MD, PhD, FMedSci, FRSB, FRCP, FRCPEd.

Some chiropractors seem too uninformed, stupid or greedy to stop claiming that spinal manipulation boosts the immune system. In the current situation, this is not just annoying, it is positively dangerous.

Here is a fine example of such a person; he is even so convinced of his views that he felt like giving an interview:

How can/does chiropractic care improve your immune system? What happens to our bodies physiologically when we get chiropractic adjustments?

Chiropractic care addresses the vertebral subluxation. This occurs when a vertebra becomes misaligned. This misalignment can result in irritation to the spinal nerve roots, which exit the spinal cord.

When a spinal nerve root is irritated, it stresses the nervous system — thus the potential to weaken the immune system. When we evaluate the spine for these subluxations and identify a misalignment, chiropractors can adjust the spine to alleviate the irritation to the spinal nerve root. This in turn helps to remove the stress from the nervous system.

If people have problems with their immune systems, can chiropractic care help make them better?

Chiropractic care is not a panacea for disease. Its main role is to remove the interference on the nervous system. The three main stresses on the nervous system are thoughts, traumas, and toxins. These are mainly caused by poor lifestyle choices.

Negative thoughts and self-doubt, physical trauma, and environmental toxins all affect the body in ways that stress the nervous system, thus weakening the immune response. Chiropractic care can address the entire nervous system by not only creating a physiological change, but also inducing a reduction of stress, which results in emotional regulation.

Is there any particular research that gives evidence on how chiropractic care can improve your immune system?  

Three past studies suggest that manipulation consistently reduced the production of pro-inflammatory mediators associated with tissue damage and pain from articular structures. Two studies provide evidence that manipulation consistently reduced the production of pro-inflammatory mediators associated with tissue damage and pain from articular structures.

Two studies provide evidence that manipulation may induce and enhance production of the immunoregulatory cytokine IL-2 and the production of immunoglobulins as well.

There are a multitude of clinical studies demonstrating the effects of stress on the body and the correlation between stress and immune function. More double blind, randomized clinical trials need to be conducted on the direct relationship between spinal subluxation and the effect on the immune system. In private practice, we observe the impact that adjusting the spine has on overall wellness and its undeniable effect on boosting the body’s ability to adapt to stress and improve your immune system.

Is there anything else about the physiology of how chiropractic care impacts the immune system that you think is important for readers to know?

Our health is our wealth. Taking responsibility for our wellbeing and being preventative affords the body the best possible chance of protecting itself from illness and disease.

Chiropractic care is rooted in the fundamentals that our negative thoughts, traumas, and toxins can lead to disease. By properly evaluating every patient and addressing their physical and emotional challenges, we as a profession can be the leaders of preventative care and restore health naturally and effectively.

On the one hand this is embarrassing, as it exposes almost everything that is wrong with chiropractic. On the other hand, it is informative, as it demonstrates how deeply some chiropractors are entrenched in platitudes, half-truths and blatant lies. The inevitable question is: do these chiropractors really believe this nonsense, or do they merely promote it because it is good for business?

Whatever the answer may be, one thing is fairly obvious: the ones who are being harmed by such drivel are the patients who lack sufficient critical thinking abilities to look through it. They pay not just with their money, but also with their health.

SO, PLEASE LEARN TO THINK CRITICALLY, FOLKS!

33 Responses to An interview with a charlatan – chiropractors boosting the immune system

  • Well it sounds like a lot of drivel.

    But if any of what was claimed by the interviewee is true, stay well away from chiropractic if you have an atopic immune system to any degree. The last thing you need is more immunoglobulins (specifically IgE) and cytokines, which the interviewee claims are increased by chiropractic.

  • Toxins is the red flag. Because chiropractic is a load of bunk they have to invent a mysterious entity, “toxins” that gets added to solve the equation so to speak. This seems the same thinking that’s behind the ‘vital force’ and ‘chi’.

  • Chemist Miles Power in his YouTube channel discusses the very disturbing case of an elderly man in England who was apparently killed by chiropractic manipulation and the ineptitude of the practitioner when the patient became extremely ill during ‘treatment’. https://youtu.be/FyZSWS6FdTA

    A comment by the man’s son is telling – that you naturally assume that someone practicing some kind of health treatment, having certificates on the wall, and perhaps some kind of “doctorate” does in fact have some medical qualifications.

