Written by George Goodheart, D.C.
Friday, 26 August 2005 19:52
George Goodheart is a second generation Doctor of Chiropractic and graduated from National College of Chiropractic in 1939. In 1964, Dr. Goodheart began making a series of revolutionary observations about muscle function and health and disease that evolved into applied kinesiology.
By stimulating various neurological receptors and observing excitatory and inhibitory responses of muscles to manual testing, Dr. Goodheart was able to identify optimal treatment methods to restore normal muscle function for structural stability. Dr. Goodheart synthesized methods from many disciplines into AK, using the body as a diagnostic tool. He has annually published his observations since 1964.
One of Goodheart’s most used observations is that stimulation of taste buds with nutritional substances that are appropriate for a patient results in an excitatory response of a weak testing muscle. Similarly, oral exposure to toxic or allergic substances will result in muscle inhibition of previously strong testing muscles. Application of these concepts, in combination with laboratory, history, and other exam findings, allows for precise targeting of a patient’s unique biochemical needs.
His correction of a chronic problem of a doctor on the United States Olympic Committee’s Sports Medicine team afforded him an appointment as the first Doctor of Chiropractic on the USOC Sports Medicine Team, whereupon he served at the 1980 Lake Placid Winter Games. This opened the door for chiropractors’ participation in the USOC movement that continues to this day.
Dr. Goodheart is the Research Director for the International College of Applied Kinesiology, a multidisciplinary group of physicians with chapters all over the world. Hundreds of doctors have presented thousands of clinical observations at ICAK meetings, based on Dr. Goodheart’s original findings. Muscle testing has become an unparalleled diagnostic tool for real-time evaluation of a patient’s status and response to treatment.
In addition to being an exceptional and prolific clinical investigator, Dr. Goodheart is the consumate family doctor. He has delivered over 100 babies and tended to the family health needs of some families for over five generations. And if all of this isn’t amazing enough, today, at 87, he still works in his office in Grosse Pointe Woods, Michigan, and lectures many weekends of the year.
At the request of The American Chiropractor, Dr. David Leaf, Chairman of the International College of Applied Kinesiology, recently interviewed Dr. Goodheart, an amazing chiropractor and a legend among us, whose work has profoundly impacted the lives of so many.
Leaf: Dr. Goodheart, the impression held by many chiropractors is that doctors using applied kinesiology do not manipulate the spine. How would you respond?
Goodheart: Personally, I manipulate 100 percent of all of my patients. Since the beginning, in 1964, spinal manipulation has been at the heart of applied kinesiology. Whether you are talking about structural or chemical problems, every one of the patients will have a subluxation and or a fixation complex as part of the treatment. For example, Felix Mann, in his classic book on acupuncture, Reinventing Acupuncture: A New Concept of Ancient Medicine, stated "every meridian imbalance would have a spinal imbalance."
Leaf: There are many different treatment options that you have at your disposal in applied kinesiology. Where do you put the spinal manipulation?
Goodheart: Over the years, we have taken the concept of muscle testing and found many ways to determine which treatments were appropriate for a patient. For example, trigger points can be treated in many ways. We have developed methods to determine which one is correct for a specific trigger point in a patient. I fit the treatments needed to the needs of the patient instead of fitting the patient to my treatment. However, correction of the related spinal subluxations is primary and, without this, the success rate with the patient is greatly diminished.
Leaf: Can you give an example of where muscle testing is an aid in the analysis of the patient’s spine?
Goodheart: Chiropractors are well trained in finding subluxations, but many patients suffer from fixations. These vertebrae are not "out of position" but, instead, locked in place by contraction of muscles. Motion palpation may be used to find these, but we have found that muscle testing helps us to find them. Each area of the spine has classic muscle weakness patterns that help us isolate these fixation patterns. One of the advantages of using muscle testing as a diagnostic tool is that it can be used with the patient in different positions. Sometimes, these fixation patterns will only be found with the patient supine, or standing or in a work position. The muscle test screening procedure also lets us, as well as the patient, know when we have corrected the problem. This is one of the great advantages of using muscle testing. The patients are impressed with the changes in their musculoskeletal systems as a result of the treatments.
