Maximized Living, Round 2 (part 1 of 3)

Today, I received one of the coolest comments.  It’s the entire script leaked by a former Maximized Living doctor who turned against them and released the proprietary scripts they furnish their franchisees (the doctors).

Unfortunately, I can’t post it, because the last blogger who did immediately (and unfortunately) got his entire blog yanked out from under him in the midst of a lawsuit launched by none other than Maximized Living themselves.


Not because the scripts were false or misleading, but because by posting them verbatim, the blogger opened himself up to a copyright lawsuit, which was promptly served.  I don’t want this commenter nor myself to land in hot water.  So, to protect both of us, I’ll refrain from publishing the comment.

However, what I will do, since people have the right to know the truth and I’m all for the minimization of censorship (usually), is to summarize the bulk of the script so that you can get a feel for the general flow of what you’re about to encounter should you walk into a Maximized Living-based office.

Before I get started, I will say this out of fairness: the doctors who buy into the Maximized Living franchises are usually good people.  Most of them aren’t out to scam you, per se.  Several classmates from my graduating class opened up Maximized Living practices.  They’re passionate people, and pretty hardcore about doing things naturally.  Some of them even get slightly theological about the whole thing, adding a God aspect to body healing and whatnot.  There isn’t necessarily any harm done there.

What I do find fault with is what will become apparent as I post the synopsis of how this franchise recommends/instructs its people (the doctors) conduct business.  I don’t agree with the idea that most people are prescribed “x” (large) number of visits no matter what their problem is.  I don’t agree with their use of the word “subluxation”, which in itself is a highly controversial word at best.  Truthfully, there is plenty of evidence to suggest that an adjustment has global nervous system effects (altering the central integrated state by increasing the frequency of firing), and that the rest of the body relies on impulses from the motor branch of the nervous system to function.  However, Maximized Living spiels never take the explanations that far.  They’d rather scare people with the idea of unfounded impending disease instead.

So here is a basic rundown of the process.

Day 1 is apparently the new patient exam.  God is brought up first.  The importance of patient education is brought up, with vague claims of having seen “so many miracles”.  I don’t have any problem with that philosophy, but I do think that it’s a bit cheesy to bring religion into healthcare.

Then they talk about the importance of the position of the brain and spinal cord and if it deviates from its normal position, this puts pressure on the brainstem and damages the spinal cord and nerves.  Since it’s been a while since I’ve dealt in the structural realm, but I would venture to say that this claim is questionable.  The main reason is, our spines are always shifting.  They shift every time we move.  They’re supposed to; they’re built that way.  Are we to remain in the same position all day every day?  There’s a larger body of evidence to suggest that the nervous system depends on movement, a neurological link much stronger than the benefits of maintaining the same proper “position”.

Then they talk about how the pinching is called subluxation.  Ah yes, the whole bone-0n-nerve thing.  About how we’re all going to become quadriplegic if we don’t get adjusted three times a week for life.  The bone-on-nerve idea originated with chiropractic founder DD Palmer’s First and Second Theories circa 1902 and although it has been disproven, old-school chiropractors continue to cling to it, whether they truly believe it’s correct or they know it’s inaccurate but appreciate the convenience of the explanation to patients.  True bone-on-nerve pinching occurs less than 5% of the time and when it does, it typically requires surgical correction, and isn’t something a DC is ever likely to address.

After that, the patient has x-rays taken.  No harm there, except for the fact that the word “convince” is actually used, as in, convincing the patient to go through with the x-rays.  This implies that they may not otherwise want to, which I have to wonder about.  Whenever we have recommended x-rays, we’ve never encountered any resistance from the patient.  If we truly feel a patient needs x-rays, we may reserve the right not to render treatment until we have them, but then again, we will also always have a reason–other than demonstrating the presence of “subluxation”–for taking them.  If patients object to x-rays often enough to warrant the word “convince”, that’s a clue to a potential flaw in the logic of the system.  And besides, whether or not one can accurately detect a chiropractic “subluxation” via plain film x-ray is up for debate.

Then the doctor calls the patient the night after the Day 1 exam to tell the patient that sure enough, the x-rays revealed a problem that wasn’t a simple one and that it was indeed a subluxation as the doctor expected.  (Whodathunk?)  See you tomorrow.

6 thoughts on “Maximized Living, Round 2 (part 1 of 3)”

  1. You definitely sound like you went to National, Northwestern, or one of the other “mixer” schools. To be honest with you, I don’t really understand why you decided to join this small clinic and focus on Functional Medicine rather then adjustments. I personally think adjustments is the best part. FYI: There is a reason why Chiropractor success rate is so low and over 50% of Chiropractors aren’t practicing Chiropractic 5 years after graduation. The reason it is a dying profession is because students graduate school, ready to hit the real world, and they are scared. They realize their school barely went over the ins-outs of running a business and more importantly, they really don’t even know how to be a Chiropractor, let alone what one is. This type of mindset is so dangerous to our profession.

    I know you don’t like or agree with the “highly controversial word, Subluxation”. The reason you and your fellow classmates cringe at the sound of this word is because your school doesn’t teach it that way. I guarantee if you went to a “straight” Chiropractic school, you would not be tooting the same whistle and same goes for me as well. Either way you slice it, Chiropractors should be joining and teaming up with one another for support and networking, not forming divisions and bashing our fellow brother and sisters. This is another reason we are dying. We have no unity with one another, only separation and the “I’m right, your wrong” mindset. That is why after reading your blog, I was left feeling disappointed, especially regarding Maximized Living.

    About your Day 1-3 posts, I have a few things I would like to point out. I really hope your smart enough to realize that the sheets of paper your friend leaked to you are just that, sheets of paper. They absolutely mean nothing to you unless you have been educated, coached, and trained with Doctors and Coaches. I’m not sure how long your friend was with the program before he decided to leave, but it probably wasn’t very long because you would have definitely been more informed on the process.

    The papers you are reading are guide lines of how the education process starts and the steps you take. The education process is so crucial because there has been extensive research done on patients who truly understand their problem and the great results they see because of it. The scripts are base drafts and another guideline to aid in the educating process. They are not read verbatim and obviously are adjusted to the specific patient. The recommendations you are reading for patient visits are not (x) number of visits no matter what their problem is. Again, you are just looking at the black and white and not what really is going on. Care plans are based on, for example, Phase of degeneration patient is in, as well as, other factors. No patient would ever get a recommendation of 3x/wk for the rest of their lives like you incorrectly pointed out.

    As I continued to read your Day 2 post, you clearly, once again, were reading it for what it is, just some papers with words and formulating it into the “bylaws” of Maximized Living. The remainder of this post basically bashes your fellow Chiropractors, for what reason is unclear. It’s probably because you think you found some “level 7 clearance” documents of Maximized Living and you want to expose them for the cult they are, right? The only exposure I have seen so far is you telling the world that you have a full-time opinion, with part-time knowledge. You have this all wrong, chiropractors are not the enemy, they are allies in a system you might still believe in. So what if I call it Subluxation and you happen to refer out. If you have a problem with a doctor, an office, or a practice management program then advise your people to do their homework and found a place that fits for them and their needs. Let’s get off the bash wagon and edify chiropractic, not segregate it based on a few misguided individuals.

    I’m jumping off my soap box now…

  2. You can delete my post, but I wish you would respond. I’m not bashing you, I’m letting you know what is wrong with your thinking about ML and Chiropractic… well who knows, I could probably be wrong too 🙂

  3. I understand that this is a blog and you are simply stating knowledge you have acquired or experienced. In regards to theories being disproved and subluxations being a falsehood, could you please post your references so that I may further understand? I tried to research facts to back your claims but alas turned up with nothing. I am sure that if what you stated were true, there would be an uproar of it on the internet given how ML and chiropractors in general are outnumbered by AMA and pharmaceutical company supporteres. I am trying to build my own opinion on this subject and would like to gather as much facts from both sides as possible.

  4. Hi interesting article. I use a Maximized Living chiropractor and personally found the care I have received to be far superior to other chiropractors. I feel you seem to be targeting this group in general and don’t agree with this. Personally I was happy they did so many tests and x-rays on me; I am the biggest skeptic on the planet and would NEVER use a chiro that does not do xrays and tests, which I believe is standard practice for a Maximized Living chiropractor.

    And as for this “profession” it has put my back back together 3 times in my life and I find the whole approach to be a better one than the usual “just get your back cracked” or “surgery, drugs, more drugs.”
    Of course I am getting this up in Canada where this profession is tightly monitored so maybe that makes a difference, but I found they have helped me tremendously. Oh and I get retested yearly so I can clearly see the difference made on my neck and spine. Not to mention I can now breathe easily, lift and turn my head and have increased stamina. For someone who was almost unable to walk comfortably or breathe easily after 5 minutes of regular exercise I have been forever grateful for this.

    And yes, I still use regular doctors and don’t buy into just “boxing” my care in to one category or other. I will use chiropractic for my health but if I am sick I will use a regular dr and will get regular dr checkups. There is no “one magic bullet” solution anywhere and I feel this is the real problem on reviews like yours–there is hope there is one cure for all ills and if it doesn’t fit the bill then it gets panned. Sorry but it is just not practical to think that way and this is my biggest issue with critics, you included.

    1. Hi and thanks for your comment!

      Couple of points I’d like to make.

      First, I wholeheartedly agree with what you said about no magic bullet, and skepticism of medications and whatnot.
      Second thought – chiropractic, practiced properly, WORKS – you’ve experienced it and we agree on this point as well. I need to clarify that a good chiropractic doctor is a good chiropractic doctor (and they/we are out there!), whether they’re affiliated with Maximized Living in any way or not. Maximized Living affiliation does not necessarily/automatically a good doctor make.
      Next – My criticism of ML is based SOLELY on two things: 1) personal experiences, either as a first-hand personal experience, or related to me in person by an impartial person I know and trust, and 2) materials “leaked” to me by a party who wishes to remain anonymous. There is literally NO preformed bias – I formed my opinion based only on the empirical data from the experiences themselves, and my personal opinions formed when reading the internal “leaked materials”.

      A more careful re-read through my ML-related posts will demonstrate that I do not have *anything* against chiropractic as a profession or therapeutic modality, nor do I condemn ML in its entirety. Instead, I have very specific bones to pick that have to do with its marketing and patient care strategies (which of course, will be implemented is a variety of ways – a better doctor will not be so “sales-y” and will focus on the therapy and patient needs, whereas another doctor might be more high-pressure and give off a gimmicky vibe), which I hopefully made very clear.


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