James Peck, DC, ACP
Science is wonderful and it is impossible to imagine our lives without advances such as harnessing fire and electricity, developing indoor plumbing, and the communications and transportation inventions that have truly made this a global community. Science also dispels fear. There was a time when eclipses would cause natives to sacrifice virgins and cower in caves awaiting the end of the world. Not only does science explain the phenomenon but it can accurately predict its occurrence and duration.
But, science is really a way of thinking. It opens the door to questions. However, just because something can be proven doesn’t mean it is true and just because something is true doesn’t mean it can be proven. Today’s facts often become tomorrow’s myths.
In spite of this, people have been brainwashed into believing that they need to ask their doctor (the scientist) if they are healthy enough to exercise, to have sex, or if such and such medication is “right” for them. We have lost sight of the fact that health sciences are not empirical sciences. Empirical sciences are limited to mathematics where numbers will always combine to give a predictable total. For example, in chemistry combining elements in a specific formulation will yield predictable compounds. In astronomy, a planet is a planet unless it is Mickey Mouse’s faithful dog. And in physics, something can only be a law if it is consistent 100% of the time.
Medicine and chiropractic are health sciences because they work with individuals who have unique matter and habits. While one can generalize about results from medical and chiropractic work, specifics tend to be less predictable. Oddly, there are factions in our profession that insist on evidence-based research and believe that double-blind and peer-reviewed studies are the only basis for chiropractic care.
The fallacy of this is obvious. Evidence-based research requires time and can never cover every possible aspect of care. Double-blind studies can never be truly blind because “sham” adjustments still have effects. And peer-reviewed studies are reviewed by people who are in no ways our peers.
Throughout our history, chiropractic has been science and research centered. B.J. Palmer was open to scrutiny and hired medical doctors to perform exams and record findings to eliminate the possibility of chiropractic bias. At tremendous expense he introduced x-ray into the Palmer clinic in 1910, a mere fifteen years after William Roentgen discovered the phenomena! He used state of the art equipment such as the electroencephaloneuromentipograph (even though no one could pronounce it!) He maintained two sanitariums up to his death to study the effect of chiropractic on mental illness, and he even maintained an animal clinic for several years.
The critics who want to eliminate subluxation, focus on diagnosis, and add drug therapy discount the reams of research verifying our care. Such scientific heavyweights as Chung Ha Suh, Ph.D. in Biomechanical Engineering; Ronald Pero, Ph.D. in Ecogenetic Toxicology; Tapio Videman, M.D. and researcher on joint immobility; and more are never cited. It is time for us to stand up , speak out, and show pride in our profession and its research.