Chapter 1:
An Introduction to the Principles of Chiropractic

From R. C. Schafer, DC, PhD, FICC's best-selling book:

“Basic Principles of Chiropractic Neuroscience”
Second Edition

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Nature and Science 
  Chiropractic Has Grown on a Foundation of Principles  
  Historical Perspectives
The Greek Influence 
  Herodicus and Serapion  
  Historic Influence on Modern Thought
Today's Challenges 
  The Effect of Commercial Promotion  
  Social Consequences  
  The Effects of Blind Faith  
  The Holistic vs the Traditional Approach 
An Epidemiographic Perspective 
  The Role of Poor Hygiene  
  The Role of Acquired Resistance  
  The Role of Cleanliness and Social Reform  
  Misdirected Credit
The Need for an Informed Public 
  Scope of Practice  
  Education in the Healing Arts
  Historic Principles of Chiropractic  
  The Tangible vs the Intangible  
  Pertinent Concepts of Science and Philosophy
The Goal of Chiropractic Health Care 
  Time and the Healing Process  
  A Biopsychosocial Model  
  The Chiropractic Approach  
  Intraprofessional Harmony  
  Concluding Remarks

Chapter 1: An Introduction to the Principles of Chiropractic

by Frank Zolli, D.C.

Chiropractic is that branch of the healing arts which is composed of a distinct philosophy, art, and science. Art and science may lead the practitioner to answer how and where to treat a patient, but it is the principles of chiropractic philosophy that give purpose to the adjustment. The principles of chiropractic answer the question Why?


It has long been recognized that nature is much smarter than man. However, this fact has somehow been lost in the wake of the technologic advances that have engulfed man. This is not to say that progress should not be achieved, nor is it an argument for the maintenance of the status quo.

A prime characteristic of life is the ability of an organism to change and adapt to its environment. This adaptation mechanism is a basic component of chiropractic thought. However, as happen in any changes that occur, there are benefits and liabilities that are the direct result of these changes.

Science that exists for the sake of science, with little or no attention to the sociologic complications of its actions, may produce change. It may even produce progress, but at what cost? A world that is enhanced by nuclear power but unable to deal efficiently with the potential of a nuclear disaster is a world of fear and confusion. Perhaps if science could be sensitive to the community of people that it serves, the progress it achieves will be better integrated in the day-to-day living of the public.

Likewise, other institutions must meet the challenge of confronting technologic change and incorporating it into our daily living. Church and state should grow and evaluate its positions regarding those ideas that have long been the core of its policies. Change that is essential to an organism must also be essential to the system within which the organism exists; otherwise, there is conflict.

Chiropractic Has Grown on a Foundation of Principles

Enter chiropractic. Since its inception it has been a primary target of organized allopathic criticism. Largely because of this allopathic discrimination, the chiropractic profession has been ignored by large segments of the general population and chiropractic has been the recipient of unjust legislative and economic practices.

Despite these circumstances, chiropractic has continued to grow. It is now the largest, drugless healing profession in the world. It has survived despite the internal quarrels amongst chiropractors. The reason that chiropractic has survived is simple. It is a philosophy, art, and science dedicated to helping humanity improve by establishing the optimum relationship between structure and function.

Science is a common bond among all branches of the healing arts. The art of chiropractic, diagnosis and technique, is influenced by the current knowledge of the basic sciences. The more information these subjects produce, the more diagnostic and clinical skills will be enhanced. And finally, philosophy. Chiropractic has prevailed because it is greater than any chiropractor.

Chiropractic principles can withstand the attacks of allopathic denigration or the debate of chiropractors who interpret them in different ways. These principles lend a certain perspective to chiropractic care. That is, doctors and patients are part of a magical experience called life; an experience that can be filled with joy and sadness, health or disease, happiness or pain. It is an experience that can at times be filled with questions which appear to have no answers.

It is for these reasons that chiropractic philosophy is the strength of the profession. Chiropractic principles have provided chiropractors with the strength and flexibility to survive and grow.

Historical Perspectives

In order to grow, one must appreciate the history that is part of this profession. The exact origin of therapeutic manipulation, however, has never been determined. There is evidence that it has been practiced for thousands of years by many different cultures and civilizations. Among these people to whom some form of manipulative healing is ascribed are the Japanese, Egyptians, Tibetans, Syrians, Babylonians, Tahitians, Incas of South America, and the Indians of North America.

Each of these people is said to have practiced manipulation at a time in history when global communication was limited. Yet, each of these people performed similar treatments to alleviate sickness. It may be inherent in man's nature to attempt to heal from within. At the very least, it is an idea that is similar among the different people that populate the earth.

The different viewpoints in the healing arts today have many roots in history. In some primitive societies, it was believed that the cause of disease could be found in some outside influence that entered the victim, and thus raised the belief in hexes, evil forces and demons. Some societies thought to blame afflictions on the "will of the gods." Other societies looked upon disease as an abstraction of the soul from its body.

From these two general points of view, evolved the various theories that supported the "within" and "without" philosophies. The conflict has been passed down throughout the ages. It is still a point of contention among today's health-care practitioners. It should be noted at this point that there is an intermingling of fact and fiction in the roots of healing.

Much of what has been passed down historically is a mixture of science and religion. In a simple world, people looked for simple answers to explain the complex questions and phenomena they could not understand. They found their answers in the gods. Through the actions of the gods, people were able to project the wonders of the universe. By attempting to understand the nature of some of the gods, a pattern of thought that could determine attitudes regarding health was developed.


Although the roots of healing and the inherent philosophical differences are prehistoric, there is a definite starting point to the conflict. Two Greek deities, Hygeia and Asclepius, by their very natures, represent the difference in health care attitudes.

The goddess Hygeia watched over the health of Athens. She was identified with Athena, the goddess of reason. Although Hygeia was associated with health, she was not actually involved in treating the sick. Instead, she was the guardian of health who symbolized the belief that people could remain well if they lived according to reason.

According to Greek legend, Asclepius was the first physician. He was the son of Apollo and the nymph Coronis and was taught the art of healing by the centaur Chiron. He gained fame by mastering the curative powers of plants, as well as ability with the use of his knife. His fame was so great that he eventually ascended to the position as the god of medicine.

In ancient sculpture, Asclepius is seen standing, dressed in a long cloak, with a bare breast. His usual attribute is a club-like staff with a serpent coiled around it. This staff, with its single serpent is the only true symbol of medicine. The caduceus, with its winged staff and intertwined serpents, which is frequently used in this country to represent traditional medicine, is without medical relevance since it truly represents the magic wand of Hermes (Mercury), the messenger of the gods and patron of trade. The wand symbolically represents the rhythmic ever-spiraling upward and change in polarity of the two serpents (the opposites of nature), represented in ancient Chinese lore as yin and yang.

Because of Asclepius' powers, Hygeia was relegated to a subservient role in his retinue, most probably as his daughter. Here she was joined by her sister, Panakeia, who because of her knowledge of drugs from plants and the earth became omnipotent as a healing goddess.


The unification of both deities seemed to take place in the person of Hippocrates. For Hippocrates, rational living and fitness to the environment were essential tenets of his health care philosophy. He complimented this philosophy with the clinical application of mild remedies to assist nature in the healing of the sick.

Besides his views, there were two other schools of thought during the lifetime of Hippocrates. There existed priest-doctors, dedicated to the god of medicine and the serpent cult. These doctors based their treatments upon bathing, fasting, drugs, and suggestion. They also performed surgery under the influence of sleeping potions and hypnotic suggestion.

