Tucked away in a modest office building on Meadowland Drive in Hillsborough sits the Health Center of Hillsborough.
When you step into the lobby, a front desk sits a few yards in front of you. In the corner of the waiting room are three soft-seated chairs with pillows to support the patient’s back. On a bulletin board to the right of the front desk hangs pictures of the employees that make up the operation at the clinic.
But the man whose picture sits in the top left corner of that board would describe this collective unit of people as more than just coworkers. To him, they are a family. That man, who in the picture is dressed in a maroon button down shirt and colored tie, wearing glasses and a soft smile, is Dr. Paul Aaron. The picture does not do the man justice, however, as one might learn after sitting with him for an hour. Aaron is always thinking. As he is halfway through explaining one concept, he’s already jumping to the next. At 78 years old, he looks younger than his age, and is full of energy, getting up one minute to mimic an exercise, the next moment sitting back down in his chair. The gears always seem to be turning in his head, as he explains the many techniques that the employees of his clinic provide for the citizens of Hillsborough.
Aaron tells many stories—about his life, and his work—but the one that placed him on his journey to where he is today, as a Doctor of Chiropractic and Acupuncture who has worked in Hillsborough since 1994, started about 53 years ago in an area not too far from where he is now.
‘Getting hit by a bus’
In 1966, Aaron was just 26 years old, taking time off from his enrollment at Duke University Medical College. During that time, he was teaching music at a Job Core Center. One day, while he was in the back of his car near the building, getting manuscripts from his backseat, a bus for the Center came off the road and through a field.
The bus struck the back of Aaron’s car, knocking him through the backseat and into the door on the other side of the vehicle. The impact knocked him out.
“I ended up the next five years pretty much in rehab hospitals, not staying over, but all day,” Aaron said.
Although he received treatment all throughout that time, nothing seemed to help. Then one day, someone suggested to Aaron that he go see a chiropractor.
He listened to the advice and went. Seeing the chiropractor helped Aaron feel better. So instead of returning to medical school years later, he enrolled at Logan College of Chiropractic.
When Aaron was at the school, two developments occurred that helped his love grow.
During his first year at the school, Aaron met Dr. Hanicke, a local chiropractor who invited Aaron to be his intern for four years.
“I was just amazed that I got that position, but it meant that I had additional learning beyond what was being taught in school,” Aaron said.
As a former president of the International College of Applied Kinesiology, Hanicke was able to help Aaron take 10 free seminars to get his own certification in Applied Kinesiology.
The second development took place when a doctor came to speak at the college about a field called Craniopathy, which often deals with headaches, concussions and jaw issues.
The doctor spoke to students at the college about a child, who was dealing with head injuries. With the doctor’s help, the child became cured very quickly, and Aaron was captivated by his work.
“I was so impressed that I actually began studying with him and the leader of that field, who, the two of them became my mentors for many years,” Aaron said.
Whether it was going to see a chiropractor to cure his back pain, or being taken under the wing of respected professionals in the medical field, Aaron seemed destined on a path that would take him to where he is today, working with countless techniques including Craniopathy, acupunctures, extremities, rehabilitation, cold laser therapy, and so much more.
‘A loving family’
To get a sense of the kind of person Aaron is, you must know how he feels about people and the value he places in human relationships.
When you walk into his office, he quickly introduces you to his staff, whether it’s his daughter who works with him at the clinic, or one of the other staff members that he considers a part of his big family.
“When I walk into the office, it’s like walking into a loving family,” Aaron said. “Everybody is so kind and generous with each other in trying to make sure the patients are a part of that. You really feel good when you’re around people that you love.”
Cold laser therapy is a newer technology that Aaron brought into his office. Though becoming more popular in the medical world, Aaron was hesitant to utilize it because he wasn’t sure it would be the best product for his patients.
Aaron did his research and finally found a laser offered from Erchonia, a company he trusts. The company had done 16 double-blind studies, a study where neither the participant nor administer of the test knows who is receiving treatment, cleared by the Federal Drug Administration.
He wanted to make sure the company had a product that was right for his patients. It’s why Aaron strives to work with companies that he trusts. His philosophy is when a company treats their clients and partners with respect and kindness, it means that their products and interactions are also at a safer and more caring level.
Aaron wants patients to feel part of a welcoming atmosphere, and he doesn’t want financial hardships to discourage those who need help.
“My philosophy is that finances should never get in the way of health care, so if somebody has a problem, we figure out a way to do that,” Aaron said. “Whether using a true hardship like a tax report or something like that, or just finding some way of making sure that they can get service. Sometimes we give away service totally free.”
It’s a philosophy Aaron picked up from his father as a child. Sitting in an office in the corner of the Health Center, his eyes well up and his voice momentarily strains as he recalls a time when his father, who ran a family plumbing and heating supply company, caught one of his workers stealing money because his wife was sick and the family didn’t have enough money to support her.
Aaron’s father visited the employee in jail and what he said to the employee stuck with Aaron.
“Take care of yourself in here, and when you get out, you’re coming back to work,” Aaron recalls his father saying.
Aaron has based his opinion on money and generosity from his father’s teaching. He wants to help people, and he doesn’t want them to be weighed down by financial limitations.
Whether a patient is rich or poor, old or young, Aaron wants to help them. He will welcome them into his office, walk up to them with a smile, and likely introduce them to his staff. Maybe he will even recount a story from his past that quickly allows the patient to familiarize with him before providing the person with information about his talented staff.
Because Aaron wants the patient to be able to connect with him as easily as he does with so many people around him. He wants them to know that they are in good hands with not just him, but with his entire office family.