Ok, so chiro could be considered low-hanging fruit. Not many doctors take it seriously and many people are sceptical. Hardly world-changing stuff for me to have a go at it.

On the other hand, many people (including some of my friends) have been through it and swear by it for certain circumstances. There may even be some truth to some of the benefits of some manipulations (although, for instance, a Cochrane review on lower back pain seem to dispute this, with no conclusive evidence either way, and no advantage over medical approaches).

I’m not going into the clinical efficacy of particular components of chiropractic treatments. I have my view on that, but that’s not the point I want to make here. I would point out, also, that I am not a doctor. I am doing this based on a reasoned analysis. I welcome comment or correction.

What I want to take issue with is a document (pamphlet) that I had brought to me by a friend who’s daughter (12 years old) had just been to a chiro for a regular “treatment”.

I have no problem with preventative care (if it can be shown to be effective). I do have a BIG problem with the contents of the brochure, because it pedals a load of nonsense dressed up as fact, with no references (not in the pamphlet anyway – you have to go online for that, which can be hard whilst in the clinic). Indeed, it even contains messages designed to implant the idea in parents heads that vaccination is the wrong thing to do. This is a patent absurdity (I hardly need to go into the countless lives saved through immunization, nor indeed the great deal of suffering that people no longer have to go through at the hands of diseases like polio or smallpox). Any how, I am going to take you through the text of this pernicious pamphlet. Bare with me, this is a little longer than normal.

“The Astonishing Dr. You”, a critique.

First, look at its first pages. I do this to give you a taste. The full brochure can be found here.

Now, “each effect has a cause”. Let’s start with that. One can only assume these people have God on their side because this just begs for an infinite regress argument. And look at that lovely picture of a nebula. Doesn’t that just fill you with awe at how incredibly large and complex the universe is. But, there is a reason for it, because there is “an intelligence”. Actually, it is more likely that universal constants are responsible for the “balance” we perceive. But then, just how balanced are things? Thermodynamics strongly argues against any notion of order coming from chaos. Furthermore, how do they know that “what seems unnecessary has purpose”? What do they have in mind, the appendix? That had a purpose, it just doesn’t serve it anymore.  All this is beside the point anyway, as this is a pamphlet about helping real people with real problems, apparently. Not an auspicious start.

I thank a particular FaceBook page that had the text of this pamphlet, and from here I’ll just analyze the text. Here goes. My notes in blue.

Every living thing has a form of this special intelligence.

It allows movement.

It directs growth.

It permits adaptation.

It is inside every living thing from the tallest tree to the tiniest cell.

Ok, Ok, there is this intelligence. Intelligence here though can hardly be defined how you normally would, such as in the OED: the ability to acquire and apply knowledge and skills. Sure, a cell can apply its “skills” but this kind of linguistic torture is going to get ridiculous. Cells do not have intelligence. Neither does the sun, for instance. They have rules and processes, rather like our neurons do. In combination, evolution has produced a remarkable thing – our human intelligence. It does not reside in the individual cells however.

It was there when YOU became YOU!

When two cells became four.

When four cells became eight, and eight became sixteen, and so on.

It was there just days later when your brain and nervous system organized to convey this special intelligence to every part of your body!

And it is on the job now, taking care of every detail to keep you alive.

If you lose your health, you need a good doctor. And the best doctor in the world is ready 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Meet Doctor YOU!

NO NO NO. This is all wrong. Yes, you body’s systems are AMAZING, and prevent you from being sick, injured, crazy etc all the time. Far better than doctors could do. That’s why you generally only go to a doctor when you are sick – you’re body has taken a bit too much and you need help. A lot of medicine just helps your body get back on track. But no, this was not “there” at the beginning. There were no lymphatic system when you were 8 cells, no white blood cells. No blood actually. Your cells are not a doctor. They are you, and not all of them help keep you well. Some merely keep you alive. Others “merely” help you read this.

