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One of the real big problems in chiropractic is how people misunderstood about why chiropractic works and what different chiropractic practitioners do. It is time to get clear on those once and for all by telling the chiropractic story. Liz Hoefer is joined by someone who is greatly qualified to do that. She sits down with world-renowned chiropractic advocate, chiropractic documentary film director, and host of the Chiro Hustle podcast, Jim Chester. In this candid episode, Jim talks about how he got into the profession and moved into this incredible role of supporter-advocator, where he helps highlight the truth and philosophy of chiropractic. Join Jim and Liz as they share the truth of the chiropractic story because if we don’t, then someone else will make up one for us.
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Tell The Chiropractic Story! With Jim Chester
A Candid Conversation With Leading Chiropractic Advocate, Jim Chester
My guest is a world-renowned chiropractic advocate and chiropractic documentary film director who has two feature films on the profession. He runs the world’s number one podcast Chiro Hustle. Without further ado, please welcome, Jim Chester.
It’s an honor to be with you here and I understand what it’s like to get your head on straight.
We’ve got some cool things we want to talk about, and what’s neat is that we grew up in the same town Davenport, Iowa.
I tell people I’m the kid from Iowa that loves his mom.
I saw that and I’m sorry about your mom. I know you lost her and that was a huge hit for you. We’re going to talk a little bit about that, but I am so excited because Davenport, Iowa is the birthplace of chiropractic and both of us are very passionate about spreading the truth, and you do it in a unique way. Can you give my audience a little understanding about who you are, what you bring, and why you do what you do?
First of all, I want to thank you for having me on your show. I’m excited to share a broad message of what we do with chiropractic. When you think about chiropractors since I’ve been in the profession for several years, they say, “Tell a story.” I believe that telling the story has become somewhat of a cornerstone for what we do. We’ve documented it and made two chiropractic films. We’ve done over 800 interviews in three years on the profession. I believe if we don’t tell our story of chiropractic and someone else will make up one about us. A real big problem for my career in chiropractic is people misunderstood about why chiropractic works and what different chiropractic practitioners do?
As I’ve gotten more integrated into chiropractic what schools produce what type of chiropractor, what a chiropractor is without philosophy, and what a chiropractor that doesn’t adjust this? I’ve learned a lot about the profession. My ambition is to keep the free speech alive and chiropractic and support subluxation-based chiropractic which people might not understand what that means. If you don’t understand what that means, the foundation of chiropractic is based on the innate intelligence and that the body can heal itself. Once your subluxation is cleared out of someone’s body, their physiology changes and it allows the body to heal naturally. That’s a little bit about the work that we do. I grew up in Davenport, Iowa, and that’s the birthplace of chiropractic. I had no idea that life would take me down this route being a supporter and an advocate of a profession like chiropractic but it has. I think that we have a lot of work to do still.If we don't tell our story of chiropractic, someone else will make up one about us. Click To Tweet
One of the reasons that I can say that from firsthand experience is that I serve on the board for the California Chiropractic Association. I am the House of Delegates Chair and my job is to represent chiropractors in the State of California to the legislation and bring information to the legislators to help them understand what it is that chiropractic is. How diverse it is and why all of us with a DC behind our name should be able to do what’s in our scope. I understand firsthand exactly what you’re talking about. I have made this clear from the beginning of my entrance into Cal Chiro organization since I got to California in 2008. I think that we should all be able to sit together on the same stage and have conversations around this thing called subluxation and understand that we all have the same purpose and that’s to help the person on the table.
However, it is we get there, is however it is we get there. I think you’re right that we have a lot more work to do. I want to know, because I’ve seen this asked before, and I don’t think any of my readers have probably read any of these interviews. What do you say to people when they say, “Why don’t you just become a chiropractor?” What is your answer to that? How did you get into having grown up under chiropractic care in the birthplace of chiropractic and then move into this incredible role of supporter-advocator, because that is something that we desperately need as a profession?
It almost brings a tear to my eye because I never wanted to be a doctor. I went to school to be a journalist and to understand marketing. My life path was supposed to be working as a sports journalist and my career was set to be a sports journalist. I got into working for a newspaper called the Quad-City Times. I realized that journalism wasn’t so real. When I was working in the newspapers back in 2000, I realized that the profession of reporting wasn’t reporting. It was editorial and the editor had mass control of whatever stories were put out and they framed that story based on what they wanted. As I got into chiropractic, I realized that it was a profession that was misunderstood and that needed clarity to be established around it.
