The Basis of Chiropractic as I see it…

By Eddy Cohen, D.C.

The Basis of Chiropractic as I see it…

Chiropractic is based upon the simple principle that the body naturally strives toward health. This is the normal expression of the body’s innate intelligence. The nerve system’s primary responsibility is to coordinate this process. If one of the bones of the spine becomes misaligned (subluxated), the nerve system is interfered with and this striving toward health and harmonious function is lessened. Simply put, the body, whatever it’s state or level of health, is better off with a good nerve supply.

That, to me expresses the essence of the basis for chiropractic practice. And I believe it has essentially been so since the very beginning. DD Palmer did more than name chiropractic – he gave us an understanding never known before. How amazing the incredible mind of DD Palmer. At the same time in history that Quantum Physics was being born – he was giving birth to Chiropractic. He stated…

“Life is the expression of tone.” In that sentence (he said) is the basic principle of chiropractic. Tone is the normal degree of nerve tension. Tone is expressed in functions by normal elasticity, activity, strength and excitability of the various organs, as observed in a state of health. Consequently, the cause of dis-ease is any variation of tone, nerves too tense or too slack.” He also said… “Spinal adjusting is not an auxiliary to any method. To relieve an impingement in acute disease by one adjustment in less than a minute, so Innate can transmit functions in a normal amount, is not an auxiliary to any method, neither does Chiropractic need any method as an auxiliary. Those who expect to put in a lifetime combating disease, fighting the entrance of disease, as though it was an enemy with hostile intent, should not learn Chiropractic. It is very difficult to turn a medical fighter into a peaceful Chiropractor.”

It is clear from these statements that DD Palmer was not talking about a new more effective means of treating neuromusculoskeletal conditions. What he was doing was giving birth to a completely new and different way of looking at your body, your health and your life. What an incredible leap of understanding. What an amazing leap of comprehension and awareness. How many could have kept up? He gave us something truly amazing and incredibly simple. But the leap was clearly too much for many of us. It takes critical thinking and Vitalistic awareness to see where DD was heading. But not all of us were thinking critically or Vitalistically enough to get what he was really saying.

From THE DANCING WU LI MASTERS, by Gary Zukav… “Not one physicist, not even Planck himself, wanted to accept the implications of Planck’s discovery, for to do so threatened a scientific structure (Newtonian Physics) over three hundred years old. Heisenberg wrote about the quantum revolution:

…When new groups of phenomena compel changes in the pattern of thought …even the most eminent of physicists find immense difficulties. For the demand for change in the thought pattern may engender the feeling that the ground is to be pulled from under ones feet… I believe that the difficulties at this point can hardly be overestimated. Once one has experienced the desperation with which clever and conciliatory men of science react to the demand for a change in the thought pattern, one can only be amazed that such revolutions in science have actually been possible at all.”

Remember the words of Colin Powell, “Opportunity knocks for everyone. But, everyone doesn’t have their bags packed.” As a result of our inability, as a profession, to truly appreciate the scope of chiropractic; we have split into ‘camps’ each of which thinks it has the only correct perception of chiropractic. Mechanism says there is only right and wrong. Things are either tangible, and therefore correct, or intangible and therefore incorrect. So, if I am right and you think anything different, you must be wrong. We can’t both be right, can we? Can both positions have some truth connected to them and can we actually express them both legitimately?

One of the things we have learned from Quantum Physics is that a thing can have more than one attribute. Like light behaving as either a particle or a wave depending on the need of the situation. This understanding should be a lot more comfortable to someone thinking Vitalistically than it appears to be. Chiropractic is non-linear. It is not just one more method or means of doing the same thing as medicine, whether orthodox or alternative. It is a means of doing something different. DD Palmer said that chiropractic is founded on Tone. By that he meant, clearly, that a living system expressing normal Tone is capable of maintaining an optimal expression of its ‘self.’ He also said that expressing too much or too little Tone would result in loss of that natural attribute, that being dis-ease, and ultimately a state of disease.

Unfortunately, we tend to look for those statements that tend to support the position we have already taken rather than see where they all lead while applying critical thinking. We can see that process occur when we look at the basic philosophy of medicine. That is known as Koch’s Postulate, which is, of course, the basis of the Germ Theory.

1. The bacteria must be found in every person with the ‘disease.’
2. The bacteria must never be found in a person without the disease.
3. The bacteria must be capable of culture (i.e. survival) outside the body of the host.
4. The bacteria must produce the same disease when introduced into a new host.

Every scientist and medical professional knows this concept to be provably false. Yet a variety of rationalizations are used to prevent a change in understanding and practice that makes more sense. Whenever things do not go according to expectations – as is pretty consistent in this case – those rationalizations are pulled out of the hat. It is Atypical, or it must have been a Mis-diagnosis. Those explanations can remove responsibility from the individual physician. But they do not change reality. Drugs are tested in the laboratory, and in small-scale clinical trials. Then approved for use in the general population where individual physicians can prescribe them for any other condition they choose. The results can be horrifying. Many investigative reports have born this out. Although some have been saying this for a while, the media now report that the real cause of recent shootings at high schools (and other locations) around the country may be anti-depression medications. Reports are that 4% of those taking these drugs are likely to become homicidal. Over 2 million children are currently on them. You can do the math and see what 4% of 2 million comes to.

So I for one am very grateful that DD gave us something very different. But to truly achieve the advantage of that we must think differently too. We must see all that chiropractic can be.

On one hand we say the sole purpose of chiropractic care is to restore a normal state of Tone by removing nerve system interference, and that we do not treat any disease or condition. But, we also know through over 100 years of experience that one result of that correction we call the adjustment is reduced disease and infirmity. I say to deny that is foolish. As Bob Marley said, “In the abundance of water, the fool is thirsty.”

Yes, just like light, chiropractic can have different attributes at the same time depending on what it needs to be under the circumstance. People do get well with chiropractic care. When we say “get well” we may be referring to the more normal expression of Tone. But we are foolish if we do not acknowledge that people we care for also get less sick and symptomatic as a result of chiropractic care. The list of so-called conditions from which people have traditionally gotten well as a result of chiropractic care is enormous. Colic, ear infection, allergy, asthma, cluster headache, migraines, diabetes, congestive heart disease, colitis, lymphomas, ulcers, arthritis, are just a few. There are so many more. But if I ask you where to adjust to cure or alleviate any of these we know there is no certain answer. We don’t even know where to begin to treat disease although we do certainly know there are areas of the spine that are more likely subluxated than others.

So we are left in the end with what DD Palmer gave us in the beginning. DD Palmer should be recognized, and I hope one day will be, as one of the great geniuses of his age. There is no doubt in my mind, or in my experience, that we have exactly what most people are really looking for today. They want a means of experiencing true wellbeing without resorting to drugs or surgery. We just need to meet them where they are and show them what can be. And that is the real key to successful low stress, high income, and fun practice, on a daily basis. And that is what we can all experience by just telling the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

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Eddy Cohen currently works with Charles Ward, DC and Ward Success Systems, teaching chiropractors to be successful in a philosophically congruent practice. He has been a practicing chiropractor since 1982 in a high volume, and ‘cash based’ family practice. He taught chiropractic philosophy and child adjusting at Life College, and co-created (with Dr. Larry Webster) the ICPA Chiropractic Pediatric Certification Program. He has lectured and authored numerous articles on chiropractic philosophy; cash based family practice, ethical practice procedures, and adjusting infants, children, and pregnant women. He is also a regular speaker at New Beginnings. He says: “I believe that people want exactly what chiropractic offers. They simply don’t know we have it. It is up to us to tell them the truth.”

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