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Jakarta Post

Benefits, dangers of chiropractic care

  • Kimmana Nichols

    The Jakarta Post

Ubud, Bali   /   Sat, January 9, 2016   /  04:04 pm

I was always wondering why my gardener at home needs to chop the weeds with the loud chopping machine every other day. The truth is of course, the weeds grow so quickly which makes him need to chop it again quite often. If only he put the effort into taking out the weeds from the root, he would solve the problem at its source and make less noise.

My gardener reminds me of our human behavior that wants a quick fix. With all forms of medicine and treatment there is some inherent risk involved that must be weighed before pursuing a treatment, not just going for the quick fix. As I am a naturopath with 20 qualifications in various fields of medicine and bodywork modalities, choosing a client'€™s best healing path, which will hopefully do no harm and treat the root cause, has been a dominant theme of my life.

From studying for many years with the California-based chiropractor Dr. Don McFarland, I was able to intimately understand the benefits and dangers of chiropractic treatment. After McFarland completed his doctorate in chiropractic in 1978, his decades of clinical experience lead him to a more holistic realization.

Although many benefits could be obtained through the manipulation of the skeletal structure, these benefits were often short lived, in certain cases had side effects, and were not treating the root of the problems. With his experience in psychology and numerous other bodywork therapies, he formed the Body Harmony School of bodywork in 1985.

Systems like Body Harmony, which have evolved out of chiropractic work, integrate many other wonderful healing modalities with the understanding that the bones are often the last tissue to go out of alignment. Treatment should be done in a priority descending order through the tissues which usually caused the misalignment in the first place, namely energetic and meridians, nervous system and psychology, digestive system and metabolism, circulatory system and lymph, muscular system, then last the skeletal system and bones.

This approach has enabled many healers to get more lasting results, with gentler treatments and fewer side effects. It enables the manipulations of bones to be less needed, or if they are needed to be more long lasting as the other causes of bone misalignment have already been removed.

Many modern systems of bodywork that still work with bone manipulations have integrated elements of this into their diagnosis and treatment models such as Osteopathy, Network Chiropractic, Body Harmony, Touch For Health Kinesiology, ThaiVedic Bodywork and many more.

How to choose a good chiropractor? They are open to other healing modalities and either recommend various treatments, or they themselves at least manipulate the muscles before the bones.

They are searching for causative factors to the misalignment and give you some home exercises to help maintain beneficial alignment.

If continual visits prove a need for the same bone to be adjusted more than five times, they refer and work with another therapist who can check for causes in the above mentioned cascade of tissue effect.

They minimize extreme adjustments and prefer soft tissue manipulations if possible.

It is important to remember than in all forms of treatment there are risks. Even modern allopathic medicine has extremely high lethal side effects, with iatrogenic diseases being the third highest cause of death in the US.

I feel that rather than fearing different types of treatment, we should educate ourselves on the benefits and dangers of treatment, and give equal weight to finding and removing causative factors as we do to treating the body'€™s reactions.

When chiropractic work is done with this holistic approach, it benefits far out way its risks.


The writer is an Australian naturopathic doctor, based in Ubud, Bali.

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