Aid to Far Reaches

Aid to far reaches - Local chiropractor discusses charitable journey to Tibet
(Top Photo) - Corleto helps a patient in Tibet. (Photo Contributed/Lou Corleto). (Bottom Photo) Lou Corleto with photos from his trip to Tibet. (Ron Campbell / Johnson City Press)

By Rex Barber
Press Staff Writer
rbarber@johnsoncitypress.com

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It takes time and patience to scale the bumpy Tibetan roads winding through the Himalayas.

But Lou Corleto and the chiropractors who travel with his organization AdJust World ascended those roads through the mountains, where some peaks are 15,000 feet, to bring relief and friendship to remote villages.

There are many charitable organizations in the country, but perhaps none as hands on as the one founded by Corleto, a Johnson City chiropractor.

Corleto, owner of Life Expressions, 207 W. Unaka Ave., provides the benefits of chiropractic methods to areas of the world where they are unavailable through his 501c3 nonprofit AdJust World.

Through that vehicle Corleto and many other chiropractors have traveled to Russia, Brazil, El Salvador, Japan, Argentina, Armenia, Serbia, India and Tibet, laying not only hands on patients, but also the foundations to relieve poverty and despair. Tibet was the trip Corleto and others took in July 2007 and it presented challenges both politically and geographically.

“When we first went, the original intention was to go into central Tibet, which is Lhasa, and that’s the home of the exiled Dalai Lama,” Corleto said recently. “Literally about three or four weeks before we went there was a few Americans and an exiled Tibetan who went back to protest the Olympics and what China (which rules Tibet) is doing in Tibet, so things didn’t go well with the protest and they pulled all the visas into central Tibet.

“So we ended up having to drive from western China up into eastern Tibet,” he said. “In doing so we ended up meeting various different towns and various different sectors of the Tibetan population and various different monasteries and orphanages as we got there.”

Corleto said the country is beautiful and the architecture of Tibet is astonishing, though 95 percent of the monasteries have been destroyed.

“The countryside is absolutely spectacular,” he said. “The people are amazing, especially with not only what they’ve been through but with what they’re still currently going through with the amount of trauma to their culture, to their people, to their family.

“Many of the folks are still living in the nomadic way. They’re in high altitude. They’re actually still in a lot of their tents and herding with the yaks.”

Corleto toured the largest monastery in Tibet, the Potala Palace. This was the place where Dali Lamas lived and were buried for centuries until Tibet was incorporated by China.

“We saw quite a few (monasteries), some that were still destroyed, some that were in the rebuilding process. And then a couple that were actually intact and functioning,” Corleto said.

In one of those functioning monasteries Corleto and some of his group met a monk who gave him a gift from the monastery library. It was a Tibetan book, which consisted of rectangular sheets of paper wrapped in yellow and red silk and then placed between two painted slats of wood. He was also given a piece of cloth that was draped around a 1,200-year-old Buddha statue. Each time he visited more monasteries, monks would write messages on some of the paper.

“And it’s true when you walk into the monasteries you see thousands of these stacked from the floor to ceiling, and that’s their recorded history.”

The real purpose of the trip, and the basis behind AdJust World, though, was the chiropractic aspect and relief work.

“ ... Mainly as chiropractors when we do that around the world, through AdJust World, we go to various towns and villages and just open up our tables and have somebody translate for a moment in time real gently what it is we’re here to offer and do,” Corleto said.

“And then when people feel that authenticity of where we’re coming from, (that) we’re not trying to do anything for them in the sense of charity but offer a service that can help improve their quality of life ... Once the tables open up, people just flock to them.”

In addition to chiropractic work, AdJust World helps set up sustainable living projects, such as greenhouses to grow food. The hope is that eventually the greenhouses will be self-sustaining and profitable enough for any proceeds to go toward bettering local communities. But that is only one example of AdJust World’s efforts.

“Like in Brazil and some other countries, giving women a skill who did not have a skill set,” Corleto said of another aspect of assistance. “It’s as simple as learning how to sew and have seamstress skills so they do not have to turn to prostituting themselves to make money to be able to feed their kids. It’s as simple, simple as that.”

AdJust World is planning another trip to Brazil in September and has a fundraiser scheduled for July 28 at Cafe Lola, 1805 N. Roan St., Suite B1. Tickets are available at $25 each. Corleto said he wants the event to create more awareness of AdJust World and raise needed funds for the trips, adding that each chiropractor pays their own way, including food and transportation costs.

“So all the proceeds generated that evening will go back into the expression of AdJust World to help people around the world,” he said.

The organization is growing, too. September’s trip to Brazil will include chiropractors from around the world – six from Japan, four from France, one each from Australia and New Zealand, several from Quebec and also from across the United States.

“There’s been a lot of people from around the world who’ve been impacted by the vision and offered their time and free service,” Corleto said.

For more information on the fundraiser, call 928-5652. To learn more about Corleto’s organization and its work, visit www.adjustworld.com.