How do we reconcile 2 quite opposite paradigms when they are looking at the same subject?
In April a complaint was made by an activist body regarding content on the website and other media platforms. The complaint lodged by “The Friends of Science in Medicine” claimed that I had made unscientific statements that could or might mislead the public.
Receiving the notification from the National Registration Board does cause the heart to stop for a few seconds as I read the email. The complainant asserted that I had made unsupported claims about the benefit of Vitamin C, Essential Oils and a Chiropractic Adjustment.
The gift of this complaint is that it caused me to go looking for the current research on the topics outlined above. I was pleasantly surprised to find a good deal of supporting evidence for each of the subject areas. What is quite interesting is that a significant amount of the research is not new – some of it was done in the 1970s and in the end of last century. The published papers posted in 2000 are widely referenced in other work, so it has therefore a high level of peer validation.
So here are some of the key areas that I know from our data and the current research.
- Vitamin C will kill most viruses in Vitro (in the lab in a glass dish).
- Numerous studies have shown that Vitamin C consumption at quite moderate dose levels will reduce the number of colds and shorten the duration of a cold.
- Essential oils are more effective at controlling and killing MSRA (an antibiotic resistant bacteria) than pharmaceutical preparations.
- Chiropractic adjustments increase HRV (heart rate variability) an indicator of greater parasympathetic nervous system function and therefore an indicator of an increase in immune function. (This is based on the physiology that stress suppresses immune response).
- A cavitation (crack) thoracic adjustment boosts both Humeral and IGA immune response for up to 6 hours post treatment.
I was led to the TGA (Therapeutic Goods Administration) website and found that their position was that Vitamin C had no scientific validity as a therapy against viruses. It was only useful in the case of Vitamin C deficiency which does not occur in Australia. It had a place in treating scurvy.
I am interested that the national body charged with oversight of all therapies medical, pharmaceutical and all other health products and therapies cannot find the research that I can find.
It is possible that they are aware of the research, but find that it fails some criteria that makes it acceptable.
Of interest is a report that found that only 25% of pharmaceutical research was reproducible. In that if the experiment was conducted as described in the published article only 1/4 could produce the results that were claimed. That should be of concern to all of us, because we all rely on the evidence that is presented.
So where does that leave both You as the consumer and Me as your Chiropractor?
I have done a significant amount of study in the last few years looking within. In that process I realise that we all live within paradigms. The paradigm will set our beliefs and outlook. We will tend to look at information that will support our beliefs. While this may sound narrow, professional development and study will tend to keep us looking within the same paradigm. In some instances if we believe that our paradigm is based on the right science, then all others must fall away as invalid or bogus.
Chiropractic tends to attract that type of publicity e.g. a spinal surgeon will be brought in to discuss treatment of children. The surgeon who is most vehemently opposed to Chiropractic will be keen to tell all that he is right and anyone who disagrees is wrong. It makes good TV, but agreement will be most unlikely. We are never that keen to change our mind in a 180 degree turn, especially with the whole nation watching.
Which brings me to the concept of a clash of cultures or paradigms.
I will stick to my area of work. The body.
Western Medicine, is the use of drugs and surgery to treat or suppress symptoms of disease. The treatments are increasingly sophisticated, however they are still coming from the same mindset.
Chiropractic stands on the principle that “structure governs function in gravity”. An unstable and distorted body will use more energy to move and support itself. The body is a whole system and all body systems work together to produce an outcome called survival. The nervous system takes information from all areas of the body organs, bones, joints and muscles. A response is then put in motion. The body doesn’t want to kill you, but a short term survival response could very likely be a fatal long term response.
If your blood pressure is outside determined general guidelines then you will commonly be recommended a prescription that will modulate control systems in the body. Principally the kidney is the long term controller of blood pressure so medications work to reduce blood vessel wall tension and blood volume (ACE inhibitors) or the adrenal receptors (Beta Blockers).
The question might arise, why is the blood pressure up? Why has the body determined that it is a good idea to increase the blood pressure? Is there a down side to reducing pressure to a “normal” level when the body that knows every inch of you has determined that it is in your best survival interests to have elevated pressure. It is accepted that there is a down side to continued elevated blood pressure.
