Wiggling to Wellness With Chiropractic Care
By Brenda Duran, Senior Associate Editor
For Anthony Field, also known as the "Blue Wiggle" of the most popular and successful children's performing act out of Australia, "The Wiggles," entertaining and teaching children is his passion.As one of the founding members of the group, whose television show has spawned CDs, DVDs and live concerts, he's been able to share that passion with millions worldwide. But the rigors of the job began taking a toll on his health. That's why Field – and the entire Wiggles group – turned to chiropractic care as a way to improve their health and keep doing what they love to do. With the recent release of Field's book, How I Got My Wiggle Back: A Memoir of Healing, and the launch of a massive media tour, what better time to hear what he has to say about the benefits of chiropractic care in this exclusive interview?
Eight years ago, Anthony Field was smiling in front of the cameras and the crowds, but grimacing in pain backstage. "I was more of a wobble," Field said. "I would go backstage during a show because my back was hurting so much, my knees also hurt and I had a bad neck. It was always the same, I would miss a couple of songs then go back on."
In those days, Field, now 48, was also overweight and taking daily Valium and anti-inflammatory drugs for pain to get through the day. He said he was depressed and lost.
"I was eating poorly and I was slouching and not strengthening my core, and my back gave way and I got into a terrible cycle of pain. I didn't know any better until chiropractors came into my life," said Field.
Fortunately, Field has never had to return to this low point in his life, thanks to a friend's tip about trying chiropractic.
"When I first starting seeing chiropractors, it was mainly to get me out of pain. I thought, I am just going to go and get myself out of pain ... that's what I thought it was all about," Field said. "Later on, I realized they [chiropractors] can help rebuild you into the $6 million man. That's what I feel like now."
Rebuilding From the Ground Up
When Field began experiencing chiropractic care, he said he quickly learned an important lesson that would change the rest of his life: In order to get his health back, he had to allow his body to heal itself. He had no other choice: his job in the hugely successful children's entertainment touring band depended on it.
One of the first chiropractors to lead Field to the path of overall wellness was Dr. James Stoxen of Team Doctors in Chicago, who has worked as a chiropractor to the Wiggles since 2004. Dr. Stoxen said when he first met Field, he appeared as if he was very happy and healthy, when in reality Field was at a point of physical meltdown.
"Anthony is the leader and spark for the direction of the Wiggles. So at that time, his limitations were the limitations of what level of performance was presented on their television shows and in their live performances," said Stoxen. A typical Wiggles concert features the Wiggles dancing and singing with as many as 3,000 audience members (children and parents).
Stoxen said he took the time to do a thorough examination of Field and was able to help him find the cause of his pain. Over time, the two worked together to begin the healing process, which included preparing a training program for Field to rebuild his body.
Field's journey to transformation included not only regular weekly chiropractic adjustments, but also simple anti-gravity exercises such as using his own body weight for strength training and using his foot muscles more often by walking barefoot. Ever since then, Field has followed the protocol diligently, gaining overall strength in all areas of his life.
"When you look back on their previous live performances, they were doing a bit of live dancing. After chiropractic care and the prescribed exercise program I gave them, their shows advanced," Dr. Stoxen said.
Indeed, as Field got more fit and healthy, he hired more high-level gymnastic athletes and tumbling experts to work with the crew. The Wiggles went from the light dancing that was painful for Field in 2004 to advanced acrobatics, circus tricks and gymnastics.
"All of the chiropractors I have met have really helped me and if you listen to them they have a real way of helping you unlock the secrets of helping your body heal itself by not relying on drugs to do it. It took me a couple of years to learn where they were coming from," Field said.
These days, Dr. Stoxen said he is glad to see that Field is now in "the best shape of his life" and able to do more acrobatic acts during his performances with The Wiggles and be a true reflection of the benefits of the right chiropractic care.
"Not only does his health transcend to his personal life, but it also transcends into the kids watching the show that are inspired by his health and fitness, that is a positive message," said Stoxen. "It's truly inspiring to see the impact these entertainers have on children and parents around the world."
Sharing His Love of Chiropractic
As Field began his path to wellness, the results he was seeing prompted him to make chiropractic a family affair. Field's wife, who had suffered from a foot problem and was once slated for surgery, avoided it after receiving chiropractic treatment recommended by her husband.
"When my children were born, I took my wife and my babies straight to the chiropractor. They had their heads and necks aligned and that's how much we totally trust chiropractic," Field said. "It's been a good thing for our children and us."
Field's satisfaction with chiropractic also moved him to share it with the rest of The Wiggles cast: Sam Moran (Yellow Wiggle), Murray Cook (Red Wiggle) and Jeff Fatt (Purple Wiggle). He even introduced it to other cast members such as "Dorothy the Dinosaur" and "Wags the Dog," cast members who have to wear costumes all day that weigh heavy on their necks and backs.
Field said that when the cast did a tour of Northern America for six weeks, at least three times a week they would call on chiropractors to come and help them with adjustments on spines, ankles and anything else that was out of alignment. On tour, the chiropractors advise the cast what shoes were best to perform in as well as other tips for injury prevention. The cast now has chiropractors they call upon all over the world in places like Chicago, Sydney, California, China, England and New Zealand.
"It was such a quick fix for us, it's helped our whole cast heavily," Field said.
The Show Must Go On
Field said that these days, because he has reached an optimum level of health through chiropractic, he only receives chiropractic care for maintenance. "I see the chiropractor less than I used to because I am so much healthier and stronger. I go about once a month, I used to go three to four times a week when I first started getting treatments."
Field also enjoys bicycling on tour two hours a day and doing gymnastics, using all of the principles taught to him by chiropractors. It has been a long journey, but nevertheless one worth taking for Field.
"In the last eight years I have undergone a real transformation. I have gone from not being able to pick up my little babies because my back was hurting so much, to being pain free and totally drug free – no pain tablets and stuff like that. Just leading a very healthy life," Field said.
Field's health is one more reason to celebrate this year, a year in which he is also celebrating 22 years in show business with the Wiggles cast. The group's latest endeavors include recently recording a song about the weather with "Good Morning America's" Al Roker and former N'Sync member Joey Fatone. They are also gearing up for an Australian and North American tour.
"It's such a worthwhile job. It's not even a job really," Field said. "We are very thankful for what we are doing. We love it."
Field has also just released an autobiography that delves into the details of his path to wellness: How I Got My Wiggle Back. The book, he said, is his tribute to chiropractic for saving his life from a downward spiral.
"I feel like I can tell my story to teach people who have gone down the conventional path and I can say, 'Here is another way of getting there,'" said Field. "It's not a path you hear [about] as much, day to day; I think people should know it's always best to go the natural way."
Field said he credits chiropractic every day with helping him look forward to a sunny future. "The reason I am evangelistic about it (chiropractic) is because I feel so grateful and so thankful that chiropractors have taught me another way to live more healthful," Field said.