Engrafting

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Originally the word engrafting in the Greek had the connotation of being impregnated, that is, taking on a whole new character but still maintaining some or many of the qualities or characteristics of the original organism. DNA testing for paternity establishment is perhaps the best modern example of the concept. I’ve told the story before of our local minister who grafted a white dogwood into a pink dogwood and produced a tree that every spring would have half pink and half white blossoms. It was a new species, a new creation. People often do it with roses, other plants and even animals. A situation like engrafting has occurred in the chiropractic profession. I imagine since the profession of medicine was around long before chiropractic, it is only fair to say that chiropractic in one sense, was grafted in. Any grafting process is not a natural phenomena. It is unnatural. Pink and white dogwoods don’t just naturally grow together. It must be purposely, intentionally done and done for the purpose of creating a new species, different from the original. Who precipitated the grafting of chiropractic and medicine? It surely was not organized medicine. They, in fact, opposed it almost from the beginning. It was not the true chiropractors. They thought, and had every intention, of beginning a new and different profession, one that was based on correcting the cause of disease, specifically a very singular cause of all disease, the vertebral subluxation. Actually it was some of the medical profession, those medically minded doctors disenchanted with the results or lack of results of medical practice who believed they could graft a new approach into their old objective that of alleviating disease. That’s why so many early chiropractors were medical doctors. They were trying to graft chiropractic into medicine. Those that did not accept that idea, those who held to traditional orthodox medicine fought against that idea and against those who had also been inadvertently caught in the middle of the battle. The true chiropractors sought to separate themselves. Unfortunately they did not know enough about what they had in chiropractic to realize that they were not part of a new species of medicine. Sadly, many still lack that understanding today. As time went on the new species neither medicine or chiropractic but a high-bred began to control the profession leaving three professions still in existence today, allopathic medicine, chiropractic medicine, and nontherapeutic chiropractic.
Engrafting or mixing?
What’s the difference? Mixing is something almost every chiropractor does at one time or another. It is adding something to chiropractic that affects or changes the outcome of chiropractic. It is creating a result that is not the correction of a vertebral subluxation to enable the innate forces of the practice member’s body be more fully expressed but something else. In the early history of the profession it was adding a medical procedure to the adjustment. Later on for some it became adding drugless procedures like heat, cold and electrically created therapies. Then it was divided into those who used “natural procedures” like vitamins or massage to distinguish from the “non-natural” drugless procedures., In the end it evolved into anything that had a medical objective like giving an adjustment to cure a headache, something most chiropractors did at times, even if it was for their own family members. It might be something as innocuous as a spouse saying “would you give me an adjustment, I have a headache”. Eventually it was making the adjustment itself a medical procedure, having the intention of treating, curing, preventing or alleviating a medical condition. In other words it was not adding a medical procedure but making the adjustment a medical procedure. What Jim Healey has referred to as “conservative mixing” in recent years. The medical profession correctly saw this as the practice of medicine. They began to maintain that it was not the procedure that defined medicine but the objective and chiropractors were using their unique procedure, the adjustment, to accomplish a medical objective. In that sense, the md’s maintained, chiropractic became the practice of medicine by its objective, even though chiropractors were claiming not to treat disease but correct it’s cause. I believe at this time some chiropractors, particularly BJ and his close followers realized that to treat disease, its effects, its symptoms or even its cause actually was the practice of medicine. So they began to define chiropractic by its objective of removing a vertebral interference to the expression of the body’s innate forces, the fourth and the metaphysical component of the vertebral subluxation, thus accomplishing something that medicine never addressed, the metaphysical/physical component of the cause of DIS-EASE. Medicine had and continues to address only what they see as the physical component(s) and reject the idea that addressing the metaphysical component exists.
It was at this time that BJ and his followers began to explain chiropractic in terms that did not involve any references to disease or a medical condition. From this description what became known as the 33 principles were distilled, principles that described the deduction of chiropractic separate and distinct from the medical model and its objective of treating sick people. Any approach to chiropractic that involves an objective other than those that are described by the 33 principles must incorporate/engraft something of the medical objective. There are other procedures and activities that can be engrafted into chiropractic, ones that in the end, give birth to a new creation. I would not attempt to list or outline them for fear of missing one and thereby giving it credibility by omission or listing one that is not an engraft but my ignorance of it has caused me to incorrectly appear to condemn it. Let me classify them as outside-in, ones representing that particular world and life viewpoint. We must allow individuals to make that determination for themselves. Many of them involve and incorporate educated, religious, or philosophical approaches that involve the use of the educated brain and sometimes we mistakenly describe it in terms of innate function. DD Palmer dabbled in some of these areas before the discovery of chiropractic and I’m not sure he totally rejected them after he became Old Dad Chiro. Perhaps his leaving the earth when he did could be said to be providentially in the best interest of our profession. But believing in Providence applies that same concept to all of us.
Engrafting the chiropractic philosophy
Unless you are a second or third generation chiropractor and maybe not even then, you have grown up with an outside- in world and life viewpoint. Perhaps it has not impacted every area or every aspect of your life but it likely has impacted the areas of health and human function. For some of us our first exposure to the chiropractic philosophy radically changed our lives. For most of us the engrafting of the chiropractic philosophy, the process was of varying length of time and to various degrees. For some that graft never took and eventually the chiropractic philosophy just “died on the vine”. For me, my first exposure to the chiropractic philosophy impressed me but impression is not engrafting. It was like the ivy that grew on my former property. It took over great parts of the yard. It’s “tentacles” even embedded, “impressed” themselves in the wooden fence boards. It was in the fence but not part of the fence. It did not take sustenance from the fence or give sustenance to it. The ivy was alive but the fence no longer was and had not been since the trees that made it were cut down. The ivy and the fence could not give to or received from each other. The ivy had left an indelible mark in the wood of the fence. But it took on none of the characteristics of the wooden fence. The fence, while once alive, was now dead and had no qualities or characteristics to bestow upon the ivy. In a similar manner many people have the marks of the chiropractic philosophy, the degree and title, the education, the terminology and even exposure to the philosophy,perhaps an intellectual understanding but it has not “taken root”,been grafted in, there is none of the “life of the philosophy” in them anymore than the fence has any of the life of the ivy. It really does not even rise to the level of a parasite. The “halls of ivy”, the great learning institutions of three centuries ago, have no life in them, just life on them. Unfortunately the same could be said about the content of the teaching of many of them.
For a graft to take place requires a number of things:
1. First thing is that both must be alive. You cannot graft a dead branch into a live tree or a live branch into a dead tree. Both must have life. The chiropractic philosophy is alive. Whether the individual is receptive to the philosophy is often hard to tell. Some chiropractors appear to be but in the end they prove not to be, something prevents the philosophy from taking hold. There are many things that can prevent that philosophy from taking hold. The most obvious is the inability to abandon an outside in world and life viewpoint.
2 It takes time. In my case it took almost 2 semesters under the tutelage of Reggie Gold before the philosophy “took”.
3 There must be compatibility. I think this might be the biggest problem in chiropractic. People who do not truly have an ADIO world and life viewpoint cannot truly get the big idea . It just won’t take.
4 There must be a continual nurturing. It’s not a one-shot deal.
There are some good and valuable concepts that we must make sure we do not allow to be grafted into our philosophy as good as they might be. Issues like vaccination, fluoridation and other political issues that impinge upon the freedom and personal choice of individuals need to be kept separate from our chiropractic philosophy even if they are personally held . Our religion or faith is another issue.
For the philosophy to be engrafted in us we must have continual exposure to it and we must choose to make it the major emphasis of our professional life.