  • Appears that that page has been removed.

    • interesting!

          • I feel certain that if Mr Lawler had experienced a serious health problem during a consultation with (but not because of manipulation by), an NHS Physiotherapist, telling the physiotherapist that he was suddenly in great pain and couldn’t feel or move his arms, the Physiotherapist would immediately seek the help of another team, and not move and manhandle the patient as this chiropractor apparently did.

          • The most egregious aspect of this case was the failure of the UK General Chiropractic Council to deal with the alleged incompetence of the practitioner, and the evidence it accepted by the ‘expert’ who gave them evidence on what standards of spinal manipulation and chiropractic were acceptable.

            In this case the patient, who had ankylosing spondylitis, did not give informed consent to having his spine ‘adjusted’. But for the GCC (and the police and the coroner), that’s OK. Huh!

          • I was diagnosed with Akylosing Spondylitis in 1989.

            In 1991 I went to see a medical practitioner (he had MBBS & BDS degrees among others) in private practice to see if he could help as I could not take the Non Steroidal Anti Inflammatory drugs and all I was receiving for pain was Paracetamol.

            I made the appointment by telephone very briefly advising him as to my main problem – i.e. pain from AS and some GI issues.

            The day of the appointment arrived.

            As soon as I entered his consulting room and he told me to undress and lie face down on the couch. This I did assuming he wished to examine me.

            He walked over and without a word of warning rapidly put his hands together and his full weight on my back rapidly top, middle and base. To say it knocked the stuffing out of me would be understatement.

            He then said (grinning) “OK you can get dressed now – that was just a bit of chiropractic”.

            I got dressed, as soon as I had he gave me some Zinc tablets, told me to eat raw cabbage three times a day and asked for his fee as the next patient had already arrived. My appointment lasted no longer than 15 minutes total. IIRC his fee was in the region of £100 (this was 1991).

            My back was very sore for days afterwards.

            Had I actually been asked – I would not have consented to any manipulation.

            The Zinc tablets and raw cabbage did not appear to provide much benefit either.

            I mention this experience to point out that just because someone is a medical practitioner registered with the GMC do not take this as any indication of excellence. I mean no disrespect to Mr Rawlins and others but hope my experience is of interest.

            Caveat emptor !

            Arthur

  • I always wonder about these colleagues of mine, are they true charlatans or is it pure stupidity??? Its embarrassing to say the least

  • “Some chiropractors”?

  • If a belief is truly held, the proponent is not a charlatan. s/he may be deceived by half truths themselves or even deluded in the approach they have taken to those beliefs however, they are not deceptive in the first sense. They are of course demonstrably untrue but they are not deliberately so.

    The problem of course is that as a population, there is no critical and evaluative approach to such assertions and that inevitably leads to misplaced trust.

    Make no mistake though, however, a dangerous a charlatan is a difficult opponent, they are nothing though, compared to the interviewee here, a genuinely held belief resounds with the credibility lent to it by the system of falsifications to which the proponent accedes. Straw castles may offer little protection from harm but from a distance they still look like castles.

    • I have explained the proper use of the word charlatan here several times. Ernst just continues to misuse the word.

      • CHARLATAN = a person who pretends to have skills or knowledge that they do not have, especially in medicine
        https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/charlatan

      • Non-DC,
        If not a charlatan, it makes you a deluded fool. You are on a hiding to nothing in pursuing a lost cause., though in keeping with the delusional.

      • Frankly, its tempting, after all who adduces what is genuinely held but wrong, from that which is falsely held, perhaps rather than Charlatan the right terminology is still Quackery. Quackery is appropriate regardless of the “mens rea” of the proponent. An idiot who believes in homeopathy and practices it is guilty of quackery, so to is a fraudster who does not believe in homeopathy but practices it. That then leaves out the potentially inflammatory “SCAM” label.

        • “perhaps rather than Charlatan the right terminology is still Quackery”

          What are you talking about: a person can be a charlatan, but they cannot be a quackery.