That’s why I dedicated my time, effort, and energy to telling the chiropractic story and being an advocate for something I believed in that more people could have clarity on now because of the work that I do. I produced real journalism, which is the truth of chiropractic. I could’ve gotten on any road back when I was 30. I did some deep soul searching. I was like, “What do I dedicate my life to? What do I dedicate my career to? What do I want to attach myself to?” As I started doing that, I realized the only thing I believed in the world other than freedom was chiropractic. If I could do something with a profession that I loved, grow through it and grow with it, then I felt like I could take something that was on the fringe and bring it forefront.
That’s what we’ve been doing for specifically the past years. Before that, I worked in a chiropractic office for six years. I started learning what it was like to see people get better. I didn’t want to dedicate my life to become a journalist for the profession unless I understood what it meant for people to improve their quality of life. The outcome is something that’s important for the medical profession. I know that chiropractic is outcome-based. There are no pills, potions, lotions, drugs, or surgeries. There’s no burnout out and cut it out. It’s straight up. I’m going to adjust the subluxation and let the body heal because the number one doctor in the world is the one inside of you.
I love that you understand the philosophy, the foundation of what it is that we do because that’s exactly what I educate my patients on every day. I’m going to move the bone and God’s going to do the healing. He does that through this incredible innate intelligence that he gave us to be able to heal and be whole.
When you say that, that’s the part where most people think chiropractic is woo-woo. They’re like, “There’s a philosophy that’s around this you guys talk about to like the general public, and there are these scientific words that you share about your profession with the general public.” The thing that makes chiropractic so unique and distinct is that chiropractic is not afraid to share their philosophy and their scientific lexicon with the public. That’s why I think that chiropractic is so honest because they will say, “This is what sets us apart. This is what sets our standard different.” That’s something that when we think of other medical professions, they hide behind a white jacket, a diagnosis, and a drug.
I know people walk into my office and they come in with all these diagnoses and they’re like, “Do you agree?” I’m like, “It’s not for me to agree to disagree. I want to know why.” You mentioned truth, and I know that you are the biggest truth-teller when it comes to chiropractic. One of my key, the kept foundation of values that I have is truth. I think the chiropractic profession like you is the realest of the realest thing that exists. We have to be able to educate people and understand that because the truth is important. When you have truth, you can make great decisions. You can make decisions on anything when there’s a foundation of truth, even if the truth sucks.
You hit on an important topic there. The truth has to be shared. When I got into the chiropractic profession, I realized that there was truth being shared at chiropractic conferences because I go with the docs I was working with. I realized that there was truth that was shared inside the clinics but when we left the conferences or when we left the clinic, there was no truth. There were wellness and pharmaceutical departments of the grocery store. There was wellness inside of CVS. There was wellness inside of Walgreens. Wellness isn’t about drugs. It isn’t about elixirs, a patch, a cream or any of that. Wellness is the body’s ability to adapt and to heal. That’s wellness. When people make words like wellness mainstream and they adapt connotations of pharmacology to that, that’s not wellness.
When I do a little healthcare class for my patients, I ask them, “Tell me what you think health is?” They say, “When I don’t have a headache, or when I can move my low back any way that I want to, or when I can play with my grandkids.” Some people even go as far as saying, “When I feel at peace.” That’s cool that they even go in that direction. If you look up the dictionary definition of health, it’s not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. It doesn’t have anything to do with symptoms. It has everything to do with complete connection, head on straight, above down inside out, brain-body connection, fully, and optimally. I know BJ Palmer has a lot of quotes and one of them is, “Early to bed, early to rise, work like hell and advertise.” What we’re doing is we’re advertising the truth of what it is that we do.
One of the other things that people need to understand is the body needs nothing extra in it. It simply needs no interference. When the chiropractor clears up the interference of the nervous system, the body just magically, spontaneously, or miracles occur. What happens within the chiropractic adjustment is the body needed nothing extra. It just needed a little bit of an adjustment.
My philosophy, the way that I practice is less is more and that’s why I’m drawn to the upper cervical model. I do full spine support but I do the specific Upper Cervical Blair correction. I’d like to do it just once because if we can get that to hold, then you heal, and you don’t need to have continual neck adjustments for the rest of your life every single time I see you. If you’re connected, then let’s support the body in the healing process and give it what it needs which is no interference.
