The Natural Approach
By Molly Dickinson
This year marks the 17th Annual National Infant Immunization Week (NIIW), a childhood vaccination awareness drive sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Its mission, according to the CDC, is “to highlight the importance of protecting infants from vaccine-preventable diseases and celebrate the achievements of immunization programs and their partners in promoting healthy communities.” In 2010, hundreds of communities across the Western Hemisphere, along with the Pan American Health Organization’s Vaccination Week in the Americas, participated in NIIW.
But despite the CDC’s week-long campaign, it’s likely the number of U.S. infants aged 2 and younger (the target age range for NIIW) who will be inoculated with all 14 recommended vaccines—38 doses in all—will continue to decline. According to a 2010 report from the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA), vaccination rates for 2-year-olds under private health plans dropped in 2009 after seeing near-steady growth for more than a decade.
Why? It isn’t because the CDC is failing to get its message out. It’s because another message—born of respect for the body’s abilities, not fear of its limitations—is making itself heard now more than ever. And people are listening. An increasingly vocal counterculture of parents, alternative health professionals, scientists and even medical doctors are standing up, speaking out and otherwise needling the allopathic status quo in an effort to change what they consider an inherently flawed, even dangerous, medical practice.
Today’s Chiropractic LifeStyle is proud to add its voice to the rising call for rethinking the way the U.S. approaches disease prevention and care; starting with those who matter most—our children. This April 23-30, TCL won’t be participating in National Infant Immunization Week; it will be celebrating “Natural Infant Immunization Week” instead. In contrast to the CDC’s push for increased vaccination, natural infant immunization highlights the importance of preparing infants to protect themselves from disease by calling upon a partnership of parents and wellness providers to support the innate function of children’s developing immune systems. It’s a movement celebrating the achievements of chiropractic, nutrition and other vitalistic lifestyle choices in promoting healthy communities from the inside out.
NIIW vs. NIIW
Though they share an acronym, these two approaches to infant immunization differ at the deepest of levels. The two movements have
existed in stark opposition since Edward Jenner first shocked the world by injecting pus from a milkmaid’s cowpox lesion into an 8-year-old boy, creating the very first “vaccine” for smallpox in 1976. In order to fully understand the heart of the pro- vs. anti-vaccination debate, it’s critical to understand the way vaccines do—and don’t—work, and how this differs from the natural way our bodies are designed to generate immunity.
Barbara Loe Fisher, co-founder of the National Vaccine Information Center, a leading source of critical research on childhood vaccination in the U.S. for nearly 30 years, explains it this way, “The human immune system, in simple terms, has two arms: the innate (cellular) and learned (humoral). For optimal immune function and good health, a balance must be maintained between these two arms of the immune system. The immune system of a newborn matures and is strengthened after birth and throughout childhood by naturally responding to the challenges of viruses, bacteria and other antigens—like pollen—in the environment. These challenges stimulate both inflammation and anti-inflammatory responses involving the cellular and humoral arms of the immune system. This natural maturation of the immune system allows the newborn to live in harmony with his environment outside the womb.”
Most vaccines, she observes, bypass the innate immune response and primarily involve the humoral immune response. “This stimulates the production of antibodies in the blood,” explains Fisher. “This is why vaccines don’t confer the same kind of immunity that exposure to and recovery from the natural disease confers.”
This, she says, is also why the practice of administering booster shots developed; as an effort to extend the short-term immunity triggered by inoculation.
“[The natural immunity perspective] completely destroys the vaccine theory,” adds Mary Tocco, an international speaker and educator often referred to as the “Erin Brokovich” of the vaccine industry. “Vaccinology is based on an outdated medical paradigm called the ‘allopathic model,’ the mechanistic model of conventional medicine where everything is compartmentalized. Immunologists were taught the only thing responding to vaccines is the immune system—with no regard for how the adjuvants or other ingredients will affect the immune system or rest of the body. This would be like saying that when we eat, the only thing affected is the stomach.”
“The new understanding,” she continues, referring to the vitalistic and holistic perspective, “considers the whole individual, realizing that when we inject, the whole body is involved.”
When we consider vaccination from this viewpoint, the current practice of infant inoculation gives rise to a growing array of questions and concerns with which Fisher, Tocco and other leading voices in vaccinology criticism are all too familiar.
Beyond the fact that vaccines don’t provide the same type of superior immunity generated by a high-functioning immune system, they’ve been linked (the medical community insists inconclusively) to neurological disorders and increased disease susceptibility. Vaccine critics point not only to a lack of investigation into potential side-effects and how they may cause individuals to react differently to inoculation, but also to a long list of additives whose toxicity is either well-known or in debate.
“Vaccines are pharmaceutical products,” says Fisher, “like all pharmaceutical products, vaccines carry a risk of injury or death that can be greater for some than others. Every child, like every infectious disease and every vaccine, is different. Depending upon the vaccine, there are additives that may affect an individual child’s health, including aluminum, mercury, formaldehyde, MSG, antibiotics, Polysorbate 80, egg and other animal protein or DNA, in addition to lab-altered viruses and bacteria.”
Additionally, given the financial stake the medical and pharmaceutical industries have in vaccine proliferation, their role in conducting or funding the majority of studies dictates any findings be taken with a heavy dose of aluminum salt (a common vaccine adjuvant).
“Common vaccine ingredients aren’t tested for safety,” Tocco says. “Most pediatricians aren’t aware of how vaccines are produced or the toxic adjuvants that are in all vaccines. When you consider vaccines have been around for more than 60 years and there isn’t one long-term study showing efficacy and proving safety, it’s completely unacceptable. They’ve never compared the vaccinated population to the unvaccinated and I believe this is the most important study needing to be done.”
More than Just Numbers
Whether or not to vaccinate isn’t just a question of science. The fact that both sides of the debate can take the exact same cannon of scientific literature and interpret it in their own favor indicates not only a need for further and better investigation, but a much deeper, more important contention.
Beyond the numbers, the way we approach vaccination is a question of philosophy.
According to critics, the philosophy espoused by the CDC and other medically based models upholds intervention over intuition, relying upon a continually shifting arsenal of external chemical and physical processes to change the way individual bodily structures and systems function. The vitalistic and naturalistic perspective honors the human body’s innate intelligence (no matter how tiny and new), trusting in nature’s superior wisdom and enabling that body to adapt to its environment and guide itself toward its own highest expression of function.
Because these philosophies are diametrically opposed, they cannot readily coexist within the same belief system (be it individual or socio-cultural). So the controversy rages on amidst a growing fog of fear and antagonism; and more and more parents are finding themselves torn between a seemingly impossible decision—to vaccinate, or not to vaccinate?
Jeanne Ohm, D.C., an internationally renowned expert in pediatric Chiropractic, recalls one patient in particular. “I had a case where a father came in and he was petrified to vaccinate and petrified not to vaccinate. Apparently, he’d been reading up on both sides of the issue. I told him, ‘never make a decision in fear; it’s usually the wrong decision.’ And then I said, ‘You’ve obviously done your research, you’ve read what both sides have to say. What you need to do now is that you and your wife need to go down into your core belief system and see what resonates with you: vitalism or mechanism? And from that core belief system is how you make your decision.”
According to Tocco, parents possess intuition about such things, but they’ve been taught to ignore it. “I tell parents to carefully examine all the information and follow their gut instincts,” Tocco adds. “With the Internet and the information explosion, there’s an abundance of information on both sides. Truth has a certain feel to it. Search for the truth and you’ll find it.”
And as one chiropractor puts it, “If you do choose to get your children vaccinated, you would, of course, still want to make sure they are checked and adjusted. Wouldn’t you also want to make sure they’re unsubluxated if you choose inoculation?”
Know Your Rights
So-called “anti-vaccine” proponents like Fisher, Tocco and Ohm aren’t fighting for an end to vaccination. They simply believe the decision to vaccinate children should be just that—a decision; one parents should make with the support of health care providers after weighing possible risks and benefits , while heeding that inner voice telling them what’s right for their families.
“It’s imperative we have the legal right in the U.S. to embrace our deeply held personal values, beliefs and philosophies and follow our conscience when making important decisions about our own health or that of our children,” Fisher says. “Making any such health care decision—including one involving use of a pharmaceutical product carrying a risk of injury or death—is a profoundly personal decision.”
“All Americans who believe vaccines are protective and safe and the best way to maintain their health or the health of their children have affordable access to all government-recommended vaccines in public health clinics, or they can get vaccinated in a private doctor’s office. Those holding a different view about the benefits and risks of vaccination, however, should be allowed to follow their own path to health and healing without suffering harassment or punishment at the hands of those who disagree with them.”
The right to refuse vaccination varies by state. The NVIC’s website contains detailed, state-by-state information many find helpful when discussing vaccinations with pediatricians and other health care professionals. Currently, provisions exist for medical, religious and philosophical exemptions to mandatory vaccination (though not always concurrently). All states honor signed exemptions from medical and osteopathic doctors, although federally approved guidelines often complicate matters. Religious exemption is supported in all states except West Virginia and Mississippi, and 18 states currently allow philosophical exemptions.
Protect them from the Inside Out
Regardless of whether or not you choose to vaccinate, supporting your child’s developing immune system as fully as possible should be never be a question.
Says Ohm, “Vaginal birthing; breastfeeding for at least 18 months; organic foods; minimal chemical stresses and drugs; a nerve supply free of interference; a good emotional lifestyle; and a happy home are the best things you can provide to support a strong immune system.”
“We now know the immune and nervous systems are considered by science to be one system,” she adds. “We as parents need to make choices supporting nervous system function and decreasing physical, emotional and chemical stresses on our children.”
Of course, whether or not that choice includes vaccination, ultimately, is up to you.
Dynamic Chiropractic – June 21, 1991, Vol. 09, Issue 13
Is There a Trend Toward Chiropractic in Sports Care
By Robert Thomle and Robert Ziegler
A literature review on the effects of chiropractic and sports care revealed a complex role for doctors who treat athletes at every level. We discuss different research papers presented and the interrelationships of care and the results. We feel that more research at every level of sports care needs to be pursued for the betterment of chiropractic and the athletes we treat.
The determination of chiropractic’s role in sports care revolves around the ability of the doctor to show
progress in areas important to the athlete. 1 Chiropractic is not only beneficial to the experienced and
professional athlete, but is beneficial to the amateur and weekend athlete as well. The practitioner’s role is to enhance performance, and prevent and manage injury.1,2 The treatment of professional athletes has helped the chiropractor to apply his knowledge of biomechanical injuries and their treatment. 3
Chiropractors have found that they can also be effective in the nutritional aspects of athletic performance. They have been able to help in precompetition preparation, competition endurance, and all aspects of injury prevention and treatment. 4
Chiropractic is becoming more a treatment of choice by professional and amateur athletes. This has been evident in the treatment of collegiate, Olympic, and professional athletes and has enabled us to gain recognition. 5 Chiropractic care is not only limited to the more advanced athlete, but young athletes are able to benefit from chiropractic treatment as well. This is especially true in the areas of critical, acute, and emergency care.2