Hippocrates served as chief physician and teacher at the Coan school, located on the island of Cos. To Hippocrates, disease was not the result of the ravages of an indwelling demon, but rather, a condition of disharmony in a person's body: a battle between the disease and the self-healing tendency of the body, the vis medicae naturae. Hippocrates believed that the sick body triggers natural forces to restore equilibrium and restore good health.

Hippocrates founded his teachings on the firm belief that, while the cause of disease could be found either outside or inside the victim, "it is our natures that are the physicians of our diseases." The knowledge of his time was limited; therefore, the corrective mechanisms were not known, but the basic idea was understood. At this time in history, it should be noted that neither the thermometer nor the stethoscope had been invented. The more advanced diagnostic equipment employed today had not yet been developed. Despite this, Hippocrates proved to be an unparalleled diagnostician.

To achieve this diagnostic acumen, Hippocrates used his powers of observation and logical reasoning. Writing of epilepsy, which was then thought of as a sacred disease, he said, "it is no more sacred than any other disease, but has a natural cause and its supposed divine origin is due to man's inexperience." He had an uncanny ability to foretell the course of a malady, laying more stress on prognosis than diagnosis. Therefore, the emphasis of treatment at the Coan school was on the patient.

Implicit in his writings is that both health and disease are under control of natural laws and reflect the influence exerted by the environment and the way of life. In one of his works, Air, Water, Places, which today would be classified as a treatise on ecology, he noted the effects of food, occupation, and, especially, climate in causing disease. In aphorisms, he reminded his students not to meddle with, nor hinder, nature's attempt toward recovery.

Hippocrates usually confined his treatment to assisting nature with mild remedies. Once the treatment was administered, the patient, through his physiology, reacted in his individual way against the disease. Therefore, health was thought to depend on a state of equilibrium among the various internal factors that govern the operations of the body and the mind. This equilibrium was believed to be reached only when man lives in harmony with his external environment.

Disease was considered by Hippocrates to be an infringement upon natural laws. He often stated that the life and lifestyle of the patient were implicated in the disease process and that the cause is to be found in the combination of circumstances rather than in the simple direct effect of some external agency.

Hippocrates was a proponent of rational living, a point of view that links him with the rules attributed to Hygeia. Hippocrates believed that disease would ensue when changes in conditions are too rapid or too violent to allow the adaptive mechanisms to come into play. Changes that occur, whether they be seasonal or environmental, are best when they are done moderately and gradually.

From a broad perspective, this Hippocratic view is as true and accurate today as when it was first espoused. Any profound change in social patterns will influence the health of nations and the incidence of disease in their populations. The sickness of an individual is not easily separated from the sickness of society. In our lifetime, perhaps the best example to support this point of view can be found in the Vietnam conflict. Can anyone deny that the stresses and frustrations caused by this debacle contributed to illness in this country?

The health of populations is affected not only by medical practices employed in any given era, but also from social, technical and economic factors. What will be the effect of women's liberation or the refinement of food products or economic recessions and depressions? Only time will lend a clue to what degree society will endure in terms of sickness and disease as a response to these changes.

Hippocrates believed that every practitioner of medicine "was to be skilled in nature and strive to know what man is in relation to food, drink, and occupation, and what effect each of these has on the other." He also recognized the importance of the spine and spinal manipulation. He said, "Get knowledge of the spine, for it is the requisite for many diseases."


The other school of thought that existed in this period was the Cnidian school. This school had been influenced by Egyptian and Mesopotamian cultures and emphasized the treatment of the disease rather than the patient. Euryphon was the chief physician and teacher. As Hippocrates had influenced the Coan school, so too did Euryphon influence the Cnidian attitudes toward treatment.

Cnidian physicians aimed at exact diagnosis, classification, and specific therapy. A range approach that emphasized lifestyle and environment as affecting a patient's health was inconsistent with his belief. Euryphon believed that definite events occurred which affected an individual. These events, once directed towards an individual, were believed to transform a healthy person to a sick patient. Euryphon's approach promoted a specific cause for each disease. He believed that the Hippocratic approach was too philosophical when compared to his more practical method.

Herodicus and Serapion

Other great healers of the period gained fame because of their ability to treat the sick, and as such, have influenced patient care to this day. Herodicus, the first great drugless healer, achieved wide fame in curing diseases by correcting abnormalities of the spine. He refrained from using drugs and tonics and used manual manipulation and therapeutic exercise in treating his patients.

Serapion taught a timeless lesson to all students of healing, past and present. There are no two patients alike, he believed, and because of this, we must depend on experience alone in our treatment of the sick. Anatomy, physiology, and pathology might deviate from those standards taught students of healing. Therefore, he thought that the best method in treating patients is by combining book knowledge with intuition guided by observation. Intuitive skill is inborn, but it needs experience and practice to make it functional.


After Hippocrates, the most distinguished physician of antiquity was Galen: the founder of experimental physiology. Despite the limited resources of accumulated knowledge, his anatomical investigations were quite complete and accurate. He dissected animals, describing what he saw and attempting to relate his findings to his knowledge of human anatomy.

Among other things, Galen taught the proper position and relations of the vertebrae and the spinal column. He advised his students to "Look to the nervous system as the key to maximum health." This statement is perhaps based on his studies where he sectioned the spinal cord at various levels and observed the resulting sensory and motor disturbances.

Galen described the heart and its three layers of fibers, although he hesitated to call the tissues muscle. This reluctance was due to his observation that heart muscle is characteristically different from other, ordinary muscle. He also recorded that section of the heart's nerve supply was not followed by cessation of its activities.

The founder of experimental physiology also had a philosophical side to him. Galen was a firm believer in a supreme creator of the universe in all its parts. He claimed that God's purpose could be elicited in great detail from examination of His work. To this end, he set himself to prove that the body organs are in such perfect relation to the functions to which they minister that it is impossible to imagine any better arrangement.

Galen was a tremendous teacher who achieved wide fame in medical education. He knew of insensible perspiration. He ligatured the recurrent laryngeal nerve. He advocated the examination of urine in certain diseases, the value of specific foods, the critical days in fever, the significance of the pulse, the character of the arteries, and the nature of parasitic worms.

Historic Influence on Modern Thought

There have been other physicians and teachers who contributed to health history. Many of the accomplishments of these people have been improved upon by the technologic advances that have since occurred, but this brief recount of history illustrates the origins of health attitudes and the basic differences that pervade the healing arts. The controversy is deep rooted in history, yet as contemporary as each new day.

The broad spectrum approach maintains that there is a correlation between the state of one's health and environmental factors. The specific etiology theory maintains that there is a specific cause that creates a disease condition. The difference in the two is underscored by the lack of resolve that has lingered through the ages.

From Hygeia and Asclepius, to Hippocrates and Euryphon, to the chiropractic and the allopathic physician, the controversy has never changed. On the one hand, there is an attempt by physicians to control nature by living within its confines reasonably; while on the other hand, there is the attempt by other physicians to control nature by the imposition of pills, potions, and surgery.


Modern chiropractic is in a unique position. It finds itself compelled to maintain the principles and philosophy that have enabled it to become the largest drugless healing profession in the world; yet, it must remain contemporary in thought to treat effectively those patients in need of chiropractic care. The dilemma confronting chiropractic is: How can chiropractors be successful in the 20th century, using principles that seem, to say the least, outdated? How can sophisticated human beings accept the principles and practice of healing the sick that have been passed down through the ages?

The reason chiropractors can apply such dated principles is that they have endured and consistently achieved more results that any modern wonder drug. Each year new pills and drugs are put on the market in a seemingly endless parade of futility. Yet, the principles that have maintained the chiropractic profession have remained unaltered. Why? Because they are true to the tenets of nature and the rational approach in treating the sick.

