The Cult of Chiro

Note: I actually wrote this about a year ago, but never got around to posting it. Reading it now, it seems like I was just a little bit cynical about that whole experience. I’ll post a more up-to-date follow up soon. Seriously though, these people are slightly nuts.

Let me start by saying that I’m in favor of going to a chiropractor. I have been going to a chiropractor weekly for several years and have gained a measure of relief from these visits. I also like the idea of addressing the cause of pain instead of solely treating the symptoms with drugs.

There is a non-subtle war between doctors and chiropractors. My neurologist rolled his eyes when I told him I started going to a chiropractor, and my chiropractor has warned me against taking any medication beyond supplements. I don’t see why I should have to limit my treatment in either direction, so I just solemnly nod in agreement when they tell me to avoid each other.

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Will they stop fighting if I buy them ice cream?

That said, there is something about the culture of the chiropractor that is frankly hilarious. I recently switched to a new chiro, and they are over the top. Having gone there for about a month now, I’m pretty convinced they’re a cult.

First off, everyone there is entirely too cheerful and friendly. I swear I’m not a grumpy person who hates happiness, but I’m an introvert and that much unremitting energy and cheerfulness makes me tired.

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They look like this. And now I need a nap.

I also have to say, their new patient orientation is extremely aggressive. They require you to watch two informational videos and attend a seminar, during which they tell you that if you go the medical route and take lots of pills you could DIE, but if you go to a chiropractor for the rest of your life everything will be fine. After the initial exam, the extremely optimistic chiropractor all but promised me he could cure all of my problems. Hear that everyone? No more migraines! Or GI problems! Or allergies! Quick, go tell the internet we’ve found a CURE FOR EVERYTHING EVER.

They seem very sincere in their philosophy. They defined disease as “an interference with the body’s innate wisdom” and said that with their help, we can free our bodies to be self healing and have the immune systems of super heroes. The 20-something chiro had an almost fanatical look on his face when he told me, “In my three years as a chiropractor, I have seen amazing things.” My meaner, snarkier side wanted to tell him he needed to add a zero to that number before he could really use it as a selling point.

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The things I’ve seen…

As sincere as they may be, their aggressive technique doesn’t do much to win my trust. I guess I just don’t blindly change my treatment based on a heart-felt speech. I fully expect that chiropractic treatment will improve my health, but I’m not ripping my doctors’ names out of the figurative rolodex quite yet.

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