Archive for April, 2013


Monday, April 8th, 2013

How much do you think that your success in practice depends on communication? Communication is the exchange and flow of information and ideas between one person and another. I say that your success in practice is directly proportionate to your ability to communicate.

Let’s look at this from some differing points of view though:

A new practice member consults you – they are in pain! Their sleep has been disturbed, they can’t do what they want to, their emotional system is somehow thrown into disarray, and their inner voices are starting to say things like: “What if you are like this forever?” “Something might be broken.” “Maybe it’s cancer.” “What if this is going to kill me?” Irrational thoughts to a highly qualified primary health care professional like you – but it’s not your pain is it?

You do your case history, conduct whatever tests you do and then explain a number of options to them:

  1. You explain that you don’t treat pain – you adjust subluxations so that their body can heal itself – to many people you have just communicated that you can’t help them – they don’t know what a Subluxation is, they just want their pain to stop. If they discontinue we internally scoff because they didn’t get the big idea.
  2. You show them their functional assessments and do an amazing report of findings convincing them that if they don’t do what you say then they are going to stay in the disgusting shape that they are in. But have you communicated that this may help their pain – if not there may be a break in the flow of information – a disconnect – dare I say a Subluxation of sorts?
  3. Or, you come from another viewpoint and simply tell them that you can help with their pain, and you should have them out of pain in 4-8 visits. You may have allayed someone’s fears more than scenarios 1 & 2, but have you fixed their mind on a discontinuation date? Have you been negligent in not sharing the possible greater benefits of ongoing chiropractic care? Has your communication been too miserly in its exchange?

The purpose of communication in the chiropractic setting should be to align the expectations, goals and aspirations of both parties – chiropractor and practice member – an Adjustment North of the Atlas may be required to produce any necessary realignment between these two poles.

Let’s face the cold hard fact that the biggest dropout rate happens within the first few adjustments – and we each have any number of rationalizations as to why this happens – the real reason is that communication didn’t succeed – they either didn’t understand that you could offer them what they were looking for – so they went somewhere else, or you didn’t understand what they wanted and therefore had no way of communicating whether you could help them achieve this.

I would love to be able to impose my will upon my practice members – weekly adjustments for every member of the human race to maximize human potential: But I have to accept that the majority of people that walk through my office door have aspirations somewhere between my goal and the other extreme unrealistic expectation that one quick back crack will save the day.

Note the definition of communication above – exchange and flow. If the information offered is not accepted, or if some former belief blocks the flow then communication has broken down. Have you ever done a report of findings where you thought you’d explained their poor condition succinctly, and then they say “so I’m not that bad then?”

Now let’s look from another point of view. One of the definitions of an Adjustment used in Torque Release Technique is “Communication Through Touch”. Stop and think about that for a few minutes – A Subluxation is impairment within the nervous system (I hope that’s not too much of a stretch) – a break in communication – afferent, and/or efferent: A separation from wholeness. If communication within a human is impaired then it is not hard to imagine that the ability to accept communication from without the human would be impaired also.

A huge part of your communication on each and every visit is non-verbal - your hands speak louder than your words!

Chiropractors do not correct Subluxations: They adjust subluxations. Only if communication within the body improves can that body then correct the Subluxation. If you have offended someone with your words, you can apologise but it only leads to reconciliation if it is heard and accepted. This is where intent comes into play – an apology without intent of love and humility will rarely hit the mark. An adjustment without intent of love and healing will rarely hit the bulls-eye. An adjustment is not an apology though – we didn’t create their subluxations – an adjustment is a wake-up call, a revelation, a resolution?

So our verbal communication needs to connect the aspirations of the treater with the treated. I’m willing to confess my own insufficiency in this.

I love adjusting, I love measuring, observing and demonstrating the functional and quality of life shifts that occur with regular adjustments, I’m happy when I’m in that zone of “finding and fixing” Subluxations. My fantasy practice environment is me moving from table to table, turning the power on, with great music feeding the atmosphere, happy satisfied people coming and going (quietly), who then walk back into the world and tell everyone else about how awesome chiropractic is. If I could find an assistant that could talk FOR me; explain all the wonderful benefits of chiropractic, and negotiate the schedule and the fee, and allay the winges and moans, and hold the hands and reassure and encourage the doubters to hang in there for the course, and promote and soapbox for me, then I’d pay him/her really well. BUT, the cold hard fact is that that person that can do all of these things doesn’t exist for the simple cosmic reason that they are not supposed to.

So instead I continue to fail often when it comes to mastering verbal communication – I guess that means I am learning a lot? After all he who fails the most, learns the most…

I’ve often wondered if it is possible to sum up chiropractic in one word (other than the word chiropractic that is): I don’t think Subluxation is the word – no-one should be defined by the problem – they should be defined by the solution. Maybe one word could be “relationship”. A healthy body comes from correct relationship between chemicals, cells, tissues, organs, systems – within the organism. A subluxation is a separation from wholeness, a misalignment in relationship between chemicals, cells, tissues, organs, and systems – within the organism. Our adjustment is our attempt to restore the communication within the disconnected physiology.

A healthy community comes from correct relationships between individuals, families, groups, cultures, societies. The best chiropractic practices are “communities”. Interesting isn’t it that we started talking about communication, and here we are talking about community – strikingly similar words with shared origins I would expect… Our verbal and non-verbal communications within our practice are what it takes to develop the relationship within this community.

So take a look at your practice community, and ask of yourself what are you doing to facilitate the flow of verbal and non-verbal communication? You may have the best scripts for telling your truth, but do you have a communication strategy that discovers their truth so that you can achieve alignment?

And then, do you have adjusting skills that maximise your non-verbal communication at the meso-limbic depth?

Try this practical experiment: See if you can define three clear goals or aspirations for each clinical relationship. Here is a really boring garden variety chiropractic example:

  1. Their goal – eg to reduce or remove their low back pain.
  2. A shared goal – eg to improve their lumbopelvic posture – they get to have a belly that doesn’t stick out so far, you get to achieve better spinal biomechanics.
  3. Your goal – eg to increase their lumbar range of motion.

Come up with a time frame for when you should review and celebrate progress. Take the time to have a moment of communication with this person about these goals and then enjoy the shift in the quality and longevity of your relationship.

Attending a Torque Release Technique Seminar will help you to maximise your verbal and non-verbal communication skills - find out more at

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