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James Randi Educational Foundation

An Encyclopedia of Claims, Frauds, and Hoaxes of the Occult and Supernatural

Introduction | "R" Reading | Curse of the Pharaoh | End-of-the-World Prophecies

Index | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | Y | Z

chiropractic The American Medical Association has referred to chiropractic as “an irrational, unscientific approach to disease causation.” Originated in 1895 by one Daniel David Palmer, it was made into a thriving trade by his son, B.J. Palmer. The major claim of the art is that “subluxations” (misalignments of the spinal column) cause illnesses.
      The various schools of chiropractic differ in what they claim can be cured by manipulating the spine, some having almost no limit (asthma, bacterial and viral infections, migraine, cancer, AIDS), while others are satisfied to relieve muscle spasms——for which such massage is probably beneficial. Some obviously renegade chiropractors sell their patients on “color therapy” in which applied kinesiology is used to determine the victim's sensitivity to specific colors, and they also use “polarity reversal” in which magnets are used to change the “bioenergy” field of the body. Both systems are perfect examples of expensive quackery, having no basis whatsoever in fact.
      Chiropractors have been known to bruise and sometimes more gravely injure their customers, but often these people go right back to receive more at the hands of the operator, seeming not to learn from experience. Chiropractors are fond of pointing out that regular MDs are far from perfect, a fact that in no way validates what they themselves are doing and that appears to be only a method of misdirecting the attention of the detractor.
      While there doubtless is some value to chiropractic in respect to massage relief of strains and muscle spasms, statements made by chiropractors include such howlers as specifying that a subluxation of the sixth dorsal vertebra brings about diphtheria. Such a notion is another classic example of quackery.
      But having your back rubbed does feel good, and the pops produced by being flexed and stretched do sound impressive.
      See also osteomyology.

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Copyright (C) 1995-2007 James Randi.

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