BY NANCY GAGNET | MIRROR REPORTER — Dr. Elia Acuna believes that a properly aligned spine, coupled with proper nutrition, is the key to optimal health.
She is a chiropractor who specializes in nutrition and is certified by the American Clinical Board of Nutrition, making it her mission to help others reach their optimal health potential.
“Diet is a big factor in most conditions humans are afflicted with,” Acuna said.
Earlier this month, she opened Achieve Health Chiropractic and Clinical Nutrition on Indiana Avenue in Maumee, in the building that formerly housed Dussel Insurance. Her goal is to restore the health and well-being of her clients through chiropractic techniques and nutritional protocols. As the human body is self-healing and self-regulating, Acuna tries to pinpoint the disparities between diet and body function, which often lead to chronic pain and/or illness.
“We are trying to bring people into a healthier state,” she said. “To me, it’s like going upstream to fix the problem so you don’t have issues downstream.”
A variety of functional medicine tests are offered to determine how the body is functioning, such as salivary testing to assess the adrenals and sex hormones for women experiencing premenstrual syndrome, polycystic ovarian syndrome, menstrual irreg-ularity, menopausal hot flashes and more. A comprehensive stool analysis could indicate major digestive issues and a urine test measures bone breakdown as it is occurring, which means a patient does not need to wait the average three years for a DEXA bone density examination, Acuna said.
For patients who don’t feel well despite normal blood test results, an organic acid test is offered, which considers 70-plus markers that may indicate nutrient deficiencies. A hair analysis examines a combination of more than 70 nutritional deficiencies and toxic heavy metals that can affect mental and physical health. Neurotransmitter testing examines anxiety, depression or if an individual is feeling mentally “off.”
When it comes to analyzing data from traditional blood tests, Acuna adheres to functional medicine practices, meaning she considers the normal ranges that were set in the 1950s.
“As a society, we are becoming sicker and sicker, so the lab ranges are being brought out further and further,” she said. “When I look at blood work test results, I look at the optimal parameters that were used back in the 1950s before our diets changed from daily home cooking to fast, pre-packed, convenient food lacking in many nutrients and full of many preservatives and toxins that were foreign to our bodies 70 years ago.”
Those toxins have led to physical ailments such as chronic headaches, heart disease, diabetes and cancer and have also contributed to psychological problems as well, such as anxiety, depression, panic attacks and insomnia, she said.
“Never in our mankind’s space on earth have we had so many toxins being thrown at us every day,” she said. “For example, the average American woman unknowingly applies 515 synthetic chemicals on her body every day. A newborn baby has over 200 toxic chemicals in the umbilical cord blood.”
The functional medicine types of testing are services often used in conjunction with chiropractic care. Acuna provides traditional adjustments as well as other techniques, such as NeuroCranial Integration, which addresses the spine and brain without twisting or cracking. Herniated discs and other spinal conditions such as back or neck pain are also addressed. Trigger point therapy is offered, focusing on the spine and joints of the body, since 80 percent of back pain is due to tight or restricted muscles.
“I have a reputation for my wicked thumbs and working the knots in patients’ muscles,” Acuna said.
After graduating from Palmer College in 1982, Acuna began her chiropractic practice in Michigan. She spent several decades building a thriving practice before moving to Maumee to be closer to her children and grandchildren.
A former client from Utica, Mich., named Jody, recently made a two-hour drive to Maumee seeking help for her back, which had suddenly locked up, causing severe pain and making it difficult to move. The 45-year-old woman, who works at a factory, had made multiple visits to a chiropractor in her hometown, but still couldn’t resolve the problem.
“My back was out for a week and no other chiropractor could fix it. The other doctor just couldn’t get it, not because he was bad, but he just doesn’t know all of the stuff that she (Acuna) knows,” Jody said. “She was able to help me stand and walk. You are lucky to have her. I would definitely recommend her.”
Acuna’s own health problems years ago – a dysfunctional digestive tract that led to chronic headaches – prompted her to incorporate clinical nutritional with chiropractic care. That experience is also the driving force to find the best outcome for her clients.
“I consider myself an ‘outside-the-box’ chiropractor. If I find that a patient isn’t responding adequately after three to four visits of traditional chiropractic care, I dig into my tool box for other options of care,” she said. “Aside from full-blown sciatica radiating down to the toes, I expect to see at least a 50-percent improvement between the third and fourth visit.”
Dr. Acuna will hold an open house on Saturday, February 8 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. The event is open to the public.
Achieve Chiropractic and Clinical Nutrition is located at 111 E. Indiana Ave. in Maumee. New patients are being accepted. To schedule an appointment, please call the office at (419) 740-3099.