As a doctor of chiropractic, you are perfectly suited to not only to guide your patients into the 21st century but help them survive it.
This is a time where the destructive effects of refined and genetically altered foods, prescription drugs, toxins and sedentary lifestyles are causing multiple complex health issues that are difficult to overcome.
If you’re focusing largely on spinal correction in your practice, consider that you may need to address multiple lifestyle factors if you’re going to legitimately make a difference in someone’s current and future health picture.
Mindset of misconceptions
The primary problem facing our country is twofold: People generally misunderstand their health, and they act to minimize short-term pain rather than maximize long-term gain. They have been pumped full of misinformation for so long that they fear the inevitability of deadly diseases (like cancer and heart disease) because they do not comprehend their bodies’ innate ability to prevent the development of illness—or to overcome it.
For example, a 2007 report, titled Food, Nutrition, Physical Activity and the Prevention of Cancer: A Global Perspective compiled by the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) and the World Cancer Research Fund, found convincing evidence linking cancer to excess weight, lack of physical activity, consumption of alcohol and a diet heavy on meat consumption.1 They also found that addressing these issues is beneficial for patients recovering from cancer.
The AICR’s report blew the doors off the argument that cancer is predominantly caused by genetics result and that there is nothing people can do about it. Lifestyle is largely responsible for the development of cancer, and the same can be said for other increasingly common conditions like heart disease, type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome.
Somehow, though, in a more recent study, the AICR found that nearly half of Americans still believe there is almost nothing they can do proactively to avoid or overcome cancer. Real life-saving information is available, but people either haven’t seen it or they don’t trust it, creating a “victim mentality.”
Often, chiropractors worry that shifting their clinic’s focus to wellness strays from their chiropractic roots. This simply is not true.
Chiropractic is the heart of true wellness, just as the brain and central nervous system are the center of all function. Without maximum nerve supply, all other facets of health cannot reach their respective potential. Driving wellness isn’t about abandoning the principles of chiropractic; it’s about embracing the primacy of an adjustment in all of health care while amalgamating all important areas of healthy living.
It’s concerning when people hear about such aspects of health as nutrition, exercise, and detoxification from a non-chiropractor. Chiropractors have a better grasp of what is required for natural healing than any other health care provider—or clerks at a GNC or Whole Foods Market.
You understand the science behind removing interference, working with the intelligence of the body, and restoring homeostasis to establish health from the inside out. This—rather than treating a condition with something “natural” from the outside using a supplement, vitamin, exercise, or soft tissue treatment—is the foundation of lasting health. Most importantly, no other wellness practitioner can provide the most powerful of all tools: the correction of subluxation.
Making your entrance into the world of whole-body wellness can be confusing and even intimidating, but there are a few basic areas that demand your focus if you want to deliver those incredible patient outcomes.
Focus your efforts
To specialize in wellness, trust chiropractic to be your square one and build from there. Any type of pain, illness or condition can be drastically improved by taking a comprehensive approach melds corrective spinal care, nutrition and fitness; reduces toxic exposure; and releases the body’s inherent ability to detoxify itself.
How? Take a look at cancer, for example.
You can set up programs in your office or community to expand peoples’ understanding about how to avoid cancer. While no DC should ever claim to cure cancer, there’s a glut of research linking better lifestyles to reduced risk and poor lifestyle choices to increased risk.
Research has also demonstrated chiropractic’s ability to boost immunity, which helps fight all disease—including cancer.
You can share the research demonstrating the serious consequences of poor lifestyle choices, and highlight studies showing the healing power of smart choices. If your patients understand they can help themselves get well, they won’t get sucked into the victimhood mentality. You can offer ongoing programs to teach them more in these areas.
Above all, clearly state that you are not treating diseases. Your talks and programs should be designed to equip people in their lifelong journey to avoid or eradicate cancer. You want to teach essential steps to get or stay well, teaching in the areas of nutrition, exercise, toxicity and the nervous system.
The core curriculum
To address nutrition, focus on teaching patients how to avoid immuno-suppressing substances in their diets. Every day, people consume an array of compounds—food additives, dyes, preservatives and more—that inhibit basic immune function. Sugar literally [ITAL]feeds[/ITAL] cancer. With a weakened immune system, the body is less able to stifle the proliferation of cancer cells.
Also, motivate your patients to exercise. Movement is a wonderful treatment for reducing the risk of cancer. It strengthens the immune system, helps the body to detoxify by sweating, increases bowel motility and burns body fat—and cancer loves fat.
Reducing toxicity is another key to wellness care. Toxic exposure can induce the mutation of cells we know as cancer. Actively reducing exposure and supporting the body’s own detoxifying channels through diet, supplementation, exercise and chiropractic helps patients avoid harmful toxic build-up.
Finally, explain why—and show how—all areas of wellness depend on the spine. Share the available research on chiropractic care and immune function. For example, how spinal adjustments have been shown to increase the production of interleukin-2, a protein that activates cells proven to kill tumor cells and boost immunity. 1
Medical cancer treatments (chemotherapy, radiation, etc.) can cause more harm than good. Yet, due to the general public’s lack of knowledge about their bodies, these painful treatments subsist as our best known defenses to cancer. Help your patients understand that they have a choice.
Your chiropractic clinic, is in a position to help people tap into their natural ability to heal and remain healthy. By delivering accurate wellness information and using techniques that produce predictable results, you can take your rightful place atop the new millennium’s health care community.
Ben Lerner, DC, BSN, CSCS is the co-founder of Maximized Living, a network comprised of more than 400 chiropractic wellness clinics. He is the best-selling author of nine books–most recently “The Cancer Killers”—and is also a certified nutritionist and strength and conditioning specialist. He owned five clinics in Central Florida that offered specialized care for wellness, spinal correction and chronic illness. He can be contacted at BLerner@maximizedliving.com, and you can learn more about his most recent book at www.beacancerkiller.com.
1 World Cancer Research Fund. (2007). Food, Nutrition, Physical Activity, and the Prevention of Cancer: a Global Perspective. Arlington, VA: American Institute for Cancer Research
2 Teodorczyk-Injeyan JA, McGregor M, Ruegg R, Injeyan HS. Interleukin 2-regulated in vitro antibody production following a single spinal manipulative treatment in normal subjects. Chiropr Osteopat. 2010;18:26.