Chiropractic coaching to provide healthy lifestyle solutions to patients seeking whole-body wellness
As COVID-19 ripped holes in our social fabric, patients became increasingly confused and angry with our current health care model. Chiropractic coaching and the industry’s position on the fringe of this model must be positively leveraged to seize a golden opportunity. Let’s walk through this social tear and provide our battered and beaten health care consumers an entirely new low-cost, lifestyle-based chronic disease model.
As Buckminster Fuller said, “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”
Declining U.S. health
Unfortunately, patients had valid reasons to lose trust. CEOWorld Magazine ranked the U.S. 30th overall in quality of health care. Plus, the 2021 Commonwealth Fund rates U.S. health care the worst for a high-income country in the world when addressing chronic disease. This failure is compounded by 60% of U.S. adults living with one chronic disease and 40% enduring two or more, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Chiropractors can seize this opportunity to build a new model by doing three things:
- Make creating a healthy lifestyle easy.
- Provide ongoing, nurturing support and chiropractic coaching that is both personalized and affordable.
- Provide research-based online advice leading to in-person consultations as local chiropractors become the “trusted authority” on healthy lifestyle.
This new model could be immediately implemented in every chiropractic office, regardless of technique, philosophy or geographic area. This new healthy lifestyle-based model is called “inflammunity.” “Inflammunity” is the homeostasis between your inflammation and immune response. Recent advances in functional immunology make this balance the center of all healing interventions to look better, feel better and live longer. Simply put, inflammation and the immune system are controlled by lifestyle.
Chiropractic coaching and the three components of healthy lifestyle
The inflammunity model boils healthy lifestyle into three real-life components: stress, food and trash.
Each component can be manipulated mentally, chemically and physically. Educating people about their health using this common language leads to empowerment. People desperately want to take control of their own health, but nobody has provided them the means to do that, until now.
Stress — It’s everywhere. People recognize this word but can’t explain what it is. We break stress down into four simple parts: Heal the Brain, Calm the Nerves, Build Cell Power, and Heal Glands/Organs. Each of these parts is explained in simple terms. Once you provide patients with a reasonable explanation of how you can help them build a healthy lifestyle to tame their stress, they are much more likely to stay engaged.
Food — It has been the most neglected healthy lifestyle tool in history. Since the 1890s, our food supply has been manipulated and destroyed. Our profession understands this better than any other profession. It’s now our job to tell this story and use food as medicine. Every bite counts. We explain food with four simple parts: Digestion, Good Bugs, Kill Bad Bugs, and Heal Leaky Gut.
Trash — The final component of the “inflammunity” healthy lifestyle triangle. Keeping ideas simple leads to a better understanding and nurtures seamless adoption of new behaviors. The four parts of trash are: Strengthen Blood/Circulation, Increase Metabolism/Detox, Decrease Trash Production, and Increase Trash Removal.
Empower your patients
“Inflammunity” is designed through chiropractic coaching to empower each patient to become their own health care provider. This do-it-yourself approach uses spaced repetition to personalize their healthy lifestyle journey. Every person moves toward health from a different viewpoint. Shouldn’t health care provide personalized guidance based on their own health experience to maximize motivation?
But how do patients become and remain self-motivated? Program adherence has been studied extensively, but new research has simplified adherence into five basic elements: realistic cost, multiple communication styles, patient readiness, using a staged interventional approach and streamlining care. The inflammunity model incorporates all five elements, providing the best odds of keeping someone engaged, moving toward health and away from chronic disease.
Spaced repetition of relevant educational content allows different communication offerings to nurture them based on their current health challenge. This education is done without fear, shame or guilt. Effective pre-education must be provided to build trust, describing both pros and cons of the approach before any further commitment should be suggested.
Once patients reach a certain level of awareness of their health problems, they will be compelled to uncover their own current health status. Now aware of the extent of their health, they must decide if their current health status is acceptable to them or not. If it’s unacceptable, the next step is to specifically identify what’s unacceptable about it.
Why is it unacceptable? The most common reason is their current health is interfering with their daily activities. The greater the interference, the greater the need for change. Therefore, they must honestly grade their activity interference as mild, moderate or severe. The greater the magnitude of interference, the greater commitment necessary to get their health back.
This is when most people decide to interact virtually with a healthy lifestyle authority (health coach or other provider) for support. Our job is to provide clarity and vividly describe what that person’s health will look and feel like in the future if they commit to making healthy lifestyle changes.
Defining a new lifestyle
Each person must be able to imagine and describe in detail how much better their life will be when they build and maintain their new healthy lifestyle. What will they be able to do? Where will they go? What new experiences will they enjoy? All of this is accomplished virtually.
Once they identify what they want, our job is to provide a reasonable path for them to get it. Both parties must first agree living a healthy lifestyle is a marathon, not a sprint. Then we verify and reaffirm what they want, and we fully describe the path for them to get there.
Then three separate commitments can be made:
- First, we commit to be accountable to provide the path.
- Second, they commit to be accountable to themselves.
- And lastly, they commit to partner with us to help them on their health journey.
With those commitments verified, we map a staged approach for them to look better, feel better and live longer. We strategically provide them with focused education on how to overcome their obstacles by providing simple, low- or no-cost solutions to their current challenges.
We acknowledge cost-consciousness, simplicity and their personal experience while moving at their pace, not ours. These conversations and interactions build trust. As trust continues to grow, your tribe becomes more independent and self-directed.
An independent, self-directed, autonomous tribe member is the goal of “inflammunity.” The more your tribe doesn’t need you, the more they want your expertise … forever. Your position as their trusted authority in healthy lifestyle allows them to have confidence and be empowered.
The only way to stop and reverse chronic disease is to build a long-term relationship based on mutual respect and trust. This also keeps them having a stake in their own health journey.
Making healthy lifestyles easy and actionable has always been difficult. This is where streamlining care options becomes important. Most people at some point in this process will need in-person care. This model is designed to provide the opportunity for any chiropractor to utilize their practice skills while seamlessly providing a national presence.
Focusing on inflammation and immunity boils health down to its core. Currently, both health points are of top-of-mind priority for many people. Adding a healthy lifestyle model to provide education and support from those two health points makes people’s journey to health more realistic and doable.
The hard-wired progression of behavior change hasn’t gone away, but our ability to empower and nurture this change has never been better. Once someone raises their hand to act toward health, technology provides us with the ability to positively reinforce that action. Providing us the opportunity to invite them to become part of our tribe.
Finally, none of us would have ever guessed our entire life would be upended like it has over the last two years. As our social fabric continues to heal, let’s provide a new health care model via chiropractic coaching that builds health instead of reinforcing disease. We all became chiropractors with this ideal in mind.
It’s time to seize this opportunity.
BILL HEMMER, DC, has been in private practice for more than 30 years. He has expanded his practice to include customized health recovery plans. To learn more about the “inflammunity” model, he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.