From Cult, Quack, & Containment to Destruction

 If You Were Trying to Destroy Chiropractic, How Would You Go About It?  That’s an interesting question and one that demands some thought if we are going to survive as a profession. To suggest that no one has ever wanted to wipe out our profession or doesn’t want to even now, is divorcement from reality. Most chiropractors are too young in practice to remember the early years when medicine tried to destroy us. However, if we look at their strategies, we can see patterns that may be helpful to us today in our profession’s survival.

The first approach would be to attack chiropractic as an unscientific cult. That was the first approach of the medical profession. Ironically, it was after the charge that we were practicing medicine without a license was negated by getting chiropractic licensure. What was the practice of medicine one day was an unscientific cult the next. That would be humorous if it was not so sad. The next approach that went along with the first was to attack chiropractors as quacks. Apparently the public was not concerned about chiropractic being an “unscientific cult.” They were just concerned whether it “worked” or not, and it did.

The ad hominen attack is a page out of politics. When a politician or a party cannot attack the opposition’s policy or programs they attack him or her personally. So they attacked our qualifications based upon their standards. We were not competent, according to their attacks, as if competency was determined by whether we could practice medicine or not. The profession of chiropractic combated that attack in two ways: first by becoming more competent at diagnosis, not my choice of response and second, by convincing the public that being competent in the practice of medicine was not necessary to practice chiropractic.

The current and final approach today is the containment approach. If they can not destroy us they will relegate us to a limited area of expertise, similar to what they have done with podiatry and dentistry. That seems to be the present medical strategy and actually it appears to be working. Most chiropractors confine their practices to musculoskeletal problems.

So much for history. But, remember, those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it. The straight mixing aspects of the profession have been in the same type of battle. That is not to say that there are those who want to destroy our profession. They just want to “transform” it into something that will no longer be recognizable as chiropractic by the majority of the profession and by the public. We (straights) have been attacked for years as practicing an unscientific cult of “chiropractic cures all diseases.” The public does not buy that, probably never did. The next attack by the mixing aspect of the profession was to label us as quacks. But as straight chiropractic tightened its philosophy and made it more clear to the public what we really do, that is, remove an interference to the full expression of the innate intelligence of the body, that argument was not accepted. Unfortunately, the mixing profession has not moved to the third stage that medicine did (the containment stage). They did not because they could not compete with us in the market place. The more we get our message out, the more the public will accept the non-therapeutic approach and the therapeutic approach will be rejected, especially as medicine seeks to compete with them in the therapies. Add to that the fact that the changes in the economy and also that more young chiropractors are becoming attracted to our approach.

The mixer strategy, then, has been a little different. The containment approach of medicine did not work for them so they now are in destroy mode. They are attempting to destroy our schools and cut off the life blood. The sad thing is that they do not realize that the only thing keeping the entire chiropractic profession alive is the straight movement. Medicine’s plan is to contain us until they can absorb us, and they are well on the way to succeeding in that objective. We are making it easier for them as we “transform” our profession into a medical therapy. They are counting on the idea that absorbing us will eliminate us as a profession, just as it has changed osteopathy to osteopathic medicine. Will it work? I hope not, for the sake of our profession. If it works, we will have no more identity than osteopathy.


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This article has 7 comments

  1. robert kauffman dc 02/07/2011, 10:30 pm:

    I don’t consider myself a straight chiropractor – in terms of how I practice, but i find you commentaries to be right on. The contain and eliminate strategy for the chiropractic profession is going on right before our eyes in my opinion.

    I have three kids going into this great profession and I hope that it survives as a separate and distinct healing art, not a small sub-branch of medicine.

    keep up the good work

    rhk dc PCC ’88

  2. Joe D. 03/03/2011, 3:07 am:

    Soon after the AMA et. al. lost the Wilke suit, the forces of evil stumbled upon a better and more subtile way to destroy us. They knew from their own experience that enormous student loans at graduation and total dependence upon insurence money of all sorts for our income would give control of the profession to the “pimps” that are the third party payers so that they could make prostitutes of most of you. The profession sued the AMA because the wanted equality……we gave up our superiority to Medicine to become just like them….congratulations Chiropractors!!!!!!

  3. Richard Morris 03/16/2011, 10:56 pm:

    A struggle does not exist between “professions,” or within a single “profession,” but within one’s self.

    • JStraussDC 03/16/2011, 11:37 pm:

      Good point Richard. That is where the major struggle is for most chiropractors. For some of us that struggle was over the first time we heard the philosophy of chiropractic explained. Let’s hope this blog will help many chiropractors and students handle that struggle. Share this site with others.

  4. Ed Libich 03/17/2011, 3:51 pm:

    Dr. Joe,

    I truly enjoy reading and feeling the passion in what you write. Keep up the good work…and fight.

    Regarding the future of chiropractic, I feel the public will ALWAYS be attracted to highly skilled chiropractors with a focus on removing interference with Innate. That being said, we do have some issues within the profession that are damaging our profession, and have been for a long time…as you well know.

    I’ve done my share of mixing–but I’m a straight at heart. And the longer I do this the straighter I get. I feel that, years ago, when mixers and straights were arguing about xrays vs no xrays, analysis vs diagnosis, therapy vs adjustment, only, adjustment vs manipulation, etc., all in an effort to become more “acceptable” to the powerful medical community. What should have taken place, in my opinion (and it’s too late to do anything about it now) was an all out effort should have been launched by the professional organizations to OWN the adjustment. That’s our turf!

    Every week I hear patients (and you probably do to) commenting that they’ve been “adjusted” by their massage therapist, physical therapist, MD, DO, friend, family member, etc. And to me, this is practicing chiropractic without a license. The only people who seem have their careers and livelihoods threatened are chiropractic students, if they are caught adjusting without a clinician being present! It’s absurd. Not that a clinician should not be present, but that everyone and his brother feel they are qualified to do what we do everyday–without the benefit of the years of training we’ve had.

    Practicing medicine without a license carries some serious consequences. They same could have been and should be now for what we do. But alas, it will never be. I’m afraid we’ve missed the window of opportunity.

    For now and for the future, we need great leaders like you leading the way, fighting the good fight, keeping us grounded on what really works in chiropractic–the ADJUSTMENT!

    Dr. Ed

    • JStraussDC 03/17/2011, 11:18 pm:

      Thank you Ed

  5. Rick Franks 03/24/2011, 9:33 pm:

    Yes, the opposition is trying to stop us, but not anymore than our own enemies within. I just hope that with schools using the student loan “free money” to create more expensive and time consuming education for everyone, they haven’t priced themselves out of the market in today’s economy. It seems Cleveland Chiropractic is the first victim. More to come? And where will chiropractic be without schools?

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