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Are You an Evangelist?

Are you spreading the word?Apparently, the worst pejorative that can be hurled at those who consider chiropractic more than just a mechanical treatment for certain cases neck and pack pain is to call them a “chiroevangalist.” I think this is meant to be a derisive term, suggesting that the chiropractor is mentally deficient, unenlightened or plain stupid by “believing” in or putting stock in certain metaphysical or even whole body effects of the chiropractic adjustment. I guess the thinking goes something like this: if it’s not found in the “literature” (scripture) with the blessing of anointed and properly creditentialed “peers” (disciples), than the chiropractic “intervention” (sacrament) can’t produce the result (miracle) that is claimed. Any suggestion that chiropractic might help one’s general health, improve organic conditions or enhance the body’s healing ability is dismissed as old school dogma, irresponsible wishful thinking and well, unprofessional.


This conveniently ignores thousands (maybe millions) of anecdotal cases in which patients have seen an improvement in their overall health, experienced profound results with chronic organic conditions and recovered from cancer, epilepsy, autoimmune diseases and countless other “non-back pain” complaints. Of course, many patients have not experienced such benefits. And this is what critics have seized upon. “How can you in good conscience say that chiropractic treats asthma, acid reflux or any disease whatsoever?!?”

And of course vitalistic chiropractors would never suggest that chiropractic treats disease. “However, those with a disease who have subluxations often find their body works better when their subluxations are reduced, restoring your body’s self-healing ability. Shall we see how your body responds?”

Is that such a fringe and extreme position?

This often manifests in a battle between the mechanistic, five-sensing chiropractors who rely on “scientific” validation, versus the vitalistic chiropractors who base their practice on the metaphysical, quantum and the so-called “unproven” principles of chiropractic. The mechanists look down their noses at the unfounded beliefs and quaint, one hundred year-old philosophy of the vitalists. And the vitalists simply smile at the quaint, three hundred year-old Newtonian perspective of the mechanists.

Those steeped in the dualistic world of white or black, vanilla or chocolate, yes or no, believe that one view must be right and the other wrong. (And we all know how important it is to be right!) One is modern and progressive, the other childish and simplistic. In this either/or perception of the world, some chiropractors find it difficult to accept that both perspectives are correct. It’s not mechanistic or vitalistic. It’s mechanistic and vitalistic!

Given this, and the desire to cast stones at the “chiroevanglists,” I’m assuming the “chiro” refers to chiropractic. But what is meant by the “evangelist” part? If it means to “announce the good news” about chiropractic that the body is self-regulating and self-healing, for the purpose of winning converts (patients), then count me in. Because in case you haven’t noticed, people begin chiropractic care because of what they feel, not by what they think; by what they believe and certainly not by the articles published in peer reviewed journals!

Comments (4)

I like to think of myself as a "truthy" person also, so with some deductive logic, let's discuss some chiropractic philosophy.

Either we are a self-healing, self-regulating organizm or we are not.

Either the nervous system controls this or it does not.

Either we can affect the nervous system or we can not.

This will either help the entire person or it will not.

And this will explain the millions of anecdotal cases or it will not.

I have to accept that chiropractic helps more than just an ache or pain because I see visceral changes in my patients every day.

Parachutes have never had a double blind placibo controlled trial, yet I would never skydive without one. Do we really have to wait for the studies to use a parachute to save our life? (Maybe we only have to wait for the studies to have the insurance company pay for a parachute).

Awesome Bill! I used to compete in equestrian three-day eventing and was doing my prerequisites to go to veterinary school. I thought chiropractors were “quacks” until I had a severe back injury and nothing else worked. Then, like most patients seeking care, all I cared about was feeling better. Well, I crawled in and walked out of my first chiropractic appointment. I didn’t need a peer-reviewed study to tell me that it worked…I was walking upright! Thank goodness my first chiropractors were vitalistic. After hearing about my history of repeated tonsil infections, they adjusted my neck and got rid of those too! Needless to say, those experiences led me to become a chiropractor. Personally, I try to focus on how I may help people with chiropractic. Chiropractic was, and still is, a “miracle” for me as a patient. What’s wrong with telling the story? Speaking from experience, I’m glad someone told me and that I listened.

Christopher Stuart, DC:


I guess one of the beefs that mechanistic chiropractors have (and I guess you could place me here. . .some refer to me as a therapeutic chiropractor) is NOT recognizing that the human body has a metaphysical force contained within it. I recognize that; it's what led me to study biology in undergrad and my ultimate position as an Intelligent Designer. The beef is somehow asserting that a chiropractic intervention (an adjustment of course) has any sort of influence upon it's expression in the human organism.

I can influence human physiology. I can influence human anatomy. I sometimes even think I can influence human pathology with my hands.

I cannot influence that ethereal substance that God breaths into us at birth, it's presence or it's expression.

And that's just not because, "I don't beleive I can." It's just because it is so. It's just the truth and my so-called "truthiness." I have been called "truthy" and I like this criticism and I accept it.

I'm tired of this "everyone has a different perspective" stuff and relativism. How about "I'm right and you're wrong and you all know I'm right but won't admit it?"


Seriously, I do beleive chiropractic is different things to different people. To chiroevangelists like you, it's a ministry. To chiromechanists, it's a career.

I guess the schools should get together and decide what they are selling so students can figure out what they want.

Our disputes are born out of what each group expects chiropractic ought to be. The "careerists" think it should be an intellectually, financially, and emotionally stimulating occupation. The "ministryests" think we should all be one of B.J.'s (or Sid or Guy's) holy soldiers, guarding a "sacred trust", ready to go to jail for chiropractc and matyr ourselves if necessary (sometimes with our own lives by avoiding necessary medications). Financial, intellectual, or emotional reward is just simply secondary and if you suggest chiropractic is lacking in any of these areas, you are not being a good chiropractor and the suggestion is "Your lack of faith led you here."

You can continue to spread the good news. I'll continue to inform, discuss, and recommend.

A flip-sided question to this discussion is

1. Do you think "chiroevangelists" are somehow fulfilling a spiritual void in their life when spreading the good news about chiropractic? That's a theory I have had floating as an amateur chiro-politico-socio-psychobabblist. No conclusions yet.


2. What do you think of the old saying, "Chiropractic is a terrible religion but a great profession?" Is it a saying that has no application any longer?

Tony Rusoo:

Bravo Bill, bravo!
Though I am far from being an Evangelist, I evangelize Chiropractic to every patient who walks in this Office though in a very discrete Canadian way. They never even knew that Chiropractic addresses asthma, bed wetting, allergies and the like. Having gone to an Ivy League High School and a prestigious University of Western Ontario, many of the boys are MD's & Pharms. Yes there's that brow beating at our casual monthly get togethers. But when they are in need of help, they see Tony, they get better. Poo as much as they want. I will still "spread the good news" and if I gon't get 'em comin, I'll get 'em goin.
As you can see, I'm having a good time.
Keep up the great work.

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From September 27, 2007 6:44 AM

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