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D.D. Palmer, father of chiropractic, believed strongly in the power of nature to heal. This philosophy is known as Vis Medicatrix Naturae — Latin for the body’s ability to heal itself, and the term chiropractic naturalism. This is based on the belief that bodies have an innate intelligence — an inborn ability to self-regulate and maintain health.
The phrase Vis Medicatrix Naturae is attributed to Hippocrates and sums up one of the guiding principles of early Hippocratic medicine — organisms left alone can often heal themselves. Modern medicine has certainly lost sight of that idea.
Naturalism focuses on explanations and remedies that come from the laws of nature. Instead of looking for manufactured or synthetic solutions, naturalism relies on what can be found in nature to attain and maintain balance in the body.
Chiropractic is essentially a naturalistic activity, as it works with the body and adjusts the blocks and barriers occurring in the body using a natural, manual treatment. This is based on the belief that:
The inborn or innate intelligence resides in all living bodies. The chiropractor’s job is to identify the barriers to the full expression of that healing force.
Apart from the hands-on manipulation techniques, in the quest for restoring this ability to heal, a doctor of chiropractic shows a preference for natural therapies and avoids drugs and surgery. Wellness and health promotion are encouraged through natural means (diet, exercise, and modification of risky behavior in both work and recreational activities).
Chiropractic doesn’t treat any illness directly — rather, it removes the barriers to healing that may exist along the body’s physical channels (the central nervous system and the autonomic nervous system). It uses techniques that restore the normal flow of healing energy along channels between the brain and the affected body part.
While fully aware of the natural ability of a body to heal itself, D.D. Palmer discovered that various external influences have a negative effect on that ability.
These barriers consist of:
Each of these barriers can block the resolution of a patient’s healing and needs to be addressed.
While chiropractic can correct imbalances and many stressors on the autonomic nervous system, the current environment and lifestyle of most patients has added many of these other stressors that cause a body to need more than just an adjustment.
The idea that chiropractic should address only the physical adjustment to deal with the blockages affecting the autonomic nervous system conflicts with D.D. Palmer’s view that other influences, not all of them material, can be toxic and block healing:
“From baby in the highchair to grandma in the rocker, the axial bones are as liable to be displaced by noxious substances which enter the system in our food and drink, or by inhalation, as they are by accident direct. Bones displaced ever so little by poisons impinge upon sensitive nerves, conveyors of impulse, thereby augmenting or decreasing function.”
— The Chiropractor’s Adjuster – The Science, Art and Philosophy of Chiropractic by D.D. Palmer
A chiropractor who is wholly into naturalism — dealing only with things that can be seen or measured — is limited by modern technology and science, which reduces the scope of practice to those things which are or can be scientifically validated.
Those who see beyond these parameters know that there must be some yet-to-be measured mental and spiritual aspect of man. This factor can influence the patient’s ability to heal the body.
It can certainly use some mechanical assistance, which can be provided by the spinal adjustment and other physical modalities, such as diet and food supplements primarily derived from “god’s pharmacy” — real food, un-modified by “science” and naturally grown without toxic chemicals.
Refined and altered foods have become more and more dominant since D.D. Palmer first introduced the concept of chiropractic naturalism back in 1895. Most patients’ diets are very different today from what their grandparents ate. And, as a result, their health is in a very different condition.
Chiropractors need to learn about and include nutritional principles and the remedying of nutritional violations as a vital role in the healing process. The innate intelligence of the body and its ability to heal itself is dramatically reduced by a diet absent the natural components it needs to form genuine replacement parts and bring about healing.
By correcting these factors and restoring the integrity of the body’s intricate internal communication systems through spinal adjustments, health can be restored.
This chiropractic naturalism approach is distinctly different from the pharmaceutical model for chronic disease — which sees the same symptoms but sees these not as natural call signs, red flags initiated by the body to call attention to errors in diet and lifestyle — but as enemies which need to be suppressed by pharmaceuticals.
Treating symptoms as an enemy can provide temporary relief to many, but in the long run they always add to the toxic load and do nothing to restore normal homeostasis that enhances and supports the body’s ability to heal itself.
In fact, it accomplishes the opposite, as can easily be seen in the statistics showing the worsening health condition of the population. The number of people suffering from chronic disease is quite alarming. We have a population that is less and less able to deal with natural enemies, such as coronaviruses and other similar environmental factors.
A return to chiropractic naturalism would require the education of practitioners in the use of the full gamut of barriers preventing the innate healing ability of a body. This would mean incorporating the other factors that block healing into a chiropractic practice so that the adjustments will do what they were designed to do.
This could create a renaissance of true natural healing and unleash incredible benefits to the world. Our citizens would be free to express their true potential, unhindered by sick and painful bodies.
FREDDIE ULAN, DC, due to his own health issues researched other barriers and solutions to restore his health. This led to the development of Nutrition Response Testing®, a natural, safe, non-invasive method of discovering the root cause of a condition and how to identify and remedy the barriers to the body’s natural healing ability. Nutrition Response Testing is a service mark owned by Freddie Ulan. Learn more at unsinc.info.
Filed Under: 2021, Chiropractic Practice Management, Clinical & Chiropractic Techniques, issue-14-2021
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