That was Oslivea Borquez’s reaction when she first walked into her chiropractor’s new digs in Gilbert.
Instead of being boxed in by four clinical walls, Borquez greeted a Tuscan garden replete with a mural of Italy, lemon trees, fig trees, grape vines and wine barrel planters with flowers.
“I love it because you are out in the opening, especially in these beautiful mornings,” said the Mesa resident, who goes in for weekly adjustments to her back. “I wished I had a yard like that and with the pool, it’s refreshing.”
Chiropractor Lynn Pangburn opened Chiro Al Fresco in September after she had been laid off twice that year due to the pandemic. Pangburn said her new business model of offering her services outdoors is COVID-proof.
Her first layoff came in March when the office she worked for couldn’t get enough masks and the second came a few months later at another practice.
“The numbers were skyrocketing in Arizona and people didn’t feel safe going to a medical office,” Pangburn recalled.
Chiropractic care was deemed essential and allowed to stay open during the COVID-19 lockdowns by the governor.
Pangburn, who has been practicing for 16 years, sat on her couch looking for work when former patients soon found her phone number and began calling her for help.
She told them she had an adjusting table and why don’t they come by her house and they did.
She opted for her backyard, knowing that the virus can remain in the air for up to three hours.
Although being outdoors with the fresh air constantly moving, dispersing any droplets, Pangburn still requires masks and she sanitizes after each patient.
While people are increasing getting vaccinated against the virus, Pangburn, who has also been vaccinated, has no intentions of moving her open-air practice indoors.
“People love coming here, it’s like coming to a resort,” she said.
At night the entire backyard is lit up by solar TIKI torches and when the temperatures heat up, there are “high-power misters around the entire area so when it’s 120, it’s only 80 degrees,” she said.
She has also expanded her business to include massages.
The two areas are under a patio roof with privacy curtains.
Pangburn charges $60 for a first exam with an adjustment and afterward $45. She takes cash, checks and Venmo and does not bill insurances.
Borquez has been going to Pangburn off and on for about seven years.
“As soon as I found her, I loved her,” Borquez said. “I’ve had back problems for years and years and she was the only one who has been able to help.”
Borquez was a Circle K zone manager when she injured her back lifting up a case of beer.
Upkeep is minimal for her Mediterranean garden, needing the occasional hand-watering of plants by the massage area and vacuuming of leaves from the artificial turf after a windy day, Pangburn said.
Besides getting either an adjustment or massage, patients are sometimes sent home with lemons or a Ziploc bag of thyme, sage and basil from Pangburn’s garden.
“This is working great,” Pangburn said. “People love it. It’s nice and cool and comforting and it’s absolutely breathtaking.”
About her practice
Where: 1563 S. Gibson St. Gilbert
Hours: Open 24 hours
Health & safety: Appointment required · mask required, staff wears masks and is required to disinfect surfaces between visits.