Massage Therapy


I must have missed something! I realize there are short periods when I am busy writing a book, immersed in my practice, or involved in my personal life to the point of ignoring what is going on in the profession. For that reason I am sure that I was off somewhere when the profession got together and decided that massage therapy is now part of chiropractic! After the fact, I must ask the question—Why? Why has something that a few years ago wasn’t even discussed without a smirk on one’s face, that has the word “therapy” in it and that is performed by someone with or without formal training become so widely embraced by many so-called straight chiropractors?

I have to conclude that unless you define chiropractic by your objective and consider everything else to be a medical objective (intended to educatedly change the body’s physiology or symptoms), you will embrace anything. Are straight chiropractors so desperate for dollars that they are willing to either hire someone or themselves to provide this therapeutic procedure? Massage therapy feels good, but a lot of procedures can make one feel good. Chiropractic is not about making you feel good.

Do some people need massage therapy? Probably. Some people need surgery, but as chiropractors, we do not make those decisions. If we do, we are no longer practicing chiropractic but practicing medicine. Chiropractic is the restoration of control of the matter by the innate intelligence of the body through aiding in the correction of vertebral subluxations. Everything else is—well—something else. I do not know what the objective of massage therapy is. Perhaps it is to improve blood flow, relax muscles, stimulate glands and organs or the ridding of toxins from the tissues. Those may be wonderful objectives. But then again, perhaps for some people, they may not be helpful. We as chiropractors do not profess to know what that person needs. That is what medical doctors do. Sometimes they are right, and sometimes they are not. As straight chiropractors we do not take it upon ourselves to pass judgments on the benefits of procedures other than the correction of vertebral subluxations. To perform, have performed, recommend or condone the application of a procedure like massage therapy is giving our approval to that procedure for that person.

If people want massage therapy, they should have it. If they think they need it, they should find out for sure from a professional. But the chiropractor is not that professional. I believe we are slowly but surely losing the distinction between chiropractic and everything else.

I think we need to begin to make clearer distinctions relative to our chiropractic. Perhaps this is a conflict that can help clarify. There is health care, which is really medical care–the treatment of diseases, their symptoms and their prevention. This type of care may involve the use of drugs and surgery and drugless procedures including massage therapy and even some forms of chiropractic. There is also health care which is really what we could call “life care.” This would include those things important to life and health, things like exercise, eating properly, and getting the proper rest. Lastly, there is chiropractic care, different than both the above categories. One addresses disease and the other addresses improvement of the matter. Chiropractic addresses the union of the intelligence and the matter with no regard for coincidental medical conditions or procedures to improve the matter. This is the role of the chiropractor, at least the non-therapeutic one. It is his/her only role. Whatever else is desired or needed is not part of that care and the utilization of other procedures only serves to confuse the public’s understanding of chiropractic. V19n4

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