Insights Interview: Dr. Anthony Dawson

One man I look up to more than any other man in business is Dr. Dawson. I originally was interested in helping Dr. Dawson implement traction protocols within his highly successful clinic in Jakarta, Indonesia. After a few trips back and forth to Indonesia and a few life changing experiences later, this man has solidified himself in my mind as one of the most influential, pioneering men I have had the pleasure to work with.  This is the man that brought Chiropractic to Indonesia. This is the man that revolutionized the healthcare of Indonesia. This is the man that is healing people that would have never been healed in the country of Indonesia. In short, Dr. Dawson is the man.  Dr. Dawson, thanks for taking the time out of your busy schedule to be interviewed.
Many say you don’t choose Chiropractic, Chiropractic chooses you. Dr. Dawson, how did you get involved in the Chiropractic profession?
It was a strangely fated experience. In the 70’s my father brought me to Bali and I had a Déjà vu at a palace in Ubud. I thought I had been there before but my father said I hadn’t. The village head who heard the story went off to the priest who said I would “one day return and bring great knowledge” and gave my father a medical lontar (book) 400 years old. My father was seeing the local healer in bali for his backache at the time. At 13 my father who also suffered chronic migraines, backaches, heart disease and was addicted to morphine, started Chiropractic care with Dr Don Cannon. It changed our lives. Soon all the family was under care and by 15 I knew I wanted to be a Chiropractor. Whatever the case Chiropractic is the only profession I could get truly passionate about. It ticked my boxes.

After you completed your schooling did you head straight to Indonesia? What took you to Indonesia?
AD: I finished at Palmer in 1990 and had dreams of Italy with two of my best friends.  I had been there 3 times during my studies. My father called me up and told me he had set aside a clinic space in a building and was terribly persuasive. I even had a new Toshiba X-ray machine. He persuaded me to buy the building a year later.  I didn’t know much about interest rates and taxes and was a million dollars in debt at the end of year one. I would never do that again as it took 10 years and 12 plus hours a day to pay it all off. Came year 10 I wanted to go surfing for a year in Bali after I sold the practice and building. I took time out with my young family in our Bali home. By month 6 in Bali I had 20 people a day popping over to the villa for an adjustment and my wife said I had to find an office. It was an instant hit and Indonesia’s first chiropractic office.
What was the hardest part of this? What did you struggle with in establishing a new profession in Indonesia? How did you overcome this?

The hardest part and is still a challenge are the legal’s. This is a really sticky point. I have endeavored to be legal all the way which meant initially working around the system as there wasn’t one. I’m not one to be told “no” easily so I formed a Wellness Spa Company that practiced Chiropractic. After being arrested and being accused of practicing medicine without a license and interrogated for a couple of days I was let go and allowed to practice under a “Tourist Services” license. In 2002 just before the Bali bombing I started in Jakarta as we had 30 people a week flying down to Bali for Chiropractic from Jakarta.

In Jakarta a new law was passed allowing Indonesia to accept the “World Health Organisation” charter for standards which meant we now had the ability to open “Chiropractic” offices. We got the first chiropractic clinic license really easily.  After that the fun began with power over the profession trying to be exerted by new Chiropractor’s blinded by promises of assisting MD’s that the chiropractors could “control the profession”.

It’s still contentious now with two associations. “Perchirindo” with its “back up” because it was first and is under the “alternative medicine department ” and is legally able to give recommendations for licensing for Chiropractors but has a medical doctor at its head. The other group ACI, who thought they could self control and have the backing of the WCA. In the end they were lied to and ACI still had to be under general control of a medical doctor if it is was give to give recommendation’s. They decided not to as it would have destroyed the whole point of the organization. But it does have the backing of the chiropractors.

So it’s a typical chiropractic disaster. The association with the power to grant recommendation’s being outweighed in volume of membership by the association that is run by chiropractors but has no power.  We had one chance to get Chiropractic right but the egotists and in fighting has put us back 20 years if not more. I have not been a part of it for over 5 years. Still I am able to practice legally which is the most important point.  We have all our clinic and doctors licenced including Physiotherapy and Podiatry.

In your life what was one of your most negative experiences and how did you overcome it?

My father’s 5 heart attacks and his personal anger at himself which he then let off at everyone else in the family was a nightmare. On his 5th heart attack he changed internally and let go becoming a quite different person. This led to Nutrition, Chiropractic,Massage, Vibrational healing, self responsibility and the journey that led him to live another 25 years in good health. As a result I met healers and doctors from all professions and people who had self worth and took responsibility for all things in their life. Anthony Robbins, Deepak Chopra, Mark Victor Hanson and many of the Chiropractic greats have all made my life a joy by letting me understand the true concept of “No Limits” living.

You are a leader. I want to know, from your perspective, what makes a great leader?

Passion about what you do is number one. Having passion and knowledge for what you do means you don’t give up at the 1st 2nd or 100th object life puts in your way. In my case it’s probably the 1000th. Being passionate and determined allows people to feel comfortable about being influenced with the right intention. Experience certainly counts and an understanding that it’s not about only ones self interest but the interest of the group, the team the vision and the family that’s important. Kids make one realize its not all about “ME” and we gratefully give when we have kids. That feeling and attitude extended to all aspects of life is when we get grateful about leading.