          Furthermore, neither of the words are proper nouns; capitalised common nouns is one of the hallmarks of quackery.

          • The Wikipedia article on “charlatan” is excellent….

          • Whilst slightly, tongue in cheek Pete, I am pointing out that charlatan does not really apply to those who hold beliefs in the system of treatment regardless of how unreasonably we judge those beliefs to be, they are not therefore, charlatans in the common sense. therefore your second sentence is a misunderstanding of the post, that is my fault, I should have been clearer. There is though no intention to deceive in these people – no “guilty mind”. Quacks and quackery is terminology that is more closely allied with these who we may call deceived.

            Charlatan is a term closely allied to that of the Shakespearean “mountebank” or the American 19th century “snakeskin oil peddler”, it is not appropriate for those who in the legal sense cannot pass the MNaghten rule, IE they are so deranged that they lack the necessary awareness for an objective jury to consider them guilty.

            Whilst that is a clumsy tool here, the principle is unchanged. I hope I have clarified.

          • David, I like the RationalWiki article, especially the final paragraph in the section “Legal implications” 🙂
            https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Charlatan

          • Key word is pretends.

            Just because someone is wrong doesn’t make them a charlatan.

          • Pete, yes, the article is interesting, and the legally-safe terms thought-provoking.

            If I cannot quite bring myself to employ those particular descriptions, I am certainly sanguine about Mountebank, Jackanapes, Rapscallion, Poltroon and Spalpeen…..

  • One key thing this interview demonstrates is the failure of regulatory bodies to adequately protect the public. A chiropractor like this is clearly a risk to the public but is still being allowed to practice. This is also not just a “fringe” chiropractor who has unusual beliefs. Multiple studies have found that belief in subluxations continues to exist widely within the chiropractic profession. Here is one example study that found 1/3 of chiropractors openly talking about treatment of subluxations on their websites: https://archivesphysiotherapy.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s40945-019-0064-5 . It is also likely that this estimate is on the conservative side because they searched only for the term “subluxation”. This would not have found sites that refer to “spinal misalignment” or other similar terminology, which is essentially the same thing but just without use of the specific term “subluxation”.

    • Absolutely. If you buy a packet of butter, you can be sure that it will be the weight stated on the packet. If you buy loose foodstuffs from a delicatessen, you can be sure that the measuring scale in the shop is accurate. Regulatory bodies are effective in policing such things, and standards are rigorously applied.

      The whole area of health treatments is complex, but it does seem that there is a case for much tighter regulation. People pay money for these private ‘treatments’, and there seems to be relatively little control or regulation.

      This is why it would be timely to have a TV series looking at all of this. It’s too long since there have been any such investigations into SCAM on TV, but there are any number of medicine/science programmes, looking at diet, exercise etc and examining the latest science. I’ve though of a name for such a new series!

      • You seem to ignore the fact Pete that the customers here are in some cases buying the service they expect. The clients are buying 45 minutes of someone waving a crystal over the lymph nodes in the armpit in the belief that it will reverse the staging of cancer. They bring that belief into that room they dont turn up wanting to be persuaded. The deception is in most cases with Scam perpetrated not by the proponent at least not in the UK (I have prosecuted them) but by the wider media – see Goop and its pervasive social media ads.

        The belief therefore in the scammed is independently held, the Scam(mer) is merely feeding that belief. There are plenty of online resources which the individual can use to substantiate a belief system that allows access to the treatment to be done with the expectation of cure, without the Scam(mer) interfering with that process.

        Occasionally you will find examples, particularly in TCM of claims being made about curative properties (you dont have to look hard to find these), however, by and large the ones taking the money are the ones indicating the least.

        Finally I would say, after 20+ years of professional involvement with the regulatory and disciplinary functions of medicine, I wouldn’t hold out much hope for that being the front-line of attack on Scam medicine.

    • Subluxation is just what many chiropractors claim to adjust. PTs may call it a manipulable lesion, DO might call it an osteopathic lesion, MDs might call it a sprain/strain.

      There is a spectrum of beliefs and evidence of subluxation (sic) and any impact of adjusting it.

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