The healing philosophy of chiropractor Liz Summers incorporates a holistic approach -- restoring not just the alignment of the spine, but the health of the entire body.
Summers, with nearly 30 years of knowledge, experience and education, is a veteran practitioner.
"I love to learn," Summers said. "I think there is more than one way to treat. I do a lot of different things to accommodate different patients."
Summers' Eastern-based approach and cache of certifications gives patients option and flexibility.
Those who struggle with muscle fatigue might find relief through applied kinesiology -- Summers' expertise.
"I can test different muscles to see if there's a weakness," Summers said. "Muscles have an organ connection and I can tell if the patient has nutritional deficiencies."
With a diet program and homeopathy, including herb and supplement therapy, Summers can also provide treatment as a nutritional counselor.
"I do vitamins and herbs for menopause," she said. "With increased estrogen from the hormones in meat, women have a harder time with menopause."
For patients suffering from pain and injuries, Summers provides an alternative to medication and surgery. It's called physiotherapy, and treatment combines traction, adjustments and ultrasound to locate tissue and skeletal damage.
"It's the least invasive and the least expensive," Summers said. "You don't have any side effects."
Summers refers patients who don't respond to chiropractic treatment to medical specialists.
Acupuncture, just another facet of Summers' expertise, also alleviates pain while easing the pangs of nicotine addiction.
And, of course, Summers gives spinal adjustments.
Manual back and neck alignments create joint-cracking, but Summers prefers to use the activator -- an instrument that looks like a syringe crossed with a pogo stick.
When its rubber tip, connected to a spring-loaded mechanism the length of an index finger, is applied to a joint, the activator delivers a low-impact punch that gently corrects misaligned body structures.
Over the years, Summers has accepted the realities of her practice -- not all injuries are treatable and for others, the pain lingers.
"You're dealing with people's pain," she said. "You never see people when they're not in pain and you can't make everyone well."
Summers' medical career began in the early 1970s.
Her mother and father, also a chiropractor, sent her to the Palmer College of Chiropractic -- away from her home in Olympia, Wash.
"I had a bad marriage and they wanted me to get away," she said. "I enjoyed school right off the bat."
Summers worked her way through college, supporting her then 4-year-old son. Back then, the chiropractic profession was dominated by men. Of the 400 students in her class, 25 were women, but many married and dropped out. Even some of the men couldn't face the rigors of the curriculum.
"There was a huge attrition rate," she said. "They purposefully made it hard, to weed out the weak ones."
Two years after she graduated in 1977, Summers, who learned about Arizona from a road trip to San Diego, emigrated west and settled in Tempe. She took her boards and ran her own practice for 17 years.
"It was beautiful, blue skies," she said. "Who knew it was going to get so crazy?"
Seven years ago, Summers -- sick of the traffic, the heat and the rat race -- moved to Young, and then to the cooler altitude of Payson.
"I couldn't stand the thought of moving back to the Valley," she said. "I fell in love with the trees."
Summers accepts insurance and gives AHCCCS patients a discount.
For more information, contact Liz Summers at Bee Well Chiropractic, (928) 474-9355.
Name: Elizabeth Summers
Employer: Self-employed/Bee Well Chiropractor
Birthplace: Corvallis, Ore.
Family: Son, mother, brother, two grandsons
Personal motto: Bee Well
Inspiration: My mother
Greatest feat: Learning compassion
Favorite hobby or leisure activity: Movies, riding motorcycles
Three words that describe me best: Loving, kind and crazy
I don't want to brag but ... I love to learn.
The person in history I'd most like to meet is: George Washington
Luxury defined: Hot tub and massage
Dream vacation spot: Hawaii
Why Payson? It has perfect weather and trees.