World-renowned choreographer turned chiropractor: wasn’t the path Dana Michaels O’Keefe, DC (expected graduation date Dec 2013) CPEP, saw for herself. Dr. O’Keefe comes from a background heavily influenced by dance; her father owned a dance studio and her sister, Mia Michaels, is a judge and guest choreographer on the hit TV competition show So You Think You Can Dance. O’Keefe taught dance for 34 years, teaching her first class at the age of 12 and then going on to teach over 1500 dancers in her classes at various conventions around the world. Dance was her life.The life of a dancer is very hard on a body. “By the time I was in my 30s, things started to hurt,” O’Keefe said. “I realized I had to take ownership of my health.”
Dr. O’Keefe sought chiropractic for relief, and ultimately decided to pursue it as her own career. Her pivotal moment happened after suffering a head injury from a fall affecting her speech. Her chiropractor, friend and fellow CPEP, Dr. Jennifer Vaughn, worked on her 20 minutes after a fruitless hospital visit, and her normal speech pattern came back.
“I never thought of chiropractic from a neurological aspect. After that incident, I did some research and truly felt like this was my path,” she says. With encouragement and support from Dr. Vaughn and her husband, O’Keefe enrolled in Palmer/Florida and embarked on her 4 ½ year journey, completing her degree later this year.
Dr. O’Keefe is thrilled to start her own practice early next year with friend and mentor, Dr. Jennifer Vaughn, and along with Kelli Dorrough, a fellow dance teacher and upcoming CPEP.
“Dr. Weiniger’s posture certification program has been vital in the development of our new practice. CPEP is a reproducible, specific program that I can incorporate immediately – it filled a huge void coming out of school. The Posture Principles provide a baseline to work off of with every single patient. With every new patient exam, we’ll do posture pictures, and we’re building a posture rehab exercise room.”
With two dance instructors on board with the new practice, naturally they plan to serve that demographic. “Posture exercise is great for dancers. Dancers are known for their balance, though they notoriously train on one leg more than the other, leading to asymmetry. Dancers will always need chiropractic care,” O’Keefe says. “I plan to market to and educate the dance community about the importance of taking care of their bodies. Explaining the importance of chiropractic care and demonstrating some basic postural exercise will be an integral part of my efforts. I would also love to go out and do presentations for businesses in the area – companies are becoming more focused on employee wellness.”
For O’Keefe and her associates CPEP Posture Certification training is all about providing long-term health solutions. “Regular care for yourself is not going to come in a pill. Posture exercise is easy to incorporate, and people can see the benefits as you document their posture improvement through regular posture pictures. It all boils down to this: You train your body, and it will change. That’s what we do as dancers; that’s what we do every day. Posture is a huge issue, and people don’t realize it. I want to be positioned to train people to take ownership of their health – you’re the only one that can take care of you.”