Interview with Vashon Chiropractor, Dr. Cori Bodily-Goodman
February 2024, Health Matters

Interview with Vashon Chiropractor, Dr. Cori Bodily-Goodman

By Caitlin Rothermel

How can a chiropractor help someone?

The main objective of chiropractic care is to get the spinal joints – which your nervous system runs through – aligned. This allows your nerves to penetrate and innervate your organs and glands and keep your system running.

For many years, chiropractic just involved spinal adjustments. But our toxin and stress levels have gone up, and people need more support. I went back to school for nutrition, because the quality of our food is just not what it was back in the day, and that makes a huge difference in your inflammation levels, which will affect your spinal alignment. 

What are common reasons that people come to see you?

Most common are neck pain, headaches, lower back pain, and sciatica; also, knee or shoulder pain, and even digestive issues – aligning the spine affects the nerves to the digestive tract. Sometimes, it’s just overall joint pain – where everything hurts!

If I see young people, it’s typically for general wellness or because of a sports injury, or a fall – things that are not repairing on their own. Sometimes, newborn babies can get stuck when coming out of the birth canal; which can affect their alignment.  This can also be the case with Caesarian section. Kids and infants usually only need minimal adjustments to stabilize.

During perimenopause, women face specific metabolic and hormonal issues. Estrogen levels and progesterone levels change, which can increase joint pain and cause hormone headaches. It’s also common for hip pain to increase during menopause. These patients need adjustments and overall alignment. We can also use cold laser therapy, and hormonal and neurologic resets, and certain supportive herbs.

Tell me about neurologic resets. What are they?

I use the Neurologic Integration System, or NIS. It’s a therapy developed by a New Zealand osteopath. There are certain pathways that get blown out with inflammation or injury – like a circuit – and sometimes your body has a hard time turning those circuits back on. Finding these pathways and resetting them, so to speak, turns the circuits back on.

NIS is non-invasive, but very effective and quick. It’s great for people with concussions or who need to reset cranial compression, especially following injuries or car accidents.

You also use an activator to make adjustments. What is that, and how does it work?

The activator is a low-force, accurate impulse tool. It directly moves the joint or part of the spine faster than your body can tense against it. But it’s not heavy, and it doesn’t typically hurt.

With the activator, you can do very specific adjustments. Afterwards, the area has the potential to stabilize a little quicker, and in my experience, the adjustment can last longer than a manual adjustment, so you wind up needing less treatment. 

Also, the activator can be used from babies on up, and it’s really good for people who have cervical plates or other hardware in their back – people who can’t be adjusted manually. I have a lot of patients who come to me because they can’t get adjusted in other ways.

What made you initially interested in being a chiropractor?

I always knew I wanted to do something related to health. Growing up, I was always the kid with all the illnesses and injuries. In my 20s, I got to the point where I had chronic issues – I became very ill, and I was frustrated with going to the doctor and not being able to resolve my problems. My brother suggested I go to this chiropractor he had used when he hurt himself at work. I thought, a chiropractor – what? 

I went, and the chiropractor didn’t just do adjustments, he talked about energy work, my diet, and the benefits of spinal realignment. Within a month, I went from barely getting out of bed to feeling like I was completely back to myself. It was almost like a light bulb went on, and I knew this is what I wanted my journey to be.

Why do you think that chiropractors sometimes get such a bad rap from medical doctors?

That dates back years and years, to when the first chiropractic university was founded. Medical doctors labeled chiropractic as “unscientific.” This stigma seemed to start in medical schools, so doctors had this view from the start of their career. That led to a lot of kickback from medical doctors. Chiropractic focuses on “Clearing interference and letting the body heal itself. Align the spine and let the nervous system take care of itself.” Most physicians lean towards a different route, with training that involves more medication and surgeries.

I think that this small battle started and evolved, such that medical doctors coming out of school had it in their heads that the chiropractic profession was not valid.

My dad was a veterinarian – very, very medically minded. He had a negative opinion about chiropractors. When I told him I was going into chiropractic school, he was not exactly supportive. But every time I learned what an adjustment did for the body, I explained to him the scientific mechanism. Over time, he completely changed his thoughts because I was able to explain it in this way.

It’s not always recognized that, for their bachelors’ degree, chiropractors and medical doctors have the same science requirements. After undergraduate work, chiropractors attend a four-year chiropractic college and have similar class requirements as medical doctors.

How do you assess new patients?

Before I even talk to them, I watch their gait and how they get up from their chair. I can tell where their pain levels are just by watching certain movements. Also, the eyes can be very revealing. If someone is in pain or their system’s not working, their eyes will look heavy and almost at half-mast.

People in chronic pain will be withdrawn or cranky. The best part of my job is seeing their eyes, mood, and attitude change after a treatment.

With new patients, I like to set aside time for the initial visit. We take a health history, learn what’s happened in the past – injuries, surgeries, and medication use. I follow this with orthopedic exams, looking at posture, and then isolate specific areas to find what’s working and not working. That’s how I’m able to target treatment.

What made you decide to come to Vashon to live and practice?

My husband and I got married here several years ago. In general, we both wanted that feeling of being connected to a community, and during our wedding, we found out that my husband had relatives on the Island. We thought, why don’t we just raise our kids here?

My clinic was right off the ferry in Tacoma, and there was never an intention of me working here. But I had a patient base from Vashon, so I originally decided to work one day a week here to support that base, This was around the same time that Dr. Carlson retired. Then Dr. Curtin left, and I realized I had to make a decision, that there was a need here, with the ferries getting worse, and people not wanting to make that trip for a 15-minute appointment.

Now, in my waiting room, everyone knows everyone, and it’s like a social hour (that is great). My patients here are so lovely to be around and I really enjoy, and am very grateful, to be able to work on Vashon.

Dr. Cori has a Chiropractic Doctorate, a master’s degree in nutrition, is an NIS Masters practitioner, and has advanced certification in activator adjusting. She has been practicing for 15 years and is very grateful to serve the Vashon and Tacoma communities.  Feel free to visit or call 206-259-0216 or email

February 9, 2024

About Author

caitlin I’m a member of the Vashon Loop Editorial Board and write about medicine, health, and society. I’m a research geek and an MPH, and I’m also a mom, farmer, teacher, and apocalypse librarian. I edit things. If I’m not doing something, it’s probably because I am asleep.