From time to time, (last week was one of them) I learn of chiropractors who are suffering from cancer or some other serious disease. Or who die at some unreasonably young age. Sometimes it’s the spouse of the chiropractor who has been afflicted. Whether chiropractor or chiropractic spouse, both have usually been long time beneficiaries of chiropractic care. In other words, they received chiropractic care and surprisingly, got cancer.
Based on the incredulous tone in which this revelation is made, it’s almost as if the chiropractor believes that receiving chiropractic care was, well, a guarantee that such a malady would never strike them. The shock of learning that they have cancer is compounded by the evidence that their chiropractic rabbit’s foot has failed them. As you might expect, this produces a crisis of faith in the principles that they have been applying to patients.
While I lend a more-than-compassionate ear, I suspect their sudden disillusionment with chiropractic is based on some wrongheaded beliefs about what chiropractic is and isn’t, and what it can and can’t do.
Careful that you haven’t fallen for these. They’re often evidence of pride; even arrogance:
“It’s all in my golden hands.” Like some modern Betty Grable, who was the first woman to insure her legs for a million dollars, many chiropractors have more than a healthy infatuation with their hands. Besides brushing up against idolatry, it has a “these-are-my-lucky-socks” mentality to it. Sure, you have skillful hands. And no, I can’t do what you can. But they’re just hands. The hero is the patient’s inborn capacity to heal, given them by their Maker.
“I’m fixing their spine.” Their spine is not broken. In fact, their spine is responding perfectly to the circumstances of their car accident, their six-pack-a-night lifestyle or feelings of a lack of support in a loveless marriage. Careful before you rush in to overpower the patient’s innate response with your well-intentioned thrusting. If there’s going to be any fixing, the patient is going to do it by resourcefully using the energy you supply to help right itself after realizing that the stress is gone that resulted in the adaptation we call subluxation.
“All you need is chiropractic.” What is this fixation with reducing this incredibly complex human organism down to just one thing? As in, all you need to do is get adjusted. Or eat organic foods. Or avoid meat. Or mediate. Or drink some multi-level marketed fluid. Or exercise 20-minutes a day. Or get no less than 8-hours of sleep every night. Or lower your cholesterol. Or take these supplements. Or whatever. All it takes is one thing and perfect health will result? That would be convenient, but such a childlike belief is breathtakingly simplistic. And unlikely to be true.
“Chiropractic addresses the cause.” Recent studies suggest that most chiropractors acknowledge the subluxation. That’s good news. However, what many overlook is that subluxation is merely a symptom. Reducing subluxation by thrusting, tapping, touching or some other intervention, can be helpful but it’s still symptom treating. What has caused the body to assume the defensive position we call subluxation? Is that stressor still present? Granted, such questions may lead you to messy areas of the patient’s life, but then, that’s where true healing is usually needed.
Chiropractic is great. The principles are gorgeous. It has and will (regardless of the economy) help millions of people. But it’s not a cure-all and it isn’t a substitute for attending to dozens of other aspects of good health and hygiene. Remember the old chiropractic cliché, “Chiropractic adds life to years and years to life”? It may not be true, according to this article published in the Journal of the Canadian Chiropractic Association.
What do you think?