I'm Dr. Ryeder,
The Bone Witch D.C.
Licensed Chiropractic Physician &
Functional Medicine Practitioner
I am a purveyor of speculative touch.*
I use this to mean I will remain inquisitive. That the patient is the central location of the patient’s experiences and sensations and I am in service to that experience, to care for that person in their experience through skillful listening, space-holding, and touch.
I’m in deep mentorship, friendship, and relationship with the work of Aaron Johnson and the Grief to Action project and programming. Since before it’s conception I’ve been here learning from Aaron and shaping ideas of deep holding and centering Blackness with the tools I learned from chiropractic, partner & solo dance, cranial sacral, massage, and a 20-year breath & movement practice. One outcome of this is the elaboration on Aaron's concept of a touch plan, specifically through his life's work with The Chronically Undertouched Project.
A touch plan is a comprehensive care plan that blurs the lines between professional and casual care. It can be comprised of a pet or a piece of earth, a rock, a soft bed, a foot massage, a held hand. A touch plan can come from a walk around the block. It’s these small things that we do to be in touch with ourselves, to keep ourselves nourished, and sometimes that touch plan is being poked by an acupuncturist or being adjusted by a chiropractor. The touch plan is in service to the idea that "touch begins long before contact" and so am I.
And I’m here for you.
I am a touch specialist.
What Grief to Action's first Touch Specialist Training cohort has taught me is how powerful it can be to introduce a touch plan to people who barely regard touch at all outside of conventional partnerships, uninterrogated monogamy, and marriage. In many of these circumstances people are chronically undertouched as they await this utopian intimacy promised to them by these conventional stories. I am an interruption. Chiropractic is an interruption to this, but particularIy when I wield it. I am aware of my position as a purveyor of healing touch in these times after COVID-19 has ravaged the world and the chronically undertouched population has skyrocketed; I understand the impact that I can have — that holding the weight of someone’s head can have. I am aware of my propensity for deep holding and I intend to make the most of it.
I want to adjust you if that feels like it’s matching your body at that time. And I also want you to have a moment of pause to integrate what that means for your nervous system. I want to sit across from you and hold your hand and tend to the bones of your fingers while you tell me your story. And if it’s actually that job that you work that’s causing your back to feel that way and it’s not going to stop until you quit I’m going to be there to listen, because sometimes listening is the touch plan.
My work is interested in leaving you feeling cared for and loved.
*About speculative touch.
I started with speculative touch. It works for speculative fiction, redefining science fiction as "a text that forces its consumer to imagine (or speculate) on possibilities that do not fit in with their understanding of the world" (M. Haynes, 2022). Science fiction was the genre rooted in alternative realities but dominated by white men, meaning white male protagonists and unrealistic, incomplete roles and perspective for everybody else. Du Bois changed that with his piece, "The Comet" and it was 50 years before leaders like Octavia Butler were able to wedge themselves in and secret libraries for Black writers and readers sprouted up where they could learn about hidden Black lineages of writing and storytelling by prolific authors. Almost 130 years after the first designs of the chiropractic profession by D.D. Palmer, I am here to wedge myself and my approach into the white, male dominant profession with my designs in chiropractic plus+ and the power that speculation and curiosity can have on healing.