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The Curse of Chiropractic


Recently, David Seaman, M.S., D.C., D.A.C.B.N., a chiropractic columnist, also a professor at a respected chiropractic institution, wrote an article with the above title, attacking the philosophy of the man who bears the name of his institution. I have no problem with pointing out the errors or the inconsistencies of the Palmer philosophy but this attack was so absurd that I hardly know where to begin to refute it.

His attack has the same old, tired, worn-out argument to it, that is that vertebral subluxations do not interfere with the transmission of mental impulses and the expression of the innate intelligence of the body. He cites an obscure passage by R.W. Stephenson, in his 1927 Chiropractic Textbook in which Stephenson says that the curse of chiropractic is when the students “forget that the nerve cell is a living thing…and mental impulses are immaterial message and not a material something which can be dammed back in the nerve, as by the gate.” The writer completely misinterprets and misrepresents what Stephenson wrote. He contends that Stephenson was saying that “mental impulses are not blocked or interfered with by spinal subluxation and advancing this erroneous notion is, in fact, the curse of chiropractic.” His misrepresentation lies in the fact that he uses “blocked” and “interfered” synonymously. Stephenson never said that the immaterial messages are not interfered with. The idea that they are interfered with is the whole theme of his book and the basis for this entire profession. What Stephenson said is that they are not material entities that are blocked or dammed up like the Colorado River being blocked by a dam and forming Lake Powell. Subluxation does not cause mental impulses to back up and pool in the nerve system. Stephenson says throughout his writings, and objective straight chiropractors agree, that subluxation alters the transmission of mental impulses thus interfering with the body’s ability to express its maximum health potential (in the broadest sense of health).

I believe Stephenson is saying that the curse of chiropractic is to make the mental impulse into a material entity. In doing so you destroy the metaphysical component of our chiropractic philosophical construct which turns us into scientific types who want our practice to be based upon purely mechanistic concepts. Making the mental impulse a purely physical entity is mechanistic. We already have a profession based upon mechanism. That profession had failed so miserably in bringing life and health to humanity after thousands of years of trying that it precipitated the development of a new profession 111 years ago, one based upon metaphysical constructs.

Let me try to explain in other terms what I think Stephenson was saying, terms that the P.C. (Philosophically-Challenged) chiropractor might understand. When there is an interference in a telephone line the words are not dammed up causing the telephone line before the interference to swell to enormous size. The words are metaphysical like the mental impulse. They may be carried by some form of mechanical electrical impulse but words are not physical. They are metaphysical. When a telegraph wire is damaged, the dots and dashes of Morse Code do not back up all the way to the sender’s telegraph key. So where do they go? Going somewhere implies occupying space just as being backed up does. Metaphysical concepts do not occupy space so they cannot be backed up. What we do know is that the telegraph’s metaphysical message does not get through, there is an interference between the intelligent sender and the recipient.

The attack upon non-therapeutic chiropractic continued into the next issue of Dynamic Chiropractic. The author summarized his first article saying, “Many chiropractors believe that mental impulses from innate intelligence are blocked in the IVF due to a spinal subluxation.” He cites two references to substantiate that contention. The one reference is Practice Guidelines for Straight Chiropractors which says nothing about blocking mental impulses. The second is his first article in which he accuses chiropractors of claiming that subluxation “blocks” the non-material mental impulses. So neither reference is legitimate. So much for journalistic accuracy. Granted, some chiropractors may misspeak and talk about “blocking” mental impulses (some chiropractors also mistakenly talk about blocking innate intelligence) but the chiropractors who he accuses of “advancing the curse of chiropractic,” myself included, do not use such terms and the author fails to cite one reference for any of them. I have written volumes of material, most of it available to him, including a fairly recent paper on the mental impulse ( which explains the material and the immaterial concepts associated with interference in the nerve system. Had he read that essay I believe we would not even be having this debate.

The writer spends the remainder of his article on two major issues. The first is repeatedly going over the idea that nerve interference is the same as blocking or damming up mental impulses and that Stephenson said that is the “curse” and that I and other “modern promoters of the curse of chiropractic never bothered to read page 275 of Stephenson’s.” Well, I read page 275 of Stephenson, even wrote a commentary on it (Green Book Commentaries XIV). I wish I could say that I addressed the curse of chiropractic statement directly but unfortunately, at the time I apparently thought it was not that big of a deal. I admit now that it may be a big deal and I will address it shortly. However, I would like to address the other major issue. He attacks Stephenson’s theory of neurophysiological function, the scientific theory that Stephenson set forth almost 80 years ago to explain the physical (not the metaphysical) aspect of vertebral subluxation. Stephenson’s Textbook is just that, an 80-year-old text. It had some excellent concepts of the philosophy, art and science of chiropractic. It also had some incorrect ones, which would be common for any 80-year-old text covering such a complex subject. But in rejecting Stephenson’s neurophysiological theory of “nerve-wriggling interference,” a mechanical explanation of nerve interference, the writer has rejected the philosophical concept of an interference of the transmission of mental impulses as if a metaphysical concept could be disproved by research on a physical plane. That brings us to what I believe and in a tangential way, Stephenson was saying is the real curse of chiropractic.