Leaf: In what area or areas do you find the most important subluxations and fixations?
Goodheart: When lecturing, I like to describe the dura. As you well know, the dura attaches firmly in the pelvis and the sacrum, in the upper cervical area, and inside the skull, in what the osteopaths call the cranial bowl.
The first two great schools of chiropractic centered their treatments in the pelvis and the upper cervical area. Sacro Occipital Technique and Craniosacral therapy have also advanced these original findings. Using muscle testing, we are able to uncover many hidden problems in the functioning of the sacrum and in the upper cervical area. Proper functioning of the piriformis is critical for stabilization of sacral problems. In the upper cervical area, we find not only subluxations but also fixations and micro fixations. These imbalances have many deleterious effects on the body.
The dorsolumbar junction is the area of the most common fixations. D.D. Palmer first wrote about this and I concur. Most of the patients that you see will have a gait imbalance. They walk with one stride longer than the other. This pattern causes changes in the mechanics of the spine and fixations, especially at this level of the spine. Correction of the fixation complex normalizes the bilateral muscle weakness that is associated with it. This is the key. The weakness pattern confirms the palpatory findings, and the correct spinal manipulation is confirmed by strengthening of the muscle weakness pattern.
Leaf: What advice can you give the readers?
Goodheart: When confronted with a problem, ask, "Why?" Why do people walk the way they do or move in a certain way? Then, test and measure something. Treat the patient and then re-test. If you are stumped, first reduce the pelvis and upper cervical areas to a zero defect level and let the person walk about. Then, re-test for changes.
Finally, keep an open mind and continue to learn. I have been practicing for over 60 years and am continually amazed at what we can learn from our patients and how we, as chiropractors, can better their health using applied kinesiology.
Dr. David Leaf is the current Chairman of ICAK-U.S.A. He has conducted seminars in AK throughout the world since 1977. He has treated numerous professional and Olympic athletes, including the Italian professional soccer team AC Milan. He has authored numerous papers and has produced a series of educational videotapes on AK. Dr. Leaf currently practices at 159 Samoset Street, Suite 4, Plymouth, MA 02360, and can be reached by phone at 508-746-6441.
Written by John K. Maltby, D.C.
Tuesday, 26 July 2005 17:48
After the dust had settled and the ballots were tallied, on April 15, 2005, the International Chiropractors Association had elected a new president in a landslide vote. Who is this doctor who inspired such an impressive mandate by the oldest national chiropractic organization in the world, and what is his vision for chiropractic? Find out, in the following interview between The American Chiropractor (TAC), and Dr. John Maltby.
TAC: First of all, congratulations on winning the ICA election. Was it a surprise to you?
Maltby: Though I was cautiously optimistic, the overwhelming support of the electorate was both a surprise and quite humbling.
TAC: Tell us about yourself.
Maltby: My wife, Debbie, and I will be celebrating our 30th wedding anniversary this September. I have two children: Melisa, who lives in Lancaster, PA, and my son John II, who is presently serving in the US Air Force, stationed in Japan. I also have two grandchildren: Jesse, four, and Eden, one and a half. I loved being a dad, but I was born to be a grandpa.
I graduated from Palmer College of Chiropractic, Davenport in 1977 and have been in private practice since that time in Blythe, CA. I have served as President of the International Chiropractors Association of California, as well as Chairman of the Board and am presently serving as the 15th President of the International Chiropractor’s Association, as well as program co-coordinator for the Council of Applied Chiropractic Sciences.
TAC: We understand that you are still a 100 percent practicing chiropractor. Tell us what makes your practice unique and why.
Maltby: I don’t know that my practice is unique. During the winter months, I have a large volume of winter visitors, “snow birds,” so much of my patient base is in excess of 70 years old. Our office works on one principle: Love everyone who walks through the door.
