I’m Dr. Robert Morrison. I’m the official chiropractor for the Broadway show Hamilton and I am going to be writing an article each month related to health and well being. My hope is to provide you with useful information that will improve your life. In this essay, I’d like to tell you a bit about myself and my own personal journey.
I never had any desire to be a doctor. I was a history major in college, gearing up for law school when I had a change of heart. It came after meeting with several lawyers in order to get a sense of what the work was like. What I found was that most were discontent in their work. I began having second thoughts and decided to do take a step back and do some soul searching. I began to realize that I’d be best suited for a career in the healing arts and a friend recommended chiropractic. Until then, my impression of chiropractic wasn’t very good. I regarded them as pseudo-doctors who cracked backs. After researching the profession however, it became clear that my bias was unfounded. I learned that chiropractors underwent 4 years of training, following an undergraduate degree, and were recognized as primary health care physicians under NY state law. The real turning point came after I met a chiropractor who did Applied Kinesiology. I’ll refer to this chiropractor here on in as Dr. B.
Dr. B showed me his schedule book listing the patients of the day and their conditions. What I saw was quite different than you may expect to find in a chiropractic office. There was an assortment of digestive disturbances, skin conditions, menstrual irregularities as well as the standard chiropractic conditions such as herniated discs, headaches, low back and neck pain. As a child who suffered terribly from eczema, this left an impression on me. Back in the day, not one doctor ever questioned what I ate, let alone prescribe natural remedies. Instead, it was an ongoing battery of ointments, creams, and the occasional cortisone shot. Dr. B’s office was nothing like that. He probed the dietary habits of his patients, and stocked a plethora of natural remedies and homeopathic test kits containing vials of heavy metals, microbes, food extracts, and hormones. Here was a career I could relate to. I was 24 years old and decided to go for it.
I did my pre-meds in upstate NY, then headed to Portland, Oregon for 4 years of chiropractic training. Upon graduation in 2001, I spent six months in NYC before I was called for a position in Italy. I would spend the next 12 years of my life there.
The two questions people frequently ask are 1. Why did you go to Italy?, and 2. Why did you leave Italy?
I was attracted to Italy for the same reasons tourists flock there, namely the warm, friendly people, the food, the aesthetics, the language, the climate, and the sea. Fortunately, there was a demand for American chiropractors at the time, and I was hired to collaborate with an outpatient clinic in Bari, Italy. As fate would have it, I left New York on September 10, 2001 just one day before the 9/11 attacks. I didn’t know the language but I picked it up as I went along. In these clinics, the volume of patients was so high, there’s little time for talk anyway. Understanding “mi fa male qui” was enough to start.
After a three years in Bari, I relocated to Palermo, Sicily, where I did another three years in an outpatient clinic. By 2007, I made my way north to Milan and began building my own practice. In 2009, I was elected President of the Italian chapter of the International College of Applied Kinesiology, and I became involved in organizing seminars. This allowed me to immerse myself in learning AK from instructors from around the world, and I too began teaching both in Italian and English in Italy and at the chiropractic college in Madrid, Spain. In 2012, I authored my first book and DVD called “Applied Kinesiology Manual Muscle Testing a practical guide” which is now in four languages www.practicalguidestohealing.com. I returned home to NYC in 2014.
So why did I come back? Well, when I was in Italy, the perennial question was “why in the world did you leave NY?” As it happened, I began asking myself the same question. After all, all my old friends and family were in New York and if anywhere feels like home, this is it. In addition, I could do more professionally in the U.S. than I can in Italy where chiropractic is not regulated. My goal has always been to practice as a functional medicine doctor which requires access to sophisticated lab tests and nutritional companies. So in short, as wonderful as Italy was, I am very glad to be back.
Nowadays, I divide my time practicing in my midtown office and working for Hamilton. Ironically, I still treat plenty of Italians who are either expatriates or here on vacation. Working for Hamilton has been a fantastic experience. It’s a familial, upbeat environment among the cast and crew that is pleasant to be part of. The performers are very in touch with their bodies, so they appreciate the positive effects of Applied Kinesiology and Chiropractic such as improved balance, flexibility, proprioception, and symmetry of movement. They are in top physical shape so my role is mainly about fine tuning and prevention.
In my next article, I will discuss in greater detail the Applied Kinesiology works in tandem with chiropractic.