Member Spotlight: ‘Dr. Bob’ Robert De Bonis

By Sondra Thomas

ICA’s longtime member, Assembly Representative for the US Virgin Islands, and an international ambassador of the chiropractic profession, Dr. Robert De Bonis is being saluted in our Member Spotlight.

Several months ago, Dr. Bob’s work and dedication to the chiropractic profession was highlighted in his local newspaper, The St. Thomas Source. Excerpts of the article by Amy H. Roberts. are featured below.

From the St. Thomas Source: Dr. Robert De Bonis, a chiropractor in Coral Bay better known as “Dr. Bob,” found there truly was a silver lining when Hurricane Irma destroyed his office. “The International Chiropractors Association had been wanting me to take an active role in promoting chiropractic for a number of years, but I could never make the commitment,” said De Bonis. With the loss of his office, however, he decided to take the opportunity to travel.

De Bonis joined a group of eight western chiropractors traveling in China. Accompanied by interpreters, they fanned out, each taking a different route, to treat tens of thousands of patients. Since 2017, De Bonis has been to 30 cities in China on four different trips. “They treat me like a rock star,” he said, his eyes revealing a smile mostly concealed by his face mask worn throughout the interview – a sign of the current COVID-19 pandemic.

Though chiropractic was not known in most places he went, the basic idea is not a strange concept for the Chinese. “Chiropractic and eastern philosophy are well-matched,” De Bonis said.

“Chiropractors understand that there’s an ‘intelligence’ or power to the energy that dwells in everyone,” he said. “The Chinese call it ‘Chi.’ This intelligence uses the brain, spinal cord – the entire central nervous system – as the master communication system.”

Dr. De Bonis adjusts a patient in China. (Photo provided by Dr. De Bonis)

“When you’re healthy and you’re functioning correctly, all the body parts are getting the necessary information from the brain and giving necessary feedback to the brain. There are literally millions and millions of signals all the time” regulating blood pressure, kidney functions, the digestive system – all of the body’s functions, De Bonis said.

“Chiropractors are trained to detect and correct nerve blockages. When a spinal bone [vertebra] is out of alignment, it is the first step in disease – a lack of harmony in the body. I check the spine, find imbalances and correct them.” He compared the body to a well-tuned instrument. “There’s a correct tone, like a guitar string. That’s why everyone should come in for a tune-up.”…

To qualify for a degree, chiropractors take 5,000 hours of academic training, taking courses in anatomy and physiology that are almost identical to those required in medical schools. Like traditional medical doctors, they honor the Hippocratic Oath, “First, do no harm.” “We screen people,” said De Bonis. “How you treat a 97-year-old with osteoporosis is different from how you’d treat a healthy middle-aged person. For a baby, you’d use the amount of pressure you’d use on an eyeball. It would be different for a 250-lb guy who lifts rocks all day. I do what’s appropriate, as little as possible, so the body can do the most.”

Dr. De Bonis shares a moment with a baby while in China. (Photo provided by Robert De Bonis)

De Bonis was impressed by the differences between the overall health of the populations of the U.S. and China. “In China, I found more people needed less care. It has to do with the eastern lifestyle. At 9 p.m. you’d find in the town square someone with a little speaker and a microphone, and elderly women and men line dancing. They’ve adopted a healthier lifestyle.” However, with the increased availability of American fast food in China and a love of “all things American,” De Bonis wonders if this will change.

When Hurricane Irma left him with a couple of rain-soaked diplomas and a portable table for treating patients. He took that table to the firehouse in Coral Bay to adjust anyone who needed it following the hurricane. One day, when adjusting a first responder who arrived on St. John from New Jersey, the man looked up and said, “Don’t I know you? You adjusted me at the Javits Center in New York City after 9/11.”

In the last two years, De Bonis has also made two trips to Tonga, an archipelago nation in Polynesia, and one trip to India, where more than a million followers of a guru gathered in a tent city north of Mumbai.

To read more of Dr. De Bonis’ story, please click below.

Story acquired from Dr. Robert De Bonis and written by By Amy H. RobertsThe St. Thomas Source – July 2020 (Photos provided by Amy H. Roberts and Dr. Robert De Bonis)

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