Todd Singleton, D.C., is an author, speaker, consultant and a practicing doctor. He graduated from Los Angeles College of Chiropractic in 1990. For many years he ran the largest MD/DC/PT clinics in the state of Utah, until he switched to an all-cash, nutrition model in 2006. Dr. Singleton has a busy nutrition practice in Salt Lake City, Utah where he specializes in Weight Loss, Neuropathy, Fibromyalgia, Diabetes and other nutritional problems. He also speaks around the country and holds a monthly seminar in his office teaching other chiropractors how to add Weight Loss, Neuropathy and other nutritional programs into their offices. In an interview with The American Chiropractor, Dr. Singleton shares some of the perspective he has gained over the years, working within his own clinic, as well as consulting others on theirs.
TAC: Can you explain why you have set up a practice that doesn’t utilize insurance?
Dr. Singleton: Well, my experience has been that insurance companies don’t always play fair. So after years of dealing with the headaches that come along with an insurance-based practice, I became passionate about practicing without insurance. I decided I wanted to develop my dream cash practice. In order to do that, I knew I’d need to help more people than just the patients who seek chiropractic care. We know that only 7% to 12% of the population utilize chiropractic, and I wanted to attract the rest. My real passion has always been nutrition, but I had never really made great money doing it. It was actually my wife who suggested that I take the things I loved about nutrition and help patients with specific conditions like weight loss.
TAC: When did you start sharing this with other chiropractors?
Dr. Singleton: I opened up a weight loss practice in 2006. I made terrific profits from the very first month and had overwhelming success with my patients. I knew right off the bat I had to share this discovery. So I did my first weight loss presentation at a Parker Seminar in 2008. I was surprised to see how receptive doctors were to adding additional services to help their patients. Doctors said things like, “My patients have been asking me how to lose weight for years, but I haven’t had anything organized to give them.” That is probably the biggest hurdle to overcome…having a system that works. It seems so easy, right? Just eat less and exercise more. But if it were that easy, we wouldn’t have 66% to 86% of our country that is overweight. Patients need help! They need a system that works. There are many things that need to be addressed in a weight loss program, like finding the cause of their weight gain, what foods should they eat, what supplements should they take, the services we perform to aid in the process, how they can overcome their emotional eating, and the best exercises for them.Some chiropractors say they are afraid to do anything but adjust, feeling that they’ll lose credibility. [/pullquote]
TAC: What is the common problem you see among chiropractors today?
Dr. Singleton: I’m on the phone daily with chiropractors and there are definitely two camps out there…those who are thriving and those who are really struggling. The good news is that many chiropractors have figured out a way to serve more people, and that has caused their practices to expand. Some chiropractors say they are afraid to do anything but adjust, feeling that they’ll lose credibility. My experience has been that you actually become much more credible as a doctor when you can solve the health problems your patients have in addition to their back or neck pain. In fact, I am making a much bigger impact on my patients’ lives now treating patients nutritionally than I ever did in the past.
TAC: How is a busy chiropractor supposed to add something new into his or her practice?
Dr. Singleton: Some doctors are very intimidated by the work they think they’ll have to do or everything they’ll have to learn or relearn by adding a weight loss program, neuropathy program or some other nutritional program. The ironic part is that they’ve already spent many, many years to become a doctor, and they already know how the body works. Anything new they add will be easy compared to what they’ve already done.
TAC: It doesn’t seem like weight loss and neuropathy would be practiced out of the same office. Why that combination?
Dr. Singleton: Actually, I just wanted to help patients nutritionally. Initially, I just wanted to help people who weren’t healthy, to get healthy. But patients are driven by their conditions or symptoms. So I initially targeted weight loss and that was a slam dunk. Then, we actually started helping so many overweight patients get relief from their neuropathy problems, that it was a natural market to help. The bottom line is, as chiropractors, we know that the body will heal itself given the proper environment. So helping people nutritionally gives you the opportunity to help all types of people…those suffering from obesity, neuropathy, fibromyalgia, diabetes…and the list goes on! Adding nutritional systems into the chiropractic office just expands the people in the community that can be helped.
TAC: Aren’t there already a lot of weight loss programs out there? Why weight loss in a chiropractic office?
Dr. Singleton: I agree that you’ll see a lot of ideas about losing weight out there. The reason for all the weight loss hype is that currently 66% to 86% of the population needs to lose weight. The number increases year after year. It’s a huge problem for the majority of Americans.
The reason for all the weight loss hype is that currently 66% to 86% of the population needs to lose weight.
TAC: What advice would you give doctors who want to start doing nutrition out of their office?
Dr. Singleton: I would advise them to go on a nutritional program themselves. They need to find out if something really works. Unfortunately some doctors use products simply because they can make money on a down line. It seems wrong to me that a doctor would be selling something in his or her office that a patient can get from their neighbor who also sells Tupperware and Avon out of their garage. I am very careful to sell only supplements that are pure and available to doctors only. I use one line more than any other because it is made according to Japanese standards.I am very careful to sell only supplements that are pure and available to doctors only.[/pullquote]
TAC: Can you think of one change that a chiropractor can do to significantly impact his or her practice’s growth immediately?
Dr. Singleton: Absolutely, there is a goldmine in every doctor’s practice! That is, almost all patients have additional conditions chiropractors could and should help them with such as; weight loss, insomnia, depression, fibromyalgia, diabetes, neuropathy, skin problems, low energy…the list goes on and on. There are nutritional systems for all of these things already available for chiropractors so they don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Chiropractors can help all of their patients with so much more than just back and neck pain! Patients want help, they just don’t know where to turn.
TAC: Do you have any recommended marketing strategies that chiropractors can do to attract new patients?
Dr. Singleton: Because 66% to 86% of Americans are overweight, I thought weight loss would be ideal to market. And I was right! Every year, the percentage of states where the obesity increases goes up. People get busier and busier, so they eat more food from boxes, bags and cans…and they just don’t get the nutrition their bodies need. People feel nutritionally starved and eat more and more. The problem affects all age groups…from children all the way to senior citizens. Most of the solutions available don’t work, so while there is other competition, the competition is typically not the answer. The best thing is that patients already trust their doctors.
That means in addition to adjusting the spine we need to be paying attention to what our patients do nutritionally.
TAC: Where do you see the future of chiropractic headed?
Dr. Singleton: I’ve never been more encouraged about chiropractic! As chiropractors our belief system is that the body can heal itself given the proper environment. Our job is to help patients get healthy and stay healthy. That means in addition to adjusting the spine we need to be paying attention to what our patients do nutritionally. Patients are looking to their chiropractors for the help they need. I see this role that we have keeps expanding. It’s an exciting time to be practicing! I don’t ever wake up dreading to go into the clinic to see my patients.
TAC: Any final words for our readers?
Dr. Singleton: Yes, if you are in practice and you are not passionate about what you are doing, stop and re-evaluate. There are so many wonderful ways you can help your patients; and in helping them, you will find fulfillment in your work, and you’ll be well compensated for it. Don’t settle for a practice that doesn’t motivate you and your patients. Your patients are looking for direction and advice that will change their lives, and you can give it to them!