Sal Martingano, DC, FICPA
How many times have we had the “Philosophy Talk” in chiropractic? Well, evidently, not enough since the majority in our profession are willing to compromise rather than communicate. The IFCO will not compromise on principle and remains a beacon strength, a refreshing sanctuary where those weakened by “majority opinion” can be liberated. Sounds a bit philosophical, right….well it is! I thought it would be fun and insightful to have “The Talk” once again but from a different perspective. Ya see, philosophy is timeless and answers the reason “why” we do what we do. Are you ready?
This past summer my wife and I took our first extended vacation, spending a full month in Europe. One of our close “chiro” friends owns the tour company, with connections in Europe; so we got first class, individualized treatment, wherever we went. Once in Italy, then throughout the Greek Isles, we had the opportunity to visit and briefly study the origins of Greek and Roman Philosophical thought, responsible for much of Western philosophy, medicine, and modern critical thinking’. We visited the world’s first University in Greece called ‘The Academy’ where Socrates taught his student Plato and later, his student Aristotle, who eventually taught Alexander the Great. We also got to experience the culture of the Ancient Roman philosopher Cicero and Machiavelli who helped usher in the Renaissance. In short, philosophy is not the subject of ‘what’ or even ‘how’ to think but rather answers the reason for ‘why’ we think. Think about it, what other healthcare profession, besides chiropractic, incorporates “why” they do what they do? The medical profession gave up the “Hippocratic Oath”, its philosophical origin, once they realized that their science is ever changing and can do as much “HARM” as good.
How different it is in today’s world where technology and economics, nearly void of any philosophical reference, dominate thinking. What will happen when artificial intelligence faces off with Innate Intelligence? Students spend much of their time learning the ‘how’ and the ‘what’, to fit into a fast-paced society that is forever changing, rarely given the chance to think ‘why’ they’re doing what they’re doing. Is it any wonder that the simplicity of our beloved chiropractic profession has become so convoluted…” you adjust Subluxations….that’s it?” Little did DD and BJ realize that within a mere century of their teachings, the correction of subluxation would still be the subject of debates within our profession.
How fortunate we are to have our own ‘Academy’, teaching and upholding our philosophical principles; “The Academy of Chiropractic Philosophers”, many of which are students within the IFCO. Surely there are thousands of chiropractors, silently practicing principled, subluxation correction yet not paying attention to the very words that make our philosophy unique. WORDS HAVE MEANING and changing the meaning of words to suit a political agenda will surely change a profession. Spinal Manipulative Therapy (SMT), for example, has become a limited “buzz word” in chiropractic; yet our philosophy mentions nothing about manipulation as equivalent to “the adjustment”. The insurance industry has cleverly adopted SMT as the equivalent to the adjustment, to have us believe they are the same, in terms of a covered service. The medical profession talks about manipulation only as joint mobilization, without mention of nerve interference. Medically, proper spinal alignment is of course desirable, but spinal misalignment, in most cases, is considered no more than a normal variant, whereas chiropractic principles state; “proper spinal alignment is a prerequisite for proper nerve flow.” The actual adjustment to correct subluxation is not a luxury, but a necessity.
The IFCO, in its mission to uphold the philosophical constructs of our profession, has faced the same challenges that Socrates faced, who stated: “it is not the majority opinion, but genuine knowledge, professional and philosophical competence that yields a correct policy.” The IFCO is not influenced by majority opinion but instead has remained steadfast to the philosophical lineage from DD, through BJ, Keating and down through others including Straus and Reggie, similar to the Greek philosophical lineage from Socrates. Unfortunately for Socrates, he was put to death for his teachings, not because they were wrong but because Socrates dared to speak against the prevailing majority within Greek Democracy. Today, many in our own profession consider it OK to compromise our philosophical teaching to remain in the ‘majority rule’ camp. Hopefully, they will never be put to death for their thinking but the profession will surely suffer.
Organized medicine and Big Pharma have no need for chiropractic; it’s nothing personal, its business. A quick look at the 11,588,500 words that comprise the 10,535 pages of the Affordable Healthcare Act (Obamacare), reveals that only two short paragraphs on one-half page make any mention of chiropractic, since chiropractic is considered a ‘therapy’ and not an ‘Essential Health Benefit’.
The IFCO defines chiropractic as a “non-therapeutic, vitalistic philosophy, science and art, whose objective is the correction of vertebral subluxation”; none of which is mentioned anywhere in ‘Medicine’ or ‘Obamacare. How ironic that DD and so many others went to jail for practicing medicine without a license. BTW, my Florida license states I’m practicing ‘chiropractic medicine’. Talk about confusing terminology.
So…Does Philosophy Matter? Our philosophy is the reason why we are a distinct healthcare profession. The IFCO will not compromise or surrender our philosophical (Academy) because…….”You need now what I give you, for you have in your possession a sacred trust….GUARD IT WELL. Volume 37 – The Glory of Going On