Missing The Mark

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There is an old saying: 

     Being close is good enough in horseshoes and handgrenades.  With a good wide receiver or catcher your pass or throw may be slightly off target and still be successful–most of the time.  But there are other areas and activities that demand hitting the bullseye, being close is not satisfactory.  To be an expert archer you have to consistently hit the bullseye, not just get near it.  There are a few activities and situations in life that demand perfection.  Chiropractic is one of them.  Oddly, however, the areas that demand perfection are the ones that we do not usually strive for and the ones that do not demand perfection are the areas in which we strive for it.  Technique is an area that does not demand perfection.  The reason is that it cannot be attained.  We have limitations of matter (our ability) and the patient’s body (which actually makes the adjustment) has limitations of matter.  I am not suggesting that we should not strive for excellence in our technique, we most assuredly should, but there is a difference between excellence and perfection.  The innate intelligence of the body is perfect, that is why we do not have to be.  In fact, when we begin to believe that our abilities, skills and techniques approach perfection then that is when we become less useful as a tool for the innate intelligence in correcting vertebral subluxation.  This is demonstrated by some techniques in which their proponents claim to know perfectly where the vertebra belongs.  That kind of arrogance is counter-productive to chiropractic advancement.  I am sure someone will misconstrue my comments to claim I advocate sloppy technique.  I am not.  But I am also suggesting we cannot expect to be perfect adjustors, just the best that our individual, limited abilities allow us. 

     There are areas where being right on target is necessary.  The most important is our philosophy, for that precedes all our actions.  Unfortunately, too often that is where chiropractors miss that mark and what is worse, they do not see it as important or necessary to hit the bullseye.  They believe they can be slightly off target philosophically and it is really not going to matter much.  “I know that is not the way it is but it is satisfactory to the patient” or they say it is “only semantics.”  Well, it is important.

     How do we miss the mark?  Here are a few quick examples:

          1.  A well known, practice building seminar instructor emphasizes philosophy in his program.  He is very emphatic about not treating symptoms and making that known to the patient.  Then he advocates a system where you can show the patient the changes that take place in their spine, as if there was a difference between structural changes and physiological changes (symptoms).

          2.  A well known, west coast chiropractic college says that the schools “… contemporary view of chiropractic can be seen as drawing upon the distinct philosophies of vitalism, holism…critical rationalism…”   Yet, this school is probably one of the top three “mixer” schools in the country.  Whatever their philosophy, it misses the true vitalistic chiropractic target.

          3.  When a chiropractic college spends two million dollars for a track and field facility, there is something wrong with our priorities.  It may give the school some good public relations and even expose the world to the profession, but how many people will learn about chiropractic and have their life and health changed by it through the expenditure of that money?  Notice I do not say the school’s or the president’s priorities are off.  They are free to have any priority they want.  But if we give money to the tune of two million dollars to a college so they can build a track for a bunch of pampered athletes to race around when millions are  unknowingly dying from an interference in the nervous system due to vertebral subluxation, I’d say our ability to earmark our funds for worthwhile use is slightly off the mark.

          4.  Lest we become too self-righteous, we need to realize that we can be slightly off the mark also.  Some time back I read an article by a very prominent straight chiropractic leader.  His article was very good as his writing usually is.  Although in this particular article, he spoke of the straight chiropractor’s main area of interest being the vertebral subluxation, and its correction being the chiropractic objective.  I would respectfully submit that our objective has to have a reason.  Why do we correct vertebral subluxation?  Our raison d’être is a vital part of our objective.  Some chiropractors correct subluxation to treat musculoskeletal conditions, some correct them to cure diseases or treat the cause of disease, or prevent disease.  We correct them for the purpose of allowing the innate intelligence of the body to be better expressed.

          Without that as a vital component of our objective we can easily slip into one of the other reasons, or have no reason at all except to correct them because they are there or because they are bad (which is true).  But in doing that, we ignore the vitalistic component of our chiropractic existence and that is the real danger.  It is drastically incorrect.  No, not really.  It is just slightly off the mark but we really cannot afford the luxury of being close when it comes to defining what we do as objective straight chiropractors.v12n3

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