January represents a new year and a new opportunity to grow our practice and lifestyle. This month’s featured doctor is nothing new to grasping a hold of the new year and helping others elevate their chiropractic technique by helping to give doctors a “foot up” on their new years goals.
Dr. Kevin Wong sits down with the Circle of Docs staff and shares his path in Chiropractic and how in the last 11 years has become one of the most sought after speakers and leading advocates in the area of extremity adjusting.
1. What was your introduction into Chiropractic? When did you know that you wanted to be a Chiropractor?
You may be familiar with the old adage “First you walk the path, then later you understand the path”. My Chiropractic story is very similar as most my journey was based on faith and trust in the universe. In 1989, I began my studies at the University of California, Davis. After my basic sciences and leaning towards a career in medicine, I moved toward a career in Physical Therapy. Even at the time, I realized I was not enamored with Physical Therapy as a profession. Since my area of study was Exercise Physiology, P. T. is where many of my classmates were aiming for. For lack of anything inspiring, I forged on. By senior year, during my 3rd internship at an outpatient P.T. facility, I fell asleep one day watching one of the therapists work with one of the patients. I was simply bored out of my skull and realized how much I disliked that field as a career choice for me.
I took this as a sign and looked deeper into health care and what other options there were. I knew I loved people, loved the hands on and loved education. Chiropractic seemed to meet my criteria and give me the autonomy I wanted to make a difference for people. I had no experience with Chiropractic and had never been adjusted. But I headed off to Palmer West in the fall of 1993 and never looked back. My friends thought I was crazy. They also came at me with all of the Chiropractic stereotypes to try and talk me out of going. But I went and by 3rd quarter, I knew in my heart this is where I belonged. I graduated in 1996, 19 years ago. I am so grateful for falling asleep in that internship that day.
2. What has been your biggest struggle or failure in practice?
If you ask most people, challenges abound in Chiropractic. Starting your own practice is an amazing feat in and of itself. The initial struggles I dealt with include getting an established patient base; creating my niche market; and dealing with managed care entities. However, the one challenge I am most disappointed in still having to deal with is the way we are not given the respect we deserve by the other medical professions and the general public.
If you think about the daily life of a chiropractor and the conditions we are able to treat, most people should be coming to us before they go to another type of provider. Musculoskeletal injuries and ailments are so common, yet they end up in the wrong offices. Most people are given advice to just stop their activity, take a drug or get a shot.
Chiropractic is so amazing at helping to align bones, remove the subluxations/misalignments and allowing the nervous system to heal itself. We help people get better quicker and with less out of pocket expense. It saddens and frustrates me when I hear the stories of people who would benefit from Chiropractic but ‘someone’ tells them not to come to us. It can be some type of medical professional, a family member or a friend. So the potential patient hears this and won’t give Chiropractic a try.
Over the 19 years I have been working with patients, I make sure I do my part in educating them on everything I do. I guess it all goes back to sowing seeds one patient at a time. Teach each patient to be your minion so they can help teach or influence others.
3. If you had to start chiropractic over again, what would you suggest to students?
I teach over 100 hours per year at this point. Teaching has been part of my life since graduating from PCCW in 1996 so it really is part of who I am. I have the opportunity to teach not only students who are still in school, but field Chiropractors at all levels. I often tell the students that even though I graduated with a Summa Cum Laude, 4.0. GPA, there has not been one patient who has ever asked me what my grades were. I always saw Chiropractic college as an extension of regular college so I kept my head down and studied. I paid some attention to my technique classes, but only enough to make sure I got my “A” in the class. That is not to say they should not strive to do well, but look at the big picture: one day, you will have to clothe and feed yourself. Focus and learn what will allow you to do that.
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My advice to students is to take every technique class/elective/seminar they can while they are still in school. It does not matter how young they are in the curriculum, each time you take a class, you get exposure. This is exposure that needs repeating and you will keep learning and cementing in the concepts each time you take the class. Repetition, repetition, repetition. That is how you learn. I also tell them that technique classes and seminars are either free or greatly reduced in cost as a student. These classes help them learn what they may want to specialize in and how they can go after that competitive advantage so they position themselves well for practice and life after school.
4. When did you start to specialize in extremity adjusting and its impact in Chiropractic care?
I realized within my first 2 years of practice how important extremity adjusting was. Over the first 10 years of practice, experience would teach me how important the extremities were at stabilizing or destabilizing the spine. I learned to use extremity adjusting, spinal adjusting, orthotics, taping and other tools to help treat patients efficiently. Each year of practice, I have tried to hone my extremity analysis and adjusting skills so that I could identify patterns that are found on patients. These patterns allow me to do a comprehensive job for the patient in a fairly efficient manner.
When I teach my seminars, my protocols and patterns for extremities that I have learned all these years is what I offer. I feel so thankful that I have been given the ability to be a medium of information. I love helping and teaching and I am going to keep doing that for as long as I can.
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5. What in what capacity do you work with Foot Levelers?
At this point, I am going on 11 years with Foot Levelers as one of their Core Lecturers. I have been teaching and preaching about the feet since my first year of practice so my message has always been congruent with theirs. They have me traveling the United States and internationally to help Chiropractors and students how important the feet and extremities are to the rest of the body.
One thing I explain to all of my classes before I begin is that “I am not a Foot Levelers puppet”. They did not bring me out right after graduation and program me to spit out their words. Foot Levelers brought me on because of my message about the feet and the extremities. This message has been fine tuned over the years because our understanding of the feet and arches has evolved over the years. We get smarter and more skilled at delivering the information so Chiropractors can not only learn and understand, but use it in their everyday practice. My goal in teaching is to inspire the Chiropractors to change their behavior. I can not make any one do anything, but I can motivate them to want to make a change. That is my hope for each attendee at my seminar.
6. If people want to get in touch with you, where do they go?
I have been in private practice for all 19 years that I have also been teaching. My practice is located in the east San Francisco Bay area in a town called Orinda. I actually live in nearby Walnut Creek with my wife, Isabel of 16 years, my son, Kyle (13 years old), and my daughter, Gabrielle (10 years old) and our dog Ms. Holly (3 years old)