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Posted in: Thinking Straight

This article has 2 comments

  1. David Suskin 07/16/2015, 10:26 pm:

    Joe,
    I find this post very confusing with regards to its intent, defining a term, ENGRAFTING, with negative connotations, and then attempting to reuse it in a positive way.
    You said:
    1 Any grafting process is not a natural phenomena. It is unnatural.
    2 results of medical practice who believed they could graft a new approach into their old objective that of alleviating disease. They were trying to graft chiropractic into medicine.
    3 Any approach to chiropractic that involves an objective other than those that are described by the 33 principles must incorporate/engraft something of the medical objective. There are other procedures and activities that can be engrafted into chiropractic
    4 Let me classify them as outside-in,
    5 you have grown up with an outside- in world and life viewpoint.
    6 For a graft to take place requires a number of things:
    7 For the philosophy to be engrafted in us we must have continual exposure to it and we must choose to make it the major emphasis of our professional life.
    ******************
    Maybe you’re saying ENGRAFTING can be good or bad depending on the driving intent.
    As a means to support OIBU, it’s a path of least resistance, and borders on the natural deconstructiveness that takes place when intelligent forces are interfered with, that results with identities coming together,
    As a means to support ADIO, it involves putting intelligent force into the engrafting, with a positive intent acting as an intelligent force resulting in a constructive TRANSFORMATION.
    *****************
    That’s my attempt to sort it out. Not that anyone asked me to, and not that I’m correct in my understanding or misunderstanding of this post.

    • Joe Strauss 07/17/2015, 3:00 pm:

      David,Pretty good job of “sorting”.

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