Friday, June 20, 2008

Snap, Crackle and Pop

I'm not gonna call this full-out woo, but chiropractic has some explaining to do:

Paralyzed woman sues chiropractic for half billion exclusive story
by Paul Benedetti and Wayne MacPhail

An Alberta woman, paralyzed after her neck was manipulated by a chiropractor, has launched the biggest-ever class action suit against chiropractic in Canada.

The suit, filed yesterday in Edmonton, is asking for more than a half billion dollars in damages not only for the victim, Sandy Nette and her husband, David, but for an entire class – anyone in Alberta treated or harmed by chiropractors who deliver "inappropriate and non-beneficial adjustments."

This is not the worst part, in my opinion. Okay, so she went to a "medical professional" because she was having health problems. Instead, she ended up paralyzed. It happens all the time, and it's a real drag. Doctors (actual medical doctors) accidentally harm patients all the time. Pobody's nerfect, as the stupid signs used to say.

What caught my eye was this:

But, most interestingly, the class action suit challenges the foundation of chiropractic - the vertebral subluxation. Many contemporary chiropractors believe that the body can heal itself, so long as an innate energy flows unimpeded from the nervous system out the vertebrae of the spine.

Innate proponents also believe that a "misaligned" vertebra can impinge that energy and cause ill health. According to chiropractors, these vertebral subluxations interrupt energy flow resulting in health problems that include: organ disease, circulation problems, cancer, allergies, infections, bedwetting, even learning disorders. Those beliefs, that have no basis in science, and are not shared by
medical professionals, come from chiropractic's founder, Canadian D.D. Palmer, who invented chiropractic at the end of the 19th Century. Couched in more contemporary language, this belief system informs much of chiropractic promotion and practice in Canada today.

In fact, The Alberta College and Association of Chiropractic website makes precisely these kinds of claims: "The chiropractic adjustment is thought to restore the body's powerful ability to heal itself ... Chiropractors can play a major role in preventative care, protecting against future pain and health problems."

Innate fucking energy flows? Innate fucking energy flows? Does that sound like science to you?

I went to a chiropractor a long time ago. I had neck pain. He put it back where it belonged (I guess), and the pain went away. It seemed to make sense: there was massage, and manipulation, and some lasers (please don't ask me to explain the lasers), but the massage and manipulation makes sense to me, my spine wasn't where it was supposed to be, so Dr. Millar put it back.

I'd even buy the body's innate ablility to heal itself. It's just one of the things is does.

But this innate energy flow, it's like chi, right? WTF?

I've heard some pretty wacky claims by chiropractors (second-hand), that chiropractic can cure diabetes, for instance, or depression. I thought that was horseshit (still do, in fact), and couldn't fathom how the fuck they thought that cracking one's back could get one's pancreas off its lazy ass. I thought they figured the back cracks felt good, so it could alleviate depression.

Now I get it. It's the goddamn chi, healing everything.

Changed my mind. It's woo.

"Calm down! You're going to give yourself skin failure!"

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