The Tiering, Tottering and Tearing of Our Profession


The gradual (and not so gradual) changes that have taken place within our profession over the past 40 years have created conflicts. Some are heartened by the idea that, as B.J. said, “Conflicts Clarify.” Many, myself included, have been frustrated by the political battle that has cost us millions of dollars and countless hours of wasted time and energy in trying to stop the forces that we see destroying our profession or at the least changing it into something it was never meant to be, something that already exists, the therapeutic approach to disease.

The conflict is probably all but over. There are a few “never say die” pockets of resistance here and there, but they are figuratively and literally dying out. They have served us well and their “chiropractic lives” were not given in vain. For in that time, while we fought those political battles, the more important battle was taking shape, the moral one. That battle was not for control of the profession, but for the soul of chiropractic. Some believe that we have lost, and we have lost the political battle. Our straight schools are gone. The word “straight” has been all but expunged from the chiropractic lexicon. But while the word itself no longer exists, except for the FSCO, the principle is there stronger than ever. It may not be held by a majority or even many of the members of our profession but then it never was. It was always a small number, a remnant.

We owe our thanks to the brave chiropractors who fought the political battles, from the Palmers and the Rutherfords, to the Gelardis’, the Golds and hundreds more too numerous to mention and whose names most would not even recognize if they heard them. Many of them gone and forgotten, but what they have left us is alive and well. They presented and advanced our philosophy. They kept the movement going long enough. I like to think that had they known it was going to turn out as it has, they would have still participated in the fight.

We have gone beyond the straight/mixing conflict. Those terms are no longer descriptive, if they ever were. The difference is, and probably always has been, in the thinking of the chiropractor, not in the tools, technique or therapies. It is no longer where you went to school or what is written on your diploma. Now, it is what is written on your heart.

While we fought the political battles for schools, for accreditation, and for national organizations, a larger more important fight was taking place, the fight to find ourselves, to determine what it is we do and what we stand for. It still needs some refining, some clarification in our minds and most definitely in the minds of the public, but we are almost there. Titles and terms are really not important. We know the difference. Deep down inside every chiropractor knows the difference. There are those who maintain that chiropractic is all about removing interference to the full expression of the innate wisdom of the body at the vertebral level and those who maintain that chiropractic is just another therapy. Those are the two tiers in chiropractic. Which one is going to attract prospective students? The one that makes them like therapists except without the recognition, prestige, or financial rewards or the one that gives them the self-esteem of practicing a principle? Which is going to attract the public? The same old outside-in approach or one based upon the logic and beliefs of most people? There is a principle of life that controls and coordinates all bodily functions and enables us to reach our highest potential in life. That is something that can resonate with the public if they are educated about the idea.

Will what we do be called chiropractic? As long as they allow us to call it that, it will. When they stop allowing us, we will just call it something different. It does not matter what it is called. The principle, the philosophy, the world and life viewpoint, will clearly delineate what we do and what we are. We are the people who work with the Law of Life, who allow it to be a little better expressed in human beings. It is only a matter of conveying that idea to a needy public. If someday that idea is no longer desired by the world, then whether there is a chiropractic profession or not will be the least of the world’s problems.

It was a battle and continues to be. So what is left for us to do? Plenty. Most of which we have not had the time or the opportunity to do before. We have been too busy fighting the political battles. For our profession, we can be something they can cling to to keep from drowning in the obscurity, failure, and oblivion of the therapeutic approach. For those coming into the profession, we can be a source of inspiration, an example of what it means to be a doctor of life expression, to be serving a principle bigger than ourselves. To the public, we can continue to be a source of vertebral subluxation correction and an ADIO viewpoint of life. For ourselves, we can continue to learn, to grow, and to share.

One final thought; we no longer have a conflict. We can have a tiered profession. I know what tier I am on and I’m willing to help any chiropractor UP to that tier. Those who are satisfied to practice on a lower level, the therapeutic one, I wish them the best. I hope they become the best, most successful therapists they can. It does not affect me. In fact, it only clarifies the conflict as well as the importance of what I do and the value of my service. Take heart chiropractors, the best is yet to come.


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