Dr. Button finds passion in natural healing

First Posted: 8/29/2009

Mondee Tilley
Staff Reporter

Dr. Stephen Button is known for his common sense approach to health and well-being. He has been practicing chiropractic, acupuncture and nutrition for 18 years 16 of those in Mount Airy and loving every minute of it.
Button is the first to tell a person that he is passionate about healing and improving daily function. He sees about 40 to 50 patients a day at his practice, Buttonwood Chiropractic & Acupuncture Center, at 1243 W. Lebanon St. He named the practice Buttonwood because he purchased the practice from the late Dr. Jack Wood.
Jack had built his practice over 30-plus years and was ready to retire and made me feel very welcome. It was sad to lose such a gentle, friendly man this past spring.
He knew early on that becoming a healer would become his lifes work. His first encounter with chiropractic care helped lead him on the path that he is on today.
I had a low back injury when I was 17 and finally got some relief for the problem when I was in college. I was playing club hockey at the University of Connecticut and one of my teammates talked me into going to his chiropractor. I was very skeptical about it at the time, but I had about 10 to 30 minutes of relief for the first time in three years, he said.
He decided to go into the chiropractic field after he finished his Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Science in biology and human anatomy at the University of Connecticut. After finishing graduate school, he earned his doctorate in chiropractic.
He said acupuncture was taught as an elective while he was studying to get his doctorate.
We had some very interesting professors that came over from Beijing right about the time of Tiananmen Square, when I was in school. They were being persecuted and killed, so they came here. I was lucky enough to have some of them. Two of them were surgeons and they did acupuncture as anesthesia and also treatment. So I got exposed to it there.
Recently, he took his annual trip to be with the man who inspired him to go into health care in the first place. He flies up to Cape Cod each year to gather with a number of U-Conn grads who took care of a friend of theirs who is a quadriplegic and needed their assistance to get through the fourth year of undergraduate school.
Taking care of Greg was my first introduction to hands-on care of another human, and it was a very rewarding experience and part of the reason I went into health care.
The 45-year-old married his wife, Gina Lowe, 12 years ago. His stepson, Mikey Shelton, is in his second year at UNC-Chapel Hill. Their daughter, Hannah, recently started the fourth grade at Cedar Ridge Elementary School.
Thankfully both of them love school and love learning. They have done a pretty good job of raising their parents, he said with a smile.
He said Mikey is also leaning toward entering into a field of medicine and wants to work in the neuroscience field.
The couple and their family live on a farm in rural Surry County.
Ginas grandparents, Clyde and Vickie Hayes, have a farm, and we are lucky enough to live on the edge of it. Everyone is close by. Everyone sort of gathers there.
He said Ginas Uncle Bill, who produces the show Jon and Kate Plus 8, also has a house on the farm. Ginas mother, Donna, and Aunt Kaye live on the farm as well.
When he is out of the office, one of his other loves is farming. He helps his mother-in-law, Donna Hayes, on their farm called Blue Mountain Vineyards. They make a cabernet, tannat and sangiovese blend.
My home is my refuge. I am able go to there and recharge my batteries.
He is originally from Connecticut and moved to North Carolina after visiting the area.
I was raised in Norfolk, Conn., a rural small town about the size of Dobson. My parents, Bill and Dottie, are in their early 80s and live in a religious community similar to the Amish in southwest Pennsylvania.
He has one brother and three sisters and has 26 nieces and nephews. His youngest sister, Ann, lives in High Point and works as a physical therapist.
Visiting Ann and seeing the beauty of this area and the friendly people made the decision to live here easy.
In addition to his practice and the farm, he also started flying small airplanes in 2001.
Another love for the good doctor is the love of fireworks. He is a self-proclaimed pyromaniac. He got his federal license in pyrotechnics, but he said it wasnt an easy process because he applied for his license right after Sept. 11, 2001.
While flying, farming and fireworks are ways to unwind, he says that being able to help people lead their healthiest life possible is his goal.
My practice is largely a nutrition-based practice. Its something Ive always been very interested in. One of the four foundations that we work with in the office is support to the foot as a foundation to the body. So we use a company in Roanoke, Va., to construct custom orthotics for those patients that need correction to stabilize gait, ankle, knee, hip and spine. The chair you sit in at work during the day and the bed you sleep on at night, diet and exercise, those are the foundations that we all deal with daily that affect our lives.
Button uses a Proadjuster system to adjust patients at his practice.
We combine traditional hands-on chiropractic with a high-tech approach that uses less force and is more patient-friendly to those that have a fear of spinal adjustments or have advanced arthritis, osteoporosis, scar tissue, etc. This Proadjuster system has been a great additional tool for our patients.
The nutritional aspect of healing happens to be the foundation that interests him the most.
It fits into chiropractic and acupuncture very well, so I went further in school and did a post-doctorate degree in internal diagnosis and management of internal disorders through nutrition.
He said one of the things he stresses the most with his patients is to eat right and to get enough water.
One of the biggest things is to modify and rotate the diet and get an adequate water intake. Use the foods God put on this planet to further your health, he said.
His trademark is to give patients a hand-out magnet for their refrigerator with his special diet for reducing pain and improving function. That diet restricts wheat, corn, soy products, processed sugar, aspartame, cows milk products and soft drinks. He encourages patients to increase their intake of proteins, olive oil, fresh fruits and vegetables. He also touts the health benefits of taking one teaspoon of flaxseed meal a day and one tablespoon of vinegar twice a day for better health.
In addition to his doctorate in chiropractic from U-Conn, the doctor also did some post-graduate work in acupuncture at the American Society of Acupuncture. He said it gives him a broader range of tools to use when healing patients.
Although he is skilled in using needles in acupuncture, the skin, he said, is the bodys first line of defense. He prefers to use electric stimulation and cold laser treatments and some magnets to help heal sprains and strains as well as other conditions.
While he can treat many conditions in his practice, he also refers his patients to other doctors who can further aide their treatment and recovery process.
Discovering what conditions we can help versus those best handled by a patients family doctor or area specialist is one of the most important aspects of my work.
While he takes his work very seriously, Button said laughter is also the key to great health.
Human beings are fun and never boring. You have to be able to laugh at yourself in order to be healthy, said Button.
Button attributes his success in his practice to his wife and his office staff, Jane Hawks, Pam Combs and April Aquaviva.
My wife and all my staff make our daily routine possible and fun.
Although he has an already-thriving practice, he is always willing to make room for new patients.
I feel very blessed to be able to do what I am doing. Im very happy to be practicing in Mount Airy. Im thankful every day for the response of my patients.
Contact Mondee Tilley at [email protected] or at 719-1930.

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