On his website, Christopher Kent describes himself as a chiropractor and an attorney. He is the owner of On Purpose, LLC, and the president of the ‘Foundation for Vertebral Subluxation’. This organisation states on their website the following:
The chiropractic profession is in the midst of deep and serious changes. These changes are taking place in the larger context of health care and an even larger socio-cultural worldview that is not necessarily congruent with the founding principles and tenets of the chiropractic profession. In other cases some of the original premises of the chiropractic profession are being co-opted by others as they come to see the value in the niche that chiropractic has carved out for itself. During this tumultuous time it is ever more important that the profession hold fast to its unique and distinguishing features for these are all we really have claim to. Beyond holding ground already gained there is a sense of urgency that the profession must seriously advance itself in the area of vertebral subluxation. The identification and care for this pathophysiological process is uniquely chiropractic and through research, education, policy and service we must ensure that we remain at the forefront of its elucidation. Through research, science, education, policy and service the mission of the Foundation is to advocate for and advance the founding principles and tenets of the chiropractic profession in the area of vertebral subluxation. A sick and suffering humanity needs us and we need you to join us on this mission.
A 1973 graduate of Palmer College of Chiropractic, Kent is also a Diplomate and Fellow of the ICA College of Chiropractic Imaging. Dr. Kent, as he likes to call himself, is known within the chiropractic profession for his dedication to integrating the science, art, and philosophy of chiropractic for doctors and students of chiropractic. He was awarded Life University’s first Lifetime Achievement Award in 2007. Dr. Kent is former chair of the United Nations NGO Health Committee, the first chiropractor elected to that office.
It is easy to see that Kent one of the most rampant subluxationist one is likely to come across. He is alarmed by any fellow chiro who might be in the slightest critical about subluxation. On his blog, he writes about THE CANCER OF SUBLUXATION DENIALISM:
A position paper has been produced by a group of six European chiropractic programs which states, in part: “The teaching of vertebral subluxation complex as a vitalistic construct that claims that it is the cause of disease is unsupported by evidence. Its inclusion in a modern chiropractic curriculum in anything other than an historical context is therefore inappropriate and unnecessary.” This follows a similar statement issued by the General Chiropractic Council on the United Kingdom. Both statements are the latest manifestations of a growing movement of subluxation denialism. Logical fallacies and inherent contradictions are the currency used to propagate these positions… A disturbing trend is the willingness of some chiropractic academicians and researchers to abandon chiropractic terminology as well as chiropractic analytical strategies… One example is the suggestion that the terms vertebral subluxation, joint fixation, joint dysfunction are interchangeable. They are not the same thing. There are significant operational and epistemological differences. Implicit in the term vertebral subluxation are both biomechanical and neurological elements. Vertebral subluxation is a relational neurological process that impacts the human experience, not merely a fixated joint. A fixated or tender joint might represent one manifestation of vertebral subluxation, not a synonym for vertebral subluxation. The notion that they are the same leads to confusion and ambiguity—a denialist’s best friends. Research designs based upon the haphazard application of ill-defined interventions selected by utilizing examination procedures whose reliability has not been established cannot be considered “scientific.” What fruit has been borne by the allopathic research programs currently underway? The aberrant perception by students and some chiropractors that chiropractic is a subset of medicine, and that adjusting is a subset of manipulation? The perception that chiropractic care is temporary analgesia at best, and placebo therapy at worst? A pernicious consequence of failing to use chiropractic terms, such as subluxation and adjustment in article titles, abstracts, and key words is that when a scholar, journalist, researcher, or lay person searches databases for these words, the papers purporting to support subluxation will not show up as “hits.” One researcher has stated that she uses terms such as manipulation and joint fixation because subluxation and adjustment are not MESH terms. Therefore, some purportedly “high impact” journals will not allow them as key words. The fix is simple: include them in the title and abstract. Failure to do so will result in “no impact” when the papers cannot be found when searching using chiropractic terms. Rest assured denialists know this. Search PubMed using the terms “chiropractic” and “subluxation.” Up will pop denialist opinion pieces. Conspicuously absent will be papers purportedly supportive of subluxation, but use terms such as manipulation or joint fixation. The value of chiropractic research lies in its potential to improve our clinical strategies, and to provide us with a scientifically sound basis for making claims to the public and the scientific community. We cannot dismiss meaningful differences in culture and objectives as “just words.”
On this blog and elsewhere, people have been pointing out that
- subluxation is at the heart of chiropractic ‘philosophy’,
- subluxation, as understood in the realm of chiropractic, is a myth,
- yet it has kept chiropractors in clover from the day DD Palmer allegedly cured his janitor of his deafness,
- since several years, some rationalists within the chiropractic profession have started working towards abandoning this term and the concept behind it,
- in recent months, these efforts have yielded some limited success,
- one could therefore hope that progress is taking hold and the chiropractic profession might finally stop adhering to myths.
Reading what Kent and the many like-minded chiropractors have to say about these issues makes me less hopeful. Progress, it seems, is in the way of a healthy cash-flow, and therefore it must be vilified. A cult can tolerate neither criticism nor the progress that might come from it.