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Thursday, April 27, 2006


Not sure what to think about this 1994 study on the philosophy of Canadian chiropractors. A few stats:
  • 68% agree that “most diseases are caused by spinal malalignment”
  • 74% disagree that “controlled clinical trials are the best way to validate chiropractic methods”
  • 75% disagree that “the scope of chiropractic practice should be limited to musculoskeletal conditions”
  • 94% see themselves as an integral part of the health care system
I've never been to a chiropractor so I don't know what the heck I'm talking about. But I'll talk anyway. My blog — Mine!

I'd heard before that chiropractic had mystical origins (all diseases exist because spinal cord problems interfere with some mind/body spirit entity, or something like that). None of that history necessarily has any bearing on the merits of what modern chiropractors do but, from the study, about half of modern chiropractics lean towards the beliefs of D.D. Palmer, the spooky founder of chiropractic methods. From the Wikipedia article on him:
DD Palmer's effort to find a single cause for all disease led him to say:
A subluxated vertebra ... is the cause of 95 percent of all diseases ... The other five percent is caused by displaced joints other than those of the vertebral column.
He said he "received chiropractic from the other world" during a séance, from a deceased physician named Dr. Jim Atkinson.
Even though chiropractic treatment on non-spine related conditions has received mixed reviews in scientific studies, until now I've always assumed that modern chiropractic thought had more in common with physiotherapy than with bloodletting. Now I'm going to be a little irritated when I see many hundreds of dollars in chiropractic treatments being subsidised by a benefits plan! My hats off to those chiropractors that keep-it-real and don't try to cure brain tumours (or even asthma) with their training.

Update: Coincidentally, I just encountered this post at the JREF Archives that contains a statement by the Society of Homeopaths defending their practice:
It has been established beyond doubt and accepted by many researchers, that the placebo-controlled randomized controlled trial is not a fitting research tool with which to test homeopathy.
How dense do you have to be to make a statement like that? I guess 74% of chiropractors (in 1994) would agree.


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