Is Chiropractic Part of the Health Care Profession?


Some years ago I presented a paper for discussion at a conference questioning whether chiropractic really is a health care profession. At the time I was not adamant about the idea nor was I crusading for a change in the public viewpoint of chiropractic. I am still not a crusader for the issue but apparently the discussion continues and surprisingly, some who I thought would support my position vehemently and vociferously opposed it. Some just attacked me personally and others said I was a stooge for Spinology. I have decided to present here what I believe to be both the most logical and rational opposing arguments along with my rebuttal to those who disagree. I am not concerned about which side you come down on in the discussion but I hope that analyzing and weighing the arguments will cause you to think clearly and increase your understanding of what chiropractic truly is and is not. The following are the arguments of one very articulate spokesman and my response to him:
Argument #1: If the vertebral subluxation is an anatomical and physiological abnormality and anatomical and physiological abnormalities are the domain of the health care profession, then chiropractic is a health care profession. Medical doctors address anatomical and physiological abnormalities. While there are anatomical and physiological abnormalities that are involved in the vertebral subluxation,
the fourth component of the vertebral subluxation, the interference with the mental impulse, is metaphysical which makes it neither anatomical nor physiological. The medical profession does not acknowledge the metaphysical component of the vertebral subluxation or the metaphysical component of anything for that matter. They address anatomical and physiological problems of the spine which are medical problems. The vertebral subluxation is not a medical problem. Medicine does not formally address it. If they do, they address the physical manifestation only.
Argument #2 (a practical argument): If we major in majors and work hard at making it in health care, we can save the practice of correcting vertebral subluxations. That argument demands knowing the future and that is a gift that no chiropractor has been given. Chiropractic has not been too successful after 118 years as a health care profession with its emphasis on correcting vertebral subluxations. In fact, some might argue that it has held the profession back, after all this time, the majority of the public sees us as some sort of back doctor or musculoskeletal problem treater. The issue is not whether we should do what we do as a health care profession but whether we can do what we do as something else. The best argument for the health care side was Reggie Gold and his attempt at Spinology which most resembled the non-health care model. If Reggie could not pull it off, what makes us think that we can develop that model? No one seems to come as close to grasping and, more important, presenting the Big Idea of non-therapeutic chiropractic than Reggie did. His attempt was short-lived for after just a few years he abandoned it and got back into chiropractic. But perhaps the world was not ready for it in 1980. Perhaps western medicine with its largely outside-in philosophy will never be able to embrace it. No one has the best of this argument. I believe that chiropractic, whether we present it as a health care profession or as a non-therapeutic approach to life and health, will never reach a large percentage of the public. Many believe that if we don’t leave the health care model we will eventually be absorbed by medicine. In many ways we already have.

Argument #3: The reason why chiropractors correct vertebral subluxations is a personal matter and the professional matter should end at that. The “why” should be left up to the individual and not create a debate. If the reason why we correct vertebral subluxation is not important, what have we been fighting for during the last 30 years? The pragmatic argument and this argument have caused us to waste untold hours and untold thousands of dollars fighting for a purpose, a mission, an objective for chiropractors rather than just make the adjustment of the vertebral subluxation merely a personal issue. If reasons were not important, what has the battle for the last 3 decades been about? If there is one thing I have learned it is that it is important where we put the period. Our objective is to correct vertebral subluxation to enable the innate intelligence of the body through its forces to be more fully expressed. Does our objective include that entire sentence or should we put the period after the first seven words? I think “the opposition” says “deep down inside you can have any purpose you want, just make sure that it appears that you are treating a medical condition.” We counter that “appearances are important and we do not choose to appear to be doing something we are not”.

Argument #4: The raison d’etre or reason for being is composed of two things: its central area of interest, the vertebral subluxation, and also its practice objective (correcting vertebral subluxation). The raison d’etre should include something about why you do what you do, not just where you do it and what you do. The term “raison” I understand to mean reason. There are many chiropractors who have a central intent, the vertebral subluxation and a practice objective of correcting it. All of them have a reason for doing that. For most it is to treat a medical condition or treat the symptoms of a medical condition. That is not the straight (NTOSC) reason. Perhaps someday we can show that chiropractic cures a particular disease in every person every time. At that time we can all adopt that as our raison d’etre. Until then, my reason for being is to correct vertebral subluxations because they interfere with the full expression of the innate intelligence of the body.

