80's Wednesdays, Acupuncture And Zen-Like Designs, At The Doctor's Office?
Mahwah doctor couple rethinks traditional office experience
A Mahwah couple is working to change stereotypes about “stiff, sterile” doctors’ offices, one chiropractic adjustment at a time.
Drs. Joe and Pilar Labriola, a husband and wife team, say they opened the Chiropractic Health Spa on Franklin Tpke. in Ramsey four years ago because they felt the traditional healthcare experience needed to be modernized. “We both worked in traditional practices, and it was just a gut feeling that if we were going to start our own practice, we should do something different,” Dr. Pilar said. “So, we decided to do something more fitting the 21st Century, it has a social aspect to it, and a more inviting feeling.”
The different atmosphere begins when patients walk in the door. Dr. Pilar’s sister, an interior designer from Georgia with a TV show on the DIY network, decorated the interior of the office. Rooms are designed to have a zen-like atmosphere, with candles, artwork, warm colors, and a “non-institutional” look.
Patients are also greeted by different types of music each day – so, while being adjusted, they can hear pop Tuesdays, 80’s Wednesdays or classic rock Thursdays.
The services offered at the spa are also atypical – they include acupuncture, massage therapy and weight loss counseling. “And, we offer all of our services in a different way,” Dr. Pilar said. Most of the chiropractic patients work on machines in a communal room. “It sort of has a bar atmosphere to it,” Dr. Joe said. “In addition to private consultations with the doctors, everyone works on their individual treatments in one room. So, we keep our eyes on everyone, and they get the benefit of working through physical issues in a social atmosphere.”
The doctors treat a variety of physical issues, and specialize in posture correction. “People don’t realize that all of the looking down we do affects our posture,” Dr. Pilar said. “Dealing with computer screens and cell phone everyday makes us lean our heads forward.” The chiropractors said they specialize in posture because correcting it can lead to better overall health. “A lot of times people don’t even realize they have bad posture until they come in to get evaluated,” Dr. Pilar said. “Then, after they start undergoing treatment, their whole bodies start to feel better.”
The other treatments offered at the spa are also aimed at improving overall health, the doctors say. Massage therapy and acupuncture are alternative methods that they say patients have had great success with.
In terms of weight loss therapy, the doctors say they also focus on “forward-looking” methods, and emphasize overall health. The Chiropractic Health Spa is one of only 10 offices in the country with a PhysioRED weight loss bike, which combines exercise with infrared technology. “It’s very simple,” Dr. Joe said. “It helps your body de-tox, and the light does the hard work. But, in one half hour session you burn two or three times the amount of calories you would doing a traditional exercise.”
One of the most important parts of the practice’s feeling, the doctors said, is a sense of community. “Everyone who works here is a professional, and we are really like a big family,” Dr. Pilar said. “We work as a team. So, you can come here just for a massage, or you can be a patient in several different aspects of what we do here.”
The Spa also works with several different community groups, like the Mahwah Schools Foundation, to “give back. We’ve gone into Mahwah schools before to give the teachers free massages as a thank you,” Dr. Pilar said. “And, we set up massage chairs at the MSF race every year.”
Through the Mahwah Regional Chamber of Commerce, the doctors connected with Bergen County SCORE, a non-profit organization that works with small businesses. “SCORE has really played an instrumental part in helping us figure out where we want to be in the future,” Dr. Joe said. The office is expanding; adding 1,000-square-feet to its existing space, and is working with SCORE to further cement their office in the community.
“Most of our patients are from Mahwah and Ramsey, and we really love the people who come into our office,” Dr. Pilar said. “As long as we can keep working with and for wonderful people, I think we have a great future ahead of us.”