For 20 years, Dr. Jill Unwin has been trying to help patients live healthier lives.

In those two decades, the name, services offered and location may have changed, but the mission she started with has not.

“We always try to be as supportive as possible for each individual, but ultimately it’s up to (them),” she said. “We can’t do the work for them, but we can encourage them.”

Unwin began receiving chiropractic treatments as a child around the age of 10, after watching her mother receive adjustments for as long as she could remember.

It was the improvements Unwin saw in her own health and well-being that really pushed her toward pursuing chiropractic care as a career.

“I was lucky enough to be exposed to chiropractic (care) as a child,” she said. “Obviously I loved my chiropractor ... I wanted to work in a healthcare industry, and I wanted to have my own business, and it was just a perfect fit.”

She started the company in 1999, with the help of Chiropractic Care Center, whose goal was to get an office up and running in Verona. At the time, Unwin had been looking for an associateship with an established chiropractor company in the Madison area, but she couldn’t pass up the opportunity to start her own practice in a “risk-free” way.

“Their goal was to get a new chiropractor up and running, build their own practice without all the risk that a new doctor would have starting out on their own,” she said. “A little bit of a safety net, so to speak.”

Unwin later purchased her practice from Chiropractic Care Center and changed the name.

She expanded the practice in 2006, bringing her husband Lee in as a fitness instructor and massage therapist. He had previously worked at the West Madison YCMA, where he led the fitness classes.

Lee, who has an exercise physiology degree, went back to school to become a board-certified massage therapist.

“We really wanted a way to sort of meld our expertise to help individuals be healthier and more active,” she said.

Less than 10 years later, in 2015, the duo expanded their space into their current facility at 102 N. Franklin St., just around the corner from their spot in a former Masonic Lodge building. The additional space allowed for two more treatment rooms and a fitness facility in the basement that allows patients to take fitness classes or get one-on-one training from Lee that complements the adjustments being done by Jill upstairs.

During adjustment sessions, Jill said she also provides nutritional guidance that’s in line with how she’s aligns with the patient’s treatment.

In the last two decades, the pair has had to adjust to the industry and stay current with new chiropractic and fitness needs. The idea of chiropractic care has become more common as an alternative to medicine for pain relief and other ailments, and loses the “taboo” mindset from the past, she said.

“Unfortunately we’ve always battled being accepted as an occupation, which, as chiropractors, it’s hard to swallow,” she said. “I do think it’s becoming more and more mainstream … it’s more mainstream as utilizing it as a part of your lifestyle.”

In the next 20 years, she said, she wants to see the practice grow – whether she’s reached retirement or not – while maintaining “quality, personal service” to serve patients’ healthcare needs.

“Like you should have a dentist, you should have a chiropractor as a part of your healthcare team,” Unwin said.

Email reporter Kimberly Wethal at kimberly.wethal@wcinet.com and follow her on Twitter @kimberly_wethal.