So if we dive into this subject for a few minutes it might highlight the divergence in the paradigms that seek to keep you alive and in good health.
Western medicine or by a few other names (allopathic medicine, patent medicine, pharmaceutical medicine) believes that the body is malfunctioning and an intervention is needed to correct the functional errors that the body is making. Very clever minds have worked out exactly which pathways lead to what and where a drug can be used to produce a desired result. All drugs have a risk and downside and the drug testing before approval aims to show that the risks and downsides are outweighed by the benefits. There will be some individuals that the drugs may not work for or may harm, but they are a small enough number to be worth the good that it will do for the majority.
This solution of interfering with the body’s self regulation systems to produce a population average result stands on the premise that the body can’t properly regulate itself.
If I look from a Chiropractic and physiology paradigm I might come up with a number of areas to look into further.
The heart is a pump that is very cleverly regulated with a number of feedback systems. It must move fresh oxygenated blood to the brain. That is the primary goal. The brain runs the body with a very selfish view – me first! There is some logic to this, as if the brain dies so do we!
We can map how the blood flows around the body, the priority areas, however it is slightly academic because it is a closed system. Rather like the brakes in your car. When you push the pedal you want the brake pads to squeeze onto the rotor to slow the car down. The pedal moves a few centimetres and the brake pads move a few millimetres.
The blood system is also a closed system, no air in the pipes like the brakes, so when the heart pumps any pressure anywhere in the circulation system will cause the heart to work harder to get that fresh red blood to the brain. So congestion in the abdomen (being overweight) creating more mass, or a congested liver or bowel, will cause the heart to work harder. Non elastic blood vessels and too much stress hormone (adrenaline) will cause the heart to work harder.
So what do you do? You don’t want to die or have a stroke or damage the kidneys or eyes with high blood pressure. The medication is a definite solution.
The question arises: What if your clever body wants high blood pressure to help you to survive? Should we first find out why the pressure is high and then work with the primary cause? If we don’t then the cause is still present, but your blood pressure results are now reassuringly good.
These two paradigms are to some extent at odds. One, Pharmaceutical medicine, says that the answer is the medication. That is evident because the body is in error and can’t regulate itself. The other, Chiropractic will look through all the things that can cause the body to be stressed or the nervous system feedback and regulation to produce high blood pressure. When all of these are understood, then a plan can be put in place to address the causes and then give the body back the resources to balance the blood pressure back to your personal ideal.
Before writing this piece I had a look at the Friends of Science in Medicine website. They currently have 1254 individuals who have made a membership donation. A majority work in medical research and teaching. They are all eminent people who have given their life’s work to medical science. I can see that the membership feels strongly that any therapy that is based on a paradigm that does not fit within the pharmaceutical scientific model is invalid. This mindset does not allow for more than 1 paradigm existing at the same time.
So in concluding I see that there is solid evidence for the use of Vitamin C and Essential oils for their researched properties. Chiropractic is a gift to humanity helping many to live better. The Regulatory Body is appointed with the task to ensure that public health is delivered in a coherent way. A paradigm that would argue that the body can stay healthy without drugs and medicine undermines the messaging that certain procedures and interventions are necessary to prevent disease and to maintain community health.
I am required to work within the guidelines of my registration which are quite limiting. They certainly don’t encourage the fostering of health.
I believe that the most important gift that I can give to the Hands on Superhealth community is a solid understanding of how the body works in all it’s complexity. To facilitate that we are launching a paid membership site that will have significant resources from our extensive knowledge base. There will be webinars and tools and resources to help you know more about how to stay healthy. The magnificent body is so interconnected from system to system and layer to layer. This will help you understand why we ask certain questions that seem to be so annoyingly unrelated to the problem that you are telling us about! Imagine being able to come to an appointment with a short list of signs and symptoms that you now know are likely to be related to your problem. What great work we will do together, when all the pieces of the puzzle are laid out to inspect and understand!
Keep an eye out for a competition that we will be running out in the coming weeks to reward our foundation members. There will be an early release to foundation members at a significant discount before a full opening in Spring 2020.