The definition of chiropractic is, according to D.D. Palmer, “The art, science, and philosophy of all things natural.”
The philosophy of chiropractic reaches beyond its own profession and into all natural healthcare modalities. However, chiropractic has its own language and it can be intimidating. Most patients don’t know that the word subluxation actually means: sub (less than) + lux (light) + ation – (the action of).
In other words, the action of having less light. The literal definition paints a picture of a less functioning nervous system. A patient who truly under- stands this concept converts to chiropractic for life. Why would anyone want to have a subluxation if it leads to feeling dim?
Partnership in health
For the record, I am not a chiropractor; I am a functional nutritionist. But after studying the chiropractic philosophy, I realized that we speak the same language. The body is innately intelligent and designed to be not only self- healing and self-regulating, but also a vehicle to harbor all of life’s unlimited potential.
In order for a patient to receive the full potential of a chiropractic adjustment as well as food, they would lead a lifestyle that includes proper sleep, hydration, a positive mental attitude, and most importantly, proper nourishment and nerve supply.
Everywhere you turn today there are different opinions about what constitutes a healthy diet. For the sake of this article, assume a healthy diet means eating food that has traditionally provided the human body with nutrients, instead of modern highly processed, food-like products.
The diet of your patient directly impacts your effectiveness as a health- care practitioner, whether you are a chiropractor or a functional nutritionist. A body that is fed whole foods and whole food nutritional supplements can utilize their macronutrients, vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals to build and rebuild all the tissues of the body; the very same tissues that receive nervous system impulses. Does healthy tissue receive a chiropractic adjustment better than damaged or diseased tissue? R.W. Stevenson believed it did, as noted in his Chiropractic Textbook:
“In order to have perfect function and metabolistic vibration, the structure must be sound.” He continues by discussing soundness, “Depletion is the abnormal shrinking of a cell that has once been normal size; or it is depreciation of soundness or construction. Depleted cells can be repleted; they can come back. The functions involved are nutritive (trophic) and reparatory.”1
This exemplifies and defines for patients the philosophy that chiropractors and nutritionists hold true: The body is self-healing and self- regulating when it is free of nerve interference and properly fed.
While the need for nutrition in your chiropractic practice can be explored from both a historical and philosophical perspective, it is also important to also focus on the benefits it brings to a practice.
One advantage of bringing nutrition into your practice is the potential for your patients to become truly healthy. Chiropractors and nutritionists work synergistically. As your patients continue to be adjusted and receive nutritional education about the benefits of whole foods and whole food nutritional supplements, they will begin to under- stand how both of these things together make a difference in the way they feel.
Additionally, having a nutritionist in the office provides a level of expertise to inform your patients about the proper diets and nutritional protocols to specifically support function in their bodies. This may ultimately result in patients who receive and hold their adjustments better, and thrive in life as a healthy optimally-functioning person.
Feeding your bottom line
Another benefit of adding nutrition is the revenue effect. Providing nutrition services is something that can help to create additional value to your chiropractic care plans and may add handsomely to your top and bottom line.
Nutritional programs can be structured in many ways. For example, profit may be derived from a nutrition service fee collected, as well as profit from the sale of supplements.
Bringing a nutritionist on board can also help differentiate your practice from others in the area. A nutritionist can conduct nutrition visits with patients one-on-one, as well as nutritional workshops in the office and in the community. This may establish your clinic as a leader in nutritional care and attract patients to your practice.
Benefits for all
There are many ways to incorporate a nutritionist into your practice. You could hire a nutritionist as a part-time or full-time member of your staff.
Alternatively, you could partner with a nutritionist in your area and create a referral service that is beneficial for both parties. If it fits your practice better, there are also companies you can collaborate with virtually. These companies are a resource for training you and your staff, and providing a support system for your patients.
The bottom line is that a nutritionist’s ability to educate, empower, and feed people, especially chiropractic patients through nutrition, supports and enhances what you do as a chiropractor.
Jennifer Franco, CN, ACN, has an educational background in kinesiology, is certified in clinical nutrition, and is an Aerobics and Fitness Association of America (AFAA) certified personal trainer. She conducts nutritional consultations with clients in her Southern California offices, as well as across the country virtually. She is also the founder of Society of Wellness, Inc., a company that teaches and implements nutrition systems into chiropractic offices. She can be reached at 888-558-1717 or through societyofwellness.com.
1 Stephenson RW. (1927). The Chiropractic Textbook (p. 53,99). Davenport, IA: The Palmer School of Chiropractic.