I had an interesting conversation with a friend recently about three components of chiropractic; namely, the philosophy, science, and art of it.
We agreed there is an imbalance among the three, and after a couple of hours of sometimes quite spirited talking, we decided science was the easiest to agree on. I mentioned my memory of Dr. Sid Williams dropping a ring of keys as he spoke to us in assembly at Life College. His message was simple: It doesn’t matter whether you agree with gravity or not””it works every time.
Science, when applied to our under- standing as chiropractors on how we believe and then act, is simple. We have a brain that is connected to nerves.
These nerves are connected to cells and organs. They work better when connected to the source.
Our next subject of discussion was the philosophy of chiropractic. Here we ventured on discourse regarding the “religion” of chiropractic. My friend and I agreed that the religion of chiropractic in the end serves no one. Alienation of the very people we are trying to evangelize is the usual result.
What we do and say must make sense. Deification and hyperbole discredits the reality of our profession. This does not diminish in any way the sacrifices and genius of the chiropractic pioneers who have preceded us; however, appropriate and truthfully defined narration of our chiropractic history must be the minimum standard.
Finally, there is the art of what we do. Here we spent the bulk of our time. The old joke of “How many techniques are there in chiropractic?” Answer: “Take the number of chiropractors and multiply by two,” is close to the truth.
In our observation, not only is there a large number of ways to “correct the subluxation” but there is an even larger number of ways to define the term. My wife, also present during our chat, was quick to offer that in her 30 or so years as a spouse, consumer, and often- frustrated defender of chiropractic, she had yet to hear a clear consensus as to what constitutes a subluxation.
How many doctor’s reports and health talks had she been a privy to? And still she had difficulty in sharing the chiropractic story with friends and family.
Then we got to the meat of the matter. My friend was at our place in Montana to get adjusted. He had just driven over 500 miles to get those couple of adjustments, easily passing up several hundred chiropractic offices in the process. Our recent move to Montana had apparently put him in a world of hurt.
“You would think that I could find someone closer at home to do it right.” But in his opinion he could not”” hence the 1,100-mile road trip.
He teaches technique seminars, largely from frustration and a deep concern that the art and the adjusting skill of the average chiropractor are poor to say the least. My consulting and locum work have given me a similar impression.
It is often gratifying, however, as many times a patient will be genuinely surprised at how effective a specific adjustment can be. As an instructor for a couple of decades in very specific chiropractic analysis and full-spine adjusting, my concern for the profession is there as well.
True, it takes many years to hone the skills introduced in college, but the point is that our profession has a way to go yet to excel in the delivery of what our philosophy says we have to offer.
Science, philosophy, and art. These are three spokes in a wheel that, if balanced, leads to effective communication and public understanding.
Our delivery of chiropractic must begin and end in how precisely and effectively we can deliver the adjustment. All the other stuff must take second place.
Perry Chinn, DC, is a 1986 Life University graduate, and has been practicing in the puget Sound area of Washington State for 30 years, most recently in downtown Seattle. He is the author of Symphony of Wellness and Soaring Beyond Fear. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or through perrychinn.com.