I think that we could take that one step further when we analogous talk about how we live in our environment, that success does not flow into clutter. Health net does not flow into a disorganized nervous system. If you have an organized nervous system, you have an organized organ system. If there’s proper nerve flow going from head on straight down, then the body is going to perform optimally. That’s something that so many people miss. They try to like, “How can I say this more clever? How can I say this to people so they get it better?” The real thing is that the nervous system is organized through 24 spinal joints. If there’s a disorganized segment there, then the signal going to the organ system is going to cause some type of symptomatology. I tell people all the time, I don’t live in your body, so I don’t know how you feel, but if you see a chiropractor, you can tell them about what’s going on, how much concern there is then they’ll tell you how they can help you. That’s where we have to shore up the conversation to make it more of a technique for communication rather than, “You have a submarine in your neck.”
Can you give me an example or maybe remember a story of your favorite skeptic? Somebody who you were like they think you suck. They think you’re telling them a line of BS, but they did it because they were desperate. Did they ever come back and say, “You were so right. I’m so thankful?” Did that happen all the time?The foundation of chiropractic is based on the innate intelligence that the body can heal itself. Click To Tweet
I should pull the cloak away from me a little bit and let people know what I did when I stopped working in an office. I went out and I did 600 spinal screenings in 2.5 years. If anybody’s ever done a spinal screening, they could probably tell you what type of a challenge that is. I started listening to old recordings of Reggie Gold and Sid Williams. I was listening to Sid Williams one time do this assembly talk where he would come in and he had dropped the keys. If anybody’s ever heard of Sid Williams dropping the keys, this is what it was. He would say, “Chiropractic works like gravity, drop the keys. It works whether you believe it or not.” The thing about chiropractic is you don’t have to believe in it. It’s not a belief system.
I tell people that the Easter Bunny or Santa Claus is a belief system. Chiropractic is a healing art. If you want to get somebody that can help you with what’s going on, then you show up. If you want to continuously do what you’re doing and get the same outcome, then you don’t go. I push a hard line to people and I let people know that, “What have you tried up to this point that’s worked? You want to think about it?” A lot of people are like, “I’ve done this, I’ve done that.” I’m like, “Why are you here right now talking to me?” I challenge people when it comes to a belief system, a lot of times I’ll get somebody to flip because I’ll grab the keys out of my pocket and I’ll drop them to the ground. I’ll tell that they don’t have to believe in chiropractic. You have to show up and let the doctor help you. I think that that’s more of a broad spectrum to how I can handle that question.
2019 has been challenging, emotionally, physically on you, there’s been a lot going on and you opened with, “I’m just the boy from Iowa who loves his mom.” I know you lost her in March. How have you been able to muster the strength to continue on? Is it her spirit that lives inside of you? What are you doing to heal and how are you going to honor her with the work that you’re doing?
Thanks for the acknowledgment. The work that I do is a lifetime achievement and it’s not about yesterday or today. It’s about the moment. I think many times people think about if they had a good day or a bad day. I think about what does a lifetime achievement of my career looks like. I do practice certain things for my habit traction where I do very specific routines every day. I read affirmations, I pray and meditate. Whenever you own your mind, which is the last frontier, you own everything.
Did your mom instill that in you? Was that something that she gave you growing up?
No. My mom was very loving and caring. She worked for 35 years and retired broke, but she worked with Alzheimer’s patients and she told me that it doesn’t cost you a nickel to be nice to people. That was one of the things that she always inspired me was just to be kind. I think that’s what people that don’t know me become attracted to me because of the loving support that they can see that I carry with me. It’s not me always telling people I love them, but I encourage people to care for each other. I think that was passed down from my mother.
You’re her legacy. The work that you’re doing, the care that you bring and the kindness that you offer because you believe in truth and you want it to be told, that is something that she gave you, modeled for you, and taught you. If she retired broke, maybe in the monetary range, but she certainly has a rich heritage and legacy through you.
For the record, I struggled with education as a kid. I was in special classes. I struggled with dyslexia and I was never supposed to be an educated man. I was the first of my family, the youngest of five to get a college degree. When you’re deemed not going to become educated, it creates a certain type of grit inside of you. You’re not the special one that’s on the honor roll. You’re not the one that gets As. You’re the one that they pass through school because you couldn’t do what all the other kids were doing. What I tell people as well, other kids were celebrating the report cards, there are parts of my brain that were becoming calloused and I was manufacturing different skillsets of my character, no one else was doing that type of work. I was creating different levels of intelligence within me that now as an adult, I can handle a lot of these other things. I did become an educated man along the way.
Emotional intelligence is forged through adversity. Even before we had our show start, we were talking about having empathy-driven from drama and trauma. I can attest that I do not need any more circumstances to give me any more empathy because I have enough already, but it’s true. When you live through things and you’re able to develop that character and to be able to develop the ability to withstand adversity, that’s so much better than having straight As. How many valedictorians that graduated from chiropractic school can’t practice chiropractic because they don’t know how to communicate with people?
I was always the kid that enjoyed sports, being outside and exploring. That’s a part of development that set me apart from being mediocre. I got a chance to understand that nature walks were important. I had a chance to understand that seeing people and doing sleepovers was important. Show and tell at school was my jam. Whenever I could share with people and inspire others, that was where I thrived. When it was on a sports team, I was always like 1 or 2 picked. I had a different level of intelligence inside of me and now I support chiropractic. I took the underdog.
I know that I am so thankful for all the work that you do. I love watching every place you go because you get to go all over the world, talk to incredible people, and interview amazing people that I love to learn from. You’re like the hands and feet for me, because right now my job is to be here in my practice and serve the people that I get to be blessed to serve. I get to live vicariously through you going all over the world, talking to people, and inspiring people because my heart is an encourager too. I have a similar story when I was in junior high. To this day I cannot make a basket to save my life, but I was promoted from the B team to the A because I was the most encouraging person.
They would simply say, “Get the ball to whoever across the half-court line. Do not shoot the ball but just encourage them all to do well then we’ll win all the games.” I still can’t make a basket, so it’s fine. I’m on my lane. I know what I can do. I can engineer a complicated upper cervical correction and save people’s lives, but don’t ask me to shoot a basketball. I’ve had fun talking with you. I wanted to ask you a question and I wanted to know what your answer was. If you could ask BJ Palmer one thing, what would you ask him?
For those that don’t know who BJ Palmer is, he started the first chiropractic radio station. He was the author of philosophy for chiropractic called The Green Books. He traveled the world and perpetuated the greatness of the must of chiropractic. He also teamed up with amazing leaders in different circles like the circus Barnum and Bailey. He was always with the socialites of the world. I think of what would I ask BJ is how could we protect the sacred trust and make a financial contribution to the future of chiropractic to where chiropractic could stand alone, and they didn’t need to take money through the schools from other foundations. How could chiropractic be self-sufficient without taking money from other entities and commercial brands?
He brought chiropractic to the world. He did it through rugby. He did it through the radio. He did it through being in the circles and telling the truth. He was boots on the ground at the Palmer Clinic and Clear View Sanitarium, doing research that was hundreds of years before his time. I love that’s the question you would want to ask him and I’m sure if we could get him to answer it, he would have a lot of great things to say. I’ve had a good time talking to you. I love getting to know the heart behind the man of Chiro Hustle. Can you tell people what they can do to learn more about you and where they can get the documentaries that you’ve made?The number one doctor in the world is the one inside of you. Click To Tweet
I would say if you go to ChiroHustle.com, that’s our hub for all information. If you have any questions, you can email us through the website. There’s a place for you to submit emails to us. Follow me on Facebook or send me a direct message through Facebook Messenger. I’m responsive to most people. I always tell people the best way to interact with these platforms is to be social on social. You never know whose life shall change if you just respond back to them.
I love all of the questions you post through Facebook. It gets people thinking, it creates a great dialogue, and it helps people get to know each other. Relationship is how the world changes. There’re eight billion people on the planet. The way we learn about each other and learn how to do things better is to have a relationship. I love what you’re doing. I’m thankful for you. I’m grateful that you came on to get your head on straight and I can’t wait to continue our relationship going forward. Thank you.
I appreciate you having me and to close out, I’ll tell people my three values are adventure, connection, and leadership. This had an opportunity for me to hit some of my values.
I’m grateful for that. We will look forward to hearing from you soon.
About Jim Chester
Jim Chester is world renowned Chiropractic advocate and Chiropractic documentary film director who has made two feature films on the profession. These films have been shown across the world. He now runs the world’s number 1 podcast Chiro Hustle. He is now launching his latest digital product that teaches Chiropractors to 10x the amount of patients they schedule with his proven sales strategies. At the end of the day he is just a kid from Iowa who loves his mom.
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