A Collection of Strange Beliefs, Amusing Deceptions, and Dangerous Delusions

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Chiropractic is the most significant nonscientific health-care delivery system in the United States. --William T. Jarvis, Ph.D.

....chiropractic today includes more than 60,000 practitioners that represent a wide range of positions, from the traditional subluxation theorists to reformers who are critical of subluxation theory and its related pseudoscientific claims. --Ron Good

The basic idea of classical chiropractic is that "subluxations" are the cause of most medical problems. According to classical chiropractic, a "subluxation" is a misalignment of the spine that allegedly interferes with nerve signals from the brain. However, there is no scientific evidence for spinal subluxations and none have ever been observed by medical practitioners such as orthopedic surgeons, neurosurgeons, or radiologists. On May 25, 2010, The General Chiropractic Council (GCC), a UK-wide statutory body with regulatory powers, issued the following statement:

The chiropractic vertebral subluxation complex is an historical concept but it remains a theoretical model. It is not supported by any clinical research evidence that would allow claims to be made that it is the cause of disease or health concerns.

Even so, chiropractors still maintain that spinal adjustment is the key to good health.

Chiropractors think that by adjusting the misalignments they can thereby restore the nerve signals and cure health problems. This idea was first propounded in 1895 by D. D. Palmer (1845-1913), a grocer and magnetic healer from Davenport, Iowa. Palmer was a vitalist who considered intelligent energy to be conveying information among various body parts. There is no scientific evidence to support these ideas. Palmer called this vital energy "innate intelligence" and claimed it was connected to a Universal Intelligence. He even likened himself to Jesus, Mohammed, Joseph Smith, and Mary Baker Eddy (Ernst and Singh 2008).

Palmer claimed that he cured a deaf man, Harvey Lillard, who was a janitor by trade, by manipulating his spine. As Dr. Harriet Hall comments: "This makes no anatomical sense." Palmer also thought he cured a person of heart problems by spinal manipulation. He then leaped to the conclusion that he'd discovered the key to all disease. He wrote a textbook and opened a school. The rest, as they say, is history. ('Chiropractic' was coined from the combination of two Greek works, cheir and praxis, meaning "done by hand.") Based on who-knows-what evidence, Palmer boldly proclaimed that "Ninety-five per cent of all diseases are caused by displaced vertebrae."

Palmer's son Bartlett Joshua (B. J.) Palmer (1882-1961) took over the chiropractic school, and after his father's death expanded the popularity of chiropractic by buying radio and television stations to promote it. His first purchase was in 1922 when he  purchased radio station WOC ("Wonders Of Chiropractic") in Davenport. He used the station to market chiropractic, among other things.  A second station in Des Moines, WHO ("With Hands Only"), was purchased in 1930.* B. J. not only expanded the business by buying media to promote it, in 1924 he introduced a temperature-measuring machine called a neurocalometer as a piece of standard equipment graduating students would need to detect misalignments in the spine or pinched nerves. He sold the devices for 10 to 20 times the cost of manufacturing them. The price he sold these useless devices for was about the same as the cost of a house in Iowa in the 1920s, yet he sold more than 2,000 of them to graduates of his college and other chiropractors (Ernst and Singh 2008). (For more on the invention of the neurocalometer, see here and scroll down to Dossa Evins.)

Despite the fact that chiropractors claim there are thousands of studies that prove the effectiveness of spinal manipulation, most support for chiropractic comes from testimonials of people who claim to have been helped by manipulation. Whether they were helped because nerves were "unblocked" has not been established. And there is no way to measure whether any so-called intelligent energy is even present, much less affected by manipulation. Most of these testimonials have come from people who believe their back pain was alleviated by spinal manipulation. Whether the manipulation is any more effective than a back rub, hot creams, exercise, or time, is questionable. The clinical evidence indicates that a treatment of something like ibuprofen and exercise is just as effective as chiropractic for relieving back pain (Ernst and Singh 2008). Relieving back pain is a notoriously tricky area, since our species is poorly designed for upright activity and most people suffer intermittent bouts of back pain. One is likely to seek a chiropractor (or buy magnetic braces or some other bit of quackery) when one's pain is most severe. Natural regression will usually lead to the pain lessening after the treatment, even if there is no causal connection between the two. This is not to say that chiropractors don't help people with aching backs, including people with chronic back problems. Maybe some do. But there is no scientific evidence that correcting these so-called misalignments by manipulation has anything to do with relief from pain.