I have never turned down anyone for financial reasons and I don’t keep statistics on volume. The success of my practice is not based on the money I make or the number of patients I see. It is based on the love and quality of care I give, one patient at a time.
TAC: As a speaker, what topics do you cover?
Maltby: I have spoken on a number of topics. “Clinical Implications of Chiropractic Care for the Elderly,” “It’s OK to Adjust,” “Clinical Documentation and Record Keeping” for the Chiropractic Certification in Spinal Trauma Program, and “Ethics in Chiropractic.”
TAC: What valuable feedback have you received from your audiences?
Maltby: Probably the most common thing I hear is that I don’t talk down to the audience. I am a practicing chiropractor, just like them, dealing with the same problems they do. I try to make sure that they know they are not alone and that I am there to help.
TAC: Do you have any special concerns regarding the profession of chiropractic?
Maltby: Several. First, it is absolutely imperative that chiropractors get involved in their state and national associations. Less than 15 percent of the profession are members of any national association. Participation by every practicing D.C. is the key to our future.
Secondly, there needs to be a greater emphasis on research done by chiropractors. I recently visited the research department at Parker College, as well as reviewed a research proposal from New Zealand Chiropractic College. I am excited that this is happening, but we need to develop more ways the practicing D.C. can participate.
TAC: How do you see ICA affecting the chiropractic profession now and in the future?
Maltby: The ICA has always maintained the primary purpose of defending the chiropractor’s unique right to correct the subluxation. This is being challenged by 3rd party payers, the courts, legislature and other health care providers. It will continue to be ICA’s main focus to protect the chiropractor’s right to practice chiropractic.
TAC: How will chiropractors benefit from the actions of the ICA?
Maltby: The main benefit for chiropractors will be knowing that there is a national association which has one major concern: their right to practice chiropractic, and their unique expertise as the only ones qualified to correct subluxation by the chiropractic adjustment.
TAC: Any immediate plans for the upcoming year?
Maltby: Right now, the ICA is getting the word out to all chiropractors to get involved by joining the ICA. This is not about who gets the credit for doing the job; this is about getting the job done, and the ICA’s job is to protect chiropractic. We are also planning an “80th Anniversary Celebration” in conjunction with our annual meeting, May 6, 2006, in Washington, DC. This will be a time of celebrating the 80 years of service to chiropractic by recognizing the pioneers of the profession, as well as the ICA’s many accomplishments.
TAC: Where do you see the future of chiropractic headed?
Maltby: I feel the future of chiropractic is bright. There is nothing I would rather do. Everyday, I have the opportunity to change somebody’s life through the wonders of chiropractic. It doesn’t get any better than that.
TAC: Do you have any other issue you’d like to present to our readers?
Maltby: My motivation for involvement in the ICA and chiropractic is that I owe. I owe it to B.J. Palmer who founded the ICA 80 years ago. I owe it to the hundreds of chiropractors who went to jail practicing ethical chiropractic. I owe it to my son, who serves this country and someday wants to be a chiropractor, so we have the freedom to choose. I owe it to my grandchildren, Jesse and Eden, to be able to grow up with chiropractic available to them, as it was to their parents. And lastly, I owe it to chiropractic, which saved my life when I was 19 years old.
Dr. Maltby may be reached by email at
Written by Thomas G. E. DePuydt, M.D.
Tuesday, 26 July 2005 17:46
Thomas DePuydt is an M.D. who specializes in Sports Medicine, and recognizes the importance of taking an integrated approach to treating musculoskeletal injuries.
In an interview with The American Chiropractor (TAC), Dr. DePuydt discusses the “paradigm change” which he sees taking place in modern day medicine.
TAC: Give our readers some background information about yourself.
DePuydt: I grew up in Northern Michigan wanting to become a professional football player. I was an all-state fullback, middle linebacker in football my senior year and I had a full ride football scholarship at Michigan State University. I was on my way to achieving my goals and dreams, when, during my last game and on the last play of the half, I received a career ending knee injury.
When this occurred, I redirected my energies to academics at Michigan State University. After completing my undergraduate degree, I was accepted into veterinary school at MSU. Three years into the program, I decided that human medicine was where I wanted to focus my energies. My primary goal was to become a sports medicine physician.
My initial practice was in Petoskey, Michigan, doing family practice with an emphasis on prevention and sports medicine. By 1980, I had joined my current colleague, Steven T. Bramwell, MD, in founding the second sports medicine clinic in the state, Washington Sports Medicine Clinic. Currently, we are team physicians for the professional ice hockey team, the Seattle Thunderbirds, and the professional soccer team, the Seattle Sounders. I also continue to be the team physician for the Cedarcrest High School Redwolves.
TAC: What influenced you to become a sports medicine physician?
DePuydt: At the time of my career ending knee injury, there were no true team physicians at the high school level. Generally, if there were an injury on the field, a call would go out to the stands for a doctor to come out to the field. Consequently, a player might be seen by a surgeon, a pediatrician or even an obstetrician, if his or her son was on the team.
Today, an athlete would be evaluated by the sports medicine physician and certified athletic trainer. With this type of injury, he or she would be taken out of the game and referred to an orthopedic surgeon for appropriate surgical intervention. After surgery, referrals for physical therapy and acupuncture would be appropriate. For a back injury, referrals to physical therapy, massage, chiropractic and acupuncture would be made, if appropriate for the injury.
After transferring to the College of Human Medicine at Michigan State, I wanted to prevent this from ever happening to another athlete by focusing my medical career on prevention and sports medicine for all patients but, particularly, at the high school and university levels.
TAC: How do you apply the principles of prevention and sports medicine in your practice?
DePuydt: Emerson said, “The first wealth is health.” Good health is a direct result of a healthy diet, a regular exercise program and pharmacy grade supplements. No one can perform at the highest level for an extended period of time without these three things.
I think that the single most important thing that I do to apply the principles of prevention in my practice is to live them and to talk about them on a continuing basis with my patients. This allows me to build the trust and confidence that my patients have in me and in my advice.
I also use an inclusive approach in my practice. When a patient comes to me with a musculoskeletal injury, I use as many different types of medical intervention as are appropriate to bring about optimal results for that patient, be it an athlete, housewife or business executive. These could include a referral to a chiropractor, acupuncturist, physical therapist, massage therapist, podiatrist, clinical psychologist or nutritionist. I have used all of these or just one or two, depending on the nature of the injury. I am also very careful about who my patients see. These practitioners must also want to work using a multidiscipline approach.
TAC: What is the role of allopathic and holistic medicine in chiropractic medicine?
DePuydt: In my opinion, it is imperative that both allopathic and holistic practitioners develop a wellness format that addresses the total health and fitness of the patient, not just a presenting symptom, like “low back pain.” It would be, in my opinion, negligent for me to treat such a patient with just prescription medications and nothing else. The same is true of a chiropractor who treats with just adjustments or an acupuncturist who only uses acupuncture.
A patient with low back pain has other issues than just pain that need to be evaluated. Why is the pain occurring? Does the patient need to be referred to a physical therapist to deal with the underlying instability of the low back muscles and posture issues or a chiropractor for adjustments and stabilization of the spine? If the patient is having radicular pain, an MRI, epidural injections and possibly massage and acupuncture need to be added. Does the patient smoke? Explaining to a patient that nicotine causes atherosclerotic vascular changes as well as oxidative free radical injuries to the intervertebral disks could result in the patient’s making the decision to quit smoking and to take a more active role in his or her health and well being.
In this respect, it is important for all professionals in the health field to discuss negative lifestyle issues with patients before they become medical problems. By focusing on issues like smoking, obesity, strength and flexibility, alcohol intake, diet and exercise, not only can we prevent a whole host of medical conditions, but also our patients will feel comfortable with coming to us for advice based on science, not the latest headline in The Enquirer.
TAC: Which supplements do you recommend to your patients?
