San Francisco Bay Area resident Patrick Totty writes about his experiences living with type 2 diabetesSee all posts »
The Symbiosis of Hope and Huckster
A couple of weekends ago my Sunday paper had a four-color, full-page ad from a chiropractic doctor who was inviting people to come on down to a suburban hotel, eat a fancy dinner (the ad had a photo of an expensive cut of roast being sliced on a serving cart), and listen to him tell them how he can help their diabetes.
The ad had glowing testimonials from people who have tried his system and are now enjoying dramatically lowered blood glucose readings and A1c’s, huge weight losses, and the shedding of diabetic symptoms left and right.
The doctor who sprang for the ad apparently has a thriving business in a major California metro area and runs a wellness center that treats many diseases and conditions, diabetes being just one among them.
My doubts about the guy centered on more than just his status as a chiropractor. I belong to the agnostic school when it comes to the discipline. I know many people swear by it while others don’t see its point. Whatever chiropractic’s virtues, I don’t really see its practitioners as qualified to diagnose various disorders, especially glandular ones, let alone treat or cure them via expertly applied adjustments to the spine.
So my real suspicions fall on the hotel presentation itself. Almost everybody reading this has been to some sort of seminar that was presented by a charismatic speaker, accompanied by great graphics, maybe some slick handouts, and a nice-enough meal to make the time go pleasantly by.
But that’s just the initial softening up. After that comes the hard pitch, with appeals to take action now by signing up for a course, a set of DVDs, or in this case, personal treatment at the hands of the capable staff located at the doctor’s wellness center—perhaps even by the doctor himself!
The final line of sales assault is the bank of tables in the back loaded with sign-up sheets, books and other DVDs—the latter marked way up over what similar-sized media would sell for at a bookstore.
If the seminar operator is clever, the tables will be staffed by a handsome young man or woman or two, the better to charm people to part with their money.
This is still a free country. People can be slick operators and others can be fools, and if the two groups get together, they’re all adults who can walk away if they want. What bothers me is that we’ll be seeing more of this approach as the incidence of diabetes increases. There will always be marginally qualified persons who know how to “speak diabetes” and appeal to the crazy hope we all have that there is some right-under-our-eyes thing that can knock our disease flat on its arse.
He or she may be out there, the one who actually does have an effective treatment that nobody else has thought of. But at $149.99 for the complete set of DVDs, or $1,599 for the one-week hands-on course, or $2,500 to have my name inscribed on a gold paving brick in the Walk of Hope, I’m always going to take a pass.