Full-body healing from a tool box
January 2, 2009
Kinesiologist Dr. Art LaBelle would like to see fewer patients.
That’s an odd goal for an independent businessman, but LaBelle aims to solve problems, not treat them.
He has people who see him once a week, and he loves seeing them, but LaBelle frequently refers patients to massage therapists and physical therapists to treat specific problems and thereby see him less.
"I tell people to do what’s bad for my business," he joked.
For the past nine years he’s done a "cash practice" meaning no insurance consignment is accepted. That allows him to guarantee a full hour to every patient who schedules with him.
"Spending more time with less people puts the focus on a higher level of care and higher efficiency of service," he said.
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So far it’s worked for him. Nearly every week LaBelle sees patients who travel over four hours even fly to come. Depending on the economy, he’s had up to half his patients in a day come from out of state, he said.
The paradox of his success while limiting his patient load and referring people away is due to his unique approach to health care.
With a background in metal and wood working, LaBelle sees the body as a machine to fix.
Many patients have pain due to poor ergonomics. raising a computer monitor or readjusting a mouse pad, people can stop neck pain that massage and chiropractics will only lessen or relieve, he said.
LaBelle said he doesn’t believe in "chasing symptoms." He prefers to do a true diagnosis and find the root of a problem. If an elbow hurts, it could quite possibly be due to a crooked ankle that twisted and healed improperly 20 years earlier. A body should be in balance, he said. A weakness or malfunction in a crucial part of the body can cause problems elsewhere.
For that reason, LaBelle is also into nutrition and sells supplements. So many parts of the body rely on other parts to function properly, that a problem in the digestive track could be the cause of pain elsewhere.
With an interest in the entire body, LaBelle has an extensive tool box both literally and figuratively. Besides his "nutritionist" hat, he also uses combinations of chiropractics, kinesiology, lab testing, acupuncture and hot laser therapy. He actually uses an old tool cabinet to hold his lasers, some special hammers and other physical tools that accompany his myriad methods.
"I’m an education junkie. I hunt down geniuses and learn what they do," he explained.
But LaBelle is careful to emphasize that he doesn’t rely on the tools like crutches as some caregivers do. They are only tools to him.
"They aren’t just for putting on the ‘owies,’" he said.
A doctor is only as good as how well his patients heal, he said. No amount of education or experience can compensate for someone who isn’t good with their hands and isn’t a good healer.
Patient Tommy Tanzer said LaBelle is a good healer. He’s been going to him regularly for several years.
"I understand my body so much better now because of him," he said. "I’m healthier now at 58 than I was at age 40 thanks to him," he said.
He said he likes how thorough LaBelle is. He looks at the whole body and doesn’t do the normal chiropractic "crunching" until he’s sure that’s what’s needed, Tanzer said.
Lynda Fosburg, a licensed massage therapist, has known him for ten years and also appreciates how he does a thorough analysis of body.
"His grasp of anatomy is phenomenal," she said. "I always feel I know myself better when I leave his office. Quite simply he’s the best chiropractor I’ve ever seen."
Dr. Art LaBelle
2760 W. Rasmussen Rd. Bldg. D #201