The curse of chiropractic plagues us today worse than it ever has and it is not just a few straight chiropractors who hold to an out-of-date philosophy. No, the real curse is the myopic vision of many people in this profession, including the author of the Dynamic Chiropractic article. It is those people who are in education and research who should be thinking outside the box, who should be expanding the vision of chiropractic, stretching the minds of the students and the profession, and looking beyond the lens of their microscope rather than narrowing chiropractic down to an explanation and a treatment for aches and pains. The unwillingness to think in terms of the metaphysical relative to the human body is the real curse, trying to make the subluxation strictly a mechanistic phenomena, that is what Stephenson was writing about. It is not caused by science or philosophy but by people’s world and life viewpoint that says, “I will not consider anything that is not explainable in terms of physics and chemistry.” (Remember when aeronautical engineers said that it was physically impossible for a bumblebee to fly!) That narrow thinking inside the box of scientific naturalism is impeding the advancement of science, health care and humanity in general. A perfect case in point is the fanatical tenacity and jihadist actions that evolutionists embrace in trying to hold onto their irrational, unscientific theory.

Unfortunately, in chiropractic the curse of that type of thinking is holding back the understanding of the effects of vertebral subluxation and the application of chiropractic care to every member of the human race, reducing the quality of millions of lives. Physical interference to physical radio waves can alter and distort the transmission of words and thoughts which are metaphysical. Physical injury and interference in the brain can impair the ability of a person to express the immaterial content of a thought. Glitches in a computer could alter the very words that are physically being conveyed by me at this moment and distort the idea (and there is nothing more metaphysical than an idea) that I am now trying to convey. All of these examples and analogies are before us and yet some cannot grasp the idea that there is a metaphysical component to the mental impulse, that at this time cannot be measured, but does affect the full expression of the body’s other metaphysical concept, the inborn wisdom of the body. The inability to accept and the refusal to even investigate or at least acknowledge this metaphysical principle of life that manifests itself before us every moment of our lives, which is clearly demonstrated to us in countless ways, and significantly impacts upon every aspect of the human experience, that mindset is the real curse of chiropractic.  V22n1

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Quality of Mental Impulse


The amount of force created by intelligence is always 100% (Principle #9).

That’s a simple, straight forward principle. In other words, the innate intelligence of the body never creates less or more force than is necessary. The confusing aspect of this principle for many students is the use of the word “amount” which connotes the idea of a quantity. What Stephenson is saying is that the “quantity” of mental impulse is always 100%, exactly what is needed by the body at that moment. Unfortunately, that leads to thinking that the force has a quantitative aspect to it and the mistaken conclusion that the force can be dammed up. Stephenson says that is an error in the thinking of the student. Seaman has referred to it as the “curse of chiropractic” (See:

On page 29 of his text, Chiropractic Philosophy, Stephenson refers to the mental impulse as a “special message to a tissue cell for a present instant.” If Stephenson had just stayed with the message concept and not gotten into the “water pipe analogy” (page 103), it would have prevented the confusion. Water pipes can be blocked or dammed up because there is a quantity to the flow of water. (I pay for that quantity to the local municipality). A message has no quantity to it, only quality. From that I would suggest that the mental impulse has no quantity, just quality.

Let’s look at an analogy. Which message has more “quantity”…a message saying “the dog is brown” or “the dog is black and white?” There are less words in the first message. However, it is not the number of words at issue, but rather, the message. The messages are both the same in quality (100%). One describes a single-color dog, the other, one of two colors. But the messages are both perfect for what they were intended to do…describe two different dogs. On the other hand, if in describing a brown and white dog, one message said “the dog is brown” and the other message, referring to the same dog, said the dog is black and white,” both messages are incorrect. Not because the number of words (quantity) is incorrect, but because the content of the message is incorrect. Here’s the point. It does not matter how many words (quantity) are being used. If the message (the thought) is not correct, then more words are not going to make it more accurate and less words make it less accurate.

Within the body there is an innate message (a thought) attached to the mental impulse. If that impulse is interfered with then it is not a message. A distorted message due to an interference in the conveying material is no message at all. It does not matter whether too many or too few impulses are getting through…the wishes of the innate intelligence of the body are not being conveyed to the tissues. There is no message. Half a message is no message (insufficient impulses). A message and a half is no message (too many impulses). The innate intelligence will always generate the perfect message. If there is no interference then that perfect message will reach the tissue cell. If there is an interference then no message reaches the tissue cell. Any impulse that happens to reach the cell is not an innate force (a message) but is, in fact, a universal force and has the potential to be destructive toward the structural matter of the body (the recipient tissue cells.) So it’s not a message being slowed down or dammed up. That would be like your spouse calling you on your cell phone to pick up a loaf of bread on your way home from work and getting the message as you are pulling into the driveway. A message must be received at the tissue cell at just the right instant with just the right content or it is not a mental impulse.

Posted in: Thinking Straight

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