Chiropractic: Is there more to chiropractic than just the subluxation?

Chiropractors may wonder when the final arguments to the subluxation question will be in; where chiropractors no longer need to consider chiropractic philosophy & unity as a special topic for discussion; where the subluxation is not considered the primary target for a chiropractic discussion. When is it that chiropractors no longer consider the mechanical relationship to a disturbed function as a primary focus for study? When will chiropractors begin to recognize that the explanations and focus for a single level subluxation (and subluxation complex) may need to be reexamined; that a linear explanation of the subluxation may no longer apply in the sense it was introduced over a century ago? How, in light of all the techniques existing within the chiropractic profession, do we begin to understand that another system of communication may exist that does not follow the linear, single level subluxation concept of mechanical interferences and electrical conductivity?

Somehow in all the focus on subluxation as a mechanical interference to nerve conductivity, the possibility of nonlinear conductivity within the neuron has been ignored. The existence of a molecular basis for excitability of the nerve impulse is something chiropractors haven't thought much about, ignoring the reality that structure and function are more profoundly linked to something called "ion channels" rather than "pinched nerves" or mechanical interferences. That ion channels may be more important in adaptation of the body as a self - organization principle with evolutionary implications than the subluxation and its implied function; that the subluxation is limited as a concept of real importance until one recognizes the deeper implications of a secondary communication system. This secondary system goes beyond the single level subluxation and its linear implications. Rather, it encompasses multiple level subluxations as part of a neuro - networking communication that involves complexity science and information theory; it's nonlinear.

Part of this confusion may be in the focus on alternative medicine as a "holistic" system of healing. This incorporates the idea that mind, body, and soul are all - encompassing; that one contributes to the other and that intended actions by the mind (as in touch, guided by thoughts), contribute to the healing process. Often these concepts confuse classical holism with contemporary holism and complicate the ability to focus; forgetting that something called cybernetics and systems theory has been replacing older concepts of thinking for something that involves complexity science and information theory.

Chiropractic theory is incomplete. "It is also possible that those who use physical contact methods to intervene in health care are susceptible to the errors of illusion. Science is embarking on a new century of exploration. The last century has experienced a knowledge explosion that has no parallel in the previous experience of mankind. And yet, 'therapeutic touch' remains a mystery to the science community. It remains a mystical experience that, somehow, has not been considered as part of a serious scientific inquiry. For a profession that uses physical contact methods to intervene in health care, it would seem plausible that therapeutic touch be examined as a priority." Are chiropractors asking the right questions?

Chiropractors place emphasis upon touch as a mystical application rather than as something one can examine. That touch contains a molecular basis for explanation is something ignored by the philosophers, even the researchers, for that matter. Others, as in physical therapy, aren't ignoring it, recognizing stretch activated ion channels as a response from touch that translate into sensation.

The implication that ion channels and hebbian learning and plasticity may contribute to self - organization is more impressive than the incompleteness of a mechanical explanation for self - organization, at least to me.

The possibility that a secondary communication system may exist through ion channels is not unreal. The chiropractors inability to examine rudimentary basic science issues in cell development may contribute to the inability to creatively examine the chiropractic theory. The "elegant hypothesis" by Alan Turing suggesting that "chemicals generated incrementally during the development of a complex organism might cause the differentiation of cells during early embryonic development" appears to have confirmation in recent research.

The inquiry must take on more creativity for the chiropractor in that the recognition of "spatial information" by the egg  that "defines every position along the body axis (i.e., the spinal cord)" may be important; for, through mathematics and probability analysis, it appears to outline demarcations in morphogenesis that previously could not be examined.

Perhaps it's the implication that, having a basis in chemical reaction - diffusion principles, the spots on the leopard become visible as tangible, decipherable data. Somehow, in my way of thinking, if touch is chemical, and chemistry involves reaction - diffusion, and mathematics contains formulas to incorporate reaction - diffusion principles, then maybe it might be possible to use this concept for topographical analysis of the body surface to either find those elusive, damned spots, or maybe the "therapy - localization" spots chiropractors talk about.

It is, after all, the recognition of spatial information contained in the elegant hypothesis that links the nervous system (spinal cord) to the epidermis; that the "division of the embryo into nervous system and different types of epidermis" might have some link to why chiropractic techniques "appear" to link the application of therapy localization (touch) to the spinal cord.

Hmmm, need to think about that one.

Virgil J. Seutter, D.C.
editor, ChiroZine

17 Jan 2002

Seutter, V. "Chiropractic: Is there more to chiropractic than just the subluxation?" Chiropractic Resource Organization. 17 Jan 2002. ChiroZine ISSN1525-4550
(c) 1997-2002 All rights reserved.

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