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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Adjusting to a Healthy Life

Soon after Charles Register and his wife, Tanya, were married in November, he began offering his services to his Russian in-laws, who were hesitant at first. Now, however, they ask him to adjust them regularly. Register is a chiropractor who made Moscow his home 10 months ago. After plying his trade in the first American-established chiropractic clinic here, one established by his chiropractor uncle, Register decided to leave the clinic and set up his own practice a month ago. Working out of a small apartment in southwest Moscow where he lives with his wife and her parents, the 34-year-old doctor reaches out to Russian patients and expats alike. Chiropractic is a 100-year-old system of healing, the primary aim of which is to keep the nervous system functioning properly through manipulation and adjustment of body structures. Register's first encounter with chiropractic came at an early age. As a child, he was plagued by a range of illnesses, including sinus trouble, fevers, and chills. Two days shy of his 11th birthday, during a visit by his uncle, Michael Kale, Register decided to show off his latest batch of medicine to his uncle. "I showed my medications to the wrong guy," Register laughs, sitting in the cozy living room of his apartment. "He said, 'Well, you know, that stuff's kind of bad for you.' Then he told me the chiropractic story. I had no idea what he was going to do. He took me into the living room, checked me out, adjusted me, and the results were just really good." Register sits forward. "As soon as he adjusted me, actually before I was even better, I said, 'That's what I want to do!'" Schooled in chemistry and biology with chiropractic training from Life College of Chiropractic in Marietta, Georgia, Register is eager to spread the word about chiropractic in Russia where, he says, this method of healing is "not common at all." "I'd like to see the people know more about chiropractic and be able to incorporate it into their system more," he says. "I'd even like to see some schools for chiropractic started here." Register says he has been approached by MGU and Friendship University about starting chiropractic programs. "There's such a large market here in Russia for chiropractic," continues the doctor, a slight man with a boyish face. "I've found people here kind of steer away from medicine in general. It could be because of not getting any real solid help from medicine." But Register says he has found that Russians "like things that are different and they really like chiropractic, once they understand about nerve function and spinal function. It's a very common-sense idea, and it works." Register thinks Russians and expatriates alike could get considerable relief from a variety of symptoms, including back and neck pain, headaches, leg and joint pain, and dizziness, if they were to make chiropractic part of their lives. "Let's take arthritis," he says. "Arthritis is inflammation of joints. But it's also spinal degeneration, or 'Everyone's disease.' Almost everybody over 50 has arthritis" because, as a person ages, the spine gets smaller as the spaces between the vertebrae get smaller, creating degeneration and malfunction. "With chiropractic care, you can keep the spine healthy and therefore keep your whole body healthy," he explains. Through print and television advertisements, articles he has written, and word of mouth, Register has accumulated a mixture of Russian and expat patients. Some come to his apartment, where his adjustment table and chair occupy much of the family's kitchen, while others are seen in their own offices. "It's difficult to travel around town," Register acknowledges. As a result, he arranges to see groups of people at one time in various locations around Moscow, including an embassy and a bank. The chiropractor says he does not believe in setting different fees for different groups of people, whether Russian or expat, and thinks he should be paid for the services he's providing. But he acknowledges that "a person that's hurting and needs help -- they're hurting and need help," and says he would not turn away patients who cannot afford his fees. With 10 months in Moscow behind him, Register says he is "getting used to" the city and his mood has improved now that spring has arrived. He is perfecting his Russian (his third foreign language after Arabic and Hebrew, learned while growing up in Israel, the son of missionary parents) and enjoying his new life with his wife, a professor of English he met just a month after his arrival.