In the last post, I shared a Maximized Living experience from a friend and fellow healthcare practitioner. (She’s not a DC herself.) As her story unfolded, she described a franchise with extremist views and outlandish claims. Apparently, things haven’t changed much…
Here’s our personal story of our own brush with this outfit from years ago:
I remember it pretty vividly. It was early on during our first term in school, and we had just gotten the bomb dropped on us that we were required to recruit 10 new patients to the school’s clinic. We were advised to start now, as the recruit requirement has been known to hold people back from graduating – as in, you could have ALL of your other requirements met (even exceeded) but if you had only 9 new recruits, you had to stay–and pay for–another entire term. This was true even if you managed to swing the new recruit within the first week of the term, as the school does not prorate tuition.
So, being first-term students, insecure, directionless, and freaked out, we felt that we were handed a stroke of luck when, during our observation stint in the student clinic, the intern I was assigned to shadow for the term happened to have all of his recruits accomplished already. When I asked him how he did it and would he be willing to teach me, he readily agreed and said he “had it all worked out”. He gave me his school-sanctioned intern business card and said he was part of a group; I assumed it was one of those legit extra-curricular clubs that met over lunch designed to help us develop public speaking skills and good recruiting methods. I remember writing “12pm Friday, library” on the back, only giving a moment to pause because no other school-sanctioned group met on Fridays. But, I needed recruits, and this guy had answers. Alrighty then.
When we showed up for the meeting that Friday, we found it a little puzzling that everyone there was either in our first-term class or in their final year, with no one in between. And in fact, other than the final-year group leaders, everyone attending was first-term. I remember receiving a few handouts that resembled lecture outlines, and I remember that the leaders were passionate and committed to certain concepts that I found strange, but relatively agreeable at that time. They stressed God first, then family, then chiropractic. Well, aside from the atheist/agnostic population, who wouldn’t agree with that?
The method focused very much on spinal screenings, and anywhere and everywhere you could do them. One screening event always “sells” the next; future presentations, screenings, and dates are always mentioned at the current event. Then some guy holding a meeting in the next room burst into ours. I don’t remember his question, but it had something to do with receiving payment from those attending that next-door meeting.
I slowly started to get the feeling that this was actually a company and not a school club, and that there would be money–potentially lots of it–involved if we wanted to keep going. I also got the growing suspicion that this was not the direction we wanted to take our chiropractic careers, as this “spinal screening anywhere” mode didn’t do anything but devalue and cheapen what is supposed to be a doctoral profession. I certainly wasn’t stooping to setting up shop at Walmart and accosting shoppers for a spinal screening they didn’t care about.
Then things got downright strange.
The lead presenter told a story of his conversation with a DC in some town of 100,000 people, who is, by himself, seeing about 2,000 people per week. The presenter had said, “wow, that’s great!” and the DC said, “no, it’s not! It’s horrible! I’m only seeing 2,000 of the 100,000 people in this town, which means that 98,000 people out there are dying!”
At the time, I was already a healthcare practitioner (of a different type). I had seen people day in and day out, who:
- Had never been to a DC, never been adjusted in their lives, and yet they were healthy as can be
- Go regularly to a DC and were still sickly people
- Go to a DC and are also healthy as can be
- Had never been to a DC and are sickly
Doing the math in my head, I realized that there was a loose correlation between good health and getting adjusted, but this link wasn’t nearly as cemented or consistent as one might think (or a DC might hope). The general correlation had enough counterexamples that I definitely couldn’t rely on it to convince people they needed chiropractic care just because.
Yes, there are theories that segmental dysfunction/joint fixation (i.e. subluxation) may contribute to dysfunctions elsewhere in the body. Yes, there may be something to those theories. An adjustment can most likely help a wider variety of conditions than currently accepted. Those of us actually IN practice do see quality-of-life improvement every day; I imagine a lot of the naysayers out there got dogged at some point by one of these chirovangelist groups, or failed in practice (no doubt often due to their “winning” personality or “genius” business skills”). So I listen to what they have to say, but I take them with a grain of salt.
Whatever the naysayers say about Maximized Living, however, is pretty spot-on. Sorry, that’s just the reality of it. It doesn’t take long to stumble upon a forum that in this case, calls a spade a spade: Maximized Living is akin to a scam, and even a cult. There’s a long and heavy-handed indoctrination process, and there are stories of patients and doctors alike, who mention the first year is great, everything is wonderful, everyone is perfect, and after that things start to falter and the House of Cards blows over.