After 50 years of easing aches and pains in Elmira, chiropractor Bruce Kleinknecht has moved on to other pursuits and passed on his practice to a pair of fellow chiropractors, Thom Green and Sarah Taylor.Kleinknecht says his retirement, a word he prefers not to use, wasn’t the result of his own physical or mental ailing. Rather, he met the young couple at a conference and from there the pieces fell into place.
“When I turned 60 I was going to retire, never did anything about it,” Kleinknecht said. “I was reading research about tonal techniques [a neurological approach] and I was impressed by the research on people who are addicted. It was done in Florida and the results were very impressive. I studied it and then I thought, ‘why would I want to retire?’”
He started out as a chiropractor in Kitchener in 1960. Four years later he moved his practice to 2 Park Ave. E., across from the post office in Elmira. After he got married and had his first of four children, Kleinknecht and his wife Carole decided to move to Elmira for the small-town environment.
Like many high school students, or most, he was unsure about what to pursue post-graduation. It was his aunt who suggested he become a chiropractor, which fit well because he wanted a career in helping people.
“She said ‘you’re good with your hands, why don’t you be a chiropractor?’” Kleinknecht said. “I thought well, it sounds okay. I had no experience with it. My uncle took me down to the college and interviewed and then I looked into it more and eventually I ended up there.”
He said it used to be people that went to chiropractic college had some miraculous experience in their family or themselves that tempted them to get into chiropracty. He was going in because he thought it could be a good thing for him to do.
“I think more and more that has become the case as time goes on, as it’s more accepted as a profession. At that time it wasn’t really well known,” Kleinknecht said.
One of his sons and daughter-in-law are both chiropractors in Nova Scotia.
He adds he feels at home in Elmira and the community has always been very receptive to his work.
“Mennonite people, older people, everyone was supportive,” Kleinknecht said. “It’s a very giving community, Elmira.”
He was on the board that helped find a location and the funds for the new home of the Woolwich Counselling Centre. They had to raise money at a time when the community was also raising money for the Woolwich Memorial Centre, which was a concern. It turns out they raised far over and above what they needed. He said that’s just what the people in Elmira are like, something he attributes to the area’s Mennonite background.
Green and Taylor say their decision to take over the practice was a simple one: It was everything they could ask for and more.
“Bruce is such a kind, genuine person, and people trust him so much,” Green said. “We saw that and like he said, it’s a family community and we want to raise our kids here.”
The couple, recently engaged, both began going to chiropractors at a young age. Green suffered from insomnia when he was 10 years old and his mom tried everything to help him find some relief. His doctor said he would grow out of it. A massage therapist tried to help without success. Green laughs at the third attempt, herbal tea at night and listening to whale songs. Nothing seemed to work.
“As a last resort she said ‘I’ll take you to my chiropractor,’” Green said. “It wasn’t long after I started to sleep through the night. And I don’t really remember much about it.”
He said he doesn’t remember much except seeing his x-rays and being intrigued by his bones. It helped him with his sports injuries and kept him healthy.
Green says they want to carry on the tradition Kleinknecht leaves behind in a career that served thousands of people.
“I really want to influence people because it’s been so integral in my life,” Green said. “I want to let more people know about it.”
The couple started at Elmira Family Chiropractic on October 6. She’s from Lambeth and he’s from Mallorytown.
“We hope to continue to grow and we really want to see a lot of families,” Green said. “It’s important to us that kids grow up straight and tall and healthy because they’re our future.”
Taylor’s dad started going to a chiropractor when he was 14. His monthly visits helped him deal with chronic migraines. Her mom also saw a chiropractor, and soon it became a family affair.
“She was really concerned we would have growing pains so she brought my sister and I to the chiropractor and we were going as a family every single month,” Taylor said.
When she left for the University of Guelph to do her undergraduate it was the first time she was responsible for herself and her health.
“That was the first year I took away from chiropractic and I realized very soon after that it was something I needed in my life,” Taylor said. “I started going to a chiropractor on campus and from there he led me to the understanding that this was something I wanted to do. I knew I wanted to help people.”
They’ll be having a 50th anniversary celebration and open house on November 15 at their office from 1-4 p.m.