Is Straight Chiropractic a Health Profession?


From time to time people inside and outside the straight chiropractic community question whether the model that we present in straight chiropractic is really part of the health field.  We do not want to diagnose or treat disease which is the most common aspect of health care.  What’s more, we say that our approach is to allow the innate intelligence of the body to better express itself by removing nerve interference at the vertebral level.  That apparently does not address health or disease in any manner.  There are a number of issues that are bringing this question to the forefront of people’s thinking.  The issue of managed health care and chiropractic inclusion is one.  Straight chiropractic’s similarity and close association with Spinology has caused at least one critic of the profession to question whether we also belong in the health field.

The question has two aspects to it.  How do we define a health profession?  Medicine is a disease profession.  It treats disease and its symptoms and to a lesser degree attempts to prevent disease.  Yet, in spite of this, medicine is considered to be the most utilized of the health professions.  We must define health. Webster says it is, “soundness of body and mind, wholeness.”  It seems that to qualify as a health profession, attention must be directed toward making the body “whole” in some manner or other or in some aspect.  The fields of psychology and psychiatry do not treat all diseases, only those affecting the mind.  Yet they realize that the soundness of the mind is integrally related to the health of the whole body.  They qualify as a health profession.

There is perhaps no other profession that affects the whole person as much as chiropractic.  By correcting vertebral subluxations the nervous system works better, enabling every aspect of the individual to reach a greater potential, including his/her health.  So in this sense, chiropractic is a health profession as much or even more than any other.

The second aspect of the question involves what I call “true health.”  Health is the body adapting to its environment in a positive manner.  In that sense, health comes from within and only the body can create health. Therefore, there is no such thing as a health profession.  No one dispenses health or gives health to people.  Further, as we point out so often as chiropractors, health is the responsibility of the patient.  People must take control of their own health and do those things necessary to attain and maintain it.  There may be no such thing as a health profession but if there is, then chiropractic qualifies as one, more so than any other. v11n4

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