I have been in (or have been studying for) the profession of chiropractic for over 40 years. During that time I have experienced and observed much in the philosophical tug-of-war that is the identity of chiropractic.
Chiropractic historically evolved from the discovery in 1895 of the relationship between proper function of the nervous system and the degree of wellness expressed by the human body. We have prided ourselves in assisting others along their journey toward optimal wellness and homeostasis. The concept, and then the term, ‘vitalism’, was proposed by Aristotle many century’s ago. Galen, among others, the famous anatomist agreed that the body must be more than just a collection of living parts. These deep thinkers were convinced that there was a ‘force’ that existed in the human form that gave momentum to intelligence. Some unknown, unnamable force that counteracted the inevitable disorganizing force of entropy.
I must admit that I drank the Kool Aid. I believed then (and still do) that there is something magical about how the human body responds to the seemingly overly simple act of “crunching bones”. You cannot apply the technical art of chiropractic without being witness to some pretty crazy things. Crazy anyway to the skeptics that dismiss the profession as “unscientific”.
Now we are experiencing a pandemic. The “scientific” say that it is the worst human history has seen. That we have to move quickly and surely toward a scientific resolution. A resolution that can only be effective if we put away the “unscientific”. Genetic experimentation is offered as our way out and through.
Maybe. But then again, maybe not.
I have been (and I thought my profession was behind me in this) working hard for these forty years trying to convince the uninformed that chiropractic is not a religion. That it is truly more than a belief held by a few that just happens to be in opposition to “science”. That one cannot call belief in chiropractic and its’ results a religion anymore that you can call the belief in gravity (with its’ priest Newton) a religion.
And now here we are. The state of Washington, where I grew up and practiced chiropractic for so many years, is now requiring ALL health care workers to be vaccinated against this viral threat. Those who do not comply lose their ability and right to practice. On the form provided by the state are two allowed exemptions: one for medical reasons, the other for religious.
My understanding was that the religious exemption was reserved for those who could prove a relationship (card-carrying) with an established and recognized church. Such as the Jehovah’s Witness group or the Christian Scientists. Apparently this view is a bit too black and white, literal. It seems that any provider (or health care worker) in the state of Washington can claim any belief as their “religion”. Seems to me to be a bit disrespectful to those who attend a specific church every week. But then that is apparently just me.
Why did I waste all these years trying to convince my people that chiropractic was not a religion? Now the governing board of my home state is explicitly (or at least implicitly) saying that indeed it is. A religion. At least enough of a religion to comply with the state mandate for compliance. Just check the box, sign your name and you are religiously ‘exempt’ from the mandate.
How does this (what I view as a capitulation) help us serve the very people we have sworn to serve? How does this help to clarify one of the most effective modalities in promoting human immune strength and response in these critical times?
I sincerely am trying to understand. At what point do we draw the line? Where do we hold true to our understanding and delivery of a viable alternative to drugs and chemicals in the non-emergency scenario? Of course many would argue on where to draw the emergency line.
There is far too much evidence out there that the data and the truth about this pandemic is being manipulated, cherry-picked and even outright fabricated. We may not know for many years what the true motivation is for all of this. The best we can do is stay true to what we know is right. We have a responsibility to those whose reason has been clouded and even totally obscured by fear. To compromise by not fiercely defending the principles of chiropractic philosophy and practice is taking the easy way out. Some would say (and indeed do) that the compromise is worth it. At least our clinic doors are open.
And I thought we lived in a ‘free’ county. My mistake.
The miracle of who we are cannot be completely explained by science. We can only do our best to understand the principles of vitalistic force and human physiology and healing. To close our minds to that we do not yet understand comes with the potential price of our extinction.
Dr. Chinn is a 1986 Life University graduate (Marietta), has been practicing for 34 years, currently in NW Montana. He has served as a board member and vice-president of the Gonstead Clinical Studies Society. As a Gonstead technique diplomate, Dr. Chinn is authorized to teach and coach the Gonstead system to other doctors of chiropractic. He is the author of Symphony of Wellness and Soaring Beyond Fear (www.PerryChinn.com), his book Symphony of Wellness (now in an expanded 3rd edition) focuses on the science and benefits of the Nobel Prize winning science of nitric oxide for cardiovascular health and whole body wellness. He is available for keynote speaking and coaching. Dr. Chinn can be reached at DrPChinn@gmail.com