When sports injuries sidelined Ivan Koh, he tried a variety of treatments to get back in the game, all with mixed results. It was only after being referred to a chiropractor that Ivan regained the level of comfort he needed.
Along with recovery from his injury, chiropractic gave Ivan the inspiration he was looking for. Dr. Koh graduated from Parker College of Chiropractic in Dallas, Texas in 2001 and has been helping people with their issues the same way chiropractic helped him, ever since.
We interviewed the founder of Castor Chiropractic Centre to learn the story behind the business and what it means for Dr. Koh to go from patient to caregiver.
Tell us about Castor Chiropractic Centre. What do you do?
We are a full service chiropractic and acupuncture clinic providing hands on treatment tailored for each individual patient. Patients are often hesitant about consulting a chiropractor because they are uninformed about what the profession offers. Our clinic is unique because first and foremost we listen to the patient’s wants and needs. Sounds simple, but often times health care practitioners are so anxious to “solve” our patient’s problems/preach a healthy lifestyle that we forget to listen to what the patient wants. What are the patient’s goals for treatment? Pain relief? Rehabilitation? Wellness? We find out and then work to achieving your goal! Our customer base is not limited to a specific gender or demographic. They can range from families, athletes, seniors, worker’s compensation cases, victims of motor vehicle accidents, and pre-surgical screening patients.
Who are your typical customers?
Our customer base is not limited to a specific gender or demographic. They can range from families, athletes, seniors, worker’s compensation cases, victims of motor vehicle accidents, and pre-surgical screening patients.
What is it that sets you apart from your competitors?
What is it that sets you apart from your competitors?
How did you decided to go into chiropractic? And why are you based where you are?
I got into the chiropractic profession after I personally had a positive experience as a patient. I suffered from many sports injuries as a teenager. I tried many different treatments and while they all helped to a certain degree, I was not back to 100%. In fact a lot of people discouraged me from trying chiropractic. Like many people, I was hesitant. However, after I finally did, I was blown away at how good I felt and how quickly I recovered. My family has a health care background (sister is an optometrist), so I always knew my calling was in the health care field.
I was undecided as to which discipline until I tried chiropractic. I love working with my hands and believe in a natural approach so chiropractic was a natural fit. It’s great to be able to see people’s progress and improvement as well as achieve their treatment goals. After completing my undergraduate degree at the University of Waterloo, I attended Parker College of Chiropractic (now Parker University) in Dallas, Texas for 4 years. Living in Dallas was fantastic! Where else can you enjoy a great steak, participate in a beer drinking contest and ride a mechanical bull all in one night? But in all seriousness, I met some great people, made some lifelong friendships and found other like minded people passionate about the chiropractic profession. What truly blew me away was the passion my US counterparts had for the profession and the impact it could have on patients. There is a huge subset of the population in the US who consciously seek out chiropractic for its performance and wellness effects.
I think Canada is still a little behind in this regard, and it’s one of the reasons I chose to return. I want to change the way people think about chiropractic. It’s not just about pain relief and rehabilitation, it can be about being at your optimum. But letting patients discover this in a safe non judgmental environment is the goal. Every patient needs to make this journey and discovery on their own terms. I’ll make suggestions within the framework of what the patient is seeking, but they always have the power to choose and we will always respect their decision.
To be successful, it helps to be passionate. What drives you every day?
I love my patients, my profession and the impact it can have on them. When a patient says, “I had no idea that this is what chiropractic was all about, I wish I had tried it sooner!” it really makes my day. To shed a positive light on our profession and have happy patients refer their friends and family is the biggest compliment I can receive. But truly my inspiration starts at home. I have a wonderful wife, Angela , and two active boys, Aidan and Noah who give me the energy to get up every morning. I could not do what I do without their love and support.
Has it been smooth sailing from the beginning or did you have to overcome adversity to get where you are now?
I think there are always obstacles. Certainly we wouldn’t appreciate our successes without them. I, like most of my colleagues got into the profession to help people but fresh out of school, we aren’t always savvy on how get these people through our door. Realizing this, I took a different approach. I filled in as a locum chiropractor for colleagues who were away on vacation. This allowed me to see parts of Southern Ontario I’d likely never visit on my own. Perth, Bancroft, Cobourg, Stratford? Check, check, check and check. There’s nothing like driving down the street of a community where people recognize you wherever you go. You can be sure I never drove more carefully in my life! This really allowed me to see different practice styles, approaches and attitudes. It allowed me to develop my approach and style as a chiropractor until I settled on a practice of my own. I think those experiences were invaluable not only as a practitioner but as a person.
We all know that crazy happens. What’s the wildest thing that’s happened on the job?
We’re a chiropractic office so we’re rather boring. The most excitement we have is when a patient forgets their debit card in the processing terminal and we have to call the seniors residence to let them know they forgot it at our office!
Are you involved in the local community at all?
I am currently participating in a pilot project with the Ministry of Health where physiotherapists, chiropractors, family physicians, and neurosurgeons collaborate to provide low back pain patients with evidence based assessment, education and self management strategies. If the pilot is a success, it will create a new way for patients to get streamlined access to the care they need.
Do you have any advice for new business owners just starting out?
Just be honest and sincere with your clientele. Whatever industry you are in, people can sense what your true motivations are. If you are truly putting your clients best interest first, they will sense that and you won’t have to “sell” anything. Your true intentions and actions will speak volumes.