Principles of Chiropractic: Learning From the Past

By: Gerald T. Lalla, DC and Diane Lalla, CW, CA

Give Me That Old-Time Chiropractic

Most of us have heard the old song that goes “Give me that old-time religion—it’s good enough for me.” It doesn’t take 20/20 vision to see that there are changes going on in the healthcare industry from which Doctors of Chiropractic are not absolved. Those practitioners who will succeed in serving more people today and in the future will look at the future through what made Chiropractic great in the past. They will see to it that they position themselves ahead of those changes by incorporating the things that attracted sick people to Chiropractors in the past. There are many principles in Chiropractic’s past that, if seen and incorporated in contemporary methods, will serve our patients as well as our practices.

There Is Nothing New under the Sun

There have always been fundamental principles on which Chiropractic was based. Rediscovery and re-initiation of many of those principles will cause Doctors of Chiropractic to serve as many people as they choose with compensatory remuneration.

Because most people first seek help for health problems through orthodox medicine and fail, we often become their second choice. It is through our unique approach to examination and care that countless numbers of people regain health. Chiropractic still gets results where medicine fails.

Thankfully, we have progressed in our understanding and ability to examine, analyze, and offer natural treatment options; we, in fact, are a progressive healthcare profession. We are blessed in the ability to selectively choose the analytic discoveries of modern day science and apply them to the various approaches to care that our profession has to offer. As potentially good as many of those “new discoveries” being offered to us are, not all are that new, but are either warmed up, re-colored and marketed with different hype than that which our predecessors recognized and utilized many years ago.

The Successful Doctor of the Future Will Be Thorough

Our predecessors were thorough from the perspective that they practiced within. Things were much simpler than today, but they saw to it that they were excellent in what they did. Part of what they did included taking a case history and performing a comprehensive postural, physical, orthopedic, and neurological examination. These examinations have advanced but are still basic to determining what may be best for the patient and the patient accepting our recommendations.

We Have Attraction Values

When practitioners have belief in themselves and the services they offer, and are contemporary in their approach to thoroughness in everything they do, they can’t help but succeed. The same holds true with their degree of belief in their value and right to be paid for services they render.

We all have varying belief systems which, like magnets, cause us to attract the people and/or situations into our lives. If we have low self-esteem and place little monetary value on our services then we will attract people who see us as less and not worthy of being adequately paid for services rendered.

There Is a Flip Side to Everything

A practitioner who is thorough in all aspects of her/his professional relationships and accepts the commensurate esteem and financial remuneration that goes with their education and scientific expertise can’t help but attract like-minded patients and situations into their lives. Those who prosper look for the good in everything.

Raising Your Belief System

With the high degree of education and training that Doctors of Chiropractic have, there is no justified scientific, social, or economic reason to have low-self esteem or poor self-worth. With the proper positive mind set no practitioner has to discontinue diagnostic tests, reduce recommended care, discount their fees, give free diagnostic services or care. It is in fact our belief system that determines what we attract or repel, and we are the ones who control our belief system and destiny.

A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words

The adage “a picture is worth a thousand words” is true and apt today, but knowing a truth without application of it won’t help us paint positive practice-building pictures in the minds of others. Part and parcel of a thorough examination involves asking permission and taking pictures of objective findings. Signed authorization to take pictures should be included in each patient file. Pictures are as much a case history and examination as are written words. This is one of the old-time Chiropractic principles used in a more contemporary manner, with the use of digital or Polaroid pictures of the patient’s posture.

From Feet to Head

By and large, a vast majority of the patients Doctors of Chiropractic see have postural abnormalities, and a thorough examination and good patient education involves taking, explaining, and giving patients pictures of their postural alterations. For best results (see illustrations) patients should be photographed in their street clothes (never nude or partially clothed) from feet to head. In other words, the patient’s feet should be photographed in a sitting or lying position, and in addition, photographs should be made of the patient’s posture from the anterior, posterior and lateral perspectives while they are standing in front of a plumb line or Posture Check®.

Show and Tell—See and Sell

In our clinic we use a digital camera to make the postural photographs and give copies of the pictures to the patient as a method of showing and explaining their postural alterations. Doing so helps them see not only foot-related factors but other objective postural external manifestations of internal problems. Doing so is an inexpensive, old-time Chiropractic patient education method used in a contemporary way that objectively supports the rationale and need for further diagnostic tests (such as Insight Subluxation Station, Biotonix Postural Analysis, X-rays, laboratory tests, etc.), and treatment or rehabilitation (such as Foot Levelers functional orthotics, NECKSYS®, BACKSYS®, THERA-CISER®, etc.).

Your Future Is in Your Mind

The feet are not only basic to our structural foundation but relative causative factors in most patients’ health problems. This is particularly true to demonstrate that pronation and/or supination of the feet are underlying causes of their extremity or spinal health complaints. Those practitioners who include examination and pictures of their patients’ feet and posture in their practice are doing progressively positive things and can’t help but attract more people into their practice.

Like any good idea, doing so begins in our head—either we accept and take the appropriate action steps to its fulfillment, or we reject it. As an example, those who reach higher levels of mastery in golf have learned that success involves golfing from feet up, not head down. In other words, everything one does well in golf begins with their feet. The less a person thinks about when hitting the golf ball, the better the golfer she or he will become. Therefore, let us mentally block out negative thoughts and words and open our minds to good old-time Chiropractic principles refreshed by modern-day approaches. Let us be service oriented, think in terms of the questions a patient may have, and use practical methods to illustrate our examination findings.

About the Authors

Dr. Gerald and Diane Lalla practice in Roseville MN. They are the authors of numerous articles and license-renewal seminars on Risk Management and Professional Boundaries. Website: