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AcroYoga, Acupuncture & Chiropractic with Dr. Melissa Birdsell

Melissa Birdsell, B.S., D.C., DICCP, (Main, ‘11) comes from a chiropractic family with her dad, two uncles and two aunts also being Palmer College graduates. As a Doctor of Chiropractic and an athlete herself, she deeply understands the importance of finding joy in movement.

Before deciding on chiropractic, Dr. Birdsell explored orthopedics, physical therapy and other areas of study but, ultimately, she wanted a career that would allow her to be proactive versus reactive and practice more holistically. She found inspiration both in her anatomy and physiology courses.

“Anatomy and physiology was all about the nervous system and that is when it clicked with what my dad had been saying all of my life,” she jokingly said. “I really liked the whole-body approach and it was becoming more and more apparent that the different careers and fields I thought I was interested in didn’t match my upbringing so they all felt wrong and weird.”

In her practice, Dr. Birdsell spends time with each patient to ensure they feel cared for. She does all types of adjusting, including the Palmer Package techniques, activator, Logan Basic, Nimmo soft tissue and acupuncture. 

Trick water skiers.

“I like to have a tool in my tool belt for any patient that I may have,” she said.

One big piece of advice Dr. Birdsell gives to patients and chiropractic students is about movement.

“Choose movement you’ll find joy in because, if you hate it, you won’t stick with it and, in order to see results, you have to be consistent so you may as well love what you do,” she said.

For Dr. Birdsell, that joy is with AcroYoga Quad Cities (AYQC) and a ski entertainment show with the Backwater Gamblers.

Acroyoga is a physical practice that combines yoga and acrobatics and often involves hula hooping, belly dancing and other circus- and cheer-type movements. 

“We performed a big Beatles concert last June and it was very Cirque du Soleil-esque. I do lots of physical fitness – CrossFit, other forms of yoga and dance, etc. – but acroyoga is my specialty. It can also be great therapeutic bodywork while holding someone up in the air,” she said. 

3 AcroYoga performers on outdoor stage.

In 2004, Dr. Birdsell began performing with Backwater Gamblers which involves synchronized waterskiing, lifts and tricks. 

“The same goes for post-graduation; participate in activities you find joy in. You’ll naturally attract people and the patients that are right for you!”