DePuydt: First, I would like to state, most emphatically, that supplements do not and should not replace a healthy diet. It is a supplement to a healthy diet not a substitute or replacement for a poor diet.
The cornerstone of any supplemental nutritional program should be pharmaceutical grade multivitamins, antioxidants and phytonutrients. A pharmaceutical grade supplement will provide bioavaible vitamins, minerals and antioxidants to the cells of the body.
I recommend fish oil supplements to provide the body with essential omega 3 fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid. Scientific evidence documents that these have multiple health benefits to the cardiac system, the brain, the immune system and they decrease the cellular inflammatory response. I use this, specifically, to decrease the inflammatory PGE-2 prostaglandins when treating patients with musculoskeletal injuries and patients with osteoarthritis. By decreasing the systemic inflammatory response, the patient can help to decrease the risk for myocardial infarction and cerebrovascular accidents. Omega 3 fatty acids, EPA and DHA are essential for the synthesis of phospholipids. Phospholipids are the essential components of all cell membranes, which are particularly important for healthy neurons and cells within the brain.
For my osteoarthritis patients, I use a pharmaceutical grade glucosamine sulphate and a new arthritis supplement called ASU (Avocado-Soybean Unsaponifiable). ASU is a supplement made from phytosterol oils extracted from soybeans and avocados. ASU has been used in Europe for the past 15 years with excellent results. The Europeans have conducted basic science studies and controlled clinical trials that support its ability to decrease enzymatic destruction of articular cartilage and increase synthesis.
I also prefer to use herbal NSAID supplements for patients with chronic conditions in place of the potentially toxic Cox-2 NSAID. Vioxx is an excellent example of the harmful effects that can occur with long term use.
TAC: What recommendations would you have for chiropractors who aspire to be sports medicine physicians?
DePuydt: Chiropractors are a vital and integral part of a multidiscipline sports medicine team. For chiropractors aspiring to become sports medicine physicians, I have the following recommendations. First and foremost, you must have the desire and the passion to be a part of the athletic community and be willing to donate hundreds of hours of your time and expertise as a community service for school and recreational athletic programs. As a sports medicine physician, you must also want to be part of the team by being involved with the coaches and athletes, both on the field and in the locker room, and by being a student of the game.
The next step is to contact a colleague within your community who is already involved and make a commitment to help them. Learn your limits as a physician and develop a core group of physicians who have different areas of expertise for injury referral and then use them.
Make yourself visible to the community as a physician who is willing to donate your time and expertise to help the athletic community by contacting recreational soccer, baseball, and football leagues or any other athletic organization and offer your services. Enroll in courses that are available through the chiropractic colleges to become certified as a chiropractic sports medicine physician.
If you make a commitment to providing quality professional care to athletes as a community service, not only will you benefit your practice, but you will be rewarded in knowing that you have made a real difference and provided a valuable and valued service for the community in which you live.
TAC: Do you have any final words of advice to our readers?
DePuydt: I strongly encourage you to look at your patients in a proactive wellness manner and not just as patients with back or neck pain. Look at positive and negative lifestyle issues and spend time with your patients educating, not just adjusting their spine. Providing education to your patients on the importance of a healthy diet and exercise program will help not only their spines but all of their other systems as well, and they will return to you time and again for your guidance and expertise.
I also encourage you to practice, in your daily personal lives, what you profess in your professional ones.
I firmly believe that medicine, as we know it, is on the cusp of a paradigm change. It is time for each of us to expand our horizons, stop worrying about losing patients and start thinking outside of our security blankets. Allopathic and alternative medicine physicians need to start forging alliances. We need to stop defending our turfs and use a proactive integrative wellness approach to treat our patients.
After twenty-five years of utilizing an integrative approach in my practice of sports medicine, I have seen its power to heal. I have also seen what happens to patients when their physicians do not use this approach and they, then, come to me through sheer frustration. Our patients are demanding integration, and we must, if we are to remain in practice, embrace it. As a collective unit, we can help our patients to lead healthier, happier and more active lives.
