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March, 2012

Sage Advice for a Successful Career: Never Stop Learning

By John L. Stump, DC

In looking back over 35 years of practice, it is hard to isolate any one thing that made our practice successful. If pressed to expound on a particular area it would have to be education. Remember that confidence you had when you graduated from college? It multiplied exponentially when you graduated from chiropractic school and started practice.

Just imagine if you could keep that feeling through out your career. Well you can. That feeling of confidence and focus is based in education. This scholarship and understanding you now possess has propelled many through difficult challenges like today's economic times.

The better focused, tenacious and passionate you are about your education the more ingrained in your consciousness, the more solid your foundation in chiropractic. This drive, determination and knowledge come from the fact that subconsciously you know you are well grounded in your profession. In addition, you also want your staff to have the same concept of unity and purpose of working together to promote health and wellness and the value of chiropractic. While doing all they can for the patient they will value their chiropractic education as well. This appreciation for specialized knowledge is a key to a solid successful future.

After graduating from chiropractic school, don't stop your education because what you accomplish after your DC counts even more. Obtaining my postdoctoral degree in acupuncture became my next challenge. Then, pulling the chiropractic and acupuncture professions together was the applied kinesiology studies and that lead to my advanced degree in sports medicine from the United States Sports Academy.

During my career, aborting my education was never a consideration in my mind. I achieved my last doctorate at the late age of 45, so don't worry because you're never too old to learn. Using the old classroom style of face-to-face was my way of intermingling chiropractic philosophy with everyday life. Regardless of the course taken or taught I found a way of introducing chiropractic to the group.

Another important practice builder is to surround yourself with people -- your work team, friends and acquaintances -- that have focus and motivation toward the goal of health. Think about it, everyone wants to be healthy. While in Japan, my study of martial arts became another practice builder I utilized later in my practice. In martial arts, it was essential for my students to use complete focus on a particular body part, that would bring them to understand the need to know better body mechanics. That, in turn, would lead to understanding the need for chiropractic care. In just a few short years, my education had positioned me to have a full toolbox of techniques to help patients. Having this specialized knowledge prepared me to be selected president of the ICA Sports Council and to a position with the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, South Korea.

Again, in every part of your life, you must bring in your philosophy and purpose to help people become healthier. To do it through education requires humanization of your discipline. Every Doctor of Chiropractic must find a way to interact with the outside medical world. Medicine has already built a political-philosophical system of caring for the sick that brings the patient to their office. We must further establish the bipartisan system that chiropractors are "wellness" health care doctors that must be consulted to maintain health in this toxic environment that we live in today.

Finally, there is success of education through interaction on a community basis. I have found this demonstrated through Rotary International, a volunteer civic club of business and professions based on four simple educational principles:

  • Is it the TRUTH?
  • Is it FAIR to all concerned?
  • Will it build GOOD WILL and BETTER FRIENDSHIP?

These principles should guide all practices and professionals, not just chiropractic!

Editor's Note: Dr. Stump mentions several educational institutions and additional practice building opportunities that have been written about in our sister publications, Dynamic Chiropractic and Acupuncture Today. For additional information about integrating acupuncture into your practice, visit to view the following articles, "Integrating Acupuncture Into a Chiropractic Practice" by Dr. James Copeland, DC, FIAMA; "Acupuncture and Chiropractic: The Left and Right Hands of Complementary Health Care" by Dr. Walt Wojak, DC, LAc, Dipl.Ac. (NCCAOM); and "Latest Chiropractic Acupuncture Symposium a Big Success." You can also visit to view Dr. John Amaro's article "Acupuncture and Chiropractic: A Clinical Relationship," published in the May 2006 issue of Acupuncture Today. Some additional resources to explore if you are considering incorporating acupuncture into your chiropractic practice include the Council of Chiropractic Acupuncture and the American Board of Chiropractic Acupuncture.

Dynamic Chiropractic Practice Insights is looking for additional "Best Ideas" from chiropractors nationwide who want to share what has worked in making a successful practice. Here are the particulars of what we are looking for. Answer the following questions to share your best idea: 1. Many factors go into having a successful chiropractic clinic, but what is the number one thing that has led to your success? (This can be anything from marketing strategy to patient relations to specialized services to great technique and so forth, the goal is to give your peers the help they also need to be a success.) 2. What are the practical milestones you use to measure your success? (Again this can be many things: patient retention, financial results, etc.) 3. What advice can you give for managing through difficult times? Please keep your answers to 800-1200 words and include a brief biography and your contact information. To submit your "Best Idea," e-mail it to Senior Associate Editor Kathryn Feather at with "Best Idea" in the subject line.

Dr. John Stump did undergraduate work in Health and Biology at the University of Maryland, and obtained a Masters and Doctorate in Sports Medicine at the United States Sports Academy. In addition, he accomplished a doctorate in Chiropractic from Palmer College in Davenport, Iowa. He went on to do postdoctoral work in Oriental Medicine and Acupuncture in Japan, China and Korea. In addition, he holds black belts in Judo and Karate, as well as being a Sensei of Shorinji Kempo for more than 30 years.

Dr. Stump is armed with a unique perspective of health care from an eastern and western scientific view. In 1985, he was named Professor at Chukyo Chiropractic College in Nagoya, Japan. As president of the ICA Sports Council, Dr. Stump was asked to be a team doctor by the South Korean government in 1986 for the Asian Games, China in 1987, and in 1988 to the Seoul World Olympics. He is the author of more than 50 scientific articles, and has co-authored four textbooks. The latest textbook publication Dr. Stump contributed to is titled, "Energy Medicine: East and West," Churchill Livingstone 2011. In 2007, Dr. Stump contributed to, "Electroacupuncture," edited by David Mayor, and published by Elsevier. Also in 2007, Dr. Stump released a non-fiction account of the catastrophic stroke he survived, "A Stroke of Midnight," Alternative Concepts Publishing. For additional information, you can contact Dr. Stump at:

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