Patient Media

Implementing the Wellness Wheel

Wellness care is much more than regular, nonsymptomatic chiropractic adjustments! Certainly that’s a great start, but there’s so much more. True wellness represents wholeness and well-being in seven different areas. The Wellness Wheel is just a creative way of displaying the results of seven different continuums:

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The Patient Media Wellness Wheel broadens the patient's understanding and impact of these seven factors.

Wellness is largely a subjective matter. And while there are many technologies that can take a snapshot of our physical well-being, whether it be one’s heart rate variability, cholesterol and triglyceride levels, resting heart rate—that sort of thing, it’s unlikely that there will be an objective measurement of one’s social well-being, connection with God or our sense of ease about our finances!

But that’s okay. It just means that our wellness self-assessment is likely to be a bit more dynamic. And that’s where the Wellness Wheel shines! It supplies a way to take a “snapshot” of a patient’s perceptions and a direction for personal development, with you as the coach—guiding, directing and leading interested patients.

And it all starts on the first visit.

First Visit

One strategy is to include a copy of the Wellness Wheel with your admitting paperwork, instructing patients to darken-in the numbered bubbles between 1 (poor) and 10 (optimum) based on their perceived health in the seven different areas.

"So that we have a baseline of your overall health, the doctor would like you to evaluate yourself one a scale of 1 to 10 in these seven areas."

Since a few patients, especially those who thought they were consulting a “back doctor,” might be reluctant to reveal their financial or spiritual health. So the front desk assistant might want to frame the request something like this:

“Since we specialize in wellness, not just headaches and back pain, as you begin care, the doctor would like to have an idea of how you perceive your overall health in seven different areas. Just darken-in the numbered bubbles between 1 and 10.”

If you find this approach still produces patient resistance, some offices review the Wellness Wheel at the consultation and have the patient complete it then.

Report of Findings - Weakest Link

At or before your patient report, use a red pen to draw a concentric circle that encompasses the darkened numbered bubble with the lowest number. Label that circle: Personal Effectiveness. Explain that true health is a constellation of many factors, not just physical well-being. Remind patients that we tend to be held back by our weakest link, “...and in your case that appears to be in the _____ area. Would you be willing to share with me what might be going on?”

If one spoke is drastically lower than the others, connect-the-dots and observe how " rolls along smoothly until we hit a dip in the road and get stuck!"

Report of Findings - Health Quotient

Assign a number to their current health status by adding up the numerical values of all the darkened dots (i.e. "46") or the percentage based on the perfect score of 70 (i.e. "64%"). Enter this number or percentage below their name and date. The key is to help enlarge the patient's understanding of health and provide direction for addressing other areas that could improve their overall health potential.

Progress Examination

On the visit before each progress examination, supply a fresh copy of the Wellness Wheel for the patient to complete as before. (They will have long forgotten how they completed the initial survey, providing an opportunity to explore what’s better, what’s worse and what hasn’t changed.) There are only three possibilities. Be prepared to discuss each one:

The Numbers Seem Better. Naturally, this is a good thing. Remind patients how the nervous system—the focus of their chiropractic care—is the key to better health. Since we live our lives through our nervous system, better nervous system, better life. Explore the least developed spoke, offer suggestions for enhancement and urge the patient set some goals in this area.

The Numbers Seem Worse. At first glance, if their subjective evaluation of their overall health is worse, this would seem unhelpful in affirming their continued commitment to chiropractic. But numbers that are worse probably means that you’ve taken a snapshot of their health in the midst of their re-organization. You can explain it to patients this way:

“If you’ve were to clean out a closet or your garage and someone were to stop by midway through the process, things would probably look like a disaster. That’s probably what’s going on here. Your body is in the process of making changes, so at the moment things look a little chaotic. My guess is next time we should start seeing some improvements”

The Numbers Haven’t Changed. Turns out, the least helpful pattern is when the numbers don’t change. Fortunately, it’s the least likely pattern and means something needs to change. Either, your approach, in terms of visit frequency or what you’re doing on those visits, or what patients are doing or more likely not doing outside the office to support their recovery. This is an excellent time to review the 10 Ways to Help Us Help You handout.


Mail a copy of the Wellness Wheel to patients on their birthday or at New Year's Resolution time. Include a letter explaining how to use the tool for self-evaluation and goal setting. Remind patients that true health is based on an optimally functioning nervous system and remind them of the value of a chiropractic checkup.

Here's a starting point for a more general cover letter:

Dear (Patient)

These days, it's in the news all the time. It's the growing interest in what's called "wellness." We at the ABC Chiropractic Centre are on the forefront of this new way of looking at health.

Wellness is being fully optimized in the seven dimensions of life, physically, financially, family, socially, career, spiritual and mentally. We represent this as seven spokes in a wheel.

The foundation of true wellness is an optimally functioning nervous system. We find that when the spine and nervous system is working better, it tends to improve every other aspect of one's life.

I've enclosed a copy of a new tool we're using in our office to assess each practice member's overall wellness. I urge you to give some thought to your health in these seven areas. As you do, I encourage you to drop in for a chiropractic checkup and help us help you be the best you that you can be!

Yours in health,

One Last Thing

Just because a patient reveals a weakness in say, the financial spoke, doesn't mean it's your responsibility to find a new job or set a budget! Instead, see yourself as a concierge, directing patients to books, CDs, websites, specialists and other resources that can help them take their health to the next level.

Wellness Wheel Assessment Handout
8½" X 11"
Pads of 50
$18 (+4 at $15 each)

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