Chiropractors and ChiroThin
Friday, January 30, 2015 10:28 PM

Americans’ expanding waistlines often lead to a surge of interest in weight loss at the beginning of each new year.  That pang already struck hundreds of people in the Springfield, Illinois area this summer and fall. They have responded to print and radio advertisements carrying the promise that they will “lose 20 to 40 pounds in six weeks” with “no exercise needed, no cravings, no drugs ... and this brand-new technology is guaranteed.”  The offer comes not from a late-night infomercial sponsored by a sketchy, out-of-town outfit. Instead, the pitch promotes a weight-loss program run by a longtime Springfield, Illinois, chiropractor.

With more than two-thirds of adult Americans overweight and more than one-third obese, the types of health care specialists reaching out to help them is expanding. Walton, who recently recently added the title “Springfield Weight Loss Center” to his practice, is among the growing number of chiropractors who are launching formal weight-loss programs for current and new patients.

“The results you get on this diet are pretty phenomenal,” said Furling, a Springfield resident who works as a commercial pilot and real estate developer. “I felt really good and surprisingly not that hungry. I quit snacking altogether.”  Furling, who is 5 feet 10 inches tall and now weighs 265 pounds, said he eventually wants to use the plan to get under 200 pounds. For now, he plans to take a break while he adjusts to a higher-calorie diet.  Furling wasn’t drawn into the program by the advertising. He had used Walton for treatment of lower-back pain in the past and learned about the program from Walton’s staff.

Chiropractors are most commonly associated with disorders involving the spine. They earn doctor of chiropractic degrees and they are trained to perform manual manipulation of the spine and other alternative medicine treatments to promote healing without surgery or medicine.  But the programs Walton and others are conducting don’t involve spinal manipulation. They involve behavior modification.  Walton’s program is called ChiroThin, a “very low-calorie,” six-week program that costs $550 — generally not covered by health insurance but allowed in flex spending plans and health savings accounts.

In Texas a person practices chiropractic if he or she uses objective or subjective means to analyze, examine, or evaluate the biomechanical condition of the spine and musculoskeletal system of the human body; performs nonsurgical, nonincisive procedures, including adjustment and manipulation, to improve the subluxation complex or the biomechanics of the musculoskeletal system;  represents to the public that the person is a chiropractor;  or uses the term "chiropractor," "chiropractic," "doctor of chiropractic," "D.C.," or any derivative of those terms or initials in connection with the person's name.

The practice of chiropractic does not include:  incisive or surgical procedures;  the prescription of controlled substances, dangerous drugs, or any other drug that requires a prescription;  or the use of x-ray therapy or therapy that exposes the body to radioactive materials.