The chiropractic profession has grown since 1895, but a large segment of the population is still ignorant of the concept of health and the services provided by chiropractors. This ignorance is a reflection of the health attitudes that have been pushed on society by the medical establishment and the pharmaceutical industry.

The Effect of Commercial Promotion

There are seemingly endless advertisements on television and radio and in magazines and newspapers that promote the use of medications to relieve the suffering of the multitudes. The result is that more and more members of society are being taught (conditioned) to depend on chemical compounds for meeting the ordinary problems of everyday life.

An adjunctive movement that downplays individuality and undermines personal ability is produced by the commercialism of a variety of products. According to these advertisements, to be attractive or desirable one must wear a certain brand of clothes or cologne. These ads imply that if it were not for the use of a certain toothpaste or breath mints there would be no relationships between men and women. It seems society is being programmed on all levels to accept outside assistance to achieve any type of well being.

The medical establishment, which has long criticized the chiropractic profession for being unscientific and too philosophical, labors under the pretense that being scientific and aphilosophical yields better clinical results. In general, this is not true. In this lifetime, one in four members of society will have to undergo some form of psychotherapy.

Life expectancy past the age of 40 has not significantly increased in several decades; and the quality of life, due to stress and frustration, is questionable. Each year, a larger portion of income is spent on medical care and the quest for health. These facts have not only been accepted as a way of life, but people continually contribute to their growth by insisting on living in a way that is incompatible with the principles of good health.

The spell that has been cast on society by traditional medicine is awesome. It has been and continues to be reinforced on a daily basis, and with each passing day, the power of traditional medicine grows. In truth, the power of a doctor is based neither on science, as some would have us believe, nor on philosophy, but on faith. A doctor, any doctor, is the personification of the intelligence and skill that unites a patient with health. Because these qualities are possessed by those individuals trained in schools of healing, patients must have faith in their doctors. This type faith is reminiscent of ancient times when doctors were considered elite members of a priesthood. Allopathic physicians produce new therapies and surgical feats, disguise their alterations of established procedures in mystical and impressive language, then wait for the recognition and accolades of the masses.

Chiropractors, in their effort to survive, have been overwhelmed by the deluge of medical propaganda. They, too, can be accused of utilizing "mystical" power, although for a different reason. There is not enough patient education on an individual basis to allow access to the knowledge essential to their health. Because of this, effort should be made to effectively counteract the large scale public relations, for any chiropractor is a patient who has responded favorably to treatment.

If, during treatment, the patient has been educated about chiropractic, he will become health conscious. This awareness will enable the patient to be sensitive to his needs, as well as the health requirements for other people in his life. A skeptical person who feels he might benefit from chiropractic care will be more comforted by a satisfied patient who can share a personal experience of chiropractic rather than any form of media advertising. A person-to-person recommendation is the highest form of advertising.

Sensationalistic advertising, which has become a common method of exposing the public to chiropractic, cheapens the profession and falls short of educating patients. An occasional lecture does not fortify the idea of rational living and the necessity of chiropractic care. Chiropractors have always been credited with being able to relate to and speak with patients. This process of communication is essential to the growth of chiropractic. Unfortunately, it appears to some that the current trend seems to be similar to the allopathic approach: administer treatment and forget lengthy communication with patients.

Social Consequences

People can accept the limitations of their physical ability. They cannot accept the limitations of society. Newspapers are packed with stories about the atrocities of modern civilization. There are stories about war, murder, rape, poverty. People live in the land of freedom and opportunity, yet their thoughts are continually being directed toward the disagreeable events of life. Constant exposure to negative situations is detrimental to an individual's health. Even more detrimental is the accompanying frustration that is caused by being unable in most instances to change such situations.

The problems of society are caused by people. A doctor cannot cure the ills of society by treating society. A doctor can only be responsible for utilizing his skills in the best interest of his patients. This is the focus of a true healer. A true healer treats patients on an individual basis, providing them with the opportunity to achieve health. When this is achieved, their health is a reflection of their lives; and in this way, they can more fully contribute to society.

How is it that society pursues health through faith in drugs and science, while alternate forms of healing are looked on with scorn and ridicule? There are several factors that directly influenced this present state of affairs.

The Effects of Blind Faith

The American public has been led to believe the "breakthroughs" that have occurred in science have been the key to achieving the high standard of health enjoyed in this country. They do not consider that the life expectancy in some European countries which do not have the benefits of living in such an advanced society is greater than our own.

The American citizen in encouraged to believe that money can create drugs for the cure of heart disease, cancer, and mental health. There is insufficient effort made to recognize the factors that contribute to the high incidence of these conditions. There is even less effort made to control the indiscretions of daily life that limit the occurrence of such conditions. Perhaps these conditions, which are directly linked to the irresponsibility of individuals, are caused by their orientation regarding health. This irresponsibility can best be described as blind faith.

The blind faith factor has caused intelligent people to believe what allopathic doctors say regarding their health. This faith that elevates doctors above the status of mere mortals is also given to the "magic" of drugs. Why monitor one's health status if it can easily be restored with the application of some magic tonic?

The word miracle is often attributed to the effect of a new drug. This new-found "miracle" then becomes the source of anticipated comfort and experienced hope to the masses. There are few individuals who understand how the "miracle" drug might work. Even fewer who understand its potential side effects. But as long as some fantastic attribute is attached to the drug, people will believe what they want to believe. Thus, the sophistication that society pretends to possess is as illusory as the curative power of the drugs they seek.

Men still find it easier to believe in miracles and mysterious forces rather than trust in rational processes. Men today want miracles just as much as they did in the past. Although it is true that faith in the healing power of ancient gods has decreased, faith (and other emotionally based beliefs) still maintains more power than rational thought in human beings.

Apart from the oath that bears reference to his name, most people know nothing of Hippocrates. They do not know he was a physician of considerable skill, able to achieve remarkable results with his patients long before the modern scientific era.

By empirically manipulating the psychologic, physiologic and, social factors that affected a person's health, he achieved the reputation as the greatest healer of antiquity. His observations and writings are the cornerstone of healing. He possessed keen insight into the human condition and transformed his thoughts into timeless writings that have been passed down through the ages.

Most people regard the fame of Hippocrates with his affiliation with traditional medicine. They do not realize that, more than anything else, Hippocrates represents a concept in healing: The concept that man must live in harmony with his environment, and when in a state of disharmony, the physician is to intervene in the most natural way. Yet this tradition has been obscured in the last century. It is consistent with the chiropractic concept of health, but seemingly in opposition to the germ theory and limited-causality concept of traditional medicine.

The Holistic vs the Traditional Approach

Harmony with nature, without and within ourselves, is an intuitively attractive idea. To live according to the natural forces of life and in harmony with one's environment has been a recurring philosophical theme. Today, this quest has been all but forgotten because most people find it easier to achieve health by depending on doctors and outside agents rather than attempting to live wisely, in harmony with nature.

There are examples of entire cultures that have pursued health by following their natural instincts. Oriental and holistic practitioners treat the imbalance and allow the body to heal itself from within. The focus of these practitioners is not the disease. Instead, the focus is the patient as he is related to society, the environment, and himself. These healers benefit from the fact that their practices are a combination of a philosophy and clinical experience. The Oriental is mindful of yin and yang, the balance and harmony of the opposites of nature.

