Wake County

Life stories: Raleigh’s Baron Holt known as a faithful healer

Dr. Baron Holt in London during 2012 Olympics.
Dr. Baron Holt in London during 2012 Olympics.

Chiropractor Baron Holt saw Nancy Carter Moore after she had struggled with back pain for 14 years.

In her mid-50s, Moore had a career that challenged her intellect but kept her sedentary and had gained weight. A non-judgmental person, Holt was different from the other chiropractors and doctors she’d tried.

“He was an exceptional person because of his skill, but more than his skill as a chiropractor, he made people feel included,” Carter Moore said.

He looked her in the eye, shook her hand and welcomed her to his practice, offering no lectures about her health, innuendo about her weight, or shame about her lack of activity. Oh, and he healed her back — along with a number of other ailments.

Holt’s practice, Revolution Chiropractic, had just celebrated its fifth anniversary this year. Highly fit at 33, he was deeply connected to his Christian faith, and his career as a Triangle practitioner was booming.

In 2012, he traveled to London to work with the U.S. Olympic team, and could count Ultimate Fighting Championship athletes among the 500 patients his practice saw each week, said Brigitte Spurgeon, friend and Revolution Chiropractic clinical director.

His UFC clients valued his prowess as a practitioner, as well as his enthusiasm and support of their sport and interest in them as people.

“He was a very genuine, down to earth, caring, passionate gentleman – very passionate about his work as a chiropractor and very intrigued with life and the adventures it has to offer,” said Raquel Pennington, a top-ranked bantamweight UFC fighter. “I will forever hold onto his faith and belief in me and the words he would tell me before I entered the cage.”

Active and spiritual

His unexpected death last month while on a trip to Jacksonville, Fla. has been a blow to his family and the community he’d created through his work. Though he had been struggling with recent health issues, none were thought to be life threatening by loved ones. His family is awaiting the results from an autopsy report.

His mother, Janis Dixon, said Holt had gone to Florida in order to seek correction for his own spine. “He knew he had to take care of himself to take care of others,” she said.

Holt was born and reared in Tennessee, one of three sons. He was both active and spiritual from childhood, his mother said. Football and baseball received as much attention as did church services and youth activities. Raised as an Episcopalian, he converted to the Baptist faith as a teen. In Raleigh, he was a member of Summit Church.

Holt’s interest in spinal corrections was sparked by a cousin, a practicing chiropractor nearby. Holt studied biology at a small college in Tennessee before heading for the Palmer College of Chiropractic in Florida in 2006.

Holt appreciated the teachings and philosophies of chiropractors Ben Lerner and Greg Loman, who founded the Maximized Living corporation to spread their message of the benefits of spinal correction, as well as general wellness practices. Holt incorporated his practice, Revolution Chiropractic in 2010, with Maximized Living as a parent company. Holt took a holistic approach to treatment; he and his staff taught classes on nutrition, exercise, even aromatherapy.

“He was really giving people an opportunity to change their lives on many different levels,” Carter Moore said.

‘Like the foundation’

Maximized Living handled care for the United States wrestling, judo, and weightlifting teams, and Holt was recruited to travel to London for the 2012 Olympic games.

“We have to make sure the pelvis is lined up. It’s like the foundation to a house,” Holt told WRAL in an interview prior to his trip. “Their brain, spinal cord, their central nervous system controls everything else in the body. Whether it’s coordination, their focus, their body’s ability to heal, we have to make sure everything is firing on all cylinders.”

Holt’s Christian faith was so much a part of his identity that he freely incorporated it into his work environment. Patients were as likely to hear Christian rock on the office’s speakers as Bob Marley, and Bibles were often available for the taking in the lobby.

Yet he never forced his faith on anyone, said Spurgeon, who also attends Summit Church. Holt’s priority was encouraging self-care and wellness in his patients.

Following his death, a fund has been set up at SunTrust Bank to help patients in need of financial assistance. The last thing Holt ever wanted was for anyone to have his or her health compromised due to lack of finances.

“He worked with people financially,” Carter Moore said. “He was not going to turn you away.”

Baron Gabel Holt

Born: Aug. 29, 1981, in Morristown, Tenn.

Family: One daughter, Haley.

Education: Graduated 2005 from Carson-Newman University in Jefferson City, Tenn., with a degree in biology. Attended Palmer College of Chiropractic in Port Orange, Fla. in 2006.

Career: Founded Revolution Chiropractic in Raleigh in 2010, a Maximized Living Health Center.

Died: June 21, in Jacksonville, Fla.