Science from McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, and in 2004 with a Doctor of Chiropractic from New York Chiropractic College, New York. Since 2005, he has practiced at his clinic, Ancaster Family Chiropractic, in Ancaster, Ontario, with the help of his staff. He and his wife Karen are the parents of four children ranging in age from infancy to 10 years. I interviewed Dr. Neil Brown to learn about how he integrates his Christian faith with chiropractic care.
Christian Courier: What is your vision of chiropractic care and its benefits?
Dr. Neil Brown: We ask God to send us people whom we can help. Our starting point for each person is that they are made to heal. Many people are familiar with chiropractic from a pain-relieving perspective and, while that is a common benefit, our main purpose is to remove interference to allow normal nerve function to occur. God has given us amazing bodies that can heal, recreate, regenerate and rebuild from the inside out. Our nerve system controls and coordinates every muscle, tissue and cell. Our purpose is to simply help people steward their physical resource. I have one job with two parts – to discover where there is nerve interference and then to reduce it as much as possible or, even better, remove it completely.
Have you encountered myths about chiropractic care? If so, how have you responded to them?
The medical paradigm and chiropractic paradigm are very different. We provide a free weekly chiropractic workshop to share our beliefs about health and to clarify the difference between the two perspectives. We put a lot of importance on people understanding their health at a deeper level, rather than just passively providing a service without deeper understanding. We do regular community outreach events to communicate our vision and remind people that they have the ability to heal. It’s a revelation for some because they’ve been told they are victims of bad germs, bad genes or bad luck.
How did God lead you to become a chiropractor?
From just a few months of age, my parents took me to a chiropractor to get my spine and nerve system checked. Early in high school, I decided to become an optometrist. I changed my plans in Grade 10 or 11. I was a competitive sprinter in track and field at the time and was seeing a well-known sports chiropractor. His life seemed glamorous to me – he was working with elite athletes and professional sports teams, traveling regularly, and was recognized in his field. That’s what I wanted to do! I went to chiropractic school in the U.S. with that plan in mind.
About half way through, I went to a seminar and saw something completely different. It led me to shadow another Christian chiropractor, Dr. Lloyd Decoff, who was (and is) a huge influence on my life. He practiced in a way that allowed him to focus on serving in his office, but also to make his family a priority and to spend lots of time with them. Funny story – when I was looking for someone to shadow, I literally opened the phone book to Waterdown, Ont., closed my eyes, and “randomly” pointed to Dr. Lloyd. There was no random in that, I’m sure! I had no idea he was a Christian. Finding Dr. Lloyd was the biggest “God moment” in my journey to that point!
How do you integrate your Christian faith into your practice?
We are committed to serving every single person who walks in our door. I think our communication and transparency allow us to show how we are Christ-followers. We pray before we start working each morning and afternoon and ask God for wisdom, discernment and that he will send people whom we can help. We are doing our best to create a culture of healing and trust, and that also helps point some people to Jesus.
Chiropractic care isn’t covered by Ontario’s provincial healthcare insurance program. How do you respond when someone who comes to you for help has no personal insurance coverage and is unable to pay your fee?
We help every person seeking care, regardless of their financial situation. We have done that since we opened our clinic in 2005. God has called us to use our talent and we feel very strongly that it needs to be provided to everyone!
Neil Brown with his wife Karen and their children: Lydia (6), Kassandra (4),
Jansen (2), and five-month-old Felicity.
On your website (ancasterfamilychiropractic.ca), you mention that you are helping people fulfill the vision they have for their lives. How do you accomplish that?
It points back to our desire and ability to remove interference. There’s so much we are capable of, but we are limited by areas of physical, emotional and chemical interference. Several years ago a 74-year-old lady called me from a nursing home to ask me to help her get better. In the first few months she was able to move better and was in less pain. As she continued to improve, she was able to regain even more mobility, decrease the prescribed drugs she took, decrease her dependence on her cane and experience a lot less pain. Crazy story – after living in the nursing home for more than four years, she moved out into her own apartment! She told me, “I’m too young to be here.” So, at 78 years of age, she left! She had the desire and vision to be independent, but her physical limitations hadn’t allowed her to live on her own. If you have life and breath in you, you have the ability to heal.
How else have you seen lives changed through chiropractic care?
Here are a few ways. A 14-year-old boy was wetting the bed at least three times a week. Through chiropractic care, he was healed so that he almost never wetted the bed anymore. He was able to fulfill a dream of having sleepovers with friends. A 21-year-old woman had an erratic menstrual cycle. She had been given hormones and drugs to try to regulate it. She began chiropractic care and immediately regained a normal 28-day cycle. She was then much more likely to fulfill her dream of having a family. A 5-year-old girl had migraines at least two times a week. She had been prescribed heavy-duty drugs, was missing school and living in agony because she had extreme light and sound sensitivity. Her migraines were reduced and resolved in a few weeks of chiropractic adjustments.
You’re a partner of Chiropractors with Compassion (CWC). What does that entail?
CWC was started in 2004 by two chiropractors in Ottawa. It’s a part of Compassion Canada and the projects we work on are funded only by CWC partners. CWC partners have raised more than $2 million by simply donating $20 for every new patient exam we perform.
What do you and your family do to maintain a healthy lifestyle?
Our health care routine involves, of course, regular chiropractic adjustments. We have a naturopath instead of a medical doctor. My wife was under midwife care for all four pregnancies and we did a home birth for all four. My wife is amazing at meal planning and choosing foods that are going to be eaten (tricky with four kids) and nutritious. We stay active running after children, wrestling with them and playing outside.
How have you seen God’s blessing on your practice?
We see amazing healing on a regular basis. The most memorable ones are people who have tried exercising, or drugs, or physiotherapy or acupuncture, and they come to us in a “I’ve tried everything” posture, and the only thing they’ve never had is a thorough spine and nerve health checkup.
Do you have any future goals for your practice?
I would love to have an associate or partner with whom I would be able to share the energy, healing and community vision of my practice. There is strength and momentum that can only happen with more than one doctor. We are open and ready for God to continue to work through us; we have the capacity to serve more people and we’re trusting that God will send in more people for us to help.