Dr. Andrew Swanson believes all sports will eventually move to incorporating the Gaitlink method in their sports medicine programs. (Dr. Andrew Swanson / Contributed)

Dr. Swanson and the ‘Gaitlink’ method in Port Gamble | Gamble Gazette

I recently sat down with Dr. Andrew Swanson of Gaitlink Chiropractic, 32279 Rainier Ave. in Port Gamble, to learn about his different approach to chiropractic care.

After spending years practicing traditional chiropractic medicine and seeing up to 220 patients per week, he found his patient results were not curative for long-term health. Swanson has spent the last 26 years progressively evolving his patient-focused approach to chiropractic work through Gaitlink (patent pending).

Gaitlink is a chiropractic technique based on a theory created by Swanson. He believes our feet were designed to adjust to uneven surfaces we see in nature. However, the surface we walk on throughout our day typically is flat and hard. This surface prevents normal foot motion and shock absorption, causing the force from the gait cycle to travel up the leg into the pelvis and spine.

In an attempt to stabilize itself, the spine tightens muscles and compresses joints to adapt to this continuous force. The result is a degenerating spine that lacks function and mobility, creating an environment for injury.

I was astonished to learn that the average person absorbs up to 700 tons of pressure, per leg, per day from simply walking.

“There are 23 motions in a foot that should have a shock absorbing (springing) capability,” Swanson said. “Typically, in new patients, one foot will have around 19 joints that are locked up.

“Restoring shock-absorbing function to the joints in the arms and legs allows the spine to relax and unlock itself, rather than forcing the joints to unlock.”

Before moving to Port Gamble, Swanson was practicing in Kingston since 1991. He has enjoyed working with professional, Olympic and collegiate athletes using the Gaitlink method. He described the importance of footwear in sports and everyday life.

“There is a trend in sports footwear that is moving to minimalism,” he said. “The less support and restriction of foot movement in footwear is better for natural movement. You want your foot to move and spring as it was naturally intended to function.”

Swanson believes all sports will eventually move to incorporating the Gaitlink method in their sports medicine programs.

He walked me through what he typically does with a new patient, explaining how the restorative process with the Gaitlink method achieves long-term health.

Patient response to treatment was determined through a collection of data over a three-and-a-half year span with follow-up evaluations and pain scale ratings. It was found that 83 percent of his patients are self-sustaining and no longer need treatment.

Swanson recently conducted a public seminar about the Gaitlink method in Port Gamble and is excited to plan more seminars throughout the year. Details for new patients and upcoming seminars will be posted on his website at www.gaitlink.com. Or follow Swanson on Facebook (search Gaitlink Chiropractic Center).

Gearing up for outdoor sports season: Port Gamble is expecting a busy summer. Olympic Outdoor Center leads the charge in outdoor activities, from kayak rentals and classes to mountain bike rentals and summer camps.

To get your summer recreation going, go to www.olympicoutdoorcenter.com or stop in their shop at 32379 Rainier Ave., Port Gamble.

Roots Rock Run presents the Forest 5K: Race through the trails surrounding Port Gamble with the Roots Rock Run Forest 5K on June 11. For race details and registration, visit www.rootsrock run.com.

— Pete Orbea is marketing manager for Olympic Property Group. Contact him at porbea@orminc.com.