Chiropractic and Health Care

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Which is easier…changing the public’s perception of health care so they understand chiropractic in its true light or getting chiropractic out of health care?  It is my opinion that leaving the health care community is the easier, more effective and most philosophically sound choice.  The pros and cons of that idea have been discussed recently on the internet as well as through other media.  Most of those expressing their view disagree with me, including those who I consider leaders in chiropractic.  I can respect their position and I am willing to concede to the majority (of straights) viewpoint.  As I stated in my paper, I am not sure that the straight community could present chiropractic as something other than health care in the face of the majority of the profession’s desire to make chiropractic either medical or a medical alternative.  I would be willing to try, but without the cooperation and the enthusiasm of the rest of the straight chiropractic community I cannot do it alone.  Of that I am sure.

Okay, so now that we have concluded that chiropractic is, should be and will be part of health care for the foreseeable future, how do we go about changing people’s perception of health care so that it fits chiropractic?  In the straight community, we do not want to change chiropractic to fit the present (outside-in) model of health care.  So we must begin to change how people view health care.  We know that for most people health care means doing nothing until you are sick.  Even those who exercise regularly and eat healthy do not ordinarily view those activities as “health care.”  Health care is usually something done to you rather than something you do for yourself.  Further, health care to most people means addressing the symptoms of their condition or the cause of their condition.  Most chiropractors address the former, and with the exception of straight chiropractors with a non-therapeutic objective, the rest address the latter.  Even the so-called alternatives to medicine, of which we are considered a part, address the drugless alleviation of medical conditions. 

We have the medical profession, who once viewed us as quacks, saying that we are now part of the health care team specializing in back pain.  Worst of all, most of our profession thinks that is a good thing!  So that’s where we are, a part of the health care system which is really not health care at all.

The challenge that lies before us, if we are to remain in the health care system, is how do we change the public’s perception of health care and chiropractic?  As I see it, we have two choices.  We can either change peoples’ perception of health care and show that chiropractic is the only “true health care” (to quote one young straight), or we can explain chiropractic to people and hope that they will realize the difference between what we do and what everyone else does, that we are not a condition-oriented, disease-treating therapy and those things really have little to do with health.  The first choice is a formidable task.  It necessitates teaching people a whole new concept before we even teach them about chiropractic.  It means changing their whole world and life viewpoint, at least with regard to health care.  In other words, teaching them an above-down viewpoint of life so that chiropractic, once explained, will make perfect sense.  I say it is a formidable task because we as a profession have not even succeeded in explaining chiropractic well, let alone going beyond that to explain the ADIO philosophy of life which is far more involved.  The second choice is to just keep doing what we have been doing all along, explain the uniqueness of chiropractic as we perceive it.  Of course, the old saying applies here: “If you keep doing what you have been doing, you will get the same results that you have been getting.”  Frankly, ladies and gentlemen, as straight chiropractors, we are not exactly turning the world upside down.  Perhaps that is okay with some.  We can continue to make a good living and maybe even influence another chiropractor here or there to practice like us, although, it appears that more are abandoning the straight chiropractic community than are joining it.  If you consider the straight students as part of the straight community, too many, perhaps most, do not follow through with the straight philosophy after graduation.  It seems to me that as a movement, we want more for chiropractic than just personal gain, just the present chiropractors building successful practices.  We want more, many more straight chiropractors joining us from the student ranks and from the presently practicing chiropractors.  That is why we support chiropractic colleges, why we belong to state and national organizations, why we have a support organization like FACE, why we write newsletters and go to meetings to promote straight chiropractic.  If that is the case then we cannot just go about educating our practice members.  We need to impact the rest of the profession and the public to change their viewpoint with regard to health.  How we go about doing that relative to this whole issue of health is the challenge that lies before us.  If anyone has any new, innovative ideas, I would sure like to hear them.


