Dr. Brian Hester and his wife Desiree Kretsch-Hester

Dr. Brian Hester and his wife Desiree Kretsch-Hester run Back to Health of Anthem, a wellness center that promotes healthy eating, exercise and offers chiropractic care as well as massage therapy.

People are living too short and they’re dying too long. 

Back to Health of Anthem’s co-founder, Brian Hester, said this because people work their whole lives to save for their big retirement plans, but won’t take the time to prioritize their health and ensure their own longevity. 

The cruel truth is none of these ambitious plans will matter if one loses their health and physical abilities before they reach age 65, Hester said. 

Many will go on to spend their last remaining years of their lives “spending all the money they’ve worked to save trying to regain the health that they’ve once lost.”

However, Back to Health of Anthem offers the resources for people to get their health on track before it’s too late. 

The wellness center’s team of specialists offers services like massage therapy, chiropractic care, nutritional coaching, lab analysis as well as a functional training center where “we help people get back to moving the way that they did when they were young.”

Back to Health of Anthem was founded in 2003 by Hester and his wife, Desiree Kretsch-Hester. The office is located near Anthem Way and Venture Drive and is open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday to Thursday and 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Fridays.

The wellness center focuses on whole food nutrition, encouraging patients to boost their immune system with consistent exercise and helping people manage stress levels and idle thoughts. 

Back to Health of Anthem sets itself apart from other businesses by offering specific, detailed analyses and scores on people’s current habits to help determine where their journey to health starts. 

The bioimpedance analysis measures lean body mass, body fat, visceral fat and hydration levels.

The wellness center also offers patients customized wellness scores, which examines over 30 different touch points of physiology. 

The wellness scores are ranked on a graded system from A to F with an A score showing ideal health and an F score determining some extra efforts may be in order to get on the right track to wellness. 

When the wellness score doesn’t reflect one’s level of commitment to their health, “people start having hard truths and we start talking about conversations that have needed to happen,” he said.

Hester, the wellness center’s sole chiropractor, said examining these areas as well as overall lifestyle habits helps to teach and encourage patients to make “health care deposits” so their bodies experience less pain and dysfunction.

He added “pain is simply a result of dysfunction.”

In 2015, Back to Health of Anthem started a program called Eight Weeks to Wellness. Patients who are part of the two-month program receive a structured eating plan and come into the facility three times a week for exercise, twice a week for chiropractic care and once a week for a massage.

Hester said Back to Health of Anthem is the only office in Arizona that facilitates this program.

It’s important to develop and maintain healthy habits because “when it comes to health, we’ve been trained and conditioned that we just wait for a crisis to happen.”

“We want to spend more time focusing on health care deposits when we’re asymptomatic and not sick, because if we do that, then it allows our body to self-regulate and heal itself, so we never get into that crisis point.”

Many doctors rely on medications and surgery, rather than addressing the root of the problem, Hester said. 

“The reality is people are seeking answers to their health, but the only thing they’ve been given is a pill to basically mask a symptom.”

Medications often don’t do anything to solve the problem, “It just simply shifts the target,” he explained. 

This prompted Hester to dedicate his life to helping people create effective, long term strategies to maintain their health, he said.

Back to Health of Anthem serves and builds relationships with residents within its own community as well as patients across the Valley and holds a “good reputation” as many patients refer others after seeing success, Hester said. 

Back to Health of Anthem’s operations were halted as the pandemic began to spread its course, forcing it to shut down for four weeks. 

However, since then, “we’ve been busier than ever,” he said. 

Hester explained how the pandemic’s rising death toll has scared people and forced many to come to the realization that they have been neglecting their health. 

“We’re at a critical point in society where there’s no shortage of sick people,” Hester said. “People are unhealthier now than they’ve ever been, and people want what we have because they can’t figure it out on their own.”

Back to Health of Anthem strives to build a community that allows people to not only be supported but encouraged on their journey to health and wellness. 

Hester said his favorite part of his job is seeing the camaraderie and encouragement within each interaction.

“Everybody wants to belong to something, so why not belong to something that adds value and adds worth, but will also increase your quality of life long-term?” 

Helping people achieve good nutritional and exercise habits not only “lessens the burden on our health care system” but it also allows them to have a better quality of life, Hester said.

The wellness center connects with the community by giving back to charitable causes and hosting community events like group hikes. Hester and a group of 25 people are training to hike both rims of the Grand Canyon in a day, Hester said. 

Back to Health of Anthem recently started teaching about Tower Gardens by Juice Plus, an aeroponic gardening technique that allows one to grow a full head of lettuce within a few weeks. 

People can save money and eat well by growing herbs, lettuce, bell peppers, cilantro, jalapenos and a long list of other foods year-round with this technique. 

There’s no soil involved, and it requires almost zero maintenance as it waters itself every 5 minutes. It also has an LED light attached to provide light to the plants.

The wellness center has a tower garden in its office, which it uses as a teaching tool and a way to provide healthy food for patients. 

“People come and take lettuce for their salad for the evening,” he said. “There’s always food there for people that want to snack.”

Back to Health of Anthem has a lot of “big ideas” to extend its outreach to the community, Hester said. 

He added he is in the process of establishing a weekly podcast to communicate his ideas and provide useful information on “things that really matter.”

“My goal and my passion are really trying to connect people with their reality and allowing them to get the most out of their life. Not just on the health side of things, but also with the quality of their relationships, making good financial investments in themselves and then more importantly–being able to make their lifestyle choices based on what they want to do, not what they’re limited by.” 

—Staff writer Sarah Donahue can be reached at sdonahue@timespublications.com