FAIRMONT - Feb. 3 is the date Dr. Zephanie Skow is waiting for, the date she can start seeing patients at her new practice: Align Chiropractic and Acupuncture.
It's a step she has been working toward since her sophomore year of high school, but her roots in chiropractic go back much further.
"I'm kind of a product of chiropractic," said Skow, a Fairmont native.
Dr. Zephanie Skow poses in her exam room at Align Chiropractic and Acupuncture in Fairmont.
Skow has two older brothers, but her parents, Derrice Skow and the late Dr. Dan "Doc" Skow, were not able to conceive a third time, not until her mother sought chiropractic care.
"With adjustments and supplements, she was then able to have me," Zephanie said. "She likes to tell that story and say that I'm her miracle of chiropractic."
But it was a veterinarian, not a chiropractor, that Zephanie wanted to be when she grew up. She planned to follow in her father's footsteps, treating animals. Her childhood on a farm, caring for cows, chickens and horses, further enforced this idea.
Then a high school tennis injury changed her mind. She was treated by Dr. Tim Hamp, and when she walked out of his office that day, she knew she wanted to be a chiropractor.
"I've never looked back," she said.
In 2006, she graduated from Fairmont High School and started at Augustana College in Sioux Falls, where she received her bachelor's degree in biology. From there, she went to Northwestern Health Sciences University in Bloomington.
Northwestern's program took three and a half years to complete. During this time, Zephanie was exposed to a wide variety of chiropractic techniques, which helped her fine tune her own interests and specialties.
Patients visiting the young chiropractor can expect her to use muscle testing to examine the nervous system's integrity and make the proper diagnosis before proceeding with any necessary treatment, such as manual adjustments. Nerve interference can cause symptoms such as headaches, indigestion, allergies and more: "The kind of things people associate with chiropractics," she said.
In addition to studying chiropractic, Zephanie focused on acupuncture.
"Acupuncture helps balance the body's electrical system," she said.
Halfway through the curriculum at Northwestern, Zephanie began her internships at established chiropractic clinics, learning about different aspects of her field, including how to run a business. Her final internship was in her hometown, working with Hamp at Fairmont Chiropractic.
Upon passing her boards and graduating in November, Zephanie has been working on setting up her own practice: Align Chiropractic & Acupuncture.
As of Feb. 3, she will be authorized by the state of Minnesota to practice independently. Her practice, however, shares the same roof as Hamp. The two are located at 1125 Spruce St., off South State Street. Zephanie will have a different phone number: (507) 235-8485.
"Dr. Hamp is giving me a unique opportunity," she said.