The chiropractic model maintains that all health problems are due to "blockage" of nerves. "A substantial minority of chiropractors pay very little attention to the patient's history or standard physical findings. Rather, they rely on bogus tests or unnecessary X-rays to find misalignments.*  It is true that nerves from the spine connect to the organs and tissues of the body and it is true that damage to those nerves affects whatever they connect to: sever the spinal cord and your brain can't communicate with your limbs, though your other organs can still continue to function. These facts, however, have nothing to do with supporting the theory of spinal misalignment.

Chiropractic often claims to be holistic and often touts the fact that the body is self-healing and usually doesn't need drugs or surgery. (Nor does it need chiropractic, one might add. Most of us will heal from most injuries or diseases without any intervention.) Spinal manipulation allegedly unblocks nerves so the body can heal itself. Chiropractic seems like a materialistic version of Chinese acupuncture used to unblock chi, or therapeutic touch to channel prana. The chiropractor's "needles" are his or her hands and fingers, manipulating nerves rather than the flow of chi.

For years chiropractors rarely worked with medical doctors and they were almost never on staff at hospitals. The American Medical Association (AMA) made no bones about its disapproval of chiropractic, which was discredited by their Committee on Quackery. The chiropractors fought back and won a lawsuit against the AMA in 1976 for restraint of trade. Today, the American College of Surgeons sees the two professions as working together (see their position paper on chiropractic). Privately, however, many battles continue between the medical profession and chiropractic. Publicly, the AMA no longer attacks chiropractic. Some chiropractic colleges have a professional relationship with local hospitals or universities and some chiropractic students do internships in medical centers. Today, numerous so-called "complementary medicine" techniques are being allowed to flourish in hospitals and medical clinics around the country without a word of protest from the AMA. The National Institutes of Health has a flourishing division for testing even the most unpromising of alternative health practices. Chiropractors and other "alternative" practitioners have learned one thing from the AMA: it pays to organize and to lobby Congress and state legislatures. The AMA is still the most powerful lobby among health care professionals, but it is no longer flying solo. Even so, the AMA's lobbying is not the only reason that chiropractic's public image has suffered.

For years chiropractors relied more on faith than on empirical evidence in the form of control studies to back up their claims about the wonders of spinal manipulation. Chiropractors now claim to have many studies supporting the effectiveness of their art. Like the folks at Transcendental Meditation (TM) who cite every study that indicates some sort of benefit to meditating, the chiropractors cite studies that indicate some sort of benefit to spinal manipulation. The TM folks don't mention that studies show that many relaxation techniques are just as beneficial as meditation, even of the kind of meditation promoted by TM. Nor do the chiropractors who shout loudly about their scientific studies ever mention than there is not a strong body of scientific evidence that their techniques are significantly better than others, such as resting and doing nothing, doing exercises, having surgery, taking drugs, or getting a good massage.

There are some published studies that indicate that manipulation may be effective for the treatment of certain kinds of headaches and other pains, but the evidence doesn't show that manipulation is superior to common alternative treatments or that chiropractic spinal adjustments are especially effective.

Many chiropractors claim that germ theory is wrong, a fact that does little to make chiropractors seem like advanced medical practitioners.1 To ignore bacteria and viruses, or to underestimate the role of microbes in infections, as chiropractors are wont to do, is not likely to advance their cause. Every misdiagnosis or mistreatment by a chiropractor undermines the whole profession, rather than only the individual malpractitioner, because of the contentious nature of the idea of spinal misalignments.

Chiropractic is touted as safer than drugs or surgery. This may seem self-evident but it isn't even true. Some chiropractors have seriously harmed children and adults by their risky procedures, some of which have even proven fatal. Things could get even worse if the current push by chiropractors to become primary care practitioners for infants and children is successful. Pediatrics is much riskier than manipulating the spine of a middle-aged man who is there because he doesn't want surgery and he wants to play golf that afternoon.

For those who say chiropractic is perfectly safe, take a look at these pictures of Sandra Nette before and after chiropractic spinal manipulation. (If the link is not correct, try here.)