Dr. DePuydt may be reached by email at
, or call 425-820-1221.
Written by Debra Brown, C.E.O.
Tuesday, 26 July 2005 17:44
TAC: What does the FCA do for its members to stimulate practice growth?
FCA: The primary mission of the FCA is to improve access to chiropractic services for Floridians. We do this by legislative initiatives, seeking to knock down barriers and overcome inequities in all of the state-regulated programs that provide for health care services. We also provide continuous updates to our members on the ever-changing methods and procedures for best clinical, documentation and claims procedures through programs at our five annual convention/expositions and at three Success Basic Training programs each year. The FCA web site, www.fcachiro.org, and the FCA Journal keep members up-to-date and informed. While we can’t physically deliver patients to their doors, we can make it easier for Floridians to choose chiropractic and help our members deliver a high quality of service that will be appreciated by their patients and properly reimbursed by the many and varied payors.
TAC: Does the FCA have any relationship with any of the national chiropractic associations? If so, to what extent?
FCA: The FCA has a good working relationship with the American Chiropractic Association, although it is not formally affiliated with any national or international organization. The FCA works cooperatively with the ACA in addressing issues affecting our members, which are national in scope, in areas such as Medicare, Employee Retirement Income Security Act, federal government employee plans, managed care and workers’ compensation, to name a few. The FCA also engages its grassroots network to contact Florida’s congressional delegation when support is requested by the ACA for its legislative initiatives. The FCA has supported legal efforts by the ACA and has been a steady contributor to the National Chiropractic Legal Assistance Fund since its inception, with more than $26,000 in direct contributions made to date.
TAC: After Florida State University rejected the chiropractic college that the FCA worked so hard to realize, what impact do you feel this might have had on the image of chiropractors in Florida?
FCA: In fact, Florida State University did not reject the chiropractic college. It was the Florida Board of Governors—a new higher education governing body established by Florida voters via constitutional amendment—that rejected the proposal. The Board of Governors chose to exercise its authority and make a political statement to the Florida Legislature, which had fully funded the school without prior approval or consideration by the BOG. The chiropractic degree program proposal was caught in a political power play. Adding to the volatile situation was fear mongering and interference by a few in the medical community who manufactured a controversy in the media. The pain was very real for all in the chiropractic community who worked so hard to make the chiropractic public degree program a reality.
We are extremely encouraged, however, by the results of a Mason-Dixon poll conducted during the heat of the controversy, which showed that 72 percent of Floridians favored the establishment of a public chiropractic degree program. Apparently, the consuming public in Florida highly approves of chiropractic!
TAC: Do you intend to seek university affiliation elsewhere?
FCA: Based on input from our elected leadership, the FCA would again pursue this same initiative at another public university. What we learned from this experience is that it would take a highly motivated university that really wants the program to really push for its approval through the many levels of political hierarchy in the university system.
While the general public values chiropractic services, those in the university system have had very little direct interaction with chiropractic educators and researchers and are highly skeptical as a result. The right university would need to educate its faculty from within, build a strong consensus of support for the program and then invest the effort and dollars to push for the program within the university governance system. Only a strong and highly motivated university would have standing to move such a proposal forward within Florida’s current governance system.
TAC: Any other particular issue of interest about which you want to let our readers know?
FCA: We are excited about the upcoming FCA National Convention, August 26-28, at the Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center in Kissimmee. This is a perfect facility that our attendees will truly enjoy and it has lots of space to allow our expo to expand to a record 500 exhibits. It offers great opportunities for family fun, as well. We will have more than 40 concurrent educational sessions showcasing some of the brightest minds in chiropractic and kick-off plenary sessions that will focus on the future of chiropractic and what doctors of chiropractic can do in their offices each day to improve not only their own individual futures, but the future of the entire profession.
The ACA Sports Council will hold its Annual Sports Symposium concurrently with FCA National. It’s going to be a huge, fun and enlightening event!
TAC: What legal issues are chiropractors dealing with in Florida that are typical throughout the country?