The holistic healer maintains an intuitive clinical sense and a deep respect for the natural healing power of the body as it relates to all environmental factors. The drawback to these approaches is that they are incongruous with the beliefs and attitude of today's society. Man today has time to do all things but heal himself. He will allow investment time to yield a profit, he will allow young athletes time to reach their athletic potential, and he will allow time for everything else but his homeostatic mechanisms to synchronize with his lifestyle.

Enter traditional medicine. The major benefit of traditional medicine is that it buys time by treating the disease. If in the time bought from medicine the imbalance that is the source of the disease is not corrected, sickness will occur again. The unfortunate side effect of this transitory feeling of health is that not only does it afford the time to find the source of the disease, it also enables the individual to get back into the routine that has contributed to this decline in health. Regardless, health has been restored and fate has been side-stepped. Society continues to live this illusion.

Pain, a by-product of disease, is a reminder that there is an imbalance in our lives. The end of life is death, but this is nothing more than a natural cycle that has been established by nature. The important aspect of this cycle is not that we die, but rather, the quality of life we live. This is the focus of a true healer: treating patients on an individual basis, so their health is a reflection of their lives, and, in this way, they can more fully contribute to society.

Traditional medicine does not maintain the approach just discussed, yet it is the most dominant branch of the healing arts. Again we are faced with the question, why? The answer is not easily discerned, nor is it confined to one field of learning. The answer has its roots in philosophy, its cause in sociology, and its effect in the distortion of the truth.


As man and civilization "advanced," the needs of society expanded at a tremendous rate. The need to mechanize the processes of manufacturing gave birth to one of the most significant movements in history of man: the industrial revolution. The effect of this revolution spread, at first, throughout Europe, and then eventually covered almost the entire world.

The Role of Poor Hygiene

England prospered through the technologic advances that characterized the movement, but it also suffered the ill side effects that manifested themselves in the destruction of human values. In time, it became obvious that disease and physical frailty were common among the poor. The disadvantaged populations of manufacturing towns became infested with disease. Now the quest for happiness was no longer a life of harmony with nature, but instead, survival.

Since the factors that accompanied disease were inevitably the same (want, dirt, and pollution), it was believed that health could be restored by bringing back to the multitudes pure air, pure water, pure food and pleasant surroundings. With this in mind, civic organizations undertook the task of health restoration. Their commonsense approach was successful and the quality of health of the English working class was greatly improved. As the quality of life increased, the disease rate decreased.

The same story was seen in Munich, Germany, when it experienced a significant decrease in the incidence of typhoid that was directly attributed to having water brought into the city from the surrounding mountains and having the city sewage diluted. Anti-filth campaigns were waged in Spain during the early part of the 19th century, and the result was that Barcelona did not experience further outbreaks of yellow fever.

Perhaps the best example of the multicausal origin of disease could best be found in the case of the renowned scientist, Rudolph Virchow. He was appointed to study an epidemic that was raging throughout the industrial district of Upper Silesia. In a minority report, Virchow traced the origin of the epidemic to unfavorable meteorological conditions! A famine had occurred because heavy rains had ruined the year's crops. Furthermore, the following winter had been extremely severe, forcing the poor to huddle together in their homes, cold and hungry. It was then that the typhus epidemic occurred, first spreading through the poor population, and eventually reaching the wealthier class. From this experience, Virchow proposed the theory that poverty is the breeder of disease and that it was the responsibility of the physician to support social reforms that would reconstruct society in a pattern more favorable to health. According to Virchow, the treatment of individual cases is only a small aspect of medicine; more important is the control of crowd disease, which demands social and possibly political action.

The Role of Acquired Resistance

There is also evidence to indicate that a certain amount of natural resistance has been established and has contributed to the control of disease and infection. The mortality rate in North America and Europe from tuberculosis has been steadily on the decline since the turn of the 19th century. No drug therapy was available during this time, vaccination was not practiced, and those therapeutic procedures available were of limited value and reached only a small percentage of the population.

The same holds true for measles. The incidence of measles was on the decline before the measles vaccine was introduced. Statistical evidence confirms that the disease is much less a problem today then it was several years ago. This decrease has been attributed to the measles vaccine, while the decreased incidence of measles should be credited to man's natural resistance. Populations will build a natural immunity to a disease process if they are exposed to the disease over a period of time.

Because the decrease in the death rate appeared obvious to everyone after 1900, traditional medicine and the germ theory in particular have been given the credit for the improvement of the general health of the public. This is an injustice. An even greater injustice is the present day belief that the control of diseases can be attributed to the widespread use of antibacterial drugs.

In truth, the mortality of many infections had begun to recede in Europe and North America long before the specific methods of therapy were introduced and the germ theory of disease was such a popular concept. This is not to negate the positive contributions science and medicine have made to health of mankind. Scientific medicine has greatly helped deal with the negative side effects of urban and industrial civilization.


Louis Pasteur, one of the most renowned scientists of all time, was able to influence society on many planes due to his varied scientific accomplishments. He disproved the theory of spontaneous generation. He proved that microorganisms cause fermentation and disease. He originated and was the first to use vaccines for chicken pox, cholera, anthrax, and rabies. Through his work, he was able to save the wine and silk industries in France.

When Pasteur proposed his germ theory of disease, he did not envision a simple connection between germs and disease. He was cognizant that other factors also contributed to the occurrence of a disease process. The simplistic outlook has been the result of a lack of education on the part of patients and their miseducation by physicians. The oversimplification is that germs cause disease: to treat the disease, kill the germs by using drugs.

The Role of Cleanliness and Social Reform

Some medical breakthroughs were the result of plain old common sense combined with an acute faculty of observation.


Ignaz Semmelweis, a Hungarian obstetrician, noted that the death rate seemed to be higher in certain clinics where medical students and physicians came directly to the ward from the morgue or autopsy rooms. Upon witnessing the autopsy of a pathologist who had died of an infectious process that developed after a dissection wound, he observed and noted the pathologic changes that had occurred as a result of the infection were similar to those of a woman who had died of puerperal fever.

Semmelweis concluded the infectious nature of puerperal fever and instituted certain practices intended to prevent the spread of infection. On the wards he supervised, all hands had to be cleaned before a patient was examined and the rooms had to be regularly cleaned. The result was the mortality in his service immediately dropped. He published his views, but they were met with strong opposition by the medical establishment.


Joseph Lord Lister noted the similarity between wound infections and certain fermentative and putrefactive changes, which Pasteur had already proved were caused by microorganisms. He concluded that wound infections were caused by microbes. With this in mind, he started protecting wounds with dressings saturated with a solution of phenol. He also developed operating room procedures calculated to destroy microorganisms.

      Misdirected Credit

Traditional medicine, combining the works of Pasteur and the observations of Semmelweis and Lister, has been able to produce some preventive measures against disease. There have been other accomplishments that are a credit to the medical profession and a definite boon to the health of man, but to credit medicine with stemming the tide of infectious disease during the past century is an error.

By the time scientists entered the battle at the beginning of the 20th century, social reformers had already reduced the effects of poor nutrition and infectious disease. As Rene DuBos, an eminent scientist, has pointed out, the introduction of easy-to-launder inexpensive cotton undergarments and transparent glass that brought light into the most humble dwelling have contributed more to the control of infection that all the drugs and medical practices combined.

The accolades given scientific medicine in its control of infectious disease should be rightfully shared with social reformers whose efforts laid the groundwork for the overall improvement of health experienced by man. The trends of improvement extend throughout history. It has been established in society by reformers, and medical science has not significantly altered them.


The public should be informed about the events that have helped shape the currently accepted beliefs regarding health. The public should be made aware of the chiropractic concept of health. They must be made to realize that the break-throughs that have influenced the health of society have not been achieved through the work of science alone.

