What I learned from a visit to a luxury running & wellness clinic

I was not compensated for this post, but I did receive a complimentary session at the Urban Wellness Clinic. All opinions and most jokes are my own.

A month ago, the lovely folks at the Urban Wellness Clinic reached out and invited me to meet with Dr. Emily Kiberd, a New York City-based chiropractor and luxury wellness media expert in pain management and movement therapy.

I did a little research and learned that Urban Wellness Clinic is a sought after wellness center located in the building above Quality Italian (57th and 6th Ave), you know the place with the famed chicken parm pizza? Personally, I think it’s much too salty, but that’s commentary for a different venue.

Anyway, people seem to love Urban Wellness Clinic. Just check out their endless stream of 5-star Yelp reviews. Dr. Kiberd works with a number of New York Athletic Club athletes and Olympic hopefuls. So sure, yes, I would love to check this place out.

I made an appointment to meet with Dr. Kiberd. I was excited for not just to have a personal assessment but to ask questions about running and injury prevention. 

Urban Wellness Clinic (photo provided by UWC)

Stepping inside, the office itself is bright, welcoming, upscale, and very, very clean. I was escorted into a room with a beautiful view of the city below and sat down while I waited for Dr. Kiberd. The Urban Wellness Clinic also has a small gym where Dr. Kiberd and her team work with their patients on site to make sure they’re familiar with proper strength-building movements. Her average patient works in finance or something else demanding and trains long and hard in the wee hours of the day, before sitting at a desk for 12 or more hours. So, if you’re thinking, “I totally have tennis elbow but don’t have time to deal with it,” consider yourself properly guilt-tripped by me and go make an appointment. Unrelated: I once got tennis elbow but much to the chagrin of my future in-laws, not from playing tennis. My doctor had no idea how it happened. Be careful out there, kids.

urban wellness clinic

The first thing Dr. Kiberd did was assess me. She asked about prior injuries. She pushed and pulled on my legs and arms. Took note of my range of mobility, balance and core strength. What did she find? My ab strength is limited by my neck’s stiffness. If I can loosen up my neck I can more deeply engage my abs. To help with this, she gave me the best neck/shoulder massage of all time.

Then she addressed my ankle. She explained that the kinetic chain that starts at the foot runs all the way to my head. So it’s possible inflammation in the ankle could lead to headaches. That blew my mind!  She also explained my ankle weakness was causing my glutes not to fire, which decreases the overall strength I have to run. So that’s why I am slow. What’s your excuse?

urban wellness clinic

I had never seen a chiropractor before. One of the big questions I had was how this practice differs from physical therapy. Dr. Kiberd replied that most PTs only have permission (from insurance) to do spot treatment, whereas chiropractors assess the entire body to find root causes. She went on, “As a chiropractor, I have worked with high-level runners with hamstring strains or neck pain and the area of pain was usually not the root cause. As a chiropractor we were able to look head to toe to find the root cause.”

This was totally interesting to me, though I think Finish Line PT takes a similar approach, maybe because they operate out-of-network.

What else did I learn?

  • Dr. Kiberd suggested that before training for a marathon, runners have a base milage of 20 miles a week for over three months to teach their bodies how to recover.
  • We’re breathing all wrong. Dr. Kiberd advises we breath out twice as long as we breathe in. Try it. It take some getting used to!
  • These are the 5 most important exercises runners should be doing.
  • When you’re training for big race, be sure to add anti-inflammatory foods into your diet like: blueberries, dark red cherries and turmeric. I got 99 problems and turmeric solved 98 of them.
  • Be smart about your training plan. Each week increase your overall mileage by no more than 10%.
  • Take time to recover. Exercise is stress on your body. Your body can only benefit from the stress if it learns how to recover from it.

Overall I had a great experience. Anyone have a running guru or chiropractor they love/depend on/pray to?

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