Dr. Gary Storkan at his practice Thursday afternoon. Storkan, who is celebrating 35 years in practice, is pictured with his new Erchonoa FX 635 laser. Photo by Maire O’Neill/losalamosreporter.com
Los Alamos Chiropractor Dr. Gary Storkan is celebrating 35 years in practice. Photo by Maire O’Neill/losalamosreporter.com
BY MAIRE O’NEILL
Dr. Gary Storkan of Storkan Chiropractic is celebrating 35 years of practice this month. April 11, 1984 was his actual start date.
Storkan graduated from high school in Grand Rapids, Mich., and from Logan University in Missouri.
“When I graduated I came out to Santa Fe to start my work. The reason I came out there was I wanted a shorter winter and more sunshine and a lot of cultural things. A neighbor of my wife told me I ought to look at Santa Fe, that they had just come back from there and that it fit all those aspects. So I came out on my way to California to take the state boards there,” he said.
Storkan said he stopped in Santa Fe and did a survey. He interviewed 100 people, just walked around town and asked them questions. He said he had a couple of classmates from Logan that were practicing in Santa Fe at the time and they told him he should come out there because there were only 18 chiropractors in the whole town, that it was wide open.
“I liked what I saw! Quite frankly I thought that I’d driven into another country because it was so different from what I had experienced. I took the state boards in New Mexico and started practicing in Santa Fe on April 11, 1984. I worked there for two or three years and that was back when I was strictly chiropractic. I did muscle skeletal work only. I had a podiatrist friend who lived in Los Alamos and he told me I should come up to here because he was doing a practice working on feet but with all the musculoskeletal problems that can cause it would be nice to have a chiropractor working with him,” he said.
So, Storkan said, he came to Los Alamos and started working.
“I liked working up here. I found the people very responsible, paying their bills, and following the directions as far as exercise was concerned. But having two practices, one here and one in Santa Fe, I just couldn’t get either one of them going so finally I came up here fulltime. There were two other chiropractors up here at that point. The main reason we came up here was that we found out that the Montessori School up here was the best in the whole Southwest region of the United States. It was down in White Rock at Sage Cottage. So we basically came up here for our kids. We wanted them in the Montessori system. That worked out really well. It was a really good decision. We’ve really liked living up here and it’s been a really nice experience,” he said.
Eventually Storkan said he went out on his own when the podiatrist he was working with retired.
“It was great. I ended up traveling a lot. I traveled once a month to Albuquerque, I traveled once a month to Deming. I traveled once a month to Ruidoso. I would work weekends down there and see patients. I still have people come up here from down there to see me once in a while,” he said.
One day a patient came in to the practice and told him he was going to have to learn the Total Body Modification technique because she was tired of driving to Denver to get it done for desensitizing her from her allergies.
“Lo and behold I started getting flyers in the mail about it. They had a seminar in Albuquerque during the Balloon Fiesta and it was mornings only and you could go to the Balloon Fiesta in the afternoon. I thought, that’s perfect, I could go down there in the morning and come back to Los Alamos and work in the afternoon,” he said.
Storkan said he is very skeptical and very logic-oriented so Total Body Manifestation was very fascinating to him but he didn’t really know if it was going to work.
“So I tried it on four or five patients without charging them just to see if it worked. Every single one of them came back and said I don’t know what you did but I don’t have allergies anymore,” he said. “So that kind of launched me into doing that work and now it’s like the primary part of my practice especially this time of year.”
Storkan said he then got into more metabolic therapies and not so much of the musculoskeletal even though he knows that’s still important.
“It fit my philosophy which is that the body is one big total unit and you can’t divorce the metabolic from the structural. They all work together in kind of an energy grid and my goal is to give people their lives back. All I can do is to try and find out what’s triggering the body to have to find extra energy to try and deal with something that’s not right and try to alleviate that trigger so that the body then can do what it’s supposed to do and maintain itself more effectively. I’ve just had good success doing that so that’s my whole philosophy,” he said.
Storkan said allergies are different every year.
“I get people coming in from all over the place with allergies. Every year Mother Nature picks a power plant. This year started out with juniper and then Russian olive took over and everybody was coming in with Russian olive allergies. Now Russian olive is still there but its more cottonwood and mulberry that have taken over. It’s different every year and I don’t know how it’s going to work out. Most people I treat, I don’t see them for years and years. This technique is great and it lasts for a long time but when this power plant shows up then people come back,” he said.
He said he tells people that 90 percent of the people he treats he never has to see again.
“There’s 10 percent that have a stronger pattern that I have to do over a couple of times. This year I had people come in that I hadn’t seen for four or five years because they were reacting to the Russian olive again,” he said. “In this state, the general rule is if you live here five years you have allergies because there’s such a high pollen count here.”
Storkan said his practice has been very satisfying for him.
“I get all kinds of other diseases, intestinal problems and all kinds of other metabolic problems also, so I find a lot of food allergies involved with those. I find a lot of megamotional situations involved with those. So it’s like everyone who comes in is a little mystery and I feel like a detective sometimes figuring out what’s causing these problems, what’s triggering the body to have to deal with them so much,” he said.
Storkan said he enjoys what he does so much that he doesn’t want to retire.
“I’ll go as long as I enjoy it. If it ever gets to a point where I just don’t enjoy doing it anymore, I’ll stop. I never know what I’m going to find. When I talk to people when they first come in I’ll get maybe an impression of what may be going on but many times it’s just something totally different that I didn’t expect so it’s really fun from that standpoint,” he said.
He said the way he works is that he works with the body. He talks to the body and asks it what’s going on and what he needs to do to help it.
“I think that in the 35 years that I’ve been in practice that I have no intentions. I’m not trying to sell anything, I’m not trying to tell the body what to do or whatever. I’m just there to help the body in any way I can. I think the body now trusts me from that standpoint. So when I ask the body what’s going on, most of the time I get pretty accurate answers. It depends on the question I ask so sometimes I don’t get the right question so I don’t get the right answer. Most of the time I ask the body and it tells me,” he said.
People often comment on Storkan’s colorful office. He said he woke up one morning and the design that’s on that wall in his office came into his mind.
“I’m really into color as you can tell. I just wanted the office to be bright and cheery when people walk in who aren’t feeling very well. I wanted the colors to make them feel better rather than just a white office all the time. I like being here as well,” he said.
Storkan is hosting a celebration of his 35 years in practice from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Friday, April 26 at Project Y, 150 Central Park Square. During the event he will introduce the Erchonia FX 635 laser. Patients who have been treated with the laser have reported a 42 percent decrease in pain after treatment. One month after treatment, patients have experienced a 53 percent decrease in pain and after two months patients had a 58 percent decrease. He said he is excited about the new laser which has been FDA approved for lower back and planter fasciitis.
Storkan Chiropractic is located at 2610 Trinity Drive, Suite 22. Call 505.662.2077 for more information.