Sandra Nette

Sandra Nette after chiropractic spinal manipulation






In short, chiropractic remains controversial. It is attractive, perhaps, because there is no danger of side effects from powerful painkilling drugs, since chiropractors don't generally recommend such drugs to their patients. It is also attractive because it is seen as an alternative to surgery. And it is attractive because it is seen as generally less expensive than treatment by a physician with drugs or surgery. This is nonsense, however. The people I know who see chiropractors visit them again and again and again, paying for their services over and over and over. Also, it should not be assumed that all medical doctors are quick to prescribe drugs or surgery for patients with back problems. Many, like their  chiropractic brothers and sisters, will recommend weight loss or selected exercises for specific back problems. Some doctors may even admit that there's nothing that can be done.

William Jarvis notes that chiropractic has become:

a conglomeration of factions in conflict, bound together only by opposition to outside critics. At least a dozen different notions about how the spine should be corrected divide practitioners. Some say only the Atlas needs adjusting; others go to the other end of the spine and say only the sacral area is important. Still others use both ends (sacrooccipital). Several adhere to specific vertebral levels for specific organs or diseases. Some measure leg lengths or test muscles -- called "applied kinesiology" (AK) -- for weakness or strength in association with foods, colors, music, and just about anything else.

The most obvious rift among chiropractors is between "straights" and "mixers." Straights adhere more to chiropractic's original theory and practice, while "mixers" (a term applied by the straights and unpopular among the mixers) may incorporate almost any modality into their practices. The ICA is the straights' national organization, and the ACA represents mixers.

Mixers are not necessarily more scientific than the more conservative straights. Mixers are likely to use such questionable therapies as colonic irrigation, iridology, applied kinesiology, acupressure, and craniosacral therapy. Both are likely to use the pointless "diagnostic" device known as the e-meter, so popular among Scientologists that many think L. Ron Hubbard invented it. He didn't. It was created by a chiropractor, Volney Mathison (Ernst and Singh 2008).

In short, chiropractic may be an unhealthy alternative for many people. The SkepDoc, Harriet Hall, writes: "One study [on chiropractic] found: 115 case reports included strokes (66), spinal fluid leak (5), spinal epidural hematoma (7), cauda equina syndrome (2), herniated disc (20), radiculopathy (7), myelopathy (3), diaphragmatic palsy (3) and pathologic fractures of vertebra (2)." See Adverse Effects of Chiropractic.

But if you still want to give it a try, as several of my friends have, go ahead. You won't cause me any pain at all. Some of my friends have been going to a chiropractor for twenty years or more. They wouldn't be going back if they didn't think they were getting their money's worth, right? On a serious note: Ernst and Singh (2008) advise that if you do seek treatment from a chiropractor, for your own safety do not allow any manipulation of your neck. You could end up dead or paralyzed.

See also alternative health practice, complementary medicine, frontier medicine, integrative medicine, and quackery.

1. Someone claiming to be a student at a Canadian chiropractic college wrote to say that his education has included "biochemistry, where clinical examples of how microbes may interrupt biological function and cause disease are often referenced." He says he also took "a year-long course in immunology, pathology, microbiology and public health, in which the germ theory is a major player."

reader comments

further reading

books and articles

Barrett, Stephen M.D. 2009. Chiropractic's Dirty Secret: Neck Manipulation and Strokes

Benedetti, Paul and Wayne Macphail. (2003). Spin Doctors: The Chiropractic Industry Under Examination. Dundurn Press.

Ernst, Edzard and Simon Singh. 2008. Trick or Treatment: The Undeniable Facts about Alternative Medicine. W. W. Norton.

Homola, Samuel. (2007). "Chiropractic - A Profession Seeking Identity." Skeptical Inquirer. Jan/Feb.

Homola, Samuel. (2010). "Should Chiropractors Treat Children?" Skeptical Inquirer. Sept/Oct..

Jarvis, William. "Chiropractic: A Skeptical View," in The Hundredth Monkey, ed. Kendrick Frazier (Buffalo, N.Y.: Prometheus Books, 1991), pp. 262-270.

