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Defining chiropractic by its objective has been one of the greatest breakthroughs in the development of straight           chiropractic.  It has done more to clearly elucidate what we do than all the authority wielded by the Palmers and R.W. Stephenson put together.  It could be and should be the way in which the entire profession determines its mission.  While defining ourselves by our objective has been important, I think it equally important that we strive to more clearly articulate that objective.  I was happy to see an organization in our profession attempting recently to do just that.  Unfortunately, I believe that we can strive to the point of counter productivity.

While it is true that it is not the chiropractor that “corrects” vertebral subluxation but rather the innate intelligence of the body, it seems that including that concept in our definition inadvertently confuses the issue.  It is true that the body makes the adjustment and that the chiropractor merely introduces a universal force which tends to be destructive toward structural matter unless the innate intelligence takes that force, invests it with new character, and makes it an innate force to correct the subluxation.  That is technically what we do.  However, not only does it unnecessarily “clutter” up our definition but we may open a can of worms by insisting in our documents and our definitions that we do not correct subluxations.  If we are going to insist that we do not correct subluxations, then perhaps we should not be using the word “adjustment” to describe what we do.  After all, technically speaking, we introduce a force and the body makes the adjustment.  You can see the direction we are going.

Additionally, if we do not “correct” subluxations, what     exactly is it that we do?  Can we describe the idea that we introduce a universal force into the spine which the innate intelligence uses to correct a vertebral subluxation in a word or two?  I have heard various terms like “facilitate,” “aid,” and “enable” used to describe it but inferring that we only help the body, creates another problem.  Many chiropractors use physical therapy to change the character of muscles to “aid” in the adjustment or to “facilitate” the body’s acceptance of a universal force.  Heat, cold, electricity, vibration or rollers may prepare the body to better accept an adjustic thrust.  I feel confident that we do not want to embrace those measures.

There is no one who is more persnickety than me about the use of language, about being precise in our language, and about making sure our terms and wording clearly convey our thoughts.  It is critical that we try to convey our thoughts and our ideas of what chiropractic is all about and as clearly as possible.  Our objective is to see people live their lives as free of subluxations as possible.  To do that we correct these subluxations, or aid in their correction, or facilitate their correction, or enable their innate intelligence to correct them.  Frankly, I am satisfied to say we correct vertebral subluxations with the inherit knowledge that it is really the innate intelligence of the body that does the work.  I think it causes more confusion to try to explain a philosophical concept in one word than to just say this is our objective.  It is our goal to correct vertebral subluxations.  That is why we introduce a force.  The philosophical and physiological mechanism by which that correction is accomplished is an important discussion from a philosophical, scientific, practice member education and technique standpoint.  People should understand what we do but I do not believe it is necessary to totally explain the details of our philosophy in a single sentence in defining our objective.  Our objective describes what we want to see done, that is the correction of subluxations and the fullest expression of the innate intelligence.  Our philosophy explains the mechanism by which that occurs.  Both the profession and the public will benefit if we can distinguish between our objective and our philosophy.  Our objective is simply an objective that we have chosen because it is a valuable service to mankind and because it is one no one else on the face of the earth has chosen as a professional objective.  Our philosophy explains the reasoning behind the choice of that objective and how we accomplish it.  Let us keep them separate and distinct.v17n2

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