Jacobson Chiropractic: Like father, like daughter
194 Gold Flat Road, Nevada City
In recent months, people have been coming through the doors of Jacobson Chiropractic in Nevada City with concerned looks on their faces.
“Are the rumors true?” they’ll ask. “Is Dale retiring?”
The answer is a resounding “no.”
While the atmosphere in the office may have changed since chiropractor Dale Jacobson first opened his doors in 1979, it’s all for the better, he says.
In 2009, Jacobson’s daughter, Heather Hunt, joined the practice and has since expanded treatment offerings, bringing in new clientele.
“The first change people noticed when Heather joined the practice is that the waiting room was often filled with mamas and babies,” said Jacobson. “But retirement is not in my future — in fact I’ve increased my work week from four days to five. Because I’m now a seasoned practitioner, in many ways I feel as though I’m doing my best work ever. I never get burned out because there’s always more to learn. Heather and I working together is so much more than the sum of our parts.”
Raised in Nevada City, Jacobson grew up with parents who took an alternative approach to their health — which was not common for the era — but clearly made an impression.
“My parents were organic farmers and my dad was an old radical,” said Jacobson, with a laugh. “We drank goat milk and he was anti-everything.”
Jacobson said he knew nothing about the chiropractic field until he was 22. But when he discovered there was a hands-on holistic health-based profession with the philosophy of no drugs and no surgery, it seemed to fit his sensibilities.
“I had also been doing a lot of yoga, and this field gave me an avenue where I could integrate all the practices I was interested in, including diet, exercise, and mental dynamics,” he said. “Because there is a spiritual and philosophical base to chiropractic, I’m able to work on a much deeper level than a regular medical practitioner. There is a tapping into energy, which provides a way higher sense of work satisfaction — and the highest patient appreciation of all of medicine.”
During the course of his schooling, Jacobson was deeply inspired by his teacher, Bernard Jensen, a chiropractor and naturopath who studied the diet, soil, nutrition and composting methods of the Pakistani people of Hunza, some of the longest-living people in the world.
After graduating from chiropractic college, Jacobson went on to hone his skills by studying in Belgium with the now-deceased chiropractic diagnostician Henri Gillet.
Prior to returning to the States, Gillet granted Jacobson the status of “instructor and interpreter of the Gillet technique of spinal movement palpitation,” and gave him permission to instruct at chiropractic colleges and seminars, something Jacobson said he considers “a rare honor.”
In addition to numerous publications (with more to come), Jacobson is probably most proud of his book, “Guide to Healthy Living,” which is found on the shelves of more than a few Nevada County residents.
Chiropractic has existed due to the failures of traditional medicine, asserts Jacobson, and the best part is that he always carries his most effective tools with him — his hands.
Even as a very young child, Hunt can remember her father using his hands to heal those in need — from Nepalese villagers, to the Huichol people of Mexico, to a random stranger in the airport.
“My parents’ mission in life has always been one of health and service,” said Hunt. “In the third grade, I remember wanting to be a chiropractor like my dad.”
In December of 2008, Hunt graduated from the University of Western States Chiropractic College in Portland, Oregon.
A year later, she and her young family moved back to Nevada City so Hunt could begin practicing at Jacobson Chiropractic, a move she calls her “life-long dream.”
Over the past six years, Hunt has brought new areas of expertise to the practice, including emphases on women’s health, infant care, pregnancy, postpartum and pediatric issues.
In addition, she specializes in craniosacral therapy, myofascial release and visceral manipulation. These gentle treatments, which focus on the head, spine, digestive tract, muscle and joints, are safe enough to be used on newborns and the very sick, she said.
More recently, Hunt has ventured into the realm of purification detox cleanses, nutritional counseling and “functional medicine,” which is focused on finding and treating the root cause of diseases. That often includes blood, hormone, adrenal, saliva and “gut” tests.
“Women’s health and family care has always been my passion and my dad’s is ‘acute big pain,’” said Hunt. “We communicate really well, we think the same. I don’t think we’ve had even one disagreement, but right from the beginning I was doing different things. Both of us like to help the kind of patient who has been everywhere, tried everything and finally come to us.”
“My dad is never going to retire — he’s too passionate about his work,” Hunt continued. “I’m the same — we’re always researching, wanting to learn something new, move forward. You should see our night stands.”
“I tend to be an anarchist but thankfully Heather has organized the office,” joked Jacobson. “It’s been very satisfying to see what she has brought to the practice, and, of course, mimicry is the highest form of flattery.”
To contact Staff Writer Cory Fisher, email her at Cory@theunion.com.
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