By Kelly Skinner
For more information about Bobby Doscher, Oklahaven Children’s Chiropractic Center and the 2012 Have-A-Heart fundraiser, visit chiropractic4kids.com.
Like many prominent chiropractors, Bobby Doscher—affectionately known as “Dr. Bobby,” the acclaimed D.C., N.D., author and president and CEO of Oklahaven Children’s Chiropractic Center in Oklahoma City—first received her calling to the profession when she was very young. As a child, Doscher was severely pigeon-toed and wore leg braces during the early years of her life, affecting her overall health for years to come. In struggling with her own health issues, Doscher gained a great deal of perspective that would later allow her to embrace Chiropractic.
“There were some days where I had great strength, and other days where I had a diminished life force—I never could figure that out as a child,” says Doscher. “That’s one reason why I love the chiropractic premise. I have more life and energy now than I had in my youth.”
The outspoken (and sometimes controversial) Doscher has received national and international recognition for her dedication to the goals of natural health care for children. She also has garnered numerous humanitarian awards for her unwavering dedication to the vision of healthy children and a drug-free lifestyle. In 2001, for instance, the Chiropractic Pediatric Movement presented Doscher with an award for her dedication and commitment in helping to adjust millions of children.
According to Doscher, however, one of the most pivotal moments in her understanding of Chiropractic was the transformative experience she says occurred during her first week at Palmer College of Chiropractic. “There were some kittens out back of where I lived, and one of the kittens was paralyzed—his hind legs would just drag behind him,” Doscher says. “The upper classmates started adjusting the kittens and, one day, he just ran off. Later on, we could never figure out which kitten had been the paralyzed one. So I always assumed Chiropractic was that powerful.”
Despite her various accolades—including being named Woman Chiropractor of the Year and one of the Twelve Great Women in the History of Chiropractic—Doscher is most well-known for her work at the Oklahaven Children’s Chiropractic Center. Now preparing to celebrate its 50th anniversary as a nonprofit children’s chiropractic facility, the center has successfully provided care for children with such ailments as colic, cerebral palsy, asthma, dyslexia, ADHD, OCD, ADD, PDD, bipolar disorder, Asperger’s Syndrome (and other manifestations of the autistic spectrum), rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, Down Syndrome, Apert’s and chromosome disorders, drawing international attention in the process. And all without state or federal funding.
Regarding her own life’s work, Doscher admits she had no idea she’d eventually be called to work with the severely ill; however, she says it was no surprise she eventually fell into the childcare spectrum based on her personal experiences as a young girl. “I always felt I wouldn’t have had to suffer as much as a child if this had been out there more,” she explains. “I also felt that if we told the chiropractic story through the children then maybe more people would understand it.”
When you speak with Doscher, she constantly refers to her patients as “damaged”—something for which she says she’s received no small amount of criticism. However, when one has seen what she’s seen, her unwillingness to worry about semantics is fairly understandable. “In my early days at Oklahaven,” she says, “the only parents who would bring their children were the ones [with children] who were normal the day before a vaccine, and the next day were brain damaged or paralyzed.”
Today, a large segment of Doscher’s patients are autistic or are afflicted with an illness along the autism spectrum, which both intrigues and concerns Doscher. “First, they were referred to as ‘idiots’ or ‘morons,’ then they were ‘handicapped,’ then they were ‘challenged,’ then they were ‘special,’ but now they’re ‘autistic.’ It’s important to note the symptoms have stayed the same, and we’ve just changed the name. But now there are more cases than ever.”
To emphasize her point, Doscher quotes a recent article in Parade magazine that estimates one in 110 children has autism. “This is the hardest thing the country is facing today—restoring the health of our children—our future,” she says. “These children weren’t given their lives back, which is what the parents are all calling for right now, because the life force should have been returned.”
The debate is a passion for Doscher. She’s overcome with emotion when she speaks about “the mother who truly understands her child as a spiritual being and works hard to restore him to meet his optimal potential.” Other vital issues to Doscher are the importance of daily chiropractic care, the necessity of a whole-food diet, the reverence of one-on-one mother-child time, and the benefits of quietude and a low-stress life. “I love the mother who’s willing to work hard and come in three times a week. Or even the families who come from far away for three adjustments a day for three days a week. That’s when I see the miracles happen,” she says.