FCA: The legal issues are similar to those nationwide, typically having to do with barriers to access, equality and a constant “changing of the rules” by the various third party reimbursement systems. Because virtually every Florida-regulated health care program includes chiropractic, the diversity of different programs and the ever-changing “rules” of claim filing can be very tough for the D.C. and his or her office staff to manage.
TAC: How is the Florida chiropractic community handling reimbursement issues with insurance companies? Any creative solutions you’d like to share?
FCA: As we mentioned, the diversity of the programs that pay for care—from health insurance to Personal Injury Protocol to Medicaid to Medicare to workers’ compensation—creates a challenge for our members. We have used member e-mail bulletins to tremendous advantage when a policy, procedure or coding change occurs. The 55 percent of our membership that is on the e-mail list receives immediate word of any change and the appropriate form or detailed information is posted immediately on the FCA web site. The other 45 percent of our membership, then, is “snail mailed” the same information. When we hear of specific patterns of abuse by carriers, our members are alerted to provide documentation and the matter is handled by General Counsel with the appropriate regulatory agency.
The FCA has a full-time insurance liaison on staff and very active volunteer committees who will engage to meet with and educate specific payors or address specific problem areas. Some problems are best addressed by seeking a change in the statute through legislative lobbying efforts or by asking for a clarification in bureaucratic rules. The FCA web site has proved to be an invaluable asset, keeping vital and current information right at our members’ fingertips.
For more information, e-mail
or call 407-290-5883.
Written by John Donofrio, DC
Sunday, 22 May 2005 15:48
Dr. John C. Donofrio, Summa Cum Laude graduate of Pennsylvania College of Chiropractic, credits much of his success to his becoming a Board Certified Chiropractic Neurologist. Now practicing in Reading, PA, Donofrio also recognizes that “healing occurs from within….” In his interview with The American Chiropractor (TAC), this “Amazing Chiropractor” gives us a look at what drives him and what keeps him on top.
TAC: What originally sparked your interest in chiropractic?
Donofrio: When I was child, I was diagnosed with asthmatic bronchitis; so I started going to a chiropractor, and my asthma was resolved due to the chiropractic care. This really impressed me about the power of the body to heal itself. From that time period, I realized that healing occurs from within the body and not necessarily by outside intervention.
TAC: What type of patients do you generally treat or attract?
Donofrio: Most of the patients that I treat have already seen other health care practitioners and have not yet had resolutions of their symptomatology or condition. I have had referrals from Europe, South America, Canada, and as far west in the United States as California.
The top conditions in my office seem to be multiple sclerosis, vertigo, fibromyalgia, Parkinson’s, reflex sympathetic dystrophy and back pain. But, since there are so many referrals, the conditions are very diverse and it is hard just to choose a limited few.
TAC: Which techniques do you use and why?
Donofrio: The techniques that are often used in my office depend on the patient that walks through the door. I utilize the neurological technique of coupled reduction, Diversified, Gonstead, Toggle, Activator, and Applied Kinesiology. In my opinion, not every patient responds 100 percent to the same technique, so a wide diversification is helpful in achieving maximum results.
TAC: What type(s) of diagnostic testing procedures do you use and why?
Donofrio: I use a full neurological/orthopedic/physical examination that I learned while achieving my diplomate status as a Chiropractic Neurologist. I use these procedures because my ability to diagnose and assess has increased tenfold since finishing my training and now utilizing the neurological approach to chiropractic.
TAC: Tell us your most amazing patient success story.
Donofrio: There have been many but there is one that does come to mind first. A woman who was a concert pianist had surgery for cervical spinal stenosis. Her cervical vertebrae were fused from C2-C7 in the surgery. After the surgery, her right arm went into a flexion spasm. She was unable to use the arm for one year. She was referred to the Mayo Clinic and Johns Hopkins University. Their treatment was to inject this woman with Botox to relieve the spasm and, in essence, this caused her to lose function of her right arm. She was then referred to me and, to make a long story short, after my neurological exam and assessment, I adjusted this woman one time. When she got off the adjusting table, her arm straightened out and she was capable of buttoning her own clothes for the first time in over a year. That evening she went home and played the piano.
