Confessions of a Quackbuster

This blog deals with healthcare consumer protection, and is therefore about quackery, healthfraud, chiropractic, and other forms of so-Called "Alternative" Medicine (sCAM).

Friday, October 15, 2004

Chiropractic's "Safe Haven"

From the Healthfraud Discussion List:

Eric Bohlman wrote:
> Do you have good evidence that a significant number of patients
> accept chiropractic assumptions, but reject (or simply don't deal
> with) other "alternative" therapies? If you can show such
> evidence, then I'll come a bit closer to buying your point. I
> certainly think it would be a mistake to assume (in the absence
> of specific evidence) that consumers of chiropractic practice are
> automatically consumers of "alternative medicine" in general.
> Maybe most people who see chiropractors have no truck with
> notions of "qi" or "prana." But this isn't an area that has to rely
> on guesswork; it should be fairly simple to gather some reliable
> data.

Good questions. One thing I have noticed (an uncontrolled-non-double-blinded-observation.....;-) when searching the internet's sCAM sites - practically all of their lists of what they *themselves* consider to be "alternative" therapies include chiropractic, and exclude MDs, PTs, etc.

I consider the sCAM world's own self-perception to be an important factor to take into account. Many chiropractic sites repeat precisely the same phenomenon.

When the public searches for information on sCAM therapies, they get indoctrinated to believe that chiropractic is part of that world, and many chiro sites reinforce that impression. They find this as their natural niche.

In fact, this is being marketed by some chiropractic leaders (of the subluxationist type) as chiropractic's safe haven (*). They see it as the last safe refuge for the preservation of *real* chiropractic, which is subluxation-based, does not treat diseases, and uses only a subluxation diagnosis.

When push comes to shove in the internal fights to either go forward and make chiropractic scientific, or preserve it in its original form, the subluxationists may well begin to openly fight for an adoption and enforcement of DD Palmer's idea - to protect chiropractic by using a legal religious exemption. He claimed that it was his religion, and that using a religious exemption was the way to go:

D.D. Palmer's Religion of Chiropractic
D.D. Palmer letter, May 4, 1911




Santa Barbara,
Cal., May 4, 1911.
P.W. Johnson, D.C.;

Yours of April 26th at hand. It contains an interesting and financial question, one which I think Old Dad hold the key of. Stop right now and read two sections in this enclosed circular, on pages 2 and 8 marked, and see if you cannot grasp the way out, that which I see that we are coming to. I want you to study those two items marked. The same ideas are in my book, altho not put out quite so plain as found in these two sections.

I occupy in chiropractic a similar position as did Mrs. Eddy in Christian Science. Mrs. Eddy claimed to receive her ideas from the other world and so do I. She founded theron a religioin, so may I. I am THE ONLY ONE IN CHIROPRACTIC WHO CAN DO SO.

Ye, Old Dad always has something new to give to his followers. I have much new written for another edition, when this one is sold. It is STRANGE TO ME WHY EVERY CHIROPRACTOR DOES NOT WANT A COPY OF MY BOOK.

You write as tho you did not know of my change of location. I lived in this city nine years ago and have always had a hankering for its climate, fruits and flowers. I can edit, publish and place my book on the market as well here as elsewhere. I have not been teaching or practicing since leaving Portland, but have today placed an add in the city paper, of which I am sending you a copy, and will instruct by book or in person as the way opens.

I have been and continue to watch your rights with "The American Octopus". I want you to STUDY the religious move.

California has an organization with Miss Michelson as our attorney.Please drop me a few lines as soon as your trial is over, so that I may know how matters proceed.

You ask, what I think will be the final outcome of our law getting. It will be that we will have to build a boat similar to Christian Science and hoist a religious flag. I have received chiropractic from the other world, similar as did Mrs. Eddy. No other one has lad claim to that, NOT EVEN B.J.

Exemption clauses instead of chiro laws by all means, and LET THAT EXEMPTION BE THE RIGHT TO PRACTICE OUR RELIGION. But we must have a religious head, one who is the founder, as did Christ, Mohamed, Jo. Smith, Mrs. Eddy, Martin Luther and other who have founded religions. I am the fountain head. I am the founder of chiropractic in its science, in its art, in its philosophy and in its religious phase. Now, if chiorpractors desire to claim me as their head, their leader, the way is clear. My writings have been gradually steering in that direction until now it is time to assume that we have the same right to as has Christian Scientists.

Oregon is free to Chiropractors. California gives Chiropractors only one chance, that of practicing our religion.

The protective policy of the U.C.A. is O.K., but that of religion is far better. The latter can only be assumed by having a leader, a head, a person who has received chiropractic as a science, as an art, as a philosophy and as a religion. Do you catch on?

The policy of the U.C.A. is the best that B.J. can be at the head of, BUT THE RELIGIOUS MOVE IS FAR BETTER, but we must incorporate under the man who received the principles of chiropractic from the other world, who wrote the book of all chiropractic books, who today has much new matter, valuable, which is not contained in that book.

If you will watch my book closely as you read, you will find it has a religion contained in it, altho I do not so name it.

If either of the Davenport schools would take advantage of practicing our religion founded by D.D. Palmer, it will make the way of chiropractic as easy as it was for the S.C.'s.

I have given you some special hints on the question which is uppermost in your mind, will you please give it consideration -- never mind if it is new.


(Signed) D.D. Palmer.

Copyright by Joseph C. Keating, Jr., Ph.D

Google search: chiropractic religion

Those chiropractors who hope that reform will save the profession may end up being disappointed.

Many reformists have given up and concluded that it can't be reformed because quackery and pseudoscience are too deeply entrenched to make reform possible.

If reform were to be succesful, there would be nothing uniquely chiropractic left to justify the existence of the profession.

As medical and scientific advances, and the persistent hammering away by chiroskeptics, continue to inflict damage to the reputation of chiropractic by exposing its real nature to the world, the wagon circling tradition will result in the subluxationists choosing to preserve the unique identity of chiropractic by officially making it a religion and using religious liberty laws and religious exemptions to preserve their constitutional right to exist and continue to practice. (Whew! That was a long sentence!)

Who wants to place their bets on the reformists? I don't, since science will never vindicate chiropractic as it is, and what would be left that's valid doesn't justify the existence of a whole profession.

I bet on the subluxationists, since they can always revert to their safe haven (*) and practice DD Palmer's religion of chiropractic.

(*) Here Flesia argues for the subluxationist "wellness" paradigm as the rightful niche for preserving chiropractic:

A "Safe Haven"
by Joseph Flesia, DC

Since insurance companies won't usually pay for this, patients will become "practice members" and become brainwashed in subluxationist innate intelligence thinking. Some chiropractors may take the next logical step and declare it a religion.