Medical research continues its attempts at finding the causes of a myriad of diseases. With all the research that is taking place in laboratories, few have been looking at our society or environment. There has never been a prescription written to provide relief for a patient suffering from poverty, decaying housing, or social alienation. However, these problems are rarely addressed as being causal factors in disease. As a society, we are overfed and undernourished. We eat to excess, drink to excess, and overindulge. We work and play at a staggering rate, yet there is a residual frustration in our lives. No longer are we obsessed with death and disease. Man has become civilized to a point where threats of physical danger are usually no longer a priority, wide-spread nutritional deficiencies are a thing of the past in civilized cultures, and the bacterial diseases have been held in check to a great extent by medical science.

The newest threats come in the form of vascular disease, cancer, and mental disease. The unfortunate fact is that today, we must deal not only with those diseases caused by our lifestyles, but we have yet to conquer the diseases of days gone by.

Because people have been made to believe the best way to safeguard their health is to support the development of new drugs, they have lost their perspective of what constitutes good health. There is overwhelming evidence that our most prevalent diseases are directly related to our lifestyles, but still the rational approach to health is held in deference to the long awaited medical miracle.

Modern medical science has frequently proved itself inadequate in treating its patients. The public, many of whom have had some bad experience with an allopath, is aware of the problem and is actively searching for a viable alternative to traditional medicine. Now with proper re-education and competent, ethical care, chiropractors have an opportunity to prove to the public that such an alternative does exist. The chiropractic profession, long the second-class citizen of the healing arts, now has the opportunity to take its place as the leader in the field of health.


The misconceptions regarding health have been transmitted to public attitudes concerning doctors. For instance, consider the definition of the word doctor, which comes from the Latin root meaning teacher. Rare today is the doctor who will instruct patients about the maintenance of their health. Dorland's Medical Dictionary defines a doctor as a practitioner of the healing arts; one who has received a degree from a college of medicine, osteopathy, or veterinary medicine; licensed to practice by a state.

Another example of our altered conception can be seen by looking at the word physician. It is derived from the Greek word meaning nature, yet nowhere in the modern interpretation of the word physician is there any reference made toward nature. To Hippocrates, every practitioner of medicine "was to be skilled in nature and must know what man is in relation to food, drink, and occupation, and what effect each of these has on the other."

Today, Dorland's Medical Dictionary defines a physician as follows: an authorized practitioner of medicine, as one graduated from a college of medicine or osteopathy and licensed by the appropriate state board. The focus of a physician is no longer geared towards clinical ability, but rather, the recognition of the appropriate societal authorities.

Because of the defensive posture assumed by most doctors, no longer is there a correlation between daily activities and interactions of patients with an effective treatment plan intended to help the patient in the most holistic manner. Instead, doctors recommend advice only as it relates to their specialty. No longer is the compassionate treatment of the sick the apparent primary concern of the physician. Seemingly, the primary concern is the establishment and maintenance of reputation.

In view of the distortion one can establish by looking at the words doctor and physician, let us examine the word medicine. According to Dorland's Medical Dictionary, medicine is: any drug or remedy; the art and science of the diagnosis and treatment of disease and the maintenance of health; the treatment of disease by other than surgical means. The definition of remedy is: anything that cures, palliates, or prevents disease.

The definition of allopathy is: a term applied to that system of therapeutics in which diseases are treated by producing a condition incompatible with or antagonistic to the condition to be cured or alleviated.

One of the more interesting definitions is assigned to surgery, which is: that branch of medicine which treats disease, injuries and deformities by manual or operative methods. The roots of the word surgeon are from the Greek words cheir, meaning hands, and ergon, meaning work. It seems that by definition, the focus of a chiropractor and a surgeon are similar; the difference lies in their clinical orientation.

The following definition of chiropractic is a combination of the thoughts of two great pioneer chiropractors, B. J. Palmer and Willard Carver:

Chiropractic is a philosophy, science and art. It is the science that teaches health in anatomical relation and disease in disrelation. It is the philosophy of things natural, and the art of adjusting the segments of the spine by hand, for the correction of disease.

It is amazing how the term medicine has become synonymous with the allopathic physician. It is clear, by definition, that chiropractic can be considered generic medicine. It is even more clear by clinical results that chiropractic is the practice of medicine in its purest form; viz, the art and science of the diagnosis and treatment of disease and the maintenance of health; the treatment of disease by other than surgical means. Although chiropractic is not, nor will probably ever be, associated with drug therapy, it is a remedy. It is also a distinct art and science that employs diagnosis as an indicator of how a patient might best be treated, whether exclusively within the realm of chiropractic or by another branch of the healing arts.

Chiropractors, acting in the best interest of their patients, should never forget the ancient law of healing, ie, Salus aegroti suprema lex, the welfare of the ailing is the supreme law. Adherence to such a mandate can only be achieved when one is secure in the belief of his abilities and the principles of his profession.

It is obvious that there have been an abundance of radical anti-chiropractic positions expressed in the past, and all too many have been ignorant of the services performed by chiropractors. Traditional medicine can ill afford to allow us the opportunity to succeed where they have failed.

In this regard, they would do well to follow the advice of the noted physician John Mennell: "...under certain circumstances I think you are justified in asking a well-trained manipulator, whoever he might be, to treat your patient for that specific complaint, just as you would ask a pharmacist to make up a prescription... Do not deprive your patient of relief from pain because of your prejudice."

Scope of Practice

The definition of chiropractic given previously covers the spectrum of what chiropractic is. It is the combined effort of the ideas of two men who in their own ways shaped the future of chiropractic. Their legacy is an emerging profession that must unify its efforts in order to prevail. This unification can begin by acknowledging that, despite our educated interpretations, the principles of chiropractic are the same for all chiropractors.

Society has imposed certain restrictions on all the health-care professions. Thus, each state has its rules and regulations regarding the scope of practice allowed chiropractors. The blame for such a situation existing rests not with chiropractic, but with chiropractors.

From the beginning, chiropractic has been a controversial profession. The different points of view that existed among pioneer chiropractors linger to this day. The differences are not clinical or philosophical but seem to be egotistic in nature. The quality of a chiropractor was determined by whose policies the chiropractor adhered to, not by his ability to treat the sick. Just as chiropractic pioneers were unable to blend their differences to form a strong unified profession, today's practitioners are equally unwilling. It seems ludicrous to maintain differences that are based upon egotism when the principles of the profession are the same for all chiropractors.

If chiropractic is to advance, unity is essential. Chiropractors should apply their principles to the condition of the profession. The healing power of the body comes from within the body. The chiropractic profession must heal itself from within the ranks of chiropractors. The common bond, chiropractic principles, is alive and well and helping sick people to get well. It is time for the profession to get well.

There are a variety of techniques available to chiropractors. It is up to the individual doctor to decide which forms of analysis and technics he can comfortably and wisely use. It is up to the individual chiropractor to decide the parameters within which he can comfortably and effectively practice chiropractic. There must be mutual respect between chiropractors. There is no need for animosity within the profession when the profession must endure adversity from outside sources. There is, however, a need for meaningful research and debate.

Chiropractic is a concept that supersedes the bias of individual chiropractors. Chiropractic will endure, not only because of the efforts of chiropractors, but also, in spite of them.

A cure can be effected only at the prerogative of nature. Each individual has the potential to heal, but whether or not this potential is realized is the result of the doctor's skill at facilitating the healing process and the body's willingness to respond. Whether the doctor be a chiropractor, allopath, osteopath, or surgeon, the ultimate healing ability still rests with the patient.