Argument #5: Logic says that if you are correcting something you have an expected outcome that something is corrected. The outcome of treating a fracture is how well set is the broken bone? This particular argument is circular in its reasoning. We are a health field because we can scientifically measure outcomes. Moving a bone is an outcome.That does not mean you corrected a vertebral subluxation. The outcome for chiropractic is that the innate intelligence of the body is now more fully expressed. That makes us different from all the healing arts because our measurement of outcome cannot be determined by medical criteria. The writer makes an interesting analogy- orthopedics. If that is all we do, we are chiropractic orthopedists/mechanists. Vitalism has nothing to do with the orthopedic objective otherwise M.D.s are holistic…trying to make a better world. I am not excited about the word “vitalism” but we are holistic not because we want to change the world (we don’t, that idea was abandoned years ago) but because we work with a metaphysical phenomenon while the orthopedist is just mechanically putting two bones together. The outcome for the orthopedist, the measure of his success, is whether he put the bones in their proper juxtaposition. Ironically, he usually measures it by an outcome that he has nothing to do with..…whether the patient’s innate intelligence successfully heals the bone. Yet that is not even his outcome because quite often, in fact most of the time, those bones will knit together even if the bones are not set correctly, even if the orthopedist does not have a successful outcome. He completes his objective, measures the success of it and allows the innate intelligence to perform the vitalistic healing. The chiropractor does not measure his outcome by whether he has corrected the misalignment. On the contrary, having a structural or medical outcome is not the measure of chiropractic’s success. Whether there is an improved expression of the innate intelligence of the body through the nerve system is the issue and if our only measurement for the success of that objective is a structural change I think we have done nothing more than achieve a medical objective. Will this issue be resolved in the near future or will it ever be resolved? I doubt it but if it causes all of us to take a closer look at that objective and be more cognizant of what we are really all about, it will have served a valuable purpose and been a worthwhile debate.

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This article has 11 comments

  1. Claude Lessard 06/24/2015, 5:31 pm:

    The question is: –

    – Is there any experience of a “living thing” that can happen without an expression of the innate forces of the innate intelligence of that “living thing”? –

    – Here is your clue: Principles 20, 21, 22, 23. 😉

  2. David Suskin 06/24/2015, 6:25 pm:

    Yes – The experience of ‘Partial Death’ as a result of subluxation aka Dis-Ease

    • Claude 06/24/2015, 9:24 pm:


      Is not an experience of ‘Partial Death’, an expression of altered innate forces? If so, the living body expresses innate forces with or without subluxation, does it not? The point being that, for human beings, physical health is only 15% of the human experience. What about the other 85%, of the human experience, that uses innate forces (altered or not)? The chiropractic objective is the LACVS for a FULL expression of the innate forces of the innate intelligence of the body. PERIOD! The chiropractic objective benefits much more than the physical health of the person. Chiropractic care is concerned with 100% of the human experience. –

      – According to the World Health Organization, one definition of health is “a state of COMPLETE physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease and infirmity” which, certainly, covers more than only physical health –

      – With this information, it is we WHO can choose to educate people about what true health is, and educate them about about VS by telling the story over and over and over and over and over again. Or simply educate them about VS and show them HOW it prevents them from having the fullness of their whole human experience. Which one will you choose?

      • Joe Strauss 06/24/2015, 10:02 pm:

        Claude, Where does the “15% of the human experience” statistic come from?

      • David Suskin 06/24/2015, 10:16 pm:

        Well yes Claude, expression of innate forces impacts ALL aspects of human experience.
        Educated intelligence, which of course is impacted by innate forces, would seem to have a venue ranging from healthy and effective expression to ineffective, distorted, and unadapting behavior.
        Yes, the objective of chiropractic lays the foundation for a full expression of human experience, but it would seem that educated intelligence carries a ball that poses many deviations from the perfection of a normal innate intelligence. Educated intelligence and LOM steers the ship of a perfect innate intelligence.

        • David Suskin 06/24/2015, 11:11 pm:

          Perhaps I once again defined in my last statement a nice wholesome dish of OIBU perspective. Sheesh!!
          Oh, if innate THOTS where only a reality! Yes Claude, the over and over and over telling of the story and homework and choosing are dee Human or are dee Vulcan (Spock’s mother says to Spock when he needs to choose a wife) MEANING do I accept the MP as the Authority. Do I perceive ADIO or OIBU? 🙂
          We define a full expression of innate intelligence.
          Is there such a thing as a full expression of educated intelligence?
          Would that be some Ayn Rand objective?

  3. David Suskin 06/24/2015, 7:15 pm:

    You can experience the CONSEQUENCE of the lack of expression of the innate forces (partial dealth, dis-ease), but the experience itself, defining experience as something that takes place within the perception of a living thing, then NO.
    It might be a syntactical-linguistic pitfall, like saying
    ‘John is dead’ – That’s an impossible statement, literally, but we understand what we mean (John who was living is no longer).
    Anyway, those are my ramblings – for a change

  4. Claude 06/24/2015, 11:08 pm:

    If I understand you clearly, you mean that the experience is different without VS than with VS?

    • David Suskin 06/24/2015, 11:30 pm:

      No, I think it’s more like innate intelligence/force is something that IS our being alive and is completely subconscious(not psychologically), physically, metaphysically.
      Experience,being conscious, is the effect of the cause (innate force ).
      Like Joe has stated. Lack of innate force is like darkness. Lack of innate force is a non entity. You can’t experience the disconnection. The disconnection is dead. You experience either a projected illusion, or the consequence of the detachment in what is your innate force that lives.
      It’s like numbness. You don’t feel in numbness. Numbness is the state of not feeling.
      Anyway, I know what you mean. Innate forces impact all of Life.

      • Claude 06/25/2015, 12:46 am:

        Therefore, on this blog with everyone else, if there is no objection, together without condemnation, can we conclude that the chiropractic objective addresses the WHOLE human experience and not just physical health? –

        – This question is addressed to everyone. 😉

        • Dennis Keenan, DC 06/25/2015, 9:37 pm:

          Yes chiropractic addresses the WHOLE human experience. Chiropractic would more in line with “fitness” than health care today, IMHO.

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