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Bartholomew Family ChiropracticBartholomew Family ChiropracticWhen you walk into Bartholomew Family Chiropractic at the top of North Triphammer Road, the first thing you see is a small waiting area and a reception desk.  Then you see the rest of the room, an open, spacious area that looks a bit like a small seminar room.  But with weights, a television showing health videos, a women's health wall, and plenty of space to do warm up exercises before your adjustment.

"We try to have a different environment from most chiropractic offices," says Dr. Brian Bartholomenw.  "Usually you'll go in and wait in a waiting room and come in one at a time, and it's quiet.  We want more of a live environment where people are talking about health and helping each other and getting to know each other.  It's the kind of office I learned in.  They saw amazing results and people really learned more abut health and really changing."

Dr. Brian Bartholomew

Bartholomew opened his practice February 12th.  A Groton native, he took a personality test in a seventh grade home and careers class that led him to consider chiropractic.  He studied at SUNY Binghamton, where he took biology pre-med classes and played rugby.  Next he went to Palmer College of Chiropractic in Port Orange, Florida.  "I did a lot of surfing and a lot of studying," Bartholomew says.  "Palmer is a well known chiropractic college as far as the philosophy and hands-on adjustment.  They are well respected.  And I got to live at the beach."

After finishing at Palmer he moved back here to be closer to his family and open his own office.  Bartholomew says he not only set his sights on Lansing, but specifically on Triphammer Road as the ideal location for his new practice.  "I came back to look at real estate four or five months before I moved back here," he says.  "I wanted to be in the northeast, and I wanted to be in Lansing.  Lansing has a great community.  It has a great school system.  It has all the things I want in a place I would live in forever.  So I opened the office where I wanted to live."

Bartholomew jumped in with both feet.  He began giving health talks at area locations including the Lansing Curves, and conducted a 40 day Extreme Makeover Challenge at Lakeshore Fitness Center at The RINK.  In February he started seeing patients, starting with family and friends, but quickly building to a wider patient base.  Construction was still going on as he worked with patients on a single table he had acquired for free.  But the chaos soon subsided, and Bartholomew says the number of patients has already soared keeping him busy.  Patients are already coming from Lansing, Horseheads, Ovid, and Homer.

"I have a fantastic girlfriend, whose family is also from the area," he says.  "Ithaca is an awesome place to live culturally.  This is always where I wanted to have my office.  This road is actually where I wanted to have my office, so it all fell together.  Maybe in the future I'll move a little closer to the mall, but this is the road I wanted to be on."

Jessica Smith

The girlfriend is Jessica Smith, who is working full time on a double Masters in Health and Health Education at SUNY Cortland.  She greets patients at the desk, manages the schedule, deals with the money, handles insurance billing, and helps with the warmup exercises patients are encouraged to do as they are waiting to be seen.  "I love this job," she says.  "I love being here and teaching people about health when they want to be taught and not made to.  It's a really lovely environment."

Keeping the business in the family, Bartholomew's sister Lori Bartholomew also helps with the books and working the front desk, with the exercises, and does massage and stretching with patients.  And Bartholomew says that his brother, a chiropractor near Utica as well as Lansing chiropractor Dr. Robert Brown have been very helpful when he has questions about running the business, or insurance.

Bartholomew sees his role as more than just working on patients.  He believes that in a confusing health care system that is changing in disturbing ways that teaching people to take charge of their own health will be a key strategy as care and insurance costs continue to soar.

"We incorporate health seminars here," he says.  "The goal is to have more of a wellness environment rather than a closed door doctor environment.  We want people to feel welcome.  We want them to learn about health and healing.  We have a womens' health wall here.  We encourage buying locally.  We have the MS walks and events from local organizations that we try to promote.  We try to promote Curves, anything that is health based."

Bartholomew also does shoulder rehabilitation and hip strengthening.  "Most of it is geared toward spinal correction so we have wobble chairs which are designed to help low back disks," he says.  "We have head weights.  We do a lot of scoliosis correction."

Another piece is the community aspect, getting patients to know each other and support each other in their efforts to be healthy.  Two of the examining rooms have archways instead of doors, furthering the open approach the office takes.  One is filled with toys to keep children busy as they accompany their parents to the office, or come for a family consultation.  He also maintains two rooms with doors for those who prefer more privacy.

Patients wait in an open seminar/exercise room where they can
learn to take charge of their health while preforming warmup exercises

"I've worked in offices that have the closed door situation," he says.  That's very good, too.  There are a lot of advantages to both.  It's surprising.  I had one person in his 60s ask where the door was.  But now he is one of our best patients.  He's seen amazing changes.  He went from having a tree fall on him and couldn't move to the best of health."

"People get used to it," he continues.  "They like results, and I think they like Jess, so they keep coming back!"

Smith says that patients respond positively to the environment.  "My biggest surprise so far is how attractive the office is and how people come in and they talk to me and talk to Doctor Brian," she says.  "And overwhelmingly how happy people are to have a doctor actually listening to their health concerns as opposed to just taking notes and then spitting back a response.  Brian takes the time to listen to them and looks at them as a whole person.  For me, being in the health field, that is a wonderful things to see.  These people really are being celebrated and appreciated."

While the office has only been open for two months, Bartholomew is thinking about the future.  His sister's massage business is growing, and he sees a future in which he has more support staff.  He says that he doesn't think he will take in a partner, but would like to work with young chiropractors and help them get started.

"I would love to have young chiropractors come and work with me, and then help them open their own offices in small towns," Bartholomew says.  "That makes a lot of sense, because the overhead is reasonable and there seems to be a need for it in small towns.  I would love to have massage therapists or chiropractic assistants who come in and work on every patient, like my sister does.  Or people like Jess who can help educate them, talk about nutrition and the different options with birthing and informed consent stuff."

He also says he would like to meet more Lansing people, as well as do more work with young people in sport, band, or other activities.  "The goal would be to teach them preventative health care early."

Meanwhile the couple are busy learning the ropes of running a business, conducting seminars, and helping more people take charge of their own health.

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