Education in the Healing Arts

The chiropractic profession has received certain benefits from its relationship with the allopathic profession. Due to the prominent position traditional medicine has maintained in society, the education of allopathic physicians was more scrutinized than any other branch of healing arts.

During the 18th and 19th centuries, almost any man in America could become a doctor if he could afford the tuition fees or had family contacts for arranging to serve as an apprentice to an established practitioner. Not even a high school education was needed, and it was possible to become a doctor in 6 months of study.

Through the years, the conditions that determined the future of healing have been altered. In 1910, a relatively unknown high school teacher named Alexander Flexnor published Bulletin #4 for the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching titled, Medical Education in the United States and Canada. The effect was to revolutionize medicine as a science, while the practice of the art would be relegated to a secondary role.

The immediate impact of the Flexnor report was to close many of the substandard medical schools of the day, leaving the field to those better equipped, staffed, and organized. Overproduction of poorly trained and ill-educated physicians was sharply curtailed, and the standards of medical licensure and practice improved. The long-term effect of the Flexnor report and the ensuing battle over which direction the education of medical doctors would go, has produced highly trained technicians, many of whom do not exhibit the sensitivity or compassion to be called doctors in the true sense of the word.

In truth, Flexnor won his battle to standardize medical education and improve the scientific background of the medical doctor, but this increase in science has been achieved at the expense of the art that is clinical medicine. The sophistication of medical education has been copied by the chiropractic profession. So, too, have the inherent drawbacks. Overall, this trend has had a positive effect on chiropractic, but the drawbacks need to be eliminated by both professions.

The greatest benefit the allopathic profession has bestowed on chiropractic is adversity. Although it has slowed our growth, it has caused chiropractors to concentrate their skills in treating their patients and measuring up to the challenge of survival. The staying power of the chiropractic profession is found in its principles and philosophy. It is these very principles that will correct the deficiencies of chiropractic education and insure the continued growth of chiropractic.


Before discussing the principles of chiropractic philosophy, it should be pointed out that any philosophy rests on a foundation of metaphysical concepts. A health-care philosophy serves to give purpose and direction to and reinforcement for selected clinical practices and procedures. The basis of clinical practice must be founded on a thorough knowledge of anatomy, physiology, and biomechanics.

Historic Principles of Chiropractic

The historic principles that follow are listed out of respect for our chiropractic heritage. When our knowledge of the subjects related to the human body was limited, it was these principles that enabled chiropractors to treat the sick.

  1. The Major Premise   A universal intelligence is in all matter and continually gives to it all its properties and actions, thus maintaining it in existence.

  2. The Chiropractic Meaning of Life   The expression of this intelligence through matter is the chiropractic meaning of life.

  3. The Union of Intelligence and Matter   Life is necessarily the union of intelligence and matter.

  4. The Triune of Life   Life is a trinity having three necessary united factors; viz, intelligence, force, and matter.

  5. The Perfection of the Triune   In order to have 100% life, there must be 100% intelligence, 100% force, and 100% matter.

  6. The Principle of Time   There is no process that does not require time.

  7. The Amount of Intelligence in Matter   The amount of intelligence for any given amount of matter is 100% and is always proportional to its requirements.

  8. The Function of Intelligence   The function of intelligence is to create force.

  9. The Amount of Force Created by Intelligence   The amount of force necessary is that which unites intelligence and matter.

  10. The Function of Force   The function of force is to unite intelligence and matter.

  11. The Character of Universal Forces   The forces of universal intelligence are manifested by physical laws, are unserving and unadaptive, and have no solicitude for the structures in which they work.

  12. Interference with Transmission of Universal Forces   There can be interference with transmission of universal forces.

  13. The Function of Matter   The function of matter is to express force.

  14. Universal Life   Force is manifested by motion in matter; all matter has motion, therefore there is universal life in all matter.

  15. No Motion Without the Effort of Force   Matter can have no motion without the application of force by intelligence.

  16. Intelligence in Both Organic and Inorganic Matter   Universal intelligence gives force to both organic and inorganic matter.

  17. Cause and Effect   Every effect has a cause, and every cause has an effect.

  18. Evidence of Life   The signs of life are evidence of the intelligence of life.

  19. Organic Matter   The material of the body of a "living thing" is organized matter.

  20. Innate Intelligence   A "living thing" has an inborn intelligence within its body, called innate intelligence.

  21. The Mission of Innate Intelligence   The mission of innate intelligence is to maintain the material of the body of the "living thing" in active organization.

  22. The Amount of Innate Intelligence   There is 100% of innate intelligence in every "living thing," the requisite amount, proportional to its organization.

  23. The Function of Innate Intelligence   The function of innate intelligence is to adapt universal forces and matter for use in the body, so that all parts of the body will have coordinated action for mutual benefit.

  24. The Limits of Adaptation   Innate intelligence adapts forces and matter for the body as long as it can do so without breaking a universal law, or innate intelligence is limited by the limitation of matter.

  25. The Character of Innate Forces   The forces of innate intelligence never injure or destroy the structures in which they work.

  26. Comparison of Universal or Innate Forces   In order to carry on the universal cycle of life, universal forces are destructive and innate forces constructive in regard to matter.

  27. The Normality of Innate Forces   Innate intelligence is always normal, and its function is always normal.

  28. The Conductors of Innate Forces   The forces of innate intelligence operate through or over the nervous system in animal bodies.

  29. The Interference with Innate Forces   There can be interference with the transmission of innate forces.

  30. The Cause of Disease   Interference with the transmission of innate forces causes the incoordination of disease.

  31. Subluxations   Interference with transmission in the body is always directly or indirectly due to subluxation in the spinal column.

  32. The Principle of Coordination   Coordination is the principle of harmonious action of all the parts of an organism, in fulfilling their offices and purposes.

  33. The Law of Demand and Supply   The law of demand and supply is existent in the body in its ideal state: wherein the "clearing house" is the brain; innate, the virtuous "banker"; brain cells, the "clerks"; and nerve cells, the "messengers."

The preceding principles are a reflection of chiropractic history. The language of many of these principles can today be translated into a common language between branches of the healing arts.   Why?   Because the basic knowledge common to the healing arts is the same.

The Tangible vs the Intangible

In healing, there has been an acknowledgment that there is a force of power that supersedes the doctor and the patient. In ancient times, physicians invoked the gods to intervene on behalf of their patients and restore health. Nowadays, this faith has been directed towards science. Religion, like philosophy, is removed from science. As the world became more scientific and specialized, subjects that seemed incompatible with the progressive nature of science were relegated to an insignificant role in education. Science produced results and phenomena that people could see, hear, or touch. Religion and philosophy could make no such claim; therefore, they were placed in a position of secondary importance.

Science taught society how to achieve results for immediate gratification, but did little to answer questions regarding the purpose of life. If there is a purpose to life, what is it? Science has its part in the scheme of life (eg, its manifestations through form), but it can give only a mechanical theory as an answer to this complex question.

Because so much emphasis has been placed on the power of science and the skill and education of doctors, many authorities believe that both doctors and patients have lost their perspective regarding health. The prevalent attitude is that the doctor has the power to cure and the patient has no power at all. In reality, the doctor-patient relationship should benefit from the arrangement. The patient gives the doctor the opportunity to practice skills taught in school. The doctor affords the patient a chance to regain health. Each day the master plan of the universe unfolds, and each day doctors and patients assume their roles in this adventure.

Rational thought can give no other conclusion than that the intelligence that maintains order in the universe is the source of healing. There is no disgrace in a doctor acknowledging a power superior to his own. This acknowledgment of a force or power pervading the universe should serve as a reminder that the skill of a physician just facilitates the healing process; it does not create the process.

