How are You Explaining Chiropractic?


One of my favorite B.J. epigrams is: “You never know how far reaching something you may say, think, or do today will affect the lives of millions tomorrow.”  One of the things B.J. may have been referring to are the positive effects of what we say to people, particularly regarding chiropractic and the ADIO philosophy  However, recently I have been giving some thought to the negative effects of what we say especially when it comes to explaining chiropractic.

            There seems to be three approaches to explaining our objective in chiropractic.  The first is the structural approach which is illustrated by a testimonial by a football player that recently appeared in one of the profession’s journals.  He was extolling the benefits of chiropractic care to align his body.  He talked about the effects of the physical stresses of playing football on his structure and how being “aligned” by the chiropractor enabled him to play better.  It was similar to comparing chiropractic care to having your car’s front end aligned.  I’m sure it makes your car run better because structure does affect function.  However, what does it do for your engine?  Further, that is what orthopedics, physical therapy and aligned fields address.  This testimony was obviously relating chiropractic to structural problems, joint aches and pains.  How far afield is that idea compared with what our forefathers had in mind for chiropractic?  Even more important, how common is that approach in the ads and literature our profession.  I would venture to say that the majority of our profession presents chiropractic as a structural alignment of, at best the spine, at worst all the joints of the body.

            The second approach to explaining the practice of chiropractic is what I will call the mechanistic approach.  With this approach, the chiropractor explains to the practice member (or the public through advertising) that chiropractic addresses a hard bone on a soft nerve that interferes with the function of the nerve system.  The majority of traditional chiropractors probably take this approach.  This explanation can take many forms.  For example, “this hard bone on that soft nerve is what is causing your medical problem/symptoms.”  Another variation might be “this hard bone on that soft nerve is resulting in lack of proper function in your body and/or not reaching your full potential in life.”  The latter is not necessarily a bad approach.  However, it really does not get to the basics of chiropractic.  That brings us to the third approach.

            The vitalistic approach addresses the real fundamentals of chiropractic, the fact that there is a vitalistic principle and innate intelligence that runs and heals the body.  The fact that there is this inborn wisdom is not unique to any of the so-called health fields.  Every doctor would acknowledge it to some degree.  You cannot work with a living human body to any degree without realizing how unique and amazing it is.  However, the utilization of it, the total dependency on its expression, in addressing the health, well-being and life of individuals is unique to chiropractic.  If there is this inborn wisdom that runs the body (and there is), if it can maintain the body in a state of well-being (and it does), if it can heal the body when ill or injured (and it can), then it is important that this innate intelligence be free from any interference to accomplish its tasks most effectively.  That interference can and does occur at the vertebral level where it interacts with the body’s nerve system to carry on all the above functions and activities.  Sure you want to move a hard bone off a soft nerve.  The question is why.  Not just to get sick people well but to allow the innate intelligence of the body to express itself as fully as possible in every human being.  Unless we are getting that message across we are cheating our practice members of some vitally important information.  Unless they understand how wonderful the body is, why it is (it has a principle of life inborn), and how our adjustment removes interferences to that inborn wisdom, we are not telling them the real story. So, how are you explaining chiropractic?

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This article has 6 comments

  1. Don 05/13/2012, 2:45 am:

    Hi, I’m new to the forum. I usually read more than I post and just read your article titled, “How are You Explaining Chiropractic?”. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I agreed that unless our pm’s understand the wonder of the body, why how our adjustment removes interferences to that inborn wisdom. My difficulty is explaining it to non-practice members (this is not to imply my pm’s completely understand this..).
    For example, at a friends housewarming and friend of a friend asked me what I do. These are the times (affectionately coined the “elevator” speech..:)) when I struggle with my explanation. Everyone please share, what are your elevator speeches? I can use all the help I can get.

  2. Claude Lessard 05/13/2012, 3:36 pm:


    Welcome to the blog.

    Previous posts have addressed this particular issue. It is never about WHAT to say in the “elevator speech”, it’s about WHO you choose to BE. Choosing to BE “owning” the philosophy of chiropractic is of paramount importance. There’s lots of “homework” to BE prepared for the “elevator speech”. Your presence, your essence and your energy will always speak the truth of WHO you are no matter WHAT you say. Make elegant choices, give of your SELF with passion and non-practice members will follow YOU. YOU will BE a mirror for them to reflect back the possibilities for themselves to BE the truth of WHO they also could choose to BE…. WHO they truly are ! –


    • Don 05/13/2012, 6:55 pm:

      Thank you Dr. Lessard.
      Would love to hear your thoughts on the homework.
      What would you suggest?
      Also, I’m curious… why the capitals for WHAT, WHO and SELF? I’m guessing for emphasis but I’m still trying to figure it out ..;)

      • Claude Lessard 05/13/2012, 7:10 pm:


        Read the Blue Books, the Green Books, Stepheson’s Textbook, this blog, attend meaningful chiropractic philosophy seminars, get a mentor and immerse yourself in the work with passion. It is ONLY you WHO has can CHOOSE to BE open and have a beginner’s mind and DO the work. It’s the ONLY way and it is well worth the effort. (capitals are for emphasis) –

        – I thank you, Don, for considering this choice. 😉

        • Don 05/13/2012, 7:46 pm:

          Thanks..I was thinking about getting the Blue books.

          • Claude 05/14/2012, 4:04 pm:

            In a nutshell, EVERYTHING is about the 33 principles and common sense. To “own” chiropractic… let these few steps “grow” deeply within YOU. –

            – The major premise is the start point. –

            – The innate intelligence of the body is the internal law within the LIVING human body and is ALWAYS 100% perfect. –

            – The matter of the LIVING human body has limitations. –

            – The innate intelligence of the body maintains the matter of the LIVING human body in active organization giving it organized motion by adapting universal forces giving rise to information with intelligent direction (mental impulse) –

            – Mental impulse (innate force) flows through the nerve system with intelligent direction in definite quantity and quality at the right time. –

            – There can be interference with transmission (flow) of innate forces due to vertebral subluxation causing dis-ease which gives rise to information no intelligent direction fostering a lack of coordination and harmony of action of ALL the parts of the LIVING human body. –

            – A specific adjustment of the vertebral subluxation will restore transmission (flow) of innate forces allowing ease which will give rise to information with intelligent direction fostering the principle of harmonious action of ALL the parts of the LIVING human body thereby fulfilling their purposes. –

            – The chiropractic principles being correct,… WHO chooses to “own” them within oneself as oneself and WHO chooses to “practice” them in accordance with the philosophy is WHAT makes a chiropractor. –

            – All else is excess! Nothing else is of importance! –

            – Ultimately it is you WHO must choose. Choose wisely and the rest will follow. –

            – It is as simple as that! –

            – Amazing isn’t it? 😉

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