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April, 2013

Brighten Your Income With Body Sculpting, Part 2

By Douglas L. Weed, DC

In Part I of this article, I discussed how one may easily, inexpensively and ethically add a "niche" market therapy to one's existing practice to enhance revenue. Since the largest such market consists of overweight and obese individuals (which constitute approximately 65% of our population), body sculpting is a logical choice for the following reasons: body sculpting requires only a one-time purchase of the unit; takes up only one room which may be underutilized at certain times or on certain days; requires no consumables other than exam table paper; is time efficient as it is a 20-minute unattended modality; requires minimal training and may be performed by your CA; and properly marketed, requires minimal to no marketing costs.

Since you are already paying for rent and utilities, there are no additional fixed costs. A staff member may be trained in sales; so increased variable costs should be minimized if there is staff "downtime." Proper scheduling is all that is required. The doctor only needs to consult with the patient on the first visit and follow up at predetermined intervals. The initial evaluation is simple and may be performed by your CA.

Body sculpting lends itself to offering patients other services as added revenue sources. Diversification of income streams, additional patient inflow creating other income opportunities, and supplemental incomes are some of the benefits. Our practice generated more than $250,000 in 2012, from income derived from body sculpting and ancillary services. These include therapies that increase results such as weight-loss and exercise programs and nutraceuticals. The remainder of this article discusses the supplementary revenue sources that may be generated from adding body sculpting to your practice. It goes without saying that many patients are also prospects for becoming chiropractic patients.

Our experience with the use of infrared light (either laser or LED infrared light) over the past two years has shown that results may be enhanced through concurrent application of other therapies. The first such therapy to increase inch loss is a simple 15-minute program of Whole Body Vibration (WBV) exercise. Chiropractors are familiar with many of its benefits. In this case, WBV causes increased lymph flow directly via vibration and secondarily through the rapid muscle contraction that accompanies vibratory exercise. Improving lymphatic drainage of the treated area increases the removal of the fat transposed from intracellular to the extracellular space. A separate charge for WBV exercise may be added for those who wish to exercise in-office, or it can just be an integral part of the program. All patients in our office undergo WBV exercise with each treatment.

Almost all patients elect to add a 30-minute session of Infrared Blanket (IFB), post treatment. The IFB delivers a deep infrared heat (using a different wavelength of light) to the subcutaneous tissues. This is a very pleasant treatment that is not accompanied by profuse sweating. Our statistics showed that using the IFB improves the results of body sculpting by at least 25%. IFB temporarily increases the metabolic rate, burning some of the removed fat as energy. It increases blood flow to the subcutaneous tissues, enhancing fat removal. Perhaps most importantly, by rising the temperature of the treated area, fat becomes more liquid, increasing it's removal from the fat cells. We charge $60 for a 30-minute IFB therapy if done as a stand-alone, and $25 if added post body sculpting. A $2,000 one-time investment returns us about $5,000 per month.

We encourage patients to have their body fat checked prior to starting a body sculpting program. We use the highly accurate and reproducible diagnostic ultrasound method for measuring. There is a one-time purchase of the ultrasound unit and software. The test takes only five minutes. We charge $25 for the service as a stand-alone. Virtually 100% of our patients have this test performed. The software provides an excellent report, which gives not only the percentage of body fat, but sets a goal weight and gives a risk assessment for development of chronic disease based on the degree of elevation of body fat. Less than 5% of our patients fall into the healthy range, so body fat measurement is an excellent tool to encourage one to reduce body fat, leading us to discuss our weight loss programs. We repeat the body fat test monthly. Income from this simple procedure exceeds $1,000 per month.

Through experience, we have found that body sculpting accompanied by even a small weight loss, is far more effective than either alone. There is a synergy that occurs when combining the two. I believe that this occurs because the fat cells that are treated are "primed" for weight loss. Both diet and exercise induce fat cells to relinquish their fat stores. Infrared light acts in the same manner, so it is logical that an increase in localized weight loss will occur when combining diet and exercise with infrared light treatment. We encourage patients to lose weight while engaged in a body sculpting program.

We offer a variety of weight loss programs that can be combined with body sculpting. Inability to lose weight may be grouped into five broad categories: diet, exercise, low metabolic rate, hormone imbalances and food allergies. Each category offers an opportunity for an income source. One of our diet plans is a software-based program that tracks food intake and exercise. The patient pays a monthly fee for online access to the software.

We also offer a variety of labs that relate to inability to lose weight including hormone testing for thyroid, glucose and insulin, cortisol and other steroid hormones and IgG food sensitivity testing. The IgG food sensitivity test is a simple blood-stick. The patient takes the kit home and places drops of blood on a blotter, which is mailed to the lab. We test resting metabolic rate with a relatively inexpensive BMR tester. A low metabolic rate leads to other tests for low thyroid and mitochondropathies. There are a number of nutraceuticals on the market that have studies showing their efficacy in increasing weight loss. All of our weight loss programs include the nutraceuticals to improve results while maintaining health in a low calorie environment.

In summary, body sculpting is a proven treatment to add to your practice, if one is considering adding a "niche market" therapy. There is a reasonable, one-time purchase; it can be performed in an underutilized room or during slow periods with your CA performing the treatment with minimal increases in your overhead. There are multiple additional revenue streams that body sculpting offers, including WBV exercise, infrared blanket, body fat and resting metabolic rate assessment; weight loss programs; lab testing and nutraceutical sales.

Dr. Douglas Weed performed undergraduate and graduate work at UC Davis. He graduated third in his class from PCC in 1979. He co-founded the first group-owned chiropractic rehabilitation center in the country and assisted in the founding of similar facilities throughout California. He currently focuses on functional medicine, weight loss and body sculpting. His business "Integrated Lipo-Light Solutions" assists chiropractors with a turn-key business solution for body sculpting.

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