When you started your business, what was it like? Obviously, it wasn’t a major empire overnight. I am looking for the “I was sleeping on the floor, eating with food stamps” type of story here. 🙂

I took Whitney Management 3 times over the years at Palmer. Whitney helped me to launch very well with a large checklist of “to do’s” and a party where I invited everyone I had ever known to the new office. It was 1990 and a recession of the worst kind in Geelong with Pyramid, our building society, just gone down in flames and nearly everyone’s savings had gone. Amazingly it didn’t stop people seeking out care and I realized Chiropractic is really bullet proof. When people are in greatest need they need chiropractic to help them get through.

What has been your biggest achievement in life?

Family wise having 4 healthy and balanced children that have their mothers good looks. Having an amazing and unlimited life was always a goal and this choice takes me around the world exploring wonderful and extreme places. Last month was pretty neat, deserts islands one day and diving to 29 meters in Komodo National Park off my own ship followed by downhill skiing a day later in Victoria was sure pushing limits and I loved it. Business wise I am yet to rest my laurels on any one thing but introducing Chiropractic to Indonesia as an independent health profession has to be the biggest event.

Its tough to beat a month like that.  What are looking forward to in the next decade in relation to your business and the profession?


In Chiropractic it is expanding the business and locations in Jakarta. We have 6 full time and 2 part time doctors and around 20 physios at last count and a small office in Bali.  With enormous opportunities to expand we are looking for doctors for our new offices.

My next largish venture is a 125 room resort hotel on the island of Belitung half way between Singapore and Jakarta. Its beach front with a golf course behind it. We plan to run health and wellness programs during the week with golf players expected to take up most rooms on the weekends.

I am selling it as a Condotel lifestyle/investment. It sits on pristine white unspoilt and unpolluted beaches with 28 small islands out the front and a golf course out the back. It’s a passionate project but I have no intention of running it. I leave that up to the professionals.

Hard work, beaches, boating, successful business, solid investments…  This is a major motivation to me, I am sure others will agree.  I would like to know who has influenced you the most in your career?


Career wise my current business partner Nick has shown me how to be a balanced leader in a company full of individuals.

To set up good contract’s and employ proper general managers and legal professionals and tax strategists and accountants. Without his assistance I would have been far more happy being a single practitioner as its very difficult to expand into multi practitioner and multi discipline practices without a good head office that takes care of the details and manage the doctors and staff. I am simply another doctor in my operation. So much better. We have 10 people in our head office, taking care of Legals 2 HR 1 Accounts 3 General Management 1 Staff training 1 secretary 1 and cleaner 1.. its adds up. Overall we have about 50 staff in the company.

Skills wise I learnt how too adjust from Dr John Faye who taught motion palpation and after some time with him you can really adjust.

Too many students leave school with all the brains but no ability to adjust competently (which patients can feel).

His courses are online at and his concepts of functional chiropractic.

Lastly, what would be your best advice to a new graduate in any health care profession?


Find a place you can work with without the stress of doing it all on your own.  Work under a mentor whose advice you respect.

Don’t be impatient and realize that success is not a given. You have to work for it.

Love your patients and love yourself.

Anthony K. Dawson, D.C. is the founder of Chiropractic Indonesia. He established Chiropractic Indonesia by applying the principles of Chiropractic and using the establishes models from around the world that are subluxation-based and have save adjustment technique.

Anthony K. Dawson, D.C. graduated from Palmer College of Chiropractic in 1990. He had been in private practices in Melbourne and Geelong, Australia until late 1999.

In 1999, Dawson D.C. moved to Bali, Indonesia with his family. He opened the first chiropractic in Bali in 2000. This was Indonesia’s first chiropractic only clinic.

Dawson, D.C. is now practicing in Jakarta since 2003 and is currently the principal chiropractor of Chiropractic Indonesia and lives in Jakarta with his wife and 4 children.


About doctoranthony
As a spinal rehabilitation specialist with over 7 years clinical experience in the areas of - Spinal Manipulative Therapy, Active & Passive Spinal Rehabilitation, Functional Movement and Orthopedic Assessment, Strength and Conditioning Coaching, Fitness Programming, Business Development, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Motivational Interviewing and Consultancy - you can feel safe knowing that I understand the worry and concern surrounding spinal pain. This is why self-efficacy lies at the heart of my practice. For more info:

3 Responses to Insights Interview: Dr. Anthony Dawson

  1. Geoff Stevens says:

    Hi Tony,
    Great to see things are going so well after your “move” from Ocean Grove. I am on my first trip to Bali and would liked to have caught up with you. Obviuosly this is impossible but perhaps on a future trip. It is a long time since I was a patient in Geelong.
    Best regards to you and your family.
    PS: have,nt run in to jill for some time – hope she and the rest of the family are all well

  2. w.krechel says:

    is dr.a.dawson still working,may be some days in bali?



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