Meet Ali. Ali is a chiropractor who runs Queen Street Chiropractic clinic as well as Limestone Laser. She lived in Toronto for many years and loves the big city but eventually – like many young people – decided to set her roots down in Kingston three years ago and take over her parent’s business. She serves clients that have been visiting the clinic since she was a child – I think that dynamic of a family-owned business is so special. See below for our chat and learn about how chiropractors heal and why Ali loves being a business owner in Kingston.
Keep up with Kingston: Why did you you decide to take on your parent’s business and grow their business in Kingston?
Ali Houde-Shulman: First, why I chose chiropractic in the first place. I grew up living and breathing this life. I was the kid running around the office. My first memory was when my brother was adjusted when he was born and I thought “wow, that’s amazing to watch.” Basically, he had a fever when he was born, they adjusted him, his fever broke and it was like a miracle and I was like “what is that?”. I was only three, and throughout my whole childhood I was really intrigued. In grade 10 careers class I did my project on chiropractic and from then on it was always my goal. I always thought I would do it and I ended up working in their clinic and learning all aspects. But I lived and breathed that my whole life.I learned that your bodies ability to heal is within you.
KUWK: So you left Kingston, why did you choose to come back?
AH: I struggled a lot with whether or not I wanted to come back to Kingston. It was a small town. I grew up here but I left as soon as I was done high school. I was 17 and thought, ”I want to go to the big city.” but I had this opportunity with this practice that I grew up with. Something I had known since I was a little girl. I knew them as a kid and these people were still there when I thought about moving back and that idea is probably what made the choice for me. They were essentially my family growing up – these patients and these people. They had been so dedicated to chiropractic and dedicated to my family as a whole, too. It just felt natural that I would step into those shoes and I was never really set on it. Even when I moved here I thought, “I would come here and learn from my dad as an amazing mentor” and I wasn’t really sure until I started taking care of these people and they became people that I cared about, too.
KUWK: What do you love about Kingston?
AH: I fell in love with Kingston. It was this beautiful little city, there was no traffic vs. Toronto and the people are great. People here are hardworking people in a little beautiful city. Lots of local businesses. I became one of a group of local businesses that supported each other because in Toronto or big cities you don’t really get the same thing. You have big shops and chain brands but you don’t get to know the person next door who is also trying to make it in a little city and you guys supporting each other so it became an easy choice to make. It became an easy choice to actually stay in Kingston.
KUWK: Tell me about that. Being a part of a community and what that means?
AH: There is a lot more support than you’d think. I went into a little deli today. They were brand new and they said, “do you live around here?” and I said “no, just down the street but I saw the article in the newspaper and saw you were up and running so thought why not stop in, I am also a local business.” They were interested enough to ask, “what kind of local business. And what do you do?” I think everyone is really curious about each other and supportive of each other. Community to me is bringing together all of these people that are not necessarily like-minded in all aspects of life but one thing we have in common is Kingston and loving our little city and wanting the best for everyone around it. So i’ve been enjoying things like Skeleton Park Music Festival, all of these little things that bring the community together. And you realize all of these incredible people live in this little city and it’s maybe not as little as we think.
KUWK: Explain a little more what you love about chiropractic?
AH: For me, chiropractic was always about wellness, it was always about releasing the inner doctor within you that could heal itself. So I am more of a guide to what your bodies potential is. I believe in this optimal potential that was have within ourselves. Sometimes we don’t realize we have it, or we don’t tap into it.
As much as a chiropractor helps realign your spine to allow all of your nerves to work as best as they can the real doctor is within you because as long as I help realign you, all of the healing takes place within you and then that optimal potential comes out.
I see a lot of people that have said “I’ve tried this, I’ve tried that, I’ve tried chiropractic and it never worked.” For me, I come from a standpoint that you have to believe as well. If you really believe that your body can do this healing, then it can happen. I’ve seen people really transform their lives because they’ve got adjusted and changed their mindset about what their body can actually do and the potential it had in itself.
Chiropractic to me is about not having to take something externally to make yourself better. It’s proactive care rather than reactive care. It’s about taking care of your body before things happen. Because the nervous system is all through the spine and comes from the brain. Chiropractic comes from the standpoint that your brain is the control centre and your spinal cord comes down through your spine and controls everything. How you touch, all of your sensations. It controls all of your organs, every nerve comes from the spinal cord and goes through your organs so think of a garden hose, if you kink a garden hose and you don’t have all of the water coming through it fills up with pressure and the second you open up with garden hose, the water comes flooding through. Imagine you had a bit of a kinked nerve in your spine that was going to your stomach thats some of the reason why I end up seeing people with indigestion or stomach problems because the kink in the nerve to the stomach is not allowing the full potential of the nerve. That’s why I say it’s about wellness, people don’t come to me just for pain. Most people come to me every week because they feel fantastic and they are off their pain pills or their allergies improved or they started sleeping. It allows your body to cope with all of these things we deal with externally. It’s a lot easier to to care of yourself before you get sick than after.
One thing I’ve noticed since being back in town is how Kingston has grown out of the old “Florida of the North” stereotype. Sure, there are a lot of retired people who choose Kingston but there are also a ton of young people making their dreams come true – from business owners to writers and photographers. And perhaps I am a tad bias being a woman, but I am proud to see many of them are women! So I’ve decided to interview these successful ladies and find out exactly why they chose Kingston to flourish and the benefits of living in such a close knit community. Click here to meet other Boss ladies featured in this series: