Maximized Living cult/scam? The view from a patient’s perspective

A friend and fellow healthcare practitioner walked in to the office this week to get adjusted, and asked us if we knew Dr. [First name] [Last name], who opened up a Maximized Living practice in a nearby neighborhood.  We mentioned that we vaguely knew him, and our neighbor said she had gone to their clinic to see what they were like so that she would know which of her clientele to refer to them.  She shared her experience with us.

She was not impressed.

It all started out standard enough – the physical exam, (which also included a spine/muscle/nerve/God-knows-what assessment with a Subluxation Station) and x-rays.  She thought the second visit would consist of the typical report of findings, when the doctor explains what they found (i.e. what’s wrong) and lays out the treatment plan (i.e. what they’re going to do to fix it).  She was given pamphlets to read and “quizzes” on those pamphlets, which she thought was strange.  She wasn’t disappointed that she got adjusted during that second visit, but she wondered out loud when they were going to go over her exam and x-ray results with her.

Apparently that’s what the third visit is all about.  And it’s a group presentation, after hours.  I’m all about group presentations…as long as there is no discussion of personally identifiable health information in such a group setting.  Every patient is required to attend one of these group appointments.

Our friend never made it that far.  When she stated that she could not make the Thursday evening presentation, the office scheduled her for the next presentation the following Tuesday!  Our friend called back the friendly receptionist and stated she could not make that appointment either, as evenings are generally incompatible with her schedule, and requested the office not schedule any further appointments for her.

When our friend Google-searched for information on the Maximized Living outfit, she found unflattering results with a plethora of information, and she realized that this could be bad news from which she needed to stay away.

Upon hearing her story, we were incredulous that so many of our brethren continue to fall for these extremist cult-like practice systems, but we were not surprised at any aspect of her experience: her feedback from a patient’s perspective, the levels that some doctors will stoop to in order to gain and retain patients, and the hoops that some doctors will make their patients jump through to receive–let’s face it–run-of-the-mill chiropractic care.

This was not the first we had heard of Maximized Living.  In fact, throughout our friend’s story, we nodded knowingly.  We hadn’t been aware of the details, but we certainly knew exactly who she had gotten herself tangled up with.  We had an experience of our own, years ago.  It’s going to need its own post

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54 Responses to Maximized Living cult/scam? The view from a patient’s perspective

  1. Pingback: Our experience with Maximized Living – from a student’s perspective | Charting Doctor Territory

  2. Although I am not a medial student or a physician, I am a chiropractic patient. I really appreciate this article because we got caught up in the web of a Maximized Living chiropractor in Missouri that led to us to believe that she could fix all of our family’s health problems, including the one’s we didn’t even know we had, if we came to her office for a year. She presented a one year program that would cost us $4100 for a family of 5, which for us was already way above our budget. However, we thought she would be able to help us, especially me because of all the past back and neck injuries that I have had.

    At the time we signed up, we could be moving sometime that year, so we asked the chiropractor several times if we were going to have to pay at a higher rate if we were to move before our year was up, and she told us that wouldn’t happen. I kept wondering if there was a catch, but we trusted her and signed up to go to her for a year with amazing discounts. Then, after going for under 2 months and my husband got a job out of state and we moved (not anywhere near a Maximized Living chiropractor) so we had to stop treatment. Then we found out that our chiropractor had lied to us and she charged us $3091 for less than 2 months of chiropractic care with her, which was full price for each and every adjustment that our family received. So, in 2 months we were charged 75% of what we would have been charged for a whole year. Unfortunately, now I have to pay it off this chiropractor bill and I can’t afford to go to another chiropractor, even though I currently need chiropractic care.

  3. Pingback: The New Age » Blog Archive » Did God invent “Maximized Living” Chiropractics?

  4. I am a Maximized Living patient. Yes, the process, with all of the classes and required appointments, seems a little weird to me. In my 20 years of having health problems and hundreds of doctor visits, I have never met an office that runs like theirs….but…after 2 months of being a patient, many of the MS symptoms that I had in my weak legs is gone. I have more energy. I have lost weight. I have also learned the importance of eating healthy and their books and encouragement help you do that. I especially like the vibrating platform. I am looking into purchasing one for my home because I feel that has helped me tremendously. So even though their methods are different, I am seeing results. My 5 year old daughter is also being seen. Since birth she has had sleeping problems. For the first time in her life, she is getting more rest and actually sleeping in. We are seeing results.

  5. Mia Harrod says:

    We had the same “shady” experience with a Maximized living Chiropractor. They are not transparent and very shady . . . in my opinion they are crooks, using God to steal and rob people blind is what they do, shameful really.

  6. nolongersick says:

    I am a patient of maximized living and I feel that they have saved my life. I am an atheist and didn’t understand the mention of God here and there but I do now. The reason why they mention God and I feel like it’s not necessary is because they teach preventive medicine through food (God’s food or nature) and they teach that the body can heal itself. They teach that food is thy medicine. Regular M.D’s just dole out pills and never mention diet at all. It’s my understanding that M.D.’s have only a weeks training in nutrition. When I arrived I was a bit skeptical regarding their way they went about doing things. Such as getting you to read pamphets, the group setting for the x-ray lecture. Well it was all private when it came to everyone’s x-rays. It was just a general talk about the brain stem and the cord running down your spine. It’s a known fact that Christopher Reeve (Superman) didn’t live for long time after his accident falling off his horse. Well it’s because his neck had been crushing the brain stem and when it’s crushed there is health issues. The body isn’t allowed to heal itself on it’s own when the brain stem is crushed. If it’s cut you are dead. This isn’t rocket science but they explain it in great detail and it’s just one part of the 5 concepts that they teach. The discs in the spine can be normal, Phase 1, Phase 2 and finally Phase 3. Normal discs are thick and these are found in healthy people. My 46 year old neck is borderline stage 3. I was extremely unhealthy and am slowing gaining back my health on a daily basis. I ate organic before with lots of vegetables but also lots of sugar. I was so addicted to sugar it might as well have been crack cocaine. I have gone to many naturopaths and tried many different diets and none have helped me with my sugar addiction. The longest I have been off sugar is 8 weeks. During these 8 weeks I thought of it everyday and was miserable because I wasn’t getting my fix. I’ve heard people say that if you stop sugar for 2 weeks then you will no longer crave it. I call bullshit because the candida I have craves it immensely. Also I have chronic fatique, asthma and am borderline diabetic type 2. Since learning about toxins, diet, exercise, my health is getting better and getting better fast. On the maximized living advanced diet plan I have lost 8 pounds in two weeks. Who loses that much, that fast. By the way I eat lots of carbs. I only have 12 more to go. I have more energy, which I noticed on the 3rd day of the diet. I have lost my 20 lbs in the past and didn’t get anymore energetic after losing the weight. For me it’s nice to lose the weight but the energy was more important to me. I am no longer borderline diabetic. My asthma only bothers me when I exercise vigorously as I haven’t been on the diet long enough yet. I am no longer chronically fatiqued. Even when I was off the sugar for 8 weeks previously following another diet I was still fatiqued then. Diet has everything to do with my health. Some people are fortunate and can eat crap and feel great. Well these people probably have normal sized discs in their neck and backs. When I eat certain foods my asthma kicks in. My M.D. doctor thought that this was nuts! He can’t believe that I no longer need 3 medications to allievate my asthma symptoms. He said well what ever you are doing, just keep on doing it. The chiropractic treatments are expensive. $3000 for a years worth, but this also includes the diet, exercise classes, toxic lectures, support, potlucks and nutritional seminars. Now that’s priceless! As for their marketing scam as some people think. I just think that’s it’s very clever because they want to heal your family and friends. Sure they want to make money, who doesn’t. But then so do all the drug company’s who keep on making pills to just subside symptoms and not get down to the cause. Maximized living gets down to the root of your health issues!

  7. nolongersick says:

    I also forgot to say that my sugar cravings were gone after 3 days. I made cookies and a banana loaf for my husband who is lucky to be able to eat anything. His neck was normal when checked and he’s 17 years older than me and runs circles around me. Lucky bugger! I now only sleep 8 hours a night rather than 10 – 12 hours a night. This was insane as I was sleeping my life away! Previous before maximized living I would workout and have to have a nap after because I was so exhausted from the workout. No naps for me anymore after a workout. My hormones are also regulaing as I’m no longer freezing to death. I found the fatter I got the colder I got. This was due to my underactive thyroid. The thyroid medication warmed me up but it didn’t give me anymore energy. All the doctor’s tests would be normal other than the health issues I mentioned earlier. Please don’t be so judgmental until you try it yourself or find out more information. The doctors take lots of their time to educate you in seminars and they don’t get paid for that. You can get their books, protein powders (for a small fee, $30.for the diet book) and attend all the lectures and exercise classes, potlucks for free if you are not interested in the chiropractic care. Now is that not fair??? Does this sound like a cult to now?

  8. The author of this article must have had a bad experience with a questionable practice. I am a patient living in TN and never had to attend a “required group meeting” to discuss my personal health issues. Not to say that there aren’t ones out there that do have these meetings, but the one I attend does not. My experiences have been very good. Two months in I stopped having back and neck pain and my overall energy has been higher.

    My girlfriend has/had endomitriosis (not sure if that ever actually goes away or not) along with terrible migrains every other day. Doctors had her on low blood pressure pills, hormones, vicadin, and even did a medically induced menopause at age 22. Costing 1000s of dollars in medical bills yaer after year. After 6 months at the Revolution Chirpractic center in Minnesota she had no migrains anymore, was off all medication and starting having a regular menstrual cycle. The 6 months treatment cost about 800 dollars which she was adjusted in a tiered system starting at 3 times per week at the start and 2 times a month at the end. She now gets adjusted about once a month and pays roughly 600 dollars per year.

    Now I’m not saying that every chiropractor is a saint just like there are good and bad doctors out there. But I have the facts in front of me of how her life was before and after we started chiropractic and it is night and day. A very well 800 dollars spent in my opinion.

    • Kim Masten says:

      I,too, am a patient in TN and have had a wonderful experience from day one with ML. I am an atheist and don’t really go for God reasons. However, after moving to TN 11 years ago I picked up sinus issues because of the pollen bowl that we live in. Sinus infection after sinus infection every fall and spring on top of constant neck and intermittent lower back pain. I tried massage therapy for my neck only to be relieved until I started driving home. My lower back pack caused me to take muscle relaxers every now and again. Not to mention the ton of antibiotics I was prescribed for my sinus infections which I could not help to take just for relief. And for ongoing treatment my MD handed me a bag of Claretin D (spelling?) which he obviously didn’t get the fact that I do my best not to take OTC or prescribed medication. I was leery about the chiropractic practice from the horror stories one hears over time but also had heard wonderful healing experiences as well.

      I knew from the start that ML was a professional and thorough care-giving place despite their sales pitch and God references. I have always felt the training was exceptional and ongoing. After three months my sinuses were clear, neck relieved and back pain gone.
      My sinuses have been clear for 6 years. My neck pain likes to visit me every so often because I’ve slept like a crazy person and I will wrench my lower back from heavy lifting but I know I can go get adjusted and however many times per week I need until relief finds me again. Usually takes one to two adjustments. I have even trouble with my feet from running and ML even adjusted my feet to find that once again I was back to being painless. I haven’t had to take any antibiotics for years or any OTC medications. I never had to sit in a discussion group or sit while taking X-rays. I even took my daughters who went for three months per my request and my oldest’s sinus issues were relieved and my youngest’s bedwetting stopped. Overall, I can say that I am healthier, sickness-cold- and-flu-wise, and that I can turn my neck freely without any pain.

      Most of the MD’s I have seen have been wonderful but still like to treat the symptoms. I like to go for the cause. I feel I have probably saved money by using preventative care rather than being in pain, taking drugs for temporary relief or being on lifetime prescriptions and never feeling 100%. I can maintain my weight better and have more energy. The ML and chiropractic model makes sense to me. Optimizing ones health takes work and ML certainly makes it easier.

  9. I will speak of only mine and my husband’s experience of the Maiximized Living office in Charlotte, NC on Park Road. My husband has had foot pain for the 7 yrs I have known him. After 3 treatments, he has NOT had any feet pain. They also did a before/after blood pressure test on him with our own personal device we brought from home, before bp was 159/93, after bp was 143/93 after the treatment. The facts speak for themselves! My personal experience is from neck pain as a result of sitting in front of a laptop all day for the past 10 yrs. After my 3rd treatment, I’m already feeling better! What is it that when a doctor’s practice includes the healing power of THE CREATOR my Lord Jesus that the office is labeled chirovangelism? Scientists have proven the human body is created to be self-healing which is how God created us. It is definitely working for us!

  10. Jordan Tanko says:

    Personally I think Maximized living doctors are the best out there

  11. Jordan Tanko says:

    I love maximized living and everything they stand for. PS mia, the reason they take Xrays sitting down (and not all of them do, and even non-ML docs take seated xrays) is to not let the pelvis or a long or short leg alter the image of the spine. For example, if your right leg was 9mm shorter then your left leg and you took a standing xray that would alter the xray of the spine. When your seated that takes out any other variables. Lets all think for a minute if the country followed a maximized living health care model. Everyone would eat clean pesticide free, herbicide free, fungicide free, larvacide free fruits and vegetables with more nutrition OK thats good, everyone would get there nervous system check which controls all other systems of the body, OK that’s good, everyone would exercise correctly and efficiently OK thats good, Everyone would lead a more positive mind set and we all know the brain is a very powerful tool, OK thats good and we would all minimized the toxins we put in our bodies which also help lead toward sickness and disease OK thats good. This is HEALTH CARE, preventing something before it happens. Our country doesn’t have a health care system. Think about it, insurance doesnt pay for you to be healthy, our country has a sick crisis care system. Don’t get me wrong if you get in a car accident you want to be in this country because we will be able to sew you back together in no time to save your life!! Im not speaking bad about medical doctors they are great and are very important, But in the terms of actual HEALTHCARE they do not provide it, all they can do is offer you drugs, and if that doesnt work offer you more drugs and if that doesn’t work surgery. Not doing anything about your health and waiting for something to happen is crazy to me. Believe me if everyone was under the care from these AMAZING doctors our country would NOT be ranked last in almost all catagories of health. And if medicine is the cure to every thing we should be the healthiest country right? We make up 5% of the worlds population and consume roughly 70% of the worlds drugs, that being the case we should be the healthiest, but we are not. Our current way of thinking isnt working and there has to be a change.

    • Mia Harrod says:

      Jordan, who said anything about sitting down with Xrays? You must work for Maximized living. They are a scam, no doubt about it. That’s not healthcare that’s crooked! I go to a naturopathic doctor, that’s real healthcare! These maximized living doctors claim they can heal all sorts of diseases, even autoimmune diseases, but they can’t and it’s illegal for them to say that they can. They lie to the patient saying their spine is crooked (when it’s NOT) just to rob you blind of thousands of dollars. I turned them into the state, the feds and all medical boards that I could find. They must be stopped. I myself plan to be a Naturopathic Doctor one day and these crooks are giving all Chiropractors a very bad name!

      • The maximized living doctores don’t claim that they can heal all sorts of diseases. The body itself is given a better chance to heal itself through chiropractor, diet, exercise, lack of toxin etc. Being a Naturopathic doctor you would claim the same. If you feed your body proper nutrition which they teach then it has a better chance of healing itself. Since I have been going to a maximized living doctor I only use my inhailer once a day rather than 5 times a day. I don’t think that chiropractor adjustments have anything to do with my asthma getting better, it’s my diet. The chiropractic adjustments are helping a sore neck from years of poor posture fro dental assisting. The maximized living doctor has helped my health incredibly. Please don’t listen to everything you hear as it’s not true.

  12. Jordan Tanko says:

    lol no I do not im only a patient. I love everything natural dont get me wrong, but natural pathetic doctors still work from the outside in and you still only go there when you have a problem. The whole point of health care should be prevenetive care. And all doctors in general dont heal anything, only the body heals its self. Chiropractors get the body functioning to its maximum potential so no your able to live life to the maximum as you were indended. I mean no harm or to offend anyone but I dont see the need for you to be attacking them like that. lol and when you say they lie about your spine is ludacris! But wait im sure you know lot more about the spine and the human anatomy then a doctor of chiropractic who went through 4 years of undergraduate and post 4 years of graduate school to be an expert on the human physiology and the human anatomy. Maximized living is not giving chiropractic a bad name its BETTERING the name. They are real chiropractors teaching the principle. I myself am a big fan of the philosophy of chiropractic and I have been under the care of an ML doc for years and have seen great results! I had scoliosis and that is non existant anymore, the curves are back in my spine, my allergies and head aches are gone, my weight has dropped, and I no longer need my inhaler for the asthma the medical doctor said I would have for the rest of my life… I dont get why you feel the need to hate on these guys I love what they are doing

    • Mia Harrod says:

      They are crooks, I have experienced them first hand, total scam artists and lying using God’s name, it’s horrible.

      • Robert Bean says:

        Sad, then just stay in the medical model and go bankrupt…

      • This field was intentionally left blank says:

        Being skeptical of the sales tactics of some Maximized Living-based doctors does not automatically make one part of the “medical model”. That would be like saying that if you’re not Christian, you’re atheist. I practice far different from ML AND far different than the medical model. And PS – we’re also far from bankrupt.

  13. Jordan Tanko says:

    Im sorry you feel that way Mia, you are entitled to your own opinion :) I have also experieced them first hand and I love everything about them, we diffidently need more like them in my opinion. I just feel bad that you had a bad experience with them, they are definetely not pain based doctors but just because you might have had bad experience with one I dont think its nessesary to talk bad about them. Its like me posting a thread online from all the bad experiences I have had with medical doctors online and bashing all of them and I dont do that. Hope the rest of your day goes well God bless :)

  14. Jordan, you are not “only a patient”. You are a chiropractic student, at Northwestern Health Sciences University. I’m perfectly fine with chiropractic students commenting here, but please don’t schill for Maximized Living and then say you’re something you’re not. You’re entitled to your opinion, but your opinion will be much better respected if you’re truthful.

    For those of you supporting Maximized Living (ML), that’s fine; you’re entitled to your opinion. Please don’t get me wrong – I’m not attacking chiropractic or natural healing. I AM criticizing how this franchise operates, because I don’t agree with its practices, and many of the people I’ve spoken with about them feel the same way. I have nothing against natural healthcare – I’m a chiropractic doctor myself, in full-time practice, and I love what I do. But I am truthful about what chiropractic can and cannot do. While I refuse to relegate ourselves to glorified mechanotherapists, I have yet to witness chiropractic cure some of the things some ML doctors are claiming to cure.

    Chiropractic doctors CAN do a lot of things for people, including help modulate/manage autoimmune disorders and other chronic conditions, but it’s going to take a lot more than just chiropractic manipulation alone. Naturopathic approaches, such as herbs/nutrition/dietary changes/etc are very much needed. In today’s world, above-down-inside-out isn’t enough. Genes are mutating, nutritional requirements changing, etc. The adjustment alone is no longer sufficient; people have SO many biochemical deficiencies and imbalances that also need to be addressed.

    • Ryan Carlson says:

      Jordan never said anything in regards to his status as a chiropractic student. All he said was that he does not WORK for a Maximized Living office. Therefore, he was completely truthful in what he said. He does not work for them, he is only a patient — A patient who happens to be a chiropractic student, yes, but that is neither here nor there.

      • This field was intentionally left blank says:

        You’re right, he did not state he was a student. He specifically left out that part, to appear to be an unbiased patient. But he is (or was at the time) indeed a student; I found out via other research.

    • Tim Losby says:

      From your post- it sounds as if you are suggesting that people need to Maximize their Nutrition, Maximize their Oxygen uptake and lean muscle mass, Maximize their nerve supply, and Minimize their toxins to get truly well; because of all of the imbalances that the majority of people acquire in our world today. It sounds like you are a proponent for people receiving this care and this knowledge. Why won’t you teach your patients that? That is what ML doctors are passionate about; leading people to a higher quality of life through simple changes that allow them to reach their potential in health and life. Seems like the kind of “scam” to be involved in.

      • This field was intentionally left blank says:

        Hi Tim,
        I don’t really understand where I said that people shouldn’t “maximize” their nutrition or oxygen status,etc. (if I did, please feel free to quote the text of the post that said so). What I *do* have a problem with is what I personally experienced from the Maximized Living group at our school (I attended a meeting in person, not knowing what it was about and interested to learn more), and nowhere did they talk about nutrition or oxygen status or healing of any kind. It was all about marketing and sales and how to reel people in. THAT was what I had a problem with. (I am not convinced that ML is a scam, per se, which is why I titled my first post with a question mark.)

        However, my problem with the organization was only confirmed by my colleague, who told me about her own personal experience with an ML doc.

        ML’s health-related focus is certainly NOT a scam. Chiropractic itself (pure chiro and the physiological principles behind it) are NOT a scam, either. However, there are individual DCs (ML-based and otherwise) who DO run shady business practices, and if we DCs are going to gain any footing and respect beyond the 6%-of-the-population statistic, I’m calling on all my fellow brethren to knock it the (bleep) off.

      • Ryan Carlson says:

        To chartingdoctorterritory… Again, I am not sure how it is relevant that he is a student in a chiropractic institution. If anything, this distinction gives him credibility in his claims, as he is actively studying the science of chiropractic.

      • This field was intentionally left blank says:

        Ryan, the problem can be summed up in 2 words: Vested Interest. Or two more words: Proper Disclosure. He specifically said he was a patient only, giving the impression that he had no other vested interest. I have no problem with an opinion. I DO take issue when people misrepresent what they are, because this can make a difference in how their opinion is perceived. If people understand that someone making a claim has a vested interest in that subject, then they can take the claim with as big a grain of salt as is appropriate. Especially in this field, which is already riddled with muck, it’s important to be transparent and clear so that when you have an opinion, people can respect it and trust it. Our field lacks trust as it is, and I think we ought to be unquestionably honest and up-front–otherwise, we’re just perpetuating the problem and reinforcing the negative stereotypes.

    • “Chiropractic doctors CAN do a lot of things for people, including help modulate/manage autoimmune disorders and other chronic conditions, but it’s going to take a lot more than just chiropractic manipulation alone.” That is exactly why Maximized Living is about so much more than just spinal correction- it’s only one of the five essentials of living a maximized life! If you don’t remember the five essentials, you might want to refresh your memory :)

  15. Chiropractic can help or cure many problems. I have been in practice for over 6 years I have seen many “miracles” .. I worked for a time for a Maximized Living/Body by God doctor and it is a one size fits all approach to chiropractic. ( You have to wake up at 5am and work out and read your Bible etc etc. It might work for some but not for everyone. ) I had to go to the seminar in Orlando and it was a tent revival. Not everyone is an Evangelical Christian. The ML approach of linking Chiropractic to Jesus Christ is a turn off to many( other deeply religious folks, both Christian and non-Christian not to mention non-believers) It can limit your practice to Evangelical Christians. You can have a deep faith and a Chiropractic practice but really we should not be using the LORDs name in vain to build practices. The ML approach makes us into televangelists.

    As Doctors or Chiropractic we know the body can heal itself. We each have to figure out the type of practice that we want and can build. It takes time, hard work and building relationships in the community in which you practice. Some may like the ML approach but don’t tell me I am not principled because I don’t wake up at 5AM

  16. cammyb says:

    I don’t think some of you are listening! Maximized Living Chiropractors DO NOT CLAIM TO HEAL ANYTHING!!!!!! They REMOVE INTERFERENCE so the BODY can do do what nature intended it to do – HEAL. If ANY chiropractor tells you they can heal something, then they are NOT a good chiropractor. And I am sure there are some bad ML chiropractors out there just as there are bad MDs out there. Also, ML chiropractors do not claim that spinal manipulation alone will better your health. Being a Maximized Living Chiropractor means you practice and teach the 5 ESSENTIALS –
    Maximized Mind, Maximized Nerve Supply, Maximized Quality Nutrients, Maximized Oxygen and Lean Muscle, and Minimized Toxins. Copilothunter, I am sorry you found a bad dr. Chartingdoctorterritory, I have found nothing about the true ML practices that are questionable, and I work in the fitness industry and have come to know many ML chiropractors. Mia, by your words you appear to be a very angry person. You can’t condemn all ML chiropractors because of your bad experience. Someday when you are a naturopathic, should a client of yours have a not so good experience with you, I am sure you would not want them condemning all Naturopathics. Remember, you reap what you sow….

    • Ryan Carlson says:

      Thank you. I challenge people to find somewhere on the Max. Living website that says these Doctors “heal” disease states. They simply get the body working at its maximum potential to help combat issues the patients are currently facing and prevent future issues.

      • This field was intentionally left blank says:

        Even if it’s not on the website (and the website is very careful – I’ve visited), the doctors themselves often makes these claims. I know it happens; just look at some of the comments on here from patients who have been to such a DC. These DCs are not only acting against the law, but are 100% incorrect when it comes to lifelong diseases like autoimmunity. I’m not saying chiropractic can’t improve symptoms (I know that it can, if applied correctly and in conjunction with other modalities), but I cringe every time I hear that someone can “treat” or “cure” autoimmune diseases because it’s simply not true and making such claims only runs our reputation that much further into the ground.

  17. This article caught my eye a few times, but I am just replying. Having had experience with a religious cult and “escaped,” ‘i feel I can speak to this… My husband and I were VERY skeptical of chiropractic in general, but desperate with many chronic pain and other health issues(Fibromyalgia since age 13, IBS, heart palpitations and anxiety,acid reflux, migraines, hives and other skin irritations, multiple food allergies,high blood pressure,sleep apnea, uterine fibroid that caused severe anemia, severe seasonal allergies, asthma, and I got sick ALL the time- depleted immune system . ) I was on 12 meds regularly,and I am in my mid 30’s. We have now been seeing Maximized Living doctors for almost a year. The first one we saw was a little too high pressure, but I chalked that up the fact that he and his staff were all in their 20’s and excited in what they were doing. It felt a little weird…HOWEVER, we stayed to see if we would get result- and we did. After 3 months of adjustments and slight changes in diet, I was off medicine completely and feeling the best I have ever felt in my adult life. My daily pain and fibromyalgia symptoms only occur now if I don’t get at least 7 hrs of sleep. Otherwise, none at all. I(f you have this, you understand how huge that is!) So the ML doc we’re seeing now has been no pressure at all, and very good to work with. We had ended up switching because we found him closer to home. I would ultimately highly recommend ML doctors. Could you get the same or better chiropractic care somewhere else? Maybe, but I think the nutritional information has been very valuable too. So, look for a chiropractor that also teaches you about nutrition…Best wishes!

  18. mmeeuwsen says:

    I think there are various chiropractic practices that fit the needs of each individual. What works for some does not work for others and the same goes for most medical professions. However, Jordan, naturopathic doctors go to the root cause of the issue and not just treat the symptoms as you were eluding to in a previous comment. They believe in a natural approach to health care as much as chiropractors do including the 5 health essentials as noted in ML. Samuel Hanneman was the founder of Naturopathic Medicine and any ND school has information on the philosophies and philosophies of Naturopathic Medicine. Kudos to you Mia for pursueing a career in Naturopathic Medicine.

  19. “chartingdoc…”,
    I’m not a chiropractic student nor a chiropractic doctor, but I don’t see why it matters if Jordan is a chriropractic student or not. He says he has been a ML patient; I see no reason to doubt it or his experience. I know two other chiropractic students who are only going through chiro schooling to help others like they were helped from their ML Chiropractor. Personally, I see no problem with Jordon not mentioning that he is a chiropractic student, he can still have a good track record with his personal Chiropractor… Just saying. Oh, and to your point about the nutrition, herbs, dietary changes; all that is covered at the ML Chiropractic office I have experience with. Sounds like you are more in agreement with their message than opposed. Maybe their methods seem extreme, but it does convince some to get care that they have needed for a long time, and to start taking better care of themselves.

    • This field was intentionally left blank says:

      Thanks for your comment, Doug. It only matters that he’s a student because he was trying to pass himself off like an unbiased patient and I felt people should know that he did indeed have a vested interest.

      You’re right – I do agree with ML’s message – eat right, move right, take care of yourself, achieve your potential – these are all things I say to my own patients. What I do find fault with is the tired, old, high-pressure sales tactics that they encourage via their own internal training materials (which have been leaked to me anonymously and posted). :)

  20. Mia Harrod says:

    In my opinion, based on my experience with Maximized living, they are cult-like, the way that they operate confuses the patient. They refuse to be upfront and honest about their prices. They put you threw several different long appointments (ie: meaning it’s going to cost you a lot of money) before they will ever even discuss a price with you. I much rather prefer to do business with people who are upfront and honest with me, I like translucency, something that we never experienced with Maximized living. They want you to sign a long term contract with them that involves thousands of dollars, and they are not upfront about it either, rather they know that if they can get you to waste enough time on them that they can manipulate you and get you to sign it. They tell you that your life depends on this, all in the name of God. It’s disgusting really. We were told that our daughter would not be able to be healed by anyone but Maximized living, and that her condition was very grave, we were also told that they could cure her autoimmune disease (which was a lie). We took the xrays that maximized living took to 3 other chiropractors (and spoke to 2 chiro colleges) ALL of whom advised us to file charges against them for malpractice and we did just that. They are now under investigation for what they did to us. I just feel that the public has a right to know about all of this.

    • Ryan Carlson says:

      I am sorry you had this experience with a ML Doctor. Trust me – That is clearly the exception rather than the rule. I know of a family who attended a ML Potluck and Info meeting and badly wanted to be treated, but could not afford it. This ML Doctor wanted to see the family treated, so did so at a cost that they could afford. This shows the heart of these Doctors. They could have been the typical chiropractor that only adjusts – which is fine, nothing wrong with that. However, this ML Doctor went the extra mile and basically did treatment for the entire family for a very minimal cost. I know of numerous situations in which this has occurred with ML Doctors. For most, their sole interest is in the patient.

  21. Holly Houg says:

    My neighbor is a ML chiropractor and I think he’s a great guy, but I don’t believe it’s necessary to go to a chiropractor for appt. after appt. if you aren’t in pain, so I only go a couple of times a year if I’m in pain. He’s never pushed me to go to office visits if I didn’t want to. So, those of you who had a bad experience, please don’t assume all ML chiropractors are like that! Anyway, I did read the Maximized Living book and it totally changed my life!!!!! I had a broken foot that never healed (found out later that my birth control that I’d been on for 12 years had caused me to have osteopenia!!) and after 7 months of living with constant pain, I was ready to try anything!! So, I followed the lifestyle change advanced nutrition plan in the book and within days my foot was no longer in pain or throbbing!!! Avoiding sugar, dairy and grains has also allowed me to lose 10 pounds, feel amazing after 7-8 hours of sleep each night (I used to think I couldn’t survive on less than 9-10), and it really opened my eyes to the dangers of non-organic and non-cage-free/grass-fed meat, etc. I felt like the book really explained everything so clearly. You wouldn’t believe how much energy I have now and I totally thought I was eating healthy before!!! It’s been 18 months and I will NEVER go back to my old ways of eating!!!!

    • This field was intentionally left blank says:

      This is VERY true. NOT all docs are the same, ML-based or otherwise. Some are great (yes, even many ML docs!) and some are terrible. I reckon this is true for any profession – there are good and bad teachers, accountants, MDs, etc, so it’s definitely not just us and it’s definitely not just ML. I’m really glad you went through your metamorphosis and are reaping such rich rewards :)

  22. I have read all the comments on these articles and all the bad experiences mentioned in the article, and I only have to say that that was nothing like my experience at a Maximized Living clinic at all! I didn’t have to go to a bunch of appointments before receiving care. I knew I had some major back and neck problems that other chiropractors and massage therapists couldn’t seem to solve. Got a free nerve scan from a gal who worked at ML-she told me I should come in for an evaluation (which was like $25 donation to a charity) and when I said I didn’t know if I could spend that much, the doctor offered to make the donation herself and give the evaluation for free, specifically stating that she really didn’t care much about the money, she just wanted to help me figure out what was going on. She found I had scoliosis, which no other chiropractor had ever noticed before (until I mentioned it, and then he realized I did). They were honest and upfront about the prices. She told me x-rays would be a hundred dollars, but I decided to go through with them anyway, because it was obvious my bones were goofed up in some way (my knee was turned and my foot jutted out, my hip was turned and my back was crooked, and it was pretty obvious once it was pointed out). They didn’t take X-rays sitting down as has been mentioned. I scheduled an appointment to go over the x-rays after the results came back. That didn’t work out so I made another appointment, which happened to be on the same day as a group presentation. I thought the presentation was excellent and went over different ways that spinal problems can affect other areas of the body-with statistics, x-rays, testimonies, and evidence to back it up. It didn’t make outlandish claims that chiropractic care would cure everything. She simply shared a few cases in which it did help patients in different ways, with some studies to explain how. The emphasis was on keeping your body healthy with regular exercise and weight lifting and a healthy diet, so that you wouldn’t need to get your spine corrected anymore. The doctor herself had scoliosis and shared her x-rays-she was honest about it, and showed that her spine wasn’t perfect, but it had been improved over years of exercise and care. She didn’t give out personal information about her patients in the presentation, she waited until after the presentation to privately go over the x-rays with us and give us adjustments. I told her that I lived in a different city and wouldn’t be able to visit frequently, and she was fine with that. She helped me to find a chiropractor in my own city that I could go to. She showed me the exercise equipment to help re-align my back and showed me how to use them, and then I bought them, and saw an exercise DVD that I was interested in, and bought that too. They weren’t at all pushy about it or anything. They just sold me what I needed for my condition, and explained to me what was going on with my back. They gave me very valuable information that nobody else would give me, an actual solution to the problem rather than just “come back when your neck hurts again so we can give it a crack for $60″, she actually showed me how to fix my neck problems and be healthier overall so I didn’t have to keep getting adjustments. There were some Christian pictures on the walls, which I didn’t mind at all since I am a Christian and it seemed rather homey, but they never tried to push God or any sort of weird religious doctrine or anything, they just stuck to scientific methods. She gave me a list of recommended stretches and exercises to do, adjusted my back, and then I left. They were very professional. I think that you can’t group all Maximized Living practitioners together. Sure, some of them are probably driven by greed and will trample underfoot their patients to get you to dish out more money-but I don’t think that all ML doctors have that intention. I think some truly do just want to help people and have a different approach to care than other chiropractors that they really believe in. I think it is rather unfair to state that all Maximized Living doctors are con artists. They are obviously not all the same and their methods vary. No, they can’t fix everything-but they can fix some things that nobody else can.

  23. txaphrodite says:

    I met one of the promoters at a Vitamin Depot & of course what they had to say intrigued my skepticism yet appealed to what I know about the body. After the first visit & the adjustment I was impressed. He was so christian/gentle/trustworthy and very very polished – his staff however was a bit evasive on information/demeanor but I dismissed it. Even the delay in getting my itemized receipt. During the next wk my Tendonitis even improved from I guess allowing the nerves to flow freer, hips showed improvement – despite some lingering pain from the adjustment. But last night I went to the group mtg (only another couple & Myself) after nearly 2 hrs presentation which of course made sense & brief 10 min review of my x-rays which of course can be alarming when you see the abnormalities & know what needs to be done. I was on high guard when it came to the treatment plan (which was understandable) but the financial whoosh of $1900 (uncovered medically) & being asked to pay nearly $600 a month ahead of time made me feel taken advantage of & in the presentation he said Make a decision right now while you’re here. (More pressure) I equated this feeling I had been taking on this Willy Wonka tour of fun down into a tunnel of deceipt (he said he’d only heard that one other time someone feel mislead). I got excuses as to why he can’t give Estimates up front – you can’t say I charge $65 hr – depending upon treatment you can go from there?? He said it was impossible due to the algorithm he runs. He was very calm, understanding despite me falling apart/feeling I was insulting him – but I couldn’t get out of there fast enough. It was more & more clear he was trained well in Sales. I am not a dramatic person but I felt deeply Violated – sobbing I left there feeling my trust had been betrayed (as if something dirty happened to me). Do I wish I could have the treatment sure, do I feel like I could go back knowing the way they handled themselves & hidden costs and reading reviews that sync with mine no. I am glad for those they’ve helped Heal, those that don’t blink at dropping a house payment down upfront. As soon as I can get my x-rays I’m done – I will find another chiropractor or stick with The Joint. But not sure I’ll ever trust someone who has to drum up business with sales tactics get me in for a reduced intro price. As I sensed back there – what’s the hook….now I know.

    • This field was intentionally left blank says:

      Exactly. It’s not the health-focused ML philosophy I have a problem with. It’s the sales tactics. Every doc is different (not all ML docs are high-pressure or sleazy about it), but many of the ML docs I’ve come across and heard stories about ARE this way, and that’s what I’m hoping that we as a profession will stop stooping to.

  24. I worked for a “body by god” / “maximized” living outfit. I didn’t capitalize God because it wasn’t anything to do about him. It was all about greed by the practitioners. The practitioners are taught how to EXTORT money from people in a process that starts the moment that someone walks through their door. They don’t address all of the physical needs of each patient or condition. It is proven that chiropractic in any sort can help alleviate things like MS or other detrimental health conditions. I just suggest that if you want to be part of a cattle call where you get 3-5 minutes with your practitioner 1-3 times a week, you go this way. I think TRUE chiropractic with a practitioner that cares more about you then your 3K-5K a year per family would be spending more then 4 minutes per patient. The doc I worked for had a 3 minute goal in each adjustment. The adjustments were all the same and when I was pregnant, I had really bad carpal tunnel syndrome. She wouldn’t even look at it because it didn’t fall into the category of spinal adjustments. Chiropractic is supposed to be a whole body wellness approach. Not so in “maximized living” approach. I would not recommend it as the goal of each person walking through their door is to tell you that your going to become seriously ill or die if you don’t get treated….then they walk you through their billing and how you can save yourself by going to their office. I am PRO-CHIROPRACTIC, just anti-Maximized Living. Find a great practitioner who addresses your whole body and treats your hard earned money right, not a ticket to become a millionaire off of you.

    • This field was intentionally left blank says:

      Thanks for your comment! I agree wholeheartedly with you. I’m really, really glad, by the way, that your negative experience did not turn you off to chiropractic itself. Some of the high-profile anti-chiro people are actually DCs themselves who have been disillusioned by some of these sleazier clinics. I encourage any DC caught up inadvertently in these operations not to turn your back on chiropractic or alternative/integrative medicine entirely – there are as many ways to practice as there are doctors :)

  25. I didn’t know about Maximized Living as an program until recently. I had a bad spine injury and eventually I could only take a step of a few inches – and that with pain. So, even though I was a skeptic I went to a chiropractor that a friend recommended. I figured, what the heck I’ll try anything. The usual x-rays were taken and then I had to go to a presentation about my back. How wonderful! Someone actually taught me about my back and why I was hurting. Then a personal plan was developed for me. I had to go 3 times a week at first, but after the presentation I understood why. Eventually I dropped to once a month. My treatment started immediately though and within a week I was walking with no pain and so, so grateful. I continued my maintenance until we moved from Florida 8 years ago. It was only recently that the pain started in again and I called Dr. Ben Lerner’s office to get a recommendation for a chiropractor where I now lived. So, for 8 years I had no idea that his plan was Maximized Living. I had tried another chiropractor near my house that wasn’t involved with Maximized Living and he continued to leave me in worse shape than when I went in. I was so lucky to have gone to Dr. Lerner and can HIGHLY recommend any of the chiropractors who follow his program. I’m now driving nearly an hour to go to one of his colleagues, but its worth every minute of my time. Congratulations to Dr Ben and his success – my body is forever grateful!

  26. Not to seem out of line or anything, but do you think that it’s possible that you personally just had a bad experience…? It seems like the general consensus here is that people have had a good experience. I’ve been seeing my chiropractor through ML for the past three years and have gotten worlds better. And they certainly never forced me to go to any meetings, they OFFERED me to come to seminars, or diet workshops, or fun recipe nights that are really just people getting together and sharing recipes, and even exercise nights…but that’s it.

    Heck, we couldn’t even afford to go, when I started I was on my mother’s insurance, but then I lost my insurance with her when I got too old. Since I couldn’t afford to go and neither could my husband, they gave us an 87% discount……seriously, we pay like, 80bucks a month, all he cares about is making sure we can keep getting the help we need. So….why would a scam do that? We’re not the only ones he’s done it for either, he works with people that come in, around their budgets, so that they can come in and get the chiropractic help that they need.

    There’s no mention of God or religion of any type in his office either. The most I ever hear is “Food is meant to be eaten the way God made it.” And uh…that’s it.

    So…yeah, I think you might have just had a very bad experience.

    • This field was intentionally left blank says:

      You are right :) I do want to say that each experience is unique because each patient and doctor are unique, as is each doc-pt combo. I’ve heard both wonderful stories and horrible stories, and I think it really does boil down to what type of doc they are (and is the patient ready to receive the info the doc has to offer?). Some docs are less-than-honest (as is true in every profession, whether medical/healthcare-oriented and otherwise), and unfortunately, those patients pay a price. I personally know several ML docs, all of whom are good people at heart. Each individual ML-based doc will take the ML guidelines and add their own personal influence. If the doc is good at heart, this will only help the patients, as ML gives a business paradigm to make that doc successful, and indeed many ML docs are successful. If the doc is not so great, they’ll resort to the hard-sell approach, which ML (unfortunately) facilitates by providing a blueprint for how to Sell.

  27. Personally, I had a terrible experience at the ML near my house.
    Let me start off by saying that I am a non-smoking vegan who exercises regularly, so I was neither in objection to or in need of health propaganda. Still, my personal bodily condition did not matter at all when it came to my visit – I was treated to the same lectures about the “5 steps” and how I was in imminent danger of irreparable nerve damage due to too much saturated fat and fast food consumption….
    While I agree with the particular message that ML is trying to send about the “usual” American diet, I am certainly not the kind of person who would benefit from being subjected to a patronizing lecture about my life choices.
    Anyway, I went to ML because it happened to be the closest chiropractic office near my house and I have had a sharp pain in my shoulder that has lasted for years. I had never been to a chiropractor before, but I was (and still am) in favor of chiropractic treatments because, in my book, surgery is always the last option and I have heard good things about chiropractors from my family and friends.
    So my first visit went okay; although I was more than somewhat uncomfortable thanks to the lobby’s three sparse, plastic chairs and cardboard shelf with some vitamin shakes as decoration. The reception staff was very friendly (one of the only positive aspects of that place), but a TV was on which was playing a loud video of a man recounting frightening statistics of the state of people’s physical conditions who were not protected by the magical 5-step plan. One of the doctors examined my posture and took two x-rays (only $25 each, which is very reasonable), and told me to return the next day to get the results.
    It was when I went back that things became strange.
    Upon checking in with the receptionist, I was handed an i-Pad and a set of giant headphones and ordered to watch a video, which was a lengthy praise of the Maximized Living Mission and Accomplishments. At the end, a strange woman appeared on the screen and informed me that the adjustment my doctor was going to make today is very important, as it will be the first step on the road to a Maximized Life. Feeling agitated and annoyed, I returned the i-Pad to the receptionist and was promptly led into a room to wait on another hard plastic chair for the doctor, who would (as usual) “be right in”. The room in which I had been deposited was cold, pictureless, and windowless. It was mostly dark since only one light had been turned on, and aside from the X-ray machine and a rubber spine suspended from a metal hook, it was totally bare. After several minutes had elapsed, I began to consider the video and how odd was that a caring physician would use a standard, automated film to prepare his patients for their upcoming treatment. Having nothing to do, I took out my phone and began to Google ML. After several increasingly disquieting reports, I came across this blog, and as I read several words began to stand out at me: “quizzes”, “required group presentation”, and “cult-like”. My experience was beginning to feel oddly similar to the one which the author relates in this article; so I made up my mind that if, when the doctor came in, he gave me the same deal as he had given the woman in this blog, this would be my last vist. Who wants their health to be treated like a telemarketer phone call, in which the person who’s supposed to be helping you is simply reading off some script?
    Sadly, that is exactly what happened.
    When the doctor finally came in, he only brought one of my X-rays and wouldn’t even show me the second. He wanted to get right to an adjustment and then schedule an appointment for Saturday morning to discuss everything with my husband and me. When I asked how the treatments he was proposing (which may evidently have lasted for months) would help the pain in my shoulder, he said that he didn’t know and wouldn’t until he did the adjustment. I’m not saying that he was lying, but several months of expensive treatments is a big commitment when they may not even fix the problem.
    So I turned the first adjustment down as well as the conference and said I needed to get a second opinion, which I obtained at Carolina Back Institute. The doctor there took several X-rays and said the same thing as the ML chiropractor had – that the top of my spine was straight rather than curved, but she disagreed that my nerves were being pinched due to my condition. She showed me where the nerves come in and out of the spine and explained that with me, those pathways were clear. In contrast to the ML chiropractor who said that the abnormality of my spine could have been caused by “anything”, the new doctor suggested that, as I am a full-time student and have been for years, what probably happened was that such a long time of constantly leaning over a desk had gradually pulled my spine out of alignment. She said that my high degree of muscle tension in my neck and the pain there would most likely be cured but a succession of deep-tissue massages/physical therapy would relieve the pain and help my myscles pull the spine back into proper alignment…naturally.
    Long story short, I would never go back to ML. While they may help some people, it is obvious that they do not care about your physical or mental comfort while in their care, and they are on the lookout for something to be wrong with you in order to get your money.

    • nolongersick says:

      I have quit going to a maximized living doctor as I feel that the on going adjustments are not necessary. I went to a regular chiropractor while away on holidays and explained to him how often the maximized chiropractor recommended me to get adjustments. He then said that he had quit a lucrative business going on and wondered how he slept at night. He also said that if a chiropractor can’t help you in a maximum of 6 appointments then he can’t help you. He suggested that my neck and spine were not going to correct themselves anymore after six adjustments. I had been going to the maximized living doctor 3 times a week for 3 months then, 1 time a week indefinitely. The regular chiropractor thought that I was wasting my money and if my neck felt out just to see a chiropractor once or twice and then follow up with massage. Now that’s honesty. Now don’t get me wrong as Maximized Living did help me lots with my diet and my neck does feel better than any other chiropractor has made it feel. I think that the maximized living doctor did move my neck 5 degrees and I don’t feel anymore pain when I dental assist. But to have to continue on for the rest of my life is crazy! So glad I told the regular chiropractor about maximized living and have saved lots of money! He thought the paleo diet was a great idea but all those continued adjustments were ridiculous. I will go to a regular chiropractor if needed but will only go for the alloted 6 or less adjustments from now on.

  28. Rae Downing says:

    What I find extremely interesting is that if you visit your doctor because you are feeling tired all the time, your doctor does not make inquiries about your diet and exercise but instead prescribes drugs. Then you suffer side effects from the drugs so the doctor prescribes more drugs and those require more drugs because of the additional side effects. And still your doctor never says, “what are you eating, what kind of exercise are you doing, how is your nervous system doing.” You have enormous costs for office visits, time taken to go to the doctor, out of pocket expenses for prescriptions, time spent driving to the pharmacy and ultimately it is costing you thousands of dollars but you ever get better. Or you see a Maximized Living chiropractor and change your diet, start exercising and the need for the drugs evaporates, you are feeding your body on a cellular level, sleeping better, experiencing increased energy levels, better moods, and generally feeling better overall. Your skin is brighter, your nails are stronger, your hair is shinier and you are losing weight and building muscles, stronger bones. Yet you consider someone who is helping your body achieve good health and making your life better a scam? Really? How does that work? The leading cause of death in the US is legal medical care — prescription drugs and a health (and I use that word loosely) care system that does nothing to keep you health but instead makes you sicker. I think the real question people should ask is why doesn’t my medical care provider want to ensure I remain healthy and instead only wants to see me when I am sick. By the time you are seeing a traditional doctor, you are sick or diseased. Cancer, healthy disease, diabetes — by the you experience symptoms, you already have the disease. Far better do the things that keep you from getting the disease in the first place and your traditional medical care provider is doing nothing make that happen yet the medical care provider who does, is scamming you! Seriously screwed up perceptions.

    • This field was intentionally left blank says:

      Please show me where I said that nutrition, exercise, good health, and a better quality of life is a scam.
      I think rather than a screwed-up perception problem, we have more of a reading comprehension problem. :)

  29. I am getting ready to go to my 3rd appointment at a ML facility tonight and will get my “report of findings”. I must admit, I have felt like they have been trying to sell me something since the beginning. I have lingering feelings that they are just jerking me around and I will decide after tonight how to proceed. They have not been up front with how all of this will progress, and did not even spell out the lineup of care which has left me with confusion and added to my feeling that this ultimately is BS. My 5 month old daughter has torticollis and my husband and I desperately want her healed. She is the main reason we’re going. We’ll see, I guess…

  30. Frank Macino says:

    Jennifer, How did your “report of finding” go at the ML clinic? I’m going to my meeting tomorrow night and can tell you that I have read way too much negative info about the ML hard sell. I’m getting my report and going to an Ostepath and Ortho Doc to get some real medical care.

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