In This World
In This World
The idea of perfection in the expression of chiropractic and what that really means can be a bit overwhelming. In fact, I have been contemplating it for most of my chiropractic life and the potential of what we have sometimes feels bigger than I can fully grasp. Imagine a world of people expressing their full potential. Imagine a world of people who are aware, at the deepest levels, of their connection to all other living beings. It would be impossible for crimes against others to occur. War, greed, hate, prejudice, abuse, etc. would all be things of the past. They simply could not exist if each living being was fully expressing their infinite potential. Wow, what an amazing world that would be. So let’s get on to creating it. Let’s wipe the slate clean, grant a big do over, dream a little dream, and have a little fun!
When I first began to contemplate the perfect environment for chiropractic to develop in, it was so perfect that I began to question if chiropractic would even be necessary. So, I’ve decided to dial down the perfection a bit and create an environment that is more conducive to the vitalistic expression of chiropractic but still in need of what chiropractic has to offer. That environment would have three key differences from the United States in the 1890’s, the medical/therapeutic/allopathic model would not be prevalent, there would not be a division between science and spirituality, and a quantum view of the world would be more widely understood, especially in relation to living systems. Let’s look at the implications of these changes.
The dominance of the medical model in and of itself was not enough to warp the expression of chiropractic. I think the greater challenge was the power that organized medicine had in discrediting anything that seemed to compete with its dominance. History is riddled with instances of non-medical approaches being systematically eliminated, engulfed, or attacked. The propaganda against the “alternative” approaches was widespread and effective and chiropractic was no exception. It was called anything from a cult to quackery which put us immediately on the defensive. We can’t be in fight or flight and in a nurturing state at the same time. It’s either one or the other and we were in fight or flight. More accurately some began the fight in defense of the principles of chiropractic and others eventually went to flight away from them.
The defense of chiropractic began. We fought to exist, proving that chiropractic was not about the diagnosis and treatment of conditions. It is separate and distinct. We won that right but it did not stop the attacks, they continued and in many respects in more subtle ways. I think it was the subtleties that got us. The blatant attacks are easy to be outraged over, easy to identify and fight. It’s the insidious plan of attack that is harder to identify, and thus, harder to counteract. The medical machine was amazing at creating positive press for the medical approach, and was equally as good at “suggesting” that other approaches were inferior. They did such a good job that not only did the general public accept it as fact but chiropractors gradually began to accept it too. We began to seek acceptance by the medical community. We changed our education so that we would be “as good as medical doctors”. We began to adopt a more therapeutic approach to chiropractic. In order to “fit in” we needed to be treating something and so the back pain/headache, spinal degeneration models became popular. Even in “straight” chiropractic offices, you began to see the signs of the therapeutic model. We became the “natural” treatment for what ails people and nerve system specialists as opposed to chiropractors who release the interference to the expression of the innate intelligence of the body. Our reasoning for x-rays, clinical histories, treatment plans, and clinical objectives began to look more and more like those you see in medical offices. We became our own worst enemy. From inside chiropractic, the “flight” began and the profession skewed toward a treatment model and with each year the ship deviated farther from its course. Now it is so much a part of the profession that many don’t even realize that we are off course. We are encouraged to do more medical procedures under the guise of being responsible physicians, the portal of entry for people into the health care system. Now please don’t misunderstand. I’m not against people being encouraged to come to chiropractors first. I think it would serve the entire population of the world to get checked by chiropractors on a regular basis. It’s how we encourage them and for what purpose that is at issue. Do they come to us because we can diagnose as well as a medical doctor or because it makes sense that before they do anything else, they make sure that they wisdom of their body is fully expressing? Do they come only because chiropractic is a natural means to health or because they recognize that it is much more? Chiropractic care can assist them in living a fuller life not just in staying well. Chiropractic care can help them to express their full potential no matter whether they have symptoms or not. Chiropractic care is something to receive for a lifetime because it makes sense to fully be alive and release all interference to the expressions of life while you are living your life.
So, imagine if the medical model was not dominant and the medical machine not as powerful. Imagine if chiropractic had a neutral environment in which to grow, evolve, and explore. I think it would look very different. I think that humanity’s view of their bodies, of life, of what it means to be healthy and alive would be vastly different. I think that the establishment named the “health care system” would actually be a system to promote health and wellbeing, instead of a system that promotes the suppressing of symptoms and in the process creates more problems that it resolves.
In this world, chiropractic would have been more easily able to stay on purpose during its infancy stage. We would have been in a state of nurturing instead of fight or flight. The space to explore the theories behind what we do and share those ideas with the public would have been more available to us. The public message would be that chiropractic is about releasing the interference to the expression of the infinite intelligence within each being. The care given in every chiropractic office would be consistent with that message. The office environment would be loving, supportive, nurturing, and life supporting and not fear based and clinical. Questionnaires would include information about what the person wants for their life, what they perceive got them to their current state of being and what they see as their highest possibility. Symptoms would take their proper place as a communication that things need to change and not something that we treat and try to fix. People coming into the office would receive information about the power within them and how chiropractic serves in enhancing and releasing it to work fully and completely. The care plan would be based on how far and how fast they wanted to proceed along the path of expressing their infinite potential and not about getting them out of pain and then trying to get them to sign up for maintenance care. There is no such thing as maintenance where infinite potential is concerned.
In this world, the chiropractic education would be entirely about refining the ability to initiate the release of the subluxation. In addition to classes on the art of chiropractic, the curriculum would be filled with classes about healing, the dynamics of life, the latest advancements in our understanding of how the body works as an integrated whole. There would be classes exploring the philosophy of chiropractic and it’s relation to the latest scientific advancements and also to ancient practices that share the vitalistic approach. The course schedule, environment, and teaching would be congruent with the philosophy of chiropractic and would nurture the student’s health and wellbeing, encourage free thinking and innovation, and celebrate diversity and creativity.
In this world, because of the growth of the chiropractic message, there would be a respect and awareness of the cycles, processes, and functioning of the body. This message would touch a deep knowing within each individual so that people would once again begin to trust their system’s ability to heal, understand the healing process, and would be attuned to their bodies. They would know that there is more to living a full life than being without symptoms.
In this world, no chiropractors would go to jail for the right to practice chiropractic. And they would not need that experience to give them a sense of purpose, the knowledge of the benefit to humanity would be enough. Chiropractors would not be called quacks or charlatans. They would not be accused of being a part of a cult, nor would they need to consider calling it a religion in an attempt to be able to practice without interference. They would never feel that they were somehow inferior to medical doctors.
In this world, the fact that chiropractic care can serve in enhancing an individual’s healing ability would not make chiropractic about “getting sick people well” nor about getting rid of back pain, nor about biomechanical structural integrity. Chiropractic is about so much more. The profession would own that truth and the public would realize it to a greater and greater degree.
I like this world. I’d love to be a chiropractor in this world.
I think it’s important to realize that the fact that this is not the world of chiropractic today is not the fault of the medical profession. Yes, their actions made it difficult, especially because the profession was so young. But the responsibility for allowing the profession to get off track is ours. We as a profession lost sight of our purpose. We as individuals succumbed to petty bickering, as did the Palmer patriarchs. The responsibility is ours. But, as a profession we are older now and hopefully more mature. We now are not as susceptible to the influence of others. We just have to get ourselves back on track, reconnect with the tenants that set chiropractic apart and deepen our knowledge and understanding of what chiropractic is and can be.
One future postings we will take a look at effects of the other key differences. Be sure to send in your input, comments, and ideas.