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Natural Awakenings San Diego

How a World-Class Resort Influenced a Chiropractic Philosophy

Dec 28, 2011 01:38PM ● By Linda Sechrist

When pondering his high school and college years, Steve Paredes, a doctor of chiropractic medicine and owner of Solana Beach Health Center, chuckles to himself, recalling that he felt oceanography and soil science were his right career choices. “I didn’t have a lot of conviction about what field of study I wanted to go into.  All I knew for sure was that I liked the sciences, which is why I chose to study oceanography at Humboldt State University in northernmost California,” reflects Paredes. However, the rough seas he experienced as a graduate student conducting experiments onboard an ocean-going vessel provided a valuable insight: his future would not be a watery one.

Due to the similarities between geological oceanography—the study of the sea floor and how it has changed through time—and the geology involved in soil science, Paredes transferred his credits to California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo. After graduation he worked in Monterey and Salinas in a laboratory doing water, soil, and plant analysis for a large seed company. Then he moved to San Diego to find work, live closer to his father, and get involved in something far more exciting than soil science—the 1980s exercise and fitness craze that had many of its beginning moments at Rancho La Puerta, a world-class fitness and health resort. “My father’s home is on the American side of Baja California, near Tecate, Mexico, where the resort is located,” clarifies Paredes. “Tecate is a safe little town only an hour’s drive from Solana Beach, and I still go to the resort occasionally to provide instruction for their massage therapists on staff as well as oversee a back care program for guests.”

In the 1980s, Rancho La Puerta was a veritable epicenter of the fitness craze, and Paredes was enthralled with being there and having the opportunity to learn massage as well as yoga from experts such as Larry Payne, Ph.D., the respected yoga teacher and back specialist who founded the Samata Yoga Center in Los Angeles. “Even then, my main interests were massage and yoga, which I use in my chiropractic practice. After I got my massage license and studied yoga for therapeutic purposes, developing a professional massage and yoga client base in San Diego was a natural progression of my connection with the resort,” says Parades.

Healing his own back injury with a regular therapeutic yoga practice enlightened Paredes’ perspective about how to treat his chiropractic patients. “It lead me to a significant realization that although therapy is necessary, it’s more important to educate people and teach them about how they can prevent the incidences that cause back pain,” explains Paredes. Still upholding a professional philosophy that was shaped by his experiences in fitness and wellness, Paredes affirms, “I believe in empowering patients so they can control their own environment without becoming dependent on therapy.”

“I followed my instincts, and the good news is that I eventually found my life’s work as a chiropractor,” muses Paredes, who adds that until he worked at La Puerta, where he developed the confidence to work with people, he didn’t realize that his greatest sense of purpose came from working with people. “It took those years at the resort, when I grew in body, mind and spirit, for me to understand that I really liked helping people and teaching them about what they can do to improve their health and wellbeing. Even now, I don’t believe in making my patients dependent on me; I’d rather teach them to take control of their own health through their actions and just return to me when they need a little help.”


Solana Beach Health Center, 222 N. Acacia Ave., Solana Beach 92075. Call 858-794-9454 or visit SolanaBeachHealthCenter.com