Blog : Green Collar Careers: Seth LaFlamme, D.C., Owner of Great Works Chiropractic

By Theresa | Mar 24, 2014 | in

Great Works Chiropractic in South Berwick, Maine offers a unique approach to healthcare. “At Great Works, we treat underlying problems, not just outward symptoms,” Seth LaFlamme, 36, explained. Shying away from typical drug-based treatment, LaFlamme uses traditional chiropractic methods to help his patients get well. With minimal waste production and a focus on sustainability, Great Works Chiropractic is a great example of how the healthcare industry can “go green.”

Theresa Conn (TC): What do you like most about your job?
Seth LaFlamme (SL): Conventional health providers mostly just work towards relieving a patient’s complaints, but at Great Works Chiropractic, we focus on neurostructural connection. The brain controls the body; it regulates the nervous system, muscles, organs, everything. It can be tempting to treat a symptom like back pain or headaches with drugs, but that doesn’t solve the underlying problem.
Think of it this way: if your house was on fire, would you just pull the batteries out of the screaming smoke detector? No. You’d fix the big problem and be grateful that you were alerted to it in the first place. At our practice, we treat our patients based on the principle that if we can restore the integrity of the nervous system and its supporting structures, the body will do the healing itself.
It’s amazing to hear a patient who has been struggling with pain for years say, “I didn’t know life could be this good.”
I also really enjoy working with kids. They’re so in touch with their innate selves. My wife is also a chiropractor, and we both have advanced pediatrics training. It’s gratifying to work with kids who are excited to come to our office. Don’t get me wrong, working with adults is great, but there’s something special about helping a stereotypical “sick kid” become healthy and be off to a good start.

TC: Where did you go to college? Does your college education help with your current job? What skills from college most prepared you for the work you do now?
SL: I didn’t follow the typical path to becoming a chiropractor. I graduated from the University of Maine-Farmington with a degree in writing. After college, I was painting houses and freelance writing. I had a few health problems, so I went to get help.
My chiropractor blew me away. He told me how our bodies can heal themselves, and I couldn’t believe it. My wife [who was working with him at the time] and I both decided to become chiropractors, and we went to Life University in Georgia, one of the largest chiropractic schools in the world.
My undergraduate education absolutely helps me with my current job. The medical field is very practical and left-brained; being creative and in touch with the intuitive right-brained way of thinking has helped me expand my practice and connect with my clients. I also have to write letters to other doctors and insurance programs regularly.
My ability to clearly explain the needs of my patients has been a real asset. Although my writing degree may not pertain on paper, it has been vital for the success of my practice.

TC: What do you look for in an employee in this field?
SL: Most chiropractors open their own practices. Of course you need to have a scientific and business background, but I think communication skills are crucial. You must be a “people person.” You don’t need to be a social butterfly, but you do need to be able to connect with your patients.
As a chiropractor, you’re not just prescribing pills for your patients. You’re in the business of changing beliefs as well. You have to be able to convince people that there are other ways to fix issues other than popping aspirin. It’s important to bond with your clients and build relationships with them.

TC: What made you integrate sustainability into your business/go into a green industry?
SL: Well, sustainability is inherent in our practice because of the way we do business. The medical industry is incredibly wasteful; hospitals, offices, and medical manufacturers produce prolific amounts of toxic waste every day. For us, it’s not like that. We barely produce any trash. Our treatments only require our hands; being a chiropractor is an example of how “green” healthcare can be.

TC: What are you most proud of in your business as related to sustainability?
SL: We put our money where our mouth is when it comes to sustainability. Along with producing minimal waste, we support local and global environmental initiatives. For example, we sponsor the “Seacoast Harvest Magazine,” a publication that highlights local farms and markets around the area. We also support the Great Works Regional Land Trust. We make sure our business is part of green endeavors in our community; it’s part of who we are.

Great Works Chiropractic is a green-certified business in the Green Alliance. For more info on Great Works, visit http://greatworkschiro.com. To learn more about the Green Alliance, go to http://www.greenalliance.biz.

Theresa Conn is a senior Environmental Conservation and Sustainability major at UNH and a writer for the Green Alliance.