The first chiropractic seminar I attended was in January of 1981 as I was doing research for what became the profession’s first patient education videos.
I still remember a huge insight from that three-day Renaissance seminar: the nervous system is the master system that controls and regulates every cell, tissue, organ and system of the body.
You know this. In fact you probably take it for granted. But trust me, most patients have never heard this essential, dot-connecting piece of information.
More troubling is the other takeaway I gleaned 31 years ago on the second floor of the Davenport Hotel in Spokane, Washington: the nervous system is responsible for our ability to adapt to the environment. Again. I know. Obvious. But rarely are patients presented with this simple physiological precept in a chiropractic practice.
The reason I bring this up is to ask this. Have you adapted your practice to chiropractic and its principles, or do you attempt to practice by making chiropractic adapt to you?
I’ve noticed that practitioners who attempt to impose their own vision of chiropractic onto patients are often the ones who struggle. Conversely, those who accept chiropractic principles and adapt their practices and patient explanations to reflect its simplicity, seem to have the most influence, fun, income and all the other metrics of success.
Projecting one’s own vision of chiropractic onto the practice, picking and choosing what aspects of chiropractic to revere and which ones to ignore, is costly. Sometimes this is merely the result of not knowing what chiropractic is. Many chiropractors emerge from chiropractic college with the medical education of a spinal therapist; a spine fixer who knows how to “do” chiropractic.
Here’s the deal. Either you’ll practice chiropractic or you’ll practice a brand of medicine, a subspecialty that is chiropractic in name only.
In other words, you will either help revive the patient’s life force and invoke his or her healing potential (chiropractic) and make sure every patient understands it, or you will meet up with patients in your treatment rooms and use your spinal adjustments to treat various aches, pains and conditions (medicine). Granted, either way you can profoundly help people and add tremendous value to their lives.
However, if you practice chiropractic medicine, accidentally or on purpose, you won’t enjoy the benefits of having a chiropractic practice. Instead, you’ll have a series of short-term patient relationships, heroically treating symptoms and basking in the temporary adoration of appreciative patients who immediately leave. Nice, but you’ll have a voracious appetite for new patients without the validation, social proof and marketing channels enjoyed by medical doctors.
Conversely, the practice of chiropractic in which your intent (and the patient’s understanding) is to revive their self-healing abilities, giving them credit (or blame) for their recovery (and its pace), comes with some nice perks:
1. You’ll only be responsible for that which you are able to respond. In other words, you won’t take on burdens which are not yours, such as whether they heal, how quickly they heal, what they do when not in your practice and countless other energy-sapping anxieties for which you have no control. Practice becomes lighter and more fun. You become more attractive.
2. You’ll enjoy deeper, more intimate relationships since they will extend beyond the 6-12 visits necessary for patients to see their most superficial symptoms resolve. Moreover, as patients come to truly “get” chiropractic, their families will join them. You’ll enjoy the “juice” of creating a legacy in which you enhance generations of individuals.
3. You’ll have what is largely a stable, dependable cash practice. Practice members who “get” chiropractic, will understand the three causes of subluxation, and those who value themselves and their health and who want to be all that they can be, will look beyond the meager coverage of their insurance carrier. As they do when reaching into their pocket or purse to pay extra for organic produce, hormone-free milk, grass-fed beef and cage-free poultry.
4. You’ll be able to take vacations. Gone, will be the worry about whether you’ll have a practice when you return. Instead, your “tribe” of practice members will be able to schedule their maintenance/wellness visits around your nine-day vacations, anxious to hear about them upon your return.
Does this come with the obligation to install crystal clear boundaries and implement impeccable communication strategies? Absolutely. And it starts by acknowledging the distinction between chiropractic and medicine. Each has its place. One tries to adapt the environment to fit the individual (medicine) and the other empowers the individual to better adapt to the environment (chiropractic).
Sadly, these days most patients look for an outside-in medical solution before consulting a chiropractor. By the time they get your practice they want something different. So be different. Be a chiropractor. And explain how that even in the shadow of medicine, without the support of the vast drug industry, while being misunderstood and maligned, chiropractic has continued to thrive and produce extraordinary results by simply trusting in and reviving the body’s wisdom to heal itself.
Adapt your practice to that and watch it absolutely take off!