It should also be remembered that because the source of healing is universal in nature, it is not the property of any one branch of the healing arts. A cure can best be effected by practicing within the natural confines of our ability.

In recognition of this subservience and limited ability, certain scientific laws have been defined. Man is unable to control the universe. He may have some control on the events that occur on this planet; but apart from this power, his influence is limited. The universe continually unfolds at its own pace, without the intervention of man. This being the case, man is not as important as he perceives himself to be. He is but another creature, another aspect of life that moves in time.

The progression of time continually occurs on all levels of life, from the amoebae to the cerebrum of man. From the most active of organisms to the most stationary objects, life unfolds. Although each new adventure seems important within the context of the world in which it occurs, it is minor in regard to the universal plan.

Pertinent Concepts of Science and Philosophy

To accept a role as a viable part of life lends a new and different perspective to daily routine. There are certain laws that have been proposed by science that are applicable to philosophy. The first law states that energy can be neither created nor destroyed; it can only change form. Each person, at one time or another, is said to be in his own little world. That is because each person's existence is a little world, and we each tend to center ourselves in it.

At the beginning of time, there was an X amount of energy dispersed throughout existence. The potential of everything that initially manifested or that could be manifested had to exist of this energy. With this in mind, consider that each human being is energy and maintains a place in the universal plan. Consider that the goal of each human being is to learn and experience as much as possible before undergoing the period of transition known as death.

Although death marks the end of life as we perceive it, according to science it is nothing more than a state that will enable that which was at one time a physically manifested human life to change into another form. Many authorities conjecture that this transition being what it is, life does not end with death; it simply changes.

A second law of science states that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. Thus, the laws of science confirm the philosophical concepts of harmony in nature. Ancients referred to this as the law of compensation; the Hindus call it karma. Hermetic philosophy holds that there is a necessity for being able to experience a variety of emotions, because there will naturally occur a balance in their dispersion.

Life is also rhythmic in nature. No life is made up of only pain, nor is a life exclusively made up of happiness. The Chinese say that yin swings to yang and then back again, just as night follows day and spring follows winter.

One function of a chiropractor is to remember this concept of balanced swings in polarity of nature. For example, a patient usually presents with some degree of pain. To treat patients on a daily basis and focus only on their pain is a frustrating and emotionally draining experience. Likewise, to tell a patient to learn from their pain is not conducive to building a practice. But to treat patients with sensitivity and empathy and not lose sight of the fact that these painful situations are finite in nature take the pressure of making an instantaneous correction away from the chiropractor and allows him to practice the art of healing fully.

Also, to tell a patient that his pain is part of the universal plan would rarely comfort him. Although that might well be the case, it is not in the best interest of the patient to tell him this when he is in distress. A chiropractor has no more insight into the universal plan than any other person. Chiropractors might be more sensitive to it, but they do not possess an in-depth knowledge of it.

Chiropractors can best play their role in the universal plan by applying their science, art, and philosophy to their patients. In this way, they will facilitate healing. If through corrected health care the quality of life that a person is experiencing improves, he can better function whether or not he is cognizant of his role.


The essential element of chiropractic health care is enabling the patient to affect his internal homeostatic mechanisms and thereby achieve or maintain health. In order for this to be done, the inherent recuperative powers of the body must be influenced. Inherent growth, maintenance, and recuperative powers are collectively called innate intelligence.

There is a normal physiologic balance within an individual, a balance that has been functional since conception. It has determined the sequence that the new life developed, giving attention, when appropriate, to the nervous system, heart, blood vessels, bones, and muscle. It has been able to adjust itself to the needs of the individual without the benefit of outside intervention.

It is a function of the chiropractor, when homeostasis is thrown into a state of imbalance, to use his skill and knowledge to reinstate normal balance and tone to the body so it can properly function and administer to the needs of the individual.

Why is it that innate intelligence functioned so accurately in the womb, but once in society, it must be aided by doctors? The answer is simple. In a natural setting, life progresses in a natural sequence, uninhibited by any devices of man. Society is far from a natural setting. Instead, it breeds situations that can easily tax and overcome an individual's normal physiologic resistance and necessitate some form of external intervention. Universal intelligence maintains order in the universe, and it maintains order within every individual, animal, plant, and mineral. Unfortunately, society is maintained by "educated" intelligence. Educated intelligence and its materialistic viewpoints have helped to pervert natural instincts regarding health and have distorted the basic values that are conducive to peaceful, healthful living. This situation has taken many years to evolve, and there is no direct answer to the dilemma.

The only significant contribution that can be made in changing these attitudes is to treat and train individuals effectively so they can, in turn, make a greater positive contribution to society. There is little chance that society will ever improve itself to a point where there is no need for doctors, but a situation can be realized where the role of a doctor is seen as being adjunctive to a patient's health as opposed to being the source of a patient's health.

A most humanistic description of innate intelligence has been provided by Buckminster Fuller. He wrote:

I am 78 and at my age I find that I have now taken in more than 1,000 tons of water, food, and air, the chemistry of which is temporarily employed for different lengths of time as hair, skin, flesh, bone, blood, etc, then progressively discarded. Then I lost 70 pounds and I said, "Who was that 70 pounds? because here I am." The 70 pounds I got rid of was ten times the flesh and bone inventory at which I had weighed in 1895.

I am certain I am not the avoirdupois of the most recent meals that I have eaten, some of which will become my hair, only to be cut off twice a month. This lost 70 pounds of organic chemistry wasn't me, nor are any of the remaining presently associated atoms "me." We have been making great error in identifying "me" and "you" as these truly transient and ergo, sensorially, detectable chemistries.... There have been quite a number of weighings of people as they died. Many cancer-doomed paupers have been willing to have their beds placed on scales. The only difference manifest between weight before and after death is that caused by air exhaled from the lungs or urine that has been passed. Whatever life is, it doesn't weigh anything.

Like electricity, innate intelligence does not have weight, but its manifestations are so evident that it cannot be ignored with respect to the maintenance of health in an individual. Nor can it be questioned with respect to the ability to marshal the recuperative powers inherent in the body.

Unlike universal intelligence, whose power is dispersed throughout the cosmos, innate intelligence is concentrated within structure reaching its highest forms within living cells. Innate intelligence is linked with universal intelligence but is subordinate to it and does not possess the same resources. Not possessing the same resources and being under the influence of universal laws, it lends to each life an aura of mortality.

It is the purpose of innate intelligence to maintain a functioning life. When the body malfunctions, the inherent recuperative powers of the body are stimulated and initiate the natural healing processes that enable the body to restrain and eliminate the disease state. These recuperative powers are manifested through tissue which is finite in ability; ie, they are governed by the laws of manifest nature. Each time a patient is treated, there is no guarantee that a response in the form of healing will take place.

There is a finite quality to everything that concerns being human. This does not exclude a doctor's knowledge and ability but does include a patient's capability to heal. When one considers how many times a human heart beats in a lifetime, how fast a neural impulse travels, or how many cells make up the brain, there is a sense of awe and respect for the power and majesty of life. No machine on earth possesses the qualities of the human body, and no machine on earth is as cognizant of its mortality.

Each person lives an undetermined amount of time. Each person will change continually during this period of time. Doctors can only strive to help their patients stay functional and productive throughout life.

How long is life? There is no correct answer to this question. There are, however, many theories about the factors that affect life.