Jüni, Peter et al. A randomised controlled trial of spinal manipulative therapy in acute low back pain. Ann Rheum Dis. Published Online First: 5 September 2008. doi:10.1136/ard.2008.093757 Copyright © 2008 BMJ Publishing Group Ltd & European League Against Rheumatism. "Conclusions: SMT is unlikely to result in relevant early pain reduction in patients with acute low back pain."

Magner, George. Chiropractic : the victim's perspective; edited by Stephen Barrett ; with a foreword by William T. Jarvis. (Amherst, N.Y.: Prometheus Books, 1995).

Smith, Ralph. At Your Own Risk: The Case Against Chiropractors, (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1984).

Thyer, Bruce and Gary Whittenberger. (2007). "A Skeptical Consumer's Look at chiropractic Claims: Flimflam in Florida?" Skeptical Inquirer. Jan/Feb.

Consumer Reports (September 1995), article on lower back pain.


Chiropractic: An Indefensible Profession It is the author’s position that chiropractic is an indefensible profession. It is inherently unscientific. The supposed cause of disease, subluxations, do not exist. And the scientific evidence overwhelmingly finds that spinal manipulation is dangerous and ineffective for practically every application.

Cochrane Summary Combined chiropractic interventions for low-back pain "The review shows that while combined chiropractic interventions slightly improved pain and disability in the short term and pain in the medium term for acute and subacute low-back pain, there is currently no evidence to support or refute that combined chiropractic interventions provide a clinically meaningful advantage over other treatments for pain or disability in people with low-back pain." (click here for more on the Cochrane Collaboration.)

Chiropractic Lawsuit - Steven Novella, M.D.

ChiroBase A Skeptical Guide to Chiropractic History, Theories, and Current Practices (Operated by Stephen Barrett MD and Samuel Homola DC)


National Council for Reliable Health Information Position Paper on Chiropractic

NCAHF Fact Sheet on Chiropractic (1998) William T. Jarvis, Ph.D.

Don't Let Chiropractors Fool You by Stephen Barrett, M.D.

A Comparison of Active and Simulated Chiropractic Manipulation as Adjunctive Treatment for Childhood Asthma - New England Journal of Medicine October 8, 1998  v. 339 issue 15 (found no benefit from chiropractic)

A Comparison of Physical Therapy, Chiropractic Manipulation, and Provision of an Educational Booklet for the Treatment of Patients with Low Back Pain - New England Journal of Medicine October 8, 1998 v. 339 issue 15 (found no difference between McKenzie physical therapy and chiropractic and found any benefit from either to be minimal.)

Statement by the American College of Surgeons on Interprofessional Relations with Doctors of Chiropractic

Mass Media Funk

The General and his Army Part 1: Meric Technique, Dossa Evins, and the Neurocalometer by Dr. Brandon Harshe


Subluxation Theory: A Belief System That Continues to Define the Practice of Chiropractic There are now some chiropractors who do not subscribe to the theory that some kind of segmental dysfunction in the spine can cause organic disease, but they are overshadowed by subluxation-based chiropractors who publish their own journals, using scientific-sounding jargon to defend implausible theories and dubious treatment methods. Some of these chiropractors do not use the “subluxation” word, instead substituting some other vague description of a spinal lesion, such as “joint dysfunction,” alleged to have the same affect on the nervous system and general health as a “vertebral subluxation.”

Put Good Chiropractic on Top By Donald M. Petersen Jr., BS, HCD(hc), FICC(h) According to Mr. Petersen, critics of chiropractic who post on the Internet are replacing "organized medicine" and drug companies as the main source of negative opinions about chiropractic:

Ever wonder what's driving the consumer public's opinion of chiropractic in the United States? You might be surprised. In the past, you might have blamed organized medicine, drug companies or others for negative opinions about chiropractic. Today, things are different. Many people use the Web as their source of information. A 2003 study estimated that "a minimum of 6.75 million health-related searches are being conducted on the Web every day."1 The word chiropractic is searched more than 2.7 million times a month.