As an aside, they have already contradicted themselves here. If that “intelligence” was always there in all the cells, why does it need an organised brain and nervous system to convey it? I can see the cells’ “intelligent” reaction, “duh, we’ve had that all along. Boring!”.

Doctor you…..

  • Supplies the precise amount of insulin
  • The perfect amount of stomach acid
  • The correct dosage of adrenaline
  • Heals, mends, protects, and regulates
  • Eliminates back pain
  • Cures headaches
  • Relaxes tight muscles

EXCEPT when Doctor You cannot.

If you are not enjoying true health, something is interfering with Dr. YOU!

This is now bordering on insanity. If the best doctor is always on hand (because it is YOU), then how can this have exceptions? What, does it get drunk on pollen and sleep in or something?

That’s a trivial complaint, I guess. But isn’t it a bit stupid to rephrase centuries of medical research that has given us answers as to how insulin is regulated, for instance, as “Dr. You”. Its not Dr. You, it’s your endocrine system, look it up. Its on Wiki. Or is that what they mean? Who knows. It seems they are softening us up so that we’ll believe anything.

But what is Health?

Many people think that health is “how you feel“.  But a lack of symptoms does not mean you are healthy.  If you look good and feel great but have undetected cancer…..you are sick!

If you unknowingly eat spoiled food and Dr. You intelligently vomits to expel it, you are well.  You may not feel very good but you are having a healthy response.  The same can be true of fevers, sneezing and coughing. These are signs that Dr. You is on the job.

How you feel is a poor judge of your health!

OOOH, we have introduced “the Big C”. This is clearly a scare tactic, designed to get you after you were buttered up by the preceding drivel. There’s not much wrong about what is said here. These are motherhood statements. Although I would argue that all things being equal, feeling good is a good thing. What constitutes good health varies between people; there are no hard and fast rules, and it is true you can have cancer without knowing it. Its also true that vomiting is a reflex response to foreign toxins and stuff. I don’t think you could describe violent vomiting as “well”, even if it is perfectly natural. This Dr. You has a strange sense of humour.

Traditional Health Care is largely about suppressing symptoms:

  • Headache? Drug It!
  • Sore Throat? Numb It!
  • Tight Muscle? Muscle Spasm? Chemically Relax It!
  • High Blood Pressure?  Artificially Lower It!
  • Malfunctioning Gall Bladder?  Surgically Remove It!

These drastic measures blindly treat symptoms and ignore the underlying cause.

Dorlands Medical Dictionary defines health as: “Optimum mental, physical and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmities.”

They do not “blindly treat symptoms”. They attempt to treat specific symptoms, in some cases. In others, they go direct to the cause of illness and suppress/kill off that. Need an example? Paracetamol for pain, antibiotics for bacterial infection. As for removing your gall bladder, well, you try having an inflamed one with little stones blocking the exit. I narrowly missed out on that delight. I no longer have a gall bladder. I’m healthier for it, trust me. The above statements (apart from the dictionary definition, which I have no drama with) are pure bullshit scaremongering. Medicine does more than that. Indeed it aspires to precisely something like that definition.

True health is how well your body works, mentally, physically, and socially.  If something is not working right, you are sick.  What controls how your body works?

It is the purpose of your brain and nervous system to control the function of every cell, tissue, organ and system of your body.  A properly working nervous system is the key to good health.

Not your Blood (controlled by your nervous system)!

Not Your Blood Pressure (controlled by your nervous system)!

Not Your Pulse (controlled by your nervous system)!

These measurements are interesting but they are not a measure of true health!

OK, this is so disingenuous that it needs to be ignored. But not yet. Of course the nervous system is important. There are other systems too that work in tandem. The nervous system is in constant contact with these systems. The whole thing is very complicated. That’s why people study medicine for 6 years and spend years in hospitals before being let loose on private patients. One of the references is this: Function of the Nervous System. http://www/stmarys.medford.or.us/curriculum/bio/hbsm/nervous/function.html. 2000. The link doesn’t work. Funny that. If you can find the article, send it to me!