Time and the Healing Process

In a world inundated with fast-food franchises, split-second computers, and technology that spans continents in a matter of milliseconds, it is difficult for doctors and patients to accept that all things, especially the healing process, takes time. In a society that is dominated by material and financial compensations, it is no wonder that we have little patience for the necessity of time in the natural healing process of the body. In general, people would rather sacrifice their health than their money or possessions.

When the body is not functioning at its maximum, it should not be expected to, nor can it, achieve normal productivity. Whether or not there is a conscious acknowledgment of a patient's ill health on the part of the doctor or the patient, the body's inability to perform will reinforce the fact that the patient is ill.

Patients must be educated that their health did not change in a matter of minutes, but instead has continually and progressively developed into a state that has necessitated external intervention. The human body was not created to endure and tolerate prolonged pain, although it can if the need arises. Pain is meant to be an acute signal that there is a detrimental situation within the body. It now becomes the goal of the doctor-patient relationship to correct the imbalance and restore health to the degree possible under the circumstances.

The patient who presents to an office after trauma exhibits a direct cause-effect relationship to a problem. Granted, the time factor that is required to enable the patient to feel better is unknown. However, when the patient understands the cause of the problem and its morphogenesis, he is likely to be more tolerant of the healing process and its required time. Unfortunately, such a direct cause-effect relationship cannot be made with the ill-postured patient who comes in with a chronic low-back condition.

The patient's body is a reflection of a life that has been less than the person's ideal dreams and expectations. But through the skill of the chiropractor and the cooperation of the patient, a healing process can now be initiated that will alleviate the musculoskeletal conditions present and enable the patient to face the challenges of life from a position of better health as opposed to progressive disease.

There are factors that influence the amount of time required in the healing process. Among them are the skill of the chiropractor, the attitude and cooperation of the patient, and the stresses placed upon the patient. Because a chiropractor can only be responsible for his skill, it is unfair to project a specific amount of time to alleviate a patient's condition. It is equally unfair for a patient to expect that a doctor's skill is the only determinant in their condition.

Time is a universal concept that has been given parameters by man. To this end, man finds himself controlled by time. There is no such thing as a second, minute, hour, day, week, month, or year. These are man made parameters, devised to control or at least to give some order to daily living. In this effort to measure and control time, man has become controlled. Many people are distressed because they mark birthdays not as significant days to commemorate accomplishments, but as periods of meditation to ponder acts and things not achieved.

A Biopsychosocial Model

It was Hippocrates who stressed that man should be studied in his entirety and in relation to his environment. Chiropractic has long attempted to focus not only on individual patients but on their interaction within their personal environment. A precise definition of this interaction can be seen when one considers the biopsychosocial model of a patient.

An appraisal of this model indicates that there are two distinct components within it. Those levels under the box marked "PERSON" are a definition of how a patient and his or her components are effectively treated with chiropractic care. The reaction is based upon the stimulation of the CNS, and it affects all parts of the body. Thus, although chiropractic is well known for its treatment of musculoskeletal problems, its influences within the body cannot be confined by conventional definitions or commonly held misconceptions.

Once a patient has been effectively treated, the patient is better able to relate to his environment. Therefore, those levels that supersede the box marked "PERSON" indicate the complex environment of which man is a part. In the continuity of natural systems, every unit, at the same time, is a part and a whole. The factors that affect each level of the model can be seen if one views the stacked model in the shape of a series of boxes.

Chiropractic has long emphasized ecology, both personal and environmental, as a method of treating the public's health needs. Overall health reflects a high level of intra- and inter-systemic harmony, and disruption can be initiated at any level. Whether or not this disruption is contained or expands to other levels depends on the capacity of the system to adapt and react to change.

The human body is an integrated organism.   There is no part of the body that does not affect the functioning of other parts. Chiropractors work on the whole person by affecting changes primarily in the spine and neuromusculoskeletal system.

People are complex.   Situations affect different people in different ways, but the result is that people basically want to be happy and comfortable.

Even situations that occur of an unpleasant nature can be better tolerated in a healthy body. A body that is functioning optimally will maintain a positive attitude. This attitude, although initiated at one level of the biopsychosocial model, can then be reflected throughout the organism. By treating each individual patient whose disorder belongs to a system, the entire system can be affected.

By acknowledging the need of coordination in maintaining the welfare of the organism and therefore the system, there is an inherent need on the part of the practitioner for astute observation and diagnosis. For years the healing arts have viewed the study of disease to be science, while the treatment of a patient has been considered an art. Applying the biopsychosocial model to this statement proves it false. Unless the two entities, study (observation) and treatment, are exclusive, they cannot be considered separately. If a given state of disease is manifest in a patient, it is evident because it affects that person. The treatment of an individual is an attempt to alleviate the patient's problem, and it grants the patient an opportunity to contribute to his welfare and the welfare of any other person in his environment.

The Chiropractic Approach

The effective application of chiropractic principles in clinical practice is the unique characteristic that separates the chiropractor from the allopath. It is this blending of science and philosophy that allows the chiropractor to approach patients with a human quality that has never been consistently duplicated by any other profession.

The chiropractic approach is undiluted with the pretense of scientific jargon that separates the patient, a person, from the doctor, another person. A chiropractor who is enthusiastic about his work shares this enthusiasm with his patients. In turn, patients share their lives with their chiropractor, and the result is a doctor-patient relationship that is dynamic. And it is only right that the chiropractor-patient relationship be dynamic, because this microcosmic relationship is an accurate description of the chiropractic profession.

The work of chiropractic pioneers established chiropractic as a profession. The tradition that has been handed down to the profession today is a challenge. Chiropractors, often the victims of intolerance, must be tolerant. The theories and methods that have laid the basis for this great profession might today be better understood in a language common to all members of the healing arts. With the current knowledge that has been accumulated in anatomy, physiology, and biomechanics, perhaps there are more effective techniques today than there were when chiropractic was new.

The leverage of chiropractic lies in the fact that it can incorporate this new body of information into the profession without compromising its basic principles that are so essential to clinical practice. In fact, the information that is currently in vogue can only strengthen the chiropractic approach to healing.

Intraprofessional Harmony

Theories, by their very nature are subject to change. Principles are not. Chiropractic works. This has been proven time and again by countless pioneer chiropractors who successfully treated the sick. Their methods were different from each other and different from the methods commonly used today, but these methods produced results that were unusual at the time. In similar fashion, chiropractors embrace new techniques and are learning new approaches today. Some of these will stand the test of time, some will be refined or replaced, but all of them, to be considered chiropractic, must be consistent with the principles of chiropractic.

Education and its infatuation with scientific dogma has deprived the doctor of a most powerful ally: one's humanity. The ability to possess knowledge and skill yet maintain faith in the intuitive ability of human instincts is rare. All too often a patient lauds a physician's skill, but finds him lacking as a human being.

A doctor cannot be lacking either in technical skill and knowledge or in humanism because the combination of the two is what makes a doctor. Technical skill alone makes a technician. Despite any title he might possess, the shortsighted, limited scope with which a patient is viewed can only be the observation of a technician. Combining this technical skill with sensitivity and empathy transforms the technician into a doctor.

Concluding Remarks

Part of chiropractic art is being a doctor. This art can only be realized when a physician has enough confidence and skill so as not to be threatened by a patient's question or to be unsympathetic to a patient's needs. More than anything else, a doctor needs to be human in his approach to patients.

Chiropractic is a philosophy, art, and science. Art and science are subject to change. As these components relate to chiropractic, they have changed and will continue to change so as to strengthen the principles of chiropractic philosophy.

The triune of philosophy, art, and science must be kept in perspective if chiropractic is to continue to grow. The health of society depends on this. The future of chiropractic demands it.


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