As I review various research studies each week, I can't help but notice they fall into two camps: drugs or wellness. By wellness, I refer to the studies that look at the importance of factors that are generally noninvasive in nature: exercise, eating habits, nutrition, alternative health, etc.
The drug-oriented studies I read clearly point to a growing sphere of influence into the everyday lives of consumers.
Your patients are undoubtedly reading the semi-factual, watered-down versions only the media can present. They hear little about such topics as the importance of vitamin D in a person's health through every stage of their life, as emphasized in a recent study published in the Journal for Nurse Practitioners. Instead, they are presented with the most sensational reports written in a calculated effort to increase viewership (or readership).
Fortunately, not everyone is convinced of the absolute benefits of drugs. While they certainly have their place, most of us live extremely healthy lives without drugs. As doctors of chiropractic (and children of chiropractic), we are walking testimonies of the lifetime wellness that can be accomplished without drugs. The nondrug lifestyle, when combined with continuous chiropractic care, puts most of us on a wellness level that leaves our friends bewildered and envious.
But those choices are hard to make, especially for those who don't have a strong wellness philosophy. As my mother of 75 years will tell you, most MDs are convinced that anyone her age needs at least 10 prescriptions to be "healthy." Finding a medical doctor willing to look at alternatives is not as easy as it should be. MDs who understand wellness are still rare, despite all of the new information that is coming forth.
This is where you can really make a difference. Your chiropractic background probably makes you the primary advocate for drug-free living in this all too drug-dependent society. You can provide alternatives, but you have to know what you're talking about.
Information (and misinformation) is too easily gathered on the Internet. Your experience will only take you so far in the minds of your patients and their families. You need to continually educate yourself in order to be the health coach for whom many people are looking. A few hours of literature reviews and Web searches each week will get you started (if you don't do this already). Then add a few online seminars. You already have the foundation to be the health authority your community needs.
While it may sound like a lot of work, you'll be surprised to see how much your insight is appreciated, especially when it allows people to make a choice for wellness over drugs (the side effects of which may be doing more damage than good).
You have golden opportunities each day to impact the health of thousands of people. Each person who walks in your door knows many other people with whom they will share health information, provided it is sound. Many of these people will become your new patients. It means what you know will eventually translate into who you know.
Click here for more information about Donald M. Petersen Jr., BS, HCD(hc), FICC(h), Publisher.