Oh, by the way, blood, blood pressure and pulse are not complete measures of health. They have a point there (inane as it may be).

When you heart beats, it receives commands from your nervous system.  When your immune system shields you from infection, it receives commands from your nervous system.  Your nervous system controls the release of hormones, neuropeptides and enzymes.  Dr. You relies on your nervous system to make sure everything works right.

See above.

Because your nervous system is so important, the most vital parts are protected by bone.  The skull protects your brain.  The 24 moving bones of the spinal column cover your spinal cord.

A constant stream of nerve impulses leaves your brain, travels down your spinal cord and out to every cell and tissue of your body.

All pretty much fine (though nothing particularly new here) and to use a great medical term, “unremarkable”.

Impulses sent back to your brain confirm everything is working as it should.  Anything interfering with this vital exchange sets the stage for ill health.

The reference to this (Sherwood, Lauralee, M.D. PhD, Human Physiology from Cells to Systems, 3rd ed., Wadsworth Publishing Company, 1997: 110) refers to a page in a textbook entitled “neuropeptides act primarily as neuromodulators”. Since I’m not a doctor, I won’t comment on the meaning of that, but it doesn’t sound like it supports the previous statement.

Many things can interfere with the accurate transmission of nerve impulses.  The moving bones of the spine are common culprits.  Improper motion or position of spinal bones can choke or irritate nerve tissue, degrading or distorting essential nervous system messages.  These are called “subluxations”!

We’re most aware of subluxations when they cause pain.  But what if nerves controlling some part of your body that don’t have pain-sensing nerves are involved?  Imagine what happens when controlling nerve impulses are repeated, distorted, or exaggerated from spinal nerve irritation!

Consider how your body would malfunction if nerve messages became faint or weak!

Subluxations that interfere with Dr. You are more serious than headaches or back pain!

Many of us get our first subluxation at birth.  Caesarean section, forcep delivery and suction extraction can place tremendous pressure on a baby’s nervous system.  Lacking language, babies with subluxations often exhibit unexplained crying, colic, poor sleeping patterns and other symptoms.

I will just say this about “subluxations”. They have not been observed by medical science thus far, and a senior Chiropractor has said that this is because they are “functional entities”. I have a big problem with any hypothesis that has as its fundamental premise an incapability of observation. This makes it a non scientific claim; therefore untestable, and therefore probably unfit for human medicinal consumption. Medical subluxations are observable structural displacements of bones. Quite a different thing to what is being claimed by chiropractic.

Then our children’s immune sustems are assaulted in the hopes of creating an artificial immunity to certain germs.  These days, with improved sanitation and better nutrition, practically the only children who get these childhood diseases are those whose immune systems have been tampered with!  The decision to inject these substances into our children’s bodies should be based on a careful review of the possible risks.

Right. I am stopping after this. It makes me too angry. See my initial comments. This sort of quackdom has one predictable outcome: sick children and adults; and the spread of disease and misery. Actually, yes, you should review the risks. Like with any risky activity (which is almost everything). The risks of immunization are just colossally outweighed by the benefits, but yes, the risk remains. And whilst they may create the impression that they imply that immunization is what tampers with the children’s immune system, this is not actually logically implied here. These are weasel words designed to infect parent’s minds with rubbish and doubt. And what is “artificial immunity” anyway. Immunity means immunity.

Look, I’m no doctor and can’t offer a searing analysis. But this is such a load of dangerous drivel that something has to be said. This pamphlet is spread around the world. It is propaganda, not health information. Don’t buy in to it, and consider carefully your next chiro appointment, given that this is the stuff that their profession puts out.

If you want more, I recommend the Wiki page, it’s very informative, and actually has references on the same page (and even citations within!!).
Rant over. For now…