Specificity

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B.J.  Palmer  once  said something to  the  effect  that anybody  who  ever got well did so because  of  a  specific chiropractic adjustment.

The question that initially comes to mind is “what  is a  specific  chiropractic adjustment?” Is it HIO,  any  force introduced by a chiropractor with the intention of correct ing a subluxation, or  something else

The  truth  is that the vast majority  of  subluxations are corrected by very non-specific forces introduced. They only become specific as the innate intelligence of the body uses them. I am not just referring to “rack ’em, crack  ’em” techniques.  Rolling  over in your sleep  introduces  forces which,  if  the body is able to utilize them, can  correct  a vertebral  subluxation. Anything that raises the quality  of the matter of the human organism gives the innate intelli gence greater potential to correct  a vertebral  subluxation. An  individual  who  is suffering  from  “the  flu”  drinks fluids and goes to bed. The fluids have the effect of flush ing  toxins  from the system.  The rest allows the  body  to recuperate slightly. This combination of factors makes  the tissues of the body a little stronger. That increase in quali ty  may  be  the difference between the  body  having  the ability  to correct a subluxation and not. That is why  mil lions of people get well from the “flu” without ever  seeing a  chiropractor  .   The body often  adjusts  itself.  Is  this adjustment specific?  What is specific?

A  medical doctor gives a patient a drug for an  infec tion.  The drug has harmful effects upon the matter of the body.  However, it also kills or aids in the  destruction  of the  bacteria. If that beneficial effect is greater  than  the harmful effect, then the quality of the matter of the  body has been raised. That elevation may cause the matter to be of sufficient quality   for the innate intelligence to use  it to  correct a vertebral subluxation. Remember,  the  innate intelligence  of the body is always trying to  correct  every subluxation  whenever, wherever, and as soon as it  occurs. 

The  only  thing preventing the  innate  intelligence  from correcting the subluxation is limitation of the matter  with which  it  has to work.  Innate intelligence  is  limited  by limitations of matter.

The  drug  may make the difference  in  removing  an obstacle that prevents the innate intelligence from  accomplishing its purpose. We very rarely think of a drug  acting that way. Was the adjustment that was accomplished by the M.D.  giving  the  drug  any  less   specific  than  the  one accomplished  by drinking fluids and going to  bed?  Were both  of them any less specific than the  force  introduced by a chiropractor? Perhaps we should stop and  understand what “specific” means. It is interesting that we  continually use  common  words  and never  really  think  about  their meanings.  “Specific” has numerous meanings. One meaning that  seems  particularly  apropos:  “Exerting  a  particular influence   over  any  part…”  (Webster,  New   Collegiate). Apparently, what is important  is the intention. If you  hit someone  in the back of the head with a baseball bat  with the  intention of inflicting bodily harm, but  instead  pro duce an adjustment, that is not specific. If you hit him  in the  back of the head with the intention of  correcting  an ASLA atlas subluxation, is that specific?

Leaving  the ridiculous examples and getting to  more practical  ones,  we can see that adjusting  subluxations  to treat  disease  is  not  (straight)  chiropractic.   Specificity comes  about not so much by your technique, but  by  your intention  and  the  intention   of  the  procedure.   If  the average   person  were  to  see  someone  striking   another person  with  a baseball bat, he/she would not  conclude  a chiropractic adjustment was being given.  The perfect HIO adjustment, given to treat a headache is not specific, hence is  not  chiropractic. Perhaps this is what  B.J.   meant   by  the statement “Chiropractic is specific or it is nothing.

Since  specificity  relates  to  procedure  it  helps  us answer  a  long-standing problem that has  confronted  the straight  chiropractor.  The argument has been  made  that using a baseball bat to correct subluxation is  chiropractic. Most of us would agree, it is very poor chiropractic.  Simi larly,  by  that  thinking, using a  spinalator  to  correct  a subluxation  has  also  been said  to  be  chiropractic.  The argument  extends to putting on heat or cold, or giving  an aspirin.   Here  is where specificity  comes  in.  Specificity means  having one procedure for one objective. A  baseball bat is not specific, not because it delivers a broad force  to more  than  one  vertebral  segment  (which  it  does)   but because it has other purposes than the correction of vertebral  subluxations.  It is used for  playing  baseball.  Some times  it  is used to pound the anchors for  bases  into  the ground.  It can be a weapon of violence. You may even  be able  to pound a nail into a board with a baseball bat.  But that is not its purpose and no one would think that driving nails with a baseball bat was carpentry.

Specificity   means  having  one  procedure  for   one objective.  A baseball bat is to be swung in such a  manner so  as  to strike a baseball and propel it to  a  point  where there are no opposing players.  When you use a bat in  this manner,  that  is specific. The techniques you  use  –  open stance,  closed stance, left-handed, right-handed,  bat  held high or low – are individual preferences, but the  objective is specific. Specificity is exerting a particular influence on a particular point, and  in chiropractic refers to  introducing  a force into the spine to set a bone in motion, so  that the innate intelligence of the body can place that  segment into  its proper position relative to the nervous system.  We call that action an adjustment.

Here is the principle:  You cannot meet a chiropractic objective  (subluxation correction) with a  medical  procedure  and  still  be specific. A machine  with  rollers  may introduce  a force which corrects a subluxation, but it  has other  uses,  e.g.  relaxation  of  muscles.  An  aspirin  may cause  a chemical reaction creating a force which leads  to an  adjustment,  (I don’t know how) but aspirin  has  other uses. A force introduced into the spine to correct a sublux ation has no other purpose. It is specific and unique to the correction  of vertebral subluxations. Unlike the  machine, it  is not intended to make you feel better, and unlike  the aspirin,  it is not intended to reduce pain.  After the  body makes  the adjustment you may feel better,  or  your  pain may  be  reduced,  but that is not the result  of  the  force  introduced,  but  the result of what the body did  with  an improved   nerve  supply, as a result of what  it  did  with that  force.  That is far  removed from  the  chiropractor’s force  and we would do well to remind  ourselves  of  that fact more often to maintain the proper humility.

Now  for the application. If a procedure or  so-called chiropractic  technique can be used for any other  purpose than to introduce a force into the spine to correct a vertebral  subluxation,  then it is not  specifically  chiropractic. “Chiropractic is specific or it is nothing.” Perhaps we  need to  evaluate  some of our techniques with this  concept  in mind.  If a particular technique can be used to  accomplish other objectives, such as manipulating extremities, relaxing muscles, removing interference other than at the  vertebral level, increasing meridian pathways, channeling life forces or anything else, it is not specifically chiropractic.  Chiropractic is specific or it is nothing.v6n6

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