The story of Doscher’s work with Oklahaven has indeed gotten around over the years. Word of the center has actually circumnavigated the globe, giving Doscher the opportunity to care for children in places as far off as Honduras, Russia, Poland, Austria, Germany, the Netherlands, Ireland and Guatemala. But traveling the world isn’t exactly a new thing for her—it’s been part of Doscher’s gig for most of her life.
“I was invited to Jordan in 1986 to care for a child, because a man had come to the clinic asking for a favor, and that’s when he looked around at all the children getting well,” Doscher explains. “He said he knew of a child in Jordan who needed my help and I went. Then through the years, different parents have come to Oklahaven asking me to come to their country to treat their children and many more.”
She’s also traveled throughout the U.S. instructing fellow chiropractors on how to care for children. But according to Doscher, a general trend doesn’t seem to exist in terms of which countries are most receptive to Chiropractic and which are not.
Rather, she says, the bottom line of care always goes back to the parent. “The parents either get it or they don’t. It either touches the mother’s heart or it doesn’t. I’ve been challenged, ‘Why not the father?’ It’s the mother’s love and the child’s admiration for the mother that’s part of the healing—the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world,” says Doscher. “Yes, it’s the father who supports the mother, but if the mother isn’t on board [it isn’t going to work].”
According to Doscher, as the child begins to get well, the body begins throwing off numerous toxins, and sometimes the child is sicker than when they first arrived. She says this can be stressful for parents to witness and experience. “We call that the ‘roller coaster’ at the clinic,” she explains. “And as you see the light come back in the eyes and the body begins taking back its power, you have a different child. They have more energy and curiosity, so the mother has a different child to deal with, and she has to be on board for that.”
One in 10 children completes the regimen of chiropractic care at Oklahaven, Doscher estimates. As for the ones who truly stick through five years of commitment to the regimen and reach their full potential, she says the statistic is more like one in a hundred. And of these, the ones who make it all the way through Oklahaven’s regimen—that’s when the premise of Chiropractic is proven, she explains.
“We’re more toxified and more stressed now than ever, which is proving the chiropractic premise,” says Doscher. “But I’ve seen [these children] become whole. As the tree bends, so the tree grows. One in 80 children are profoundly hurt [and diagnosed with a form of autism]. We have no future right now.”
For Doscher, such reasons are the primary impetus for putting herself out into the community as much as possible. Besides her definite stance for Chiropractic outside the office, Doscher focuses a large amount of her time on patient education. She’s developed a parent support group at Oklahaven, as well as “miracle-driven” videos to use for patients’ parents and for the community at large.
The major event each year for Oklahaven is its Have-A-Heart fundraiser, a donation drive wherein donors’ names are displayed on paper hearts in various organizations’ waiting rooms and offices. Out of the 12 participating chiropractic colleges, LIFE walked away with the 2010 Golden Heart, or the “Giver of Life” award, for its involvement.
While Doscher claims she didn’t expect to become a videographer, like everything else she’s done in her illustrious career (including authoring books, traveling the world and delivering lectures) she’s taken it up wholeheartedly.
“For me to be able to produce videos and stories and books, half of it has been the result of the generosity of the people who believe in the natural way of life,” says Doscher.
Although children are a large part of her life, Doscher hasn’t had any of her own—at least not biologically. “These are my children,” emphasizes Doscher, referring to the children her center serves. And she sees her purpose as bringing hope back to these children, and by so doing, improving the world around her.
“I believe subluxation is the lack of light. It’s a lack of the power,” Doscher explains. “If God is love and God is the light, turn the light to the children. Life takes you. Life is moving and you can’t stay in a stuck point. That’s the fun of Chiropractic—with your power on, you move forward and take each challenge as a learning message.”
Doscher, of course, has undergone her own challenges, losses and moments of despair; however, she says she’s overcome it by taking her own advice and staying in motion. This fall, she’s releasing a book—and when she isn’t hopping airplanes, lecturing, creating videos and adjusting children, she can be found scribing calligraphy, twirling across the dance floor or practicing laughter yoga. “I’ve had a good life,” she attests.? Just as she does when she’s speaking about children, one can see she’s happy. And you can tell, wherever she goes, she’ll be busy expressing the same deeply held love of life that she exhibits in her work at Oklahaven.