Chiropractic + Naturopathic Doctor

Keys to Your Practice: Living the new rich lifestyle

Angelo Santin   

Features Health Wellness

My recent vacation inspired me to share with you some ideas I have learned about stepping away from your practice, and giving yourself some much-needed rest and recreation. 

My recent vacation inspired me to share with you some ideas I have learned about stepping away from your practice, and giving yourself some much-needed rest and recreation. 

Although this is already the September issue, and you may be thinking summer vacation is over, I believe the fall is a perfect time to plan out more vacation time for next year.


Traditional thinking leads us to believe time off for chiropractors is just not possible. The thought of losing possible patients and income scares some. While these are valid concerns, I argue that time away from your practice is not a luxury, but a necessity.

In Tim Ferris’s book The 4-Hour Workweek, he defines the “new rich” as people who have time, flexibility and mobility, in contrast to working long hours for all your life and only beginning to enjoy it once you retire. I must admit, as a younger practitioner, I can relate to this type of lifestyle, which is completely different from the example our parents gave us while we were growing up.

As chiropractors, we have to look at our careers as a marathon and not a sprint. By this, I mean we need to look at the big picture and do what it takes now to have a long-lasting career.

Why take time off?
Chiropractic is a physical art. No matter what technique we use, there will be physical strains and demands on our bodies. So many of my colleagues are struggling with back trouble, disc problems and shoulder issues, just to mention a few. Time away to allow our bodies to heal is necessary. This time off from work can be achieved in many ways. It can be in the form of a long vacation or simply designing your week with full days or half days off.  This time off will allow you to recharge mentally and spiritually – equally important reasons to step away from the office.

Practice growth, from my experience, is made up of peaks and valleys. Rarely can someone have his or her foot on the gas pedal indefinitely. Time off is needed to clear the mind and, more importantly, spend time with loved ones.

How do I do it?
By now, some of you might already be saying, “But I just can’t afford to take the time off.” I would suggest this is an illusion that many of us have created. There were years when I would take only long weekends here and there because I thought I needed to be in the office for my patients. It wasn’t until I got busier and had my systems in order (patients pre-booked, etc.) that I decided to take a leap and take my first weeklong holiday.

I now take a minimum of six weeks off and spend it with my family. I can tell you, not one patient left my practice or suffered as a result of my being away from the office. If this appeals to you, let’s take a look at how you can do the same.

First, it is important that you develop and maintain a great staff and a solid system that can run properly even when you’re away. If patients are pre-booked and know you are going to be away, they will gladly wait until you return to have their next adjustment. Make arrangements for a colleague to take care of any acute patients or emergencies while you are away. It will ease your mind knowing that people will be taken care of.

Another option is to have a locum or associate take over if it is a longer vacation (two weeks or more). If you have a high volume practice and patients on a schedule, this would be the best option for you. This way, patients get their regular care on schedule and when you return, your days are not over-filled, which makes for a more relaxing return.

It is important to make sure the practitioner coming in to take over while you’re away has the same technique and personality as you. It would be of high value for this practitioner to shadow you before your holidays. This will allow them to see your style and meet some of your more sensitive patients.

When you return, it is always a good idea to debrief with the staff, patients and the locum so you can make any changes or adjustments, if needed, for your next time off.

Lastly, vacations, for the most part, should be preplanned. Our office uses this time of year to plan our yearly office activities. This is when I will preplan my time off, plug it into the calendar, make the staff aware and notify our locum. This organization helps to break up my year and allows me to replace times of energy expenditure with energy renewal.

Hopefully, I have provided some ideas and inspiration in order for you to take the leap and increase your time away from the office. I recommend you take charge and design your life instead of allowing it to run you. Your time away will give you the energy to be fully present in your practice, which in turn will allow you to be ready to serve more people. What more can you ask for?

Remember: when it comes to your practice, work from the inside out.

Action steps CHECKLIST

  •         Preplan your time off at a yearly planning meeting. Aim for a minimum of four weeks off.
  •         Meet with your locum and have them shadow you and meet with your patients.
  •         Debrief about what happened in the office and make necessary changes for next time.

Angelo Santin, DC, operates a busy subluxation-based family practice in Thunder Bay, Ont., and is president of the Thunder Bay Chiropractic Society. Dr. Santin is also a Carter Universal proficiency-rated chiropractic coach. He can be reached at or 807-344-4606.

Print this page


Stories continue below