The very first article on chiropractic listed in ‘Medline’ was published 100 years ago in the ‘California State Journal of Medicine’ without the author’s name. It is a beauty! Here I take the liberty of re-publishing it in full.

Some people are really so terribly modest that it is a mystery how they can live, or even be willing to live, in a world so filled with pushing braggarts and rampant commercialism. For example, note the list of things that E. R. Blanchard D.C., (graduate chiropractor), intimates that he can cure:

“Adhesions, anemia, asthma, appendicitis, blood poison, bronchitis, backache, biliousness, catarrh, constipation, chills and fever, diabetes, dropsy, dizziness, drug and alcohol habits, diarrhoea, deafness, eczema, eye diseases, female diseases, gallstones, gravel, goitre, hay fever, indigestion, lumbago, locomotor ataxia, malaria, nervousness, neuralgia, paralysis, piles, pneumonia, rickets, ruptures, rheumatism, St. Vitus’ dance, suppressed or painful menstruation, scrofula, tumors, worms, bed wetting and other child’s diseases, leucorrhoea, or whites, stricture, emissions, impotence and many other diseases.”

This is almost as long a list as that compiled by the wealthy and admired Law brothers in connection with what they say they can cure with the wonderful Viavi, that prize of all fakes!

One hundred years later, it seems to me, not a lot has changed:

A review of 200 chiropractor websites and 9 chiropractic associations’ claims in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States was conducted between. The outcome measure was claims (either direct or indirect) regarding eight reviewed conditions, made in the context of chiropractic treatment. The results demonstrated that 190 (95%) chiropractor websites made unsubstantiated claims.

2 Responses to Chiropractic modesty

  • If chiropractors can cure all these ills, why are these illnesses still prevalent?

    More seriously, although omitted from Blanchard’s list, if D D Palmer was able to cure hearing loss and heart problems (as the doctrine goes), why aren’t chiropractors all claiming to cure them and indeed doing so on a daily basis?

  • Professor Ernst wrote: “The very first article on chiropractic listed in ‘Medline’ was published 100 years ago in the ‘California State Journal of Medicine’ without the…One hundred years later, it seems to me, not a lot has changed”

    You’d think that in the wake of the British Chiropractic Association’s very public and unsuccessful attempt to sue Simon Singh for libel that, at the very least, UK chiropractors would have cleaned up their act by now. However, the Alliance of UK Chiropractors (AUKC), which claims to be the largest chiropractic association in the UK, has since adopted the International Chiropractors Association (ICA) Best Practices documentation [ ] which, among other policies, supports 27 indications for chiropractic radiography including…

    spinal subluxation
    birth trauma (forceps)
    facial pain
    skin diseases
    organ dysfunction
    eye and vision problems
    hearing disorders

    …and recommends a basic care plan for simple uncomplicated axial pain (neck pain, back pain, etc) consisting of 25 visits over 8 weeks – with the presence of ‘complicating factors’ (including family/relationship stress, lower wage employment, and wearing high-heeled shoes) warranting a recommended additional 12-visit blocks of care. Here is the link to the ICA Best Practices documentation:

    The AUKC also surveyed its membership in 2010, the results of which revealed that, of over half of its members who took the time to complete this online survey,

    82.9% felt that the vertebral subluxation was not an historical concept

    95.4% thought that chiropractic philosophy should be taught in the chiropractic colleges

    and 90.5% found that, in their experience, chiropractic was effective for conditions outside those mentioned in the Bronfort Report. [NB. The AUKC made a submission to the CAP Copy Team at the Advertising Standards Agency in April 2010 for a further 28 conditions not included in the Bronfort Report to be reviewed and accepted.]


    So, chiropractic in the UK remains remains riddled with pseudoscience even although many countries outside the UK view it as being respectable. Unfortunately, this veneer of respectability prevails because of a widespread lack of awareness that the General Chiropractic Council’s original guideline on the chiropractic vertebral subluxation was quietly altered in favour of chiropractors:

    All in all, it’s not hard to imagine the enormous amount of quackery that’s still being foisted on unwitting chiropractic patients in 2013.

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