TAC: Is there any one thing or incident that really impacted your growth as a chiropractor and/or your practice’s growth?
Donofrio: Yes. Training with Dr. Frederick Robert Carrick and becoming a Board Certified Chiropractic Neurologist has greatly impacted my chiropractic career. It gave me the science behind the philosophy of chiropractic. Up until that point, the miracles that occurred with my patients could not be reproduced with any regularity. Once I learned the neurological approach to adjusting, my clinical outcomes improved dramatically and my practice exploded.
TAC: With your practice being cash-based, can you tell our readers your advice about setting up and maintaining such a practice in today’s healthcare system?
Donofrio: A cash practice is the best practice but, for it to achieve success, you must get results as soon as possible. If you do, you will keep your patients and referrals will be endless.
TAC: What marketing strategies do you use to attract new patients and to keep current patients?
Donofrio: My marketing strategy is the same now as it has always been. I learned this from late, great Dr. Russell Erhardt, who was one of my mentors. He always used to say to me, “Never focus on the money, but always provide your patients with a service. If you do, you will never have to worry about money.” This is the best advice I can give to any doctor, especially the recent graduates. Providing my patients with a service not only attracts new patients but also maintains my current patient base.
Specifically, I market to the patients that have chronic problems and have not found satisfaction or relief in the chiropractic or medical community. For this reason, thirty percent of my practice consists of referrals from other chiropractors.
TAC: Where do you see the future of chiropractic headed?
Donofrio: I see chiropractic achieving its rightful place in the healthcare industry as the level of education and intelligence rises.
TAC: Any final words for our readers?
Donofrio: Chiropractic is the greatest profession we can be a part of. If we focus on getting sick people well, all else will follow!
Dr. John Donofrio's Profile
Married: to Dr. Yvonne C. YuRichko, Board Certified Chiropractic Neurologist
Recreation and Leisure: Golf, bowling and all sports, including Fantasy Sports
Professional Affiliations: American Chiropractic Association, Pennsylvania Chiropractic Association, American Academy of Pain Management, Physicians Committee for responsible Medicine, President of The American Chiropractic Neurology Board.
Seminar Attendance: Cold Light Laser Seminars, Parker College for Practicing Success, Y-File Seminars, Certified in Soft Tissue Prevention, Neurology Re-Certification Seminars
Vacations: Caribbean Island, Canada, Europe, Florida, Maui
Clinic: Berks County Chiropractic Specialists, 2611 Hampden Blvd., Reading, PA 19604
Office Hours: 9 AM-7 PM, Monday through Friday
Techniques: Coupled Reduction Neurological Techniques, Diversified, Gonstead, Activator, Applied Kinesiology, Toggle.
Dr. John Donofrio’s Toolkit
To give you a clear idea of what an amazing chiropractor uses to run his practice, we’ve asked Dr. Donofrio to share with us some specific products & equipment that he uses to reach his practice’s goal of bringing health to his community.
TABLES: Zenith High-Lo, Toggle
DIAGNOSTIC EQUIPMENT: Neurological Equipment for Neurological Exam, Pulsed Oximeter
REHABILITATION EQUIPMENT: Erchonia Cold Light Laser, Erchonia Percussor, Wobble Board, Optic Kinetic Strips for Eye Rehabilitation
NUTRITIONAL SUPPLEMENTS: Life Force International, Standard Process, Now Foods, King-Bio Homeopathics
COMPUTER SOFTWARE: Forte Systems-Chiro8000
X-RAY EQUIPMENT: Continental Unit
To contact Dr. Donofrio, call (610) 921-2030 or visit www.Dronemorestep.com
Editor’s Note: Do you know an Amazing Chiropractor that you’d like TAC to highlight in our The Amazing Chiropractor series? Contact Carey Berends, by phone at 888-668-8728 or 305-434-8865, or email
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