....then I saw "Chiropractic - The Skeptic's Dictionary - Skepdic.com." Needless to say, this Web site is not very complimentary. Its section on chiropractic opens with this quote: "Chiropractic is the most significant nonscientific health-care delivery system in the United States. – William T. Jarvis, Ph.D." The site goes on to state that "there is no scientific evidence for spinal subluxations and none have ever been observed by medical practitioners such as orthopedic surgeons, neurosurgeons, or radiologists." And from there, it just gets worse. The problem is that this anti-chiropractic information appears on the first page of the Google results, just after a couple of definition sites, a government Web site and only three pro-chiropractic Web sites. Skepdic.com somehow comes before all other chiropractic sites except those mentioned above, including the International Chiropractors Association, the Foundation for Chiropractic Progress, all chiropractic colleges, and all chiropractic state associations.

So far this sounds like a good thing for me and a bad thing for pro-chiropractic folks. Tim Farley, who alerted me to Mr. Petersen's article, says that things are not what they appear to be. According to Tim:

First of all, worry about the #7 ranking in Google is very misplaced. Statistics show that just a few percent of Google users ever get that far down in the rankings.

So for instance with "Chiropractic" the Wikipedia [ranked number 1 in the search for "chiropractic"] article should be getting roughly TEN TIMES the click throughs you get.

Secondly, what Petersen recommends in the article is for chiropractors to go click the Google +1 button on pro-chiropractic results. Unfortunately (for them) this will not work. Google's own help (which they link to) clearly states: "Because of this, +1's from friends and contacts can be a useful signal to Google when determining the relevance of your page to a user’s query." Note the "from friends and contacts". They do not use +1 to change search results for everyone. And clearly, if you think about how the web works for a few minutes, they have to do it this way. If pressing +1 affected search results for everyone, that would be a MASSIVE incentive for folks to game the system by creating robots to click those +1 buttons.

Thanks, Tim, I guess.

The DC (doctor of chiropractic) as PCP (primary care physician)? "The long-simmering internecine wars among various factions of chiropractic recently reached a full boil when the Council on Chiropractic Education (CCE) had the audacity to eliminate the word “subluxation” from its draft 2012 “Standards for Doctor of Chiropractic Programs.” The CCE is the official U.S. Department of Education-approved accreditation agency for chiropractic colleges. It intends to adopt the revised Standards in January 2011and asked for comment from those affected.

“Totally unacceptable,” is the response of James Edwards, DC, in a recent article in Dynamic Chiropractic entitled “What Is the CCE Trying to Pull?”"

Not to worry! Chiropractic Board says stroke not a risk of cervical manipulation Jann Bellamy, Science-Based Medicine "Janet Levy and Britt Harwe are two Connecticut women who suffered strokes resulting from neck manipulation by chiropractors. That’s not just their lay opinion, it’s the opinion of their respective treating physicians, right there in the medical records."

Fatal Adjustments: How Chiropractic Kills by J. D. Haines, MD "A review of 116 journal articles published between 1925 and 1997 reported 177 cases of neck injury caused by manipulation. Sixty percent of these cases resulted from injury inflicted by chiropractors....The public is led to believe that physicians disparage chiropractors out of some sort of professional jealousy. Yet there is only one reason that physicians judge chiropractors so harshly. Medicine is scientifically based, whereas chiropractic is not supported by a single legitimate scientific study."

Chiropractors cause controversy by Ben Goldacre, M.D. ...there is no good evidence that chiropractic is effective for ... children's colic, sleeping and feeding problems, ear infections, asthma, and prolonged crying....

Chiropractic – A Brief Overview by Steven Novella M.D.

Adverse Effects of Chiropractic by Harriet Hall, M.D.

Chiropractic and Stroke by Harriet Hall, M.D.

Chiropractic’s Pathetic Response to Stroke Concerns by Harriet Hall, M.D.

Chiropractic and Deafness: Back to 1895 by Harriet Hall, M.D. Chiropractic still can't cure deafness. Hall writes: "There is a rumor (unconfirmed) that Harvey Lillard’s widow later said he was deaf until the day he died. We will never know enough about his case to understand what really happened. But I think we can reasonably conclude that spinal manipulation is not an effective treatment for hearing loss."

The Problem with Chiropractic NUCCA (National Upper Cervical Chiropractic Association)

news stories

The Chiropractic Board of Australia cracks down to protect the public To protect public safety, the Board has ordered chiropractors to remove all anti-vaccination material from their websites and clinics.

