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The Future of Chiropractic and What You Should Do About It
By Edward W. Petty
Mar 16, 2005, 21:55


Forecasted Supply of Selected Chiropractic Competitors

2002 2012 Percent Change




Percent Change

Doctors of Chiropractic




Physical Therapists




Massage Therapists








 Sources: Physical massage therapist numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Employment Projections to 2012. DC numbers and projects based on active non-redundant licenses. For further reference, BLS projections for chiropractors are 49,000 in 2002 and 60,000 in 2012. Projections for Acupuncturists are derived from Richard Cooper’s projections for acupuncturists from 2002 to 2015.


     The above table was part of a new report predicting the future of chiropractic. Just published by the Institute for Alternative Futures, it offers 4 different scenarios by the year 2015, and recommends strategies doctors can take now to be prepared for the opportunities and challenges that await.


Their recommendations include the following:


·      Continue to strive for high standards of practice.  “Empowered consumers and managed care plans will want to know more about what results to expect from your office.”

Some Marketing Action Steps: Provide Extra-ordinary service, and promote the results from outcome studies and patient surveys.

·      Develop greater integration with mainstream health care.

Some Marketing Action Steps: Work on and set up referrals sources, or alliances, with other doctors. Take advantage of recent opportunities with the VA and DoD. Provide pro-bono care in free clinics with other providers.

·      Anticipate and engage in consumer-directed care.

Some Marketing Action Steps:   Look at your clinic as a retail business. Promote and advertise your good and effective work.

·      Prepare for the Future of Prevention & Wellness.  One of the projected scenarios forecasts a “healthy life doctor”. “No aspect of health care has invented the business model for prevention and wellness. Chiropractors argue that they are closer to it than others and some (but only some) chiropractors do practice prevention.”

Some Marketing Action Steps:  This is called “positioning” in marketing, and is a topic we will take up in more detail in upcoming newsletters. Medical doctors are NOT “Healthy Life Doctors”. People want health; just look at the number of books on the subject in any bookstore. This is the niche that chiropractors are in, and the sooner and more completely you own this area, the better. We believe that this is part of the new model for chiropractic, one that incorporates fitness, nutrition, and works with medicine as needed, yet retains its heritage, core services and principles. Do not make the mistake of abandoning “pain relief” as a major benefit of your services, just incorporate it into this model. Promote yourself as a “Health Doctor”, and provide services that are consistent with this concept.

·     Develop Geriatric Chiropractic. “One of the largest growth areas in healthcare will be geriatrics. The retiring Baby Boomers will look for alternative medicine that can help them to remain active and healthy.” 

Some Marketing Action Steps: Promote yourself as a “Health Doctor”. Provide classes specifically for your elderly. For example: “Weekend Warriors: How To Maintain Your Knees And Shoulders Past The Age Of  50 Without Using Drugs Or Surgery.” Provide classes outside of your office to the elderly.

·     A Group Practice. Though not specifically recommended, this subject is referred to in their report. Most chiropractors are still solo. By practicing in a group you have more opportunities to fulfill the above recommendations and action steps. Associate doctor programs, partnership programs, multi-doctor, locaton, and discipline, we specialize in building and helping to suatain a prosperous group practice.


For help on implementing any of these recommendations, please drop us an email.

A very interesting article which you can find in full at:

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