The emails then go on to say, that if thyroid symptoms aren't resolved, Dr. So-and-So actually has all the answers for "all aspects of hypothyroidism and Hashimoto's disease." Interestingly, the emails frequently misspell words like "thyroid" and "physician."
The first step to getting all the answers from Dr. So-and-So is signing up for a special "free" report (the word free is repeated frequently in these emails). The graphic of the free report is usually designed to look like a real book, but it is actually a PDF file. To get the free report, you have to give your email address. This is a way for Dr. So-and-So to capture your email address, so he or she can then continue to email you frequently. (And he or she will.)
So you enter your email address, and you get to a page, featuring Dr. So-and-So's smiling face or video, where you can download Dr. So-and-So's free report, which is a PDF document. And the report is essentially a long advertisement, where Dr. So-and-So promises to provide the secrets that will help you restore your energy, stop your hair from falling out, lose weight easily, feel great, and resolve each and every thyroid-related symptom.
And how will you do that? It's easy. All you need to do is to find out if you "qualify" for a free program being offered by Dr. So-and-So. And space is really limited for Dr. So-and-So's free "Thyroid Program," so you'd better sign up now.
Sometimes, the pitch is slightly different. You are asked to sign up for a free "Thyroid Consultation and Case Review" by Dr. So-and-So. So you sign up for the free "Thyroid Program" or the free "Thyroid Consultation and Case Review." ...And what do you get?
You get to show up, and either privately or in a group, hear Dr. So-and-So talk about how awful it is to feel tired, and to not be able to lose weight, and to lose hair, and for doctors not to listen to you. Dr. So-and-So will tell you how he/she has all the answers to help, and all you have to do is sign up for Dr. So-and-So's full thyroid program.
And what is the "full" program? It typically costs anywhere from several thousand dollars, up to $15,000 -- with cash payment required upfront, by credit card, or in installments -- and involves multiple visits to Dr. So-and-So for various tests, and a regimen of herbs, vitamins, and supplements -- provided by Dr. So-and-So.
Let's be clear. I am NOT one of those folks who thinks chiropractors are "quacks." I feel that there is a definite and valued place for chiropractic care in today's health care system. I know many people who have greatly benefited from chiropractic treatment for pain and back issues, as well as nutritional guidance. And while chiropractic care has always been controversial -- and frequently is unfairly criticized by the conventional medical world -- there is scientific evidence to support the effectiveness of chiropractic manual treatments for low back pain, neck pain, joint pain, and some types of headaches.
And I also want to note that there are a few well-known thyroid experts who come from the chiropractic world -- like Dr. John Lowe. But Dr. Lowe has been working with thyroid patients, alongside traditional physicians as well, and for decades has been committed to researching and writing about thyroid, metabolic, hormonal and immune system issues. He is editor of Thyroid Science, a journal that looks at cutting-edge studies related to thyroid disease. And Dr. Lowe does not send out gimmicky "You Can Cure Your Thyroid Disease Today!" emails and slap schlocky cookie-cutter websites up on the Internet.
But I'm concerned about what seems to be a coordinated push by some chiropractors to buy up Internet URLS -- like www.podunktthyroidcenter.com, www.podunkthyroiddoctor.com or www.podunkthyroidrelief.com -- and then upload sites that are only slightly modified cookie-cutter copies of each other -- some of them are literally word for word replicas of each other, except for the name of the doctor. And they all offer a "free report," -- again, frequently it's the same cookie cutter report and barely even customized -- followed by the "free consultation" or "free seminar."
So what's going on?
What's happened is that some chiropractors have recognized that thyroid patients are a lucrative market, and so they've created "thyroid packages" which they are then selling to fellow chiropractors. The packages can include pre-designed and pre-written website templates, ebooks, special reports, video scripts, in-person sales pitch/presentations, guidelines for the ongoing "Thyroid Program" treatments, software to generate Internet advertising, and the opportunity to private label supplements. There is training on how to target, market and sell to thyroid and other chornic disease patients, and how to get those frustrated patients to commit as much as $15,000 or more -- usually in cash or on credit cards, up front -- for these programs.
(Note: After writing this article, the related blog post subsequently received a number of comments by the director one of of these chiropractic thyroid programs. You can read his comments online. He also had a detailed brief posted online that explains how chiropractors are trained how to market online to thyroid and other chronic disease patients, in which it's said, "THESE INTERNET PROGRAMS ARE LITERALLY LIKE SHOOTING FISH IN A BARREL!!")
Beyond the concerns raised by such an approach, there are other key issues.