Chiropractor works to redefine ‘new normal’ for her clients

Published 1:00 am Monday, October 16, 2017

In every one of her patients, chiropractor Katie Clare names an obvious, uniting factor: “Everybody has a body.”

Clare opened Dauntless Clinic in mid-August and travels down to Albert Lea from her full-time clinic in Edina for Thursday appointments in the lower level of The Meraki Studios, 115 N. Newton Ave. in downtown Albert Lea. She uses that space to meld together three different traditional practices.

“I feel like I kind of bridge the gap between chiropractic, physical therapy and massage therapy,” Clare said. “That’s kind of my trifecta of work.”

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According to Clare, this type of approach is not visibly present outside the Twin Cities metro area.

“It’s kind of been in the elite professional sports world for quite some time,” she said. “And now, it’s kind of like just active people or people who want to feel better in their own bodies are realizing, ‘Yes, this is beneficial to me, too.’”

Clare said the clinic fits into the community because she sees that, with the lakes, the Blue Zones emphasis and the expansion of workout options, Albert Lea is an active community. Additionally, the Albert Lea native said she would be expanding on what she was already offering the community.

“I was finding when I was coming home, people were hitting me up for treatment or asking me a bunch of questions, and I kind of realized that no one in the area does what I do specifically,” Clare said. “So I really felt there was … a hole to be filled in the kind of manual therapy, muscle world.”

The Meraki Studios owner Holly Karsjens said she was reluctant at first to let Clare open a satellite clinic in her studio. Karsjens had been working on constructing a specific business vision and plan around valuing arts, empowerment and building community, and she wasn’t sure how Dauntless would fit in.

“I just built this bubble, and she’s kind of right on the outside,” Karsjens said.

But Karsjens and Clare connected on a shared vision for empowerment, and Karsjens realized the body needs to be healthy in order to do the arts.

After teaching a week-long hip-hop camp last summer, Karsjens said her body was struggling to keep up.

“I had some very depressing thoughts after the camp was done that I would not be able to teach at the level I had been teaching at, because after camp, my body was just kind of ravaged,” she said. “And I thought that stepping into 30, I would be good for the next 15 years.”

Katie Clare asks Holly Karsjens how she has been feeling during some shoulder work Thursday morning. – Sarah Kocher/Albert Lea Tribune

Since Dauntless opened, Karsjens has been working with Clare on shoulder issues.

“It kind of gave me back the reins,” Karsjens said. “I’m going to get to stop teaching when I decide to stop teaching, not when my body gets to decide, which is very liberating.”

Runner Sarah Hensley has also made the trip to Dauntless Clinic for Clare’s hybrid sessions. Hensley is training for a half-marathon and was feeling some issues arise as she increased her training mileage.

“I feel like she’s very in tune with an active lifestyle,” Hensley said.

But according to Clare, activity does not always translate to sports in her practice.

“I think I’m bringing a place for people to go if they aren’t sure where to start on their physical ailments,” whether it’s caused by gardening or lifting up grandchildren, she said.

Hensley said Clare’s appointments are also much longer than those she has had in her experiences with traditional physical therapists or chiropractors.

She takes the time to listen, Hensley said, “to make sure my body isn’t telling her something different than I’m feeling. So I really like that she takes enough time with her patients.”

The way she listens during appointments is a take-away from Clare’s time in Costa Rica. Clare went as part of a residency program during one of the final semesters of chiropractic school and spent every week of a month in a different community. Therefore, Clare said she practiced giving people solutions they could take away with themselves, because she wouldn’t be there to continue seeing them. This tactic also translates into Clare’s current method of practice.

“I want people to heal themselves, really fix themselves, or at least have the knowledge on how to do that,” she said.

Now, Clare wants to connect with local chiropractors, physical therapists and orthopedic surgeons to build a referral system. This, she said, is one of the challenges ahead. According to Clare, her approach is “complementary” to these established practices.

“There are other things you can do besides wait and see, ice, ibuprofen,” she said.

Hensley said the work she does with Clare and on her own helps make it quicker to let the feelings of pain go.

“It’s kind of like working back to more of a neutral state,” Hensley said.

For Clare, this is what her practice is meant to do.

“I don’t think a lot of people’s new normal has to be their new normal,” she said.

Katie Clare’s clinic, in the lower level of The Meraki Studios, has been open on Thursdays since mid-August. – Sarah Kocher/Albert Lea Tribune

About Sarah Kocher

Sarah covers education and arts and culture for the Tribune.

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