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This article has 4 comments

  1. Claude Lessard 04/01/2011, 12:50 am:

    How do we educate people about true health with the economies of the 21st century, given that we can’t anticipate what the economy will look like at the end of the week… as the recent turmoils demonstrate? Then, there is the culture identity of health care which is different from culture to culture. Then there is the evolutionary process of scientific discoveries which oftentimes negate previous knowledge of the human body. Chiropractic belongs to the people of the world. How do we educate a diversity of cultural groups and ethnic mixtures of practice members, all the while keeping their identity while moving them toward chiropractic globalization? How do you square that circle?
    And the problem is that we are leading the future by what we did in the past and on the way we are alienating millions of people we see no benefit in regular chiropractic care for the purpose of a full expression of the innate intelligence of the body.
    At the turn of the century, when chiropractic was emerging as a profession, America was in the intellectual culture of enlightenment while the economic circumstances were influenced by the industrial revolution.
    Our present level of thinking is based on assumptions of social structures of capacity and is driven by an economic imperative which states that: Hard work, education, degree and shingle would make it happen, and running through it was an intellectual model of the mind which was essentially enlightenment via intelligence, that real intelligence had the capacity of deductive reasoning and knowledge of the classics. What we came to think of, was academic ability (the Bible was translated in modern languages, the religious reformation emerged and the second vatican council created it’s own revolution, etc…). And this level of thinking is creating the problems that we have today within the so called health care system in which you concede the participation of chiropractic as a health profession. Then we simply perpetuate the problems as we still think at the level of thinking which creates these problems at the first place. The linear progression of the mind is: Thinker, thoughts, things.
    We, the thinkers, must create thoughts involving a paradigm shift that will allow creative thinking from a different world view.
    ADIO world view is the ONLY one available right now that operate at a different level of thinking from the present one.
    Therefore, how do we function, as objective non-therapeutic chiropractors, within a health care system with of level of thinking outdated from the 1900s? How do you square that circle?
    This present model of economic and intellectual health care system has in my opinion created chaos where a “few” benefit from this system, namely (big pharma and its allied, the insurance industry). The rest of the people finance this outrageous ficticious health care system being anaesthesized with multiples drugs like “robotic zombies” killing their own future generations and wondering why medicare will be broke in a few years! They live uncoordinated lives
    chasing the shadows of their own symptoms and diseases.
    This is the VALLEY OF THE NUMB AND THE BLIND!
    We objective non-therapeutic chiropractors don’t want it this way, yet in this model created by our present level of thinking it happened that way. It’s in the gene-pool of the present model of treating diseases, of looking good and feeling good We have to think differently about health care. We are called to “release the imprisoned mental-impulse” waking people up from their nightmarish stupor allowing them to express fully the innate intelligence of the body. We are to lead them toward getting over the system of body parts division operating independently of one another.
    (the circulatory system does not operate independently of the immune system or the respiratory system or the digestive system, etc…) We are called to lead them to SEE with 20/20 vision that it is a MYTH.
    Second, we show them that healing happens in the whole body, not in the “sick” heart or liver or kidney, etc… that the cells’ intelligence, with the organs’ intelligence, with the systems’ intelligence collaborating together under the direction of the innate intelligence of the body is the stuff of HEALING. They must know that when we atomize and separate the parts of the body we create disjunction and isolate them from healing rather than reconciling them to the WHOLE which is coordination, harmony and health.
    And thirdly it’s about the habits of our private practices and the habitats they occupy. Take a good look around and SEE. Then ask the question: Is my office promote a different way of thinking? If not, how can the public give credence to whatever you wish to say?
    It is a formidable task to put your intention of health care perception reform into action. We don’t need a re-formation which is simply to form something new from the past which can’t be new, it’s only an evolution from what was (it’s the same furniture just re-arranged in a different way).
    WE NEED A RE-VOLUTION! That’s NEW! And you are right Joseph, you cannot do it alone… Count me in!

  2. Dave McGonagle 04/01/2011, 2:24 pm:

    I agree with your original suggestion, to get out of healthcare. Not that I don’t think chiropractic is about health – a true definition of health. I just feel that society has already decided what their definition of health is, and what healthcare is based on that definition.

    It would also be beneficial if those chiropractors who are practicing in a therapeutic model would change their title to match their “profession”. Since that won’t occur, being it would require a shift in education and all the legalities associated with it, I suggest we ( non-therapeutic straight chiropractors) change our title and education requirements.

    I’d like to be an “Innate-ologist” , whose education is full of anatomy and physiology instruction along with an apprenticeship. Basically, return to earlier times when there was no CCE, student loans, insurance coverage or six-figure debt. Instead we can be a profession that has balance of science, art, and philosophy.

    Which is more possible – changing the opinion of a majority of a society and profession to that of a minority, or creating a new profession?

  3. tim clare 04/05/2011, 11:36 pm:

    Behaviour follows beliefs. We can’t expect people’s behaviour to change until their beliefs have changed (not in the long-term anyway).

    The same logic and reason we apply to ‘teaching’ people about the chiropractic philosophy of Life needs to be extended to a health philosophy of Life – really, they are the same thing.

  4. Bob Pike 01/03/2012, 5:33 am:

    I have been thinking about this recently Dr. Joe. I’m in. I appreciate the distinctions made above. I’m with Lessard. We need a “revolution” in/of perception.
    I don’t agree that we must separate from the ‘sick care system’. The health care system is a continuum which must therefore include all forms of care and therapeutic modalities. As chiropracTORs we are ambasadors of the Life Principle. The challenge of providing this has aways been with us. Honouring the Life Principle is a spiritual discipline. Chiropractic is the first profession to embody a potential leadership role in – as it turns out…the healing arts.
    To me, one aspect of the chiropractic model is that in order to fufull its mandate, it must respect, adopt and embrace all of the other models…healing inclusiveness rather than toxic exclusivity.

    We need to renew our own minds first. A chiropractor must be clear on the source of the 24/7 cellular renewal process known as whole body (holistic) healing.
    This D.C. must then, regardless of their preference of care model, adopt the inside-out principle as their primary focus in their care.
    Our educational instutions must be accountable and face this challenge with the full support of its community.

    When we can own this approach we will have become the BIG IDEA we love. Integrity must prevail in our health care model for it to be stronly congruent and therefoe powerful.

    “We need to impact the rest of the profession and the public to change their viewpoint with regard to health”. I agree Dr. Joe.

    My thought is that our focus must be on growing Awareness. Health Awareness. I’ve been considering a ‘Community Health Awareness Event’ (day, week, revolution…whatever :?/
    I’m aware of the ‘Community Wellness Day’ proposal and I can see its value. But, this isn’t properly inclusive. in my opinion the primary need is for global ;Health Awareness’ first throughout the health care continuum.
    I don’t see anyone else with the philosophical basis in place needed to provide the leadership for this “viewpoint”.

    Are there any precedents to this notion of a Health Awareness Initiative? I’d appreciate some collaboration.
    I’m currently a director of the Chiropractic Awareness Council of Ontario with chairmanship duties re: public Awareness and I’ve been feeling less than effective up to this point.
    Anyone have any experience with raising community awareness?

    I know there are many other health care providers in the equation we need to open lines of communication to.
    What are we waiting for. The time is now!

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