Chiropractic manipulation of the spine may cause strokes and even death "A study by American neurosurgeons adds to evidence suggesting chiropractic can damage arteries supplying the brain."

See also BMJ Articles Oppose Spinal Manipulation

British Chiropractic Association drops defamation claim against Simon Singh Singh was sued by the BCA for criticizing its claims that its members could help treat children with colic, sleeping and feeding problems, ear infections, asthma and prolonged crying "even though there is not a jot of evidence." The BCA, said Singh, "is the respectable face of the chiropractic profession and yet it happily promotes bogus treatments."

Science writer Simon Singh wins libel appeal after 'Orwellian nightmare' A court of appeal ruled that to make Singh prove that his claim that the British Chiropractic Association "happily promotes bogus therapies" was comparable to turning the court into "an Orwellian ministry of truth."

Simon Singh: This is goodbye In his last column for The Guardian, Singh writes: "I reckon I have spent 44 solid weeks on the libel action spread across two years....And now all my remaining spare time is being devoted to campaigning for libel reform....The crippling and prohibitive financial cost of defending a libel case is often highlighted, but the equally terrible cost in terms of time and stress is rarely mentioned."

Furious backlash from Simon Singh libel case puts chiropractors on ropes One in four chiropractors in Britain are under investigation as a result of campaign by Singh supporters, reveals Martin Robbins.

Locked In Syndrome Doesn't Stop Antigo Man Ten years ago, Scott Tatro was the proud owner of an excavating business. Today, he can hardly talk, and can only move his hand, neck, and face. A trip to the chiropractor in 2000 changed his life as he knew it.

The Alberta, Canada, government has "stopped covering a portion of chiropractic care and sex-change surgeries to save approximately $54 million, some of which will be funneled to boost home care for seniors."

McTimoney Chiropractic Association has ordered all its members to take down their websites lest they be used as evidence by Simon Singh (see next news item) to support his claim that they promote bogus therapies. The Quackometer has posted a copy of the letter. For those who don't have time to click on the Quackometer link, here is a copy of the letter:

Date: 8 June 2009 09:12:18 BDT


Dear Member

If you are reading this, we assume you have also read the urgent email we sent you last Friday. If you did not read it, READ IT VERY CAREFULLY NOW and - this is most important – ACT ON IT. This is not scaremongering. We judge this to be a real threat to you and your practice.

Because of what we consider to be a witch hunt against chiropractors, we are now issuing the following advice:

The target of the campaigners is now any claims for treatment that cannot be substantiated with chiropractic research. The safest thing for everyone to do is as follows.

If you have a website, take it down NOW.

When you have done that, please let us know preferably by email or by phone. This will save our valuable time chasing you to see whether it has been done.

REMOVE all the blue MCA patient information leaflets, or any patient information leaflets of your own that state you treat whiplash, colic or other childhood problems in your clinic or at any other site where they might be displayed with your contact details on them. DO NOT USE them until further notice. The MCA are working on an interim replacement leaflet which will be sent to you shortly.

If you have not done so already, enter your name followed by the word ‘chiropractor’ into a search engine such as Google (e.g. Joe Bloggs chiropractor) and you will be able to ascertain what information about you is in the public domain e.g. where you might be listed using the Doctor title or where you might be linked with a website which might implicate you. We have found that even if you do not have a website yourself you may still have been linked inadvertently to a website listing you or your services.




If you use business cards or other stationery using the ‘doctor’ title and it does not clearly state that you are a doctor of chiropractic or that you are not a registered medical practitioner, STOP USING THEM immediately.

Be wary of ‘mystery shopper’ phone calls and ‘drop ins’ to your practice, especially if they start asking about your care of children, or whiplash, or your evidence base for practice.



Although this advice may seem extreme or alarmist, its purpose is to protect you. The campaigners have a target of making a complaint against every chiropractor in the UK who they perceive to be in breach of the GCC’s CoP, the Advertising Standards Code and/or Trading Standards. We have discovered that complaints against more than 500 individual chiropractors have been sent to the GCC in the last 24 hours.

Whatever you do, do not ignore this email and make yourself one of the victims. Some of our members have not followed our earlier advice and now have complaints made against them. We do not want that to happen to you.

