August 13, 2022

Monthly Tales from the Garden
By MAYA PARK
Asian Media Access

Juneau and Anika Robbins
Dr. Juneau and Anika Robbins. (AMA photo)

MINNEAPOLIS (Jan. 4, 2015) — How can an area retreat center become a source of light for engaging the neighborhood to exercise more? Here comes the Robbins Urban Wellness Retreat — a haven for health in North Minneapolis.

Right in our own neighborhood, Dr. Juneau Robbins has been practicing for 19 years. He runs the center with his wife, Anika, who is a licensed cosmetologist, and provides beauty and wellness services and education. He was the third practicing African American chiropractor in the Twin Cities, and he could have started anywhere, so why North Minneapolis? 

“When I first graduated, this was the community I wanted to serve,” Robbins said. “I’m of the philosophy that people relate most comfortably to people who are similar to them. We offer a country doctor feel, in an urban environment, with chiropractic treatments and massage services available on, and off-site — we also provide beauty & wellness services in a warm, nurturing environment with superb service!”

The Robbins Urban Wellness Retreat Center embodies the philosophy of Bicultural Active Living Lifestyle, and its holistic approach to living and healing.  It is just as much about preventative medicine, as it is dealing with symptoms and healing. 

As Dr. Robbins explains, “Chiropractic treatment is holistic healing and with it, we help the body heal itself by removing interferences from the body that are prohibitive of people healing. It affects the nervous system and aligns the spine that is largely connected with the nervous system and immune system.”

In addition, the center focuses on wellness: their preventative piece as to how to live a healthy lifestyle so as not to get sick in the first place. Many of the illnesses that plague the African American community are diabetes, obesity, and cardio-vascular illnesses. Dr. Robbins recognizes that these illnesses are related to the lack of discipline towards eating right, exercising, as well as the proper amount of rest.

The center has worked to develop partnerships with other organizations in the community, in order to reach more people.  Dr. Robbins and his team host seminars on one side of the building in addition to the chiropractic services, while on the other side is the Robbins-Wellness retreat.  There they collaborate with the University of Minnesota’s Program in Health Diversity Research, and “once a month we try to host a major talk.  Weekly we have smaller discussions about more specific wellness techniques.”   

Is there anything that you are particularly proud of that you can share?

“I’ve never thought of that before.  I am proud of the fact that we’ve been in the community, serving the community, for nearly two decades.” 

Have you seen your presence affecting the people and community?

“The partnerships that have been formed have brought different resources into the community, and there’s been a huge uptake in the wellness efforts within the community with other organizations. 

It raises consciousness that there are choices.  People are realizing that their healthcare doesn’t have to be reactionary, but preventative.  Medical science can keep you around a long time through pills, but we seek quality of life rather than just sustaining life.”

According to Dr. Robbins, the medical field has a healthcare “generational gap.” Once the minds of those in the field are opened, changed, or we experience a changing of the guards, the field can be opened up to alternative techniques and methods. 

The ship, Dr. Robbins explains, has a rudder to change the course, but it is a very big ship.  Therefore, the change is very gradual. “It’s turning,” he says “but it’s not going to be turned on a dime.” His center is working to integrate technology as a way to spread awareness and educate. If the people are aware of their options, they can then influence the change as well. We need to continue to work towards integrating more preventative measures into our insurance benefits. We need to evolve the “medical model.”

Bicultural Active Living Lifestyle is all about influencing the “medical model.” Until the ship turns, keep tapping in to our newsletters, websites, and events! 

The Monthly Tales from the Garden project is supported by Asian Media Access’ Bicultural Active Living Lifestyle (BALL) Equity Campaign, with funding support from the Centers for Disease Control’s Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health (REACH) Initiative.

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