Even if you do not have a website, you are still at risk. Our latest information suggests that this group are now going through Yellow Pages entries. Be in no doubt, their intention is to scrutinise every single chiropractor in the UK.

The MCA Executive has worked tirelessly over the last week keeping abreast of development and contacting at risk members. We have decided that this is our best course of action to protect you and the Association at this time of heightened tension. This advice is given to you solely to protect you from what we believe is a concerted campaign, and does not imply any wrongdoing on your part or the part of the Association. We believe that our best course of action is simply to withdraw from the battleground until this latest wave of targeting is over.

Finally, we strongly suggest you do NOT discuss this with others, especially patients, Firstly it would not be ethical to burden patients with this, though if they ask we hope you now have information with which you can respond.

Most importantly, this email and all correspondence from the MCA is confidential advice to MCA members alone, and should not be shared with anyone else.

Please be aware that the office phone lines are likely to be busy, so, if you need our help, please send an email to the office and we will get back to you as soon as we can.


Berni Martin

MCA Chair.

Best wishes,


Silenced, the writer who dared to say chiropractic is bogus (Dr. Simon Singh is sued for libel by the British Chiropractic Association (BCA) for saying that it happily promotes "bogus" therapies. The BCA might have provided evidence that its therapies aren't bogus, I suppose, but it chose to try to silence a critic rather than prove him wrong.

On May 7th Sir David Eady, a high-court judge, ruled that the “natural and ordinary meaning” of 'bogus' is to be consciously dishonest and knowingly promoting quack treatments. So, he did libel the BCA. Singh is appealing the ruling.)

Chiropractic and stroke

Junk medicine: spinal manipulation by Mark Henderson

The Florida State University Board of Governors votes 10-3 to turn down a proposal for a chiropractic program (Dec. 2004)

Chiropractic school angers Florida State University professors

Serious pseudoscience: A US university has been considering establishing a school of chiropractic. We should find out if it works first by Edzard Ernst, February 1, 2005 The Guardian

Treatment of Hypertension with Alternative Therapies (THAT) Study: a randomized clinical trial

Sacramento Bee Editorial on Arnold Schwarzenegger, cronyism, and chiropractic

Editorial: Chiropractors will pay for Schwarzenegger's cronies

Published Thursday, Jul. 28, 2011

One of the sadder legacies of Arnold Schwarzenegger's tenure as governor was his decision to appoint Hollywood friends and cronies to the State Board of Chiropractic Examiners. They quickly made a mess of their perches, running roughshod over open-meeting laws, personnel rules and their obligation to put patients first.

It won't be backbreaking, but the chiropractic board – and chiropractors as a profession – are now paying the price for Schwarzenegger's poor judgment.

This week, Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation approving a $600,000 settlement in a wrongful-termination case filed by Catherine Hayes, the former director of the chiropractic board.

Hayes was fired from the board staff in 2007, and then claimed in a lawsuit that she was terminated for cooperating with a criminal investigation of the board and clashing with Schwarzenegger appointees who were attempting to influence that investigation.

Since the state has been on the losing end of a similar lawsuit recently, the board decided to settle with Hayes. Smart move. The money won't come out of taxpayers' pockets. Instead, it will come out of the chiropractic board's fund, financed through fees on chiropractors who hoped that Schwarzenegger would be their savior.

A former bodybuilder, Schwarzenegger swept into office with an inordinate focus on all things chiropractic. He quickly appointed Franco Columbu, a former Mr. Olympia who starred with Schwarzenegger in the film "Pumping Iron," and Richard Tyler, one of Schwarzenegger's earliest U.S. friends, to this state board.

Crusading that the profession was over-regulated, they soon generated more bad headlines and scrutiny in two years than the board had received in the previous 10.

Back in 2007, lawmakers pushed a bill to give lawmakers and the Department of Consumer Affairs more control over chiropractors, effectively ending the need for an appointed board. Brown should consider reviving this idea. Perhaps he can do more than his predecessor to get rid of costly and unneeded state boards, which continue to endure only because of shameless patronage.

The Bee's past stands

"Tyler and his colleagues shouldn't be using their positions on a state board to influence a criminal investigation. Their actions suggest they see the board of examiners as a trade association, instead of a state board charged with protecting consumers and operating under the rule of law."

– August 15, 2007

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