Due to the lack of education in the areas of biomechanical and neuromusculoskeletal dysfunction, medical doctors are not as well prepared to deal with athletic injuries. Because of this, many athletes of varying abilities are learning of the benefits of chiropractic care. An excellent example of a medical professional giving advice to professional players about chiropractic can be found in the San Francisco 49ers. Some of the players personal doctors are quoted as saying, "It’s the worst thing for you," and "If he (their chiropractor) hasn’t hurt you already, he will hurt you." 6 Many high-performance athletes and their coaches have found that sports chiropractic plays a major role in three important areas of prime concern to all athletes: maximum musculoskeletal performance, prevention of injury, and management of injury. 1,2
Weekend and amateur athletes can learn about the importance of chiropractic adjustments from many
professional athletes. No matter which sport you enjoy on your day off, you can find someone you admire in your area of interest that is being treated by a chiropractor. The list of advocates is long. Boxing heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield; Joe Montana, Jerry Rice, and Roger Craig of the four time Super Bowl champions San Francisco 49ers in football; Chi Chi Rodriguez in golf; world champion kick-boxer Dennis Alexio; as well as champions in virtually every major sport are becoming regular chiropractic patients. Many of these athletes insist on being adjusted by their chiropractors just prior to competition. 3They feel they are not able to perform at their optimum ability without the reassurance that they have full range of motion without restriction in their joints. 7
The changing outlook towards health from an allopathic standpoint to a more holistic approach has brought the study of nutrition to a more respectable position. The athlete is always looking to enhance performance, speed, injury rehabilitation, and increase endurance. In their search they are being drawn to the benefits of nutrition. Inadequate nutrition and unhealthy nutritional behavior is clearly linked to the etiology of practically every major chronic disease. 8 Chiropractors qualified in the field of nutrition are able to give pertinent advice on vitamin supplementation, dietary intakes, environmental toxicities, homeostasis, and biomechanical reactions of bodily systems. 4
In an effort to reduce injuries entire teams as well as individual athletes are looking toward chiropractic to design tailored conditioning programs. They are finding that chiropractors, as trained professionals in the area of biomechanical function of the neuromusculoskeletal system, are better able to prepare a complete conditioning and injury prevention program. 9
It is necessary to properly assess and identify the biomechanics of an injury prior to the initiation of a
goal-oriented treatment program of the involved area.
The soft tissue involvement of an injury must be evaluated and included in the treatment program. Many
problems are found to be initiated at the precompetition level, due to poor conditioning, poor fitness or poor posture. Evaluation procedures use not only traditional orthopedic tests, neurological examinations, and
x-ray studies, but have come to include more extensive outside professional diagnostic procedures. These may include CAT scans, MRIs, joint angiograms, diskograms, and joint arthroscopic procedures. 10
The trend towards chiropractic in sports care has been shown to be valid. It is hoped that more definitive studies in the area of nutrition, biomechanics, and injury rehabilitation will be done to heighten chiropractic in the sports care arena. Because of the increasing world-wide interest in sports and fitness, no matter what your age or level of athletic achievement, the opportunity to finally see the role of chiropractic in sports care is at hand.
1. Chapman-Smith, D. "Sports chiropractic." The Chiropractic Report 1990; 4:1-6.
2. Johnson, P. "Chiropractic and youth." Today’s Chiropractic 1987; 16:39,112.
3. Tyler, R.H. "Chiropractic fight doctor." Dynamic Chiropractic 1991; 9:1,27.
4. Press, S.J. "The role of the chiropractic physicians in the sports medical team." Am Chiropractor 1987;
5. Corwin, J.M. "Coming of age in the 1980s: sports chiropractic’s rapid rise." Today’s Chiropractic
6. Freerks, H. "Dr. Nick Athens, unofficial team chiropractor for ’89 Super Bowl champs." ICA Review
7. sportelli, L. "Chiropractic sports science: a new perspective." J Chiropractic 1988; 25:19-22
8. Sawyer, C.E. "Nutrition specialists fill vital role." J Chiropractic 1989; 26:28-30.
9. Hagerman, G.R.; Atkins, J.W. "The U.S. Alpine ski team’s conditioning and injury-prevention
program." Am Chiropractor November, 1989; 16-25.
10. Green, D.M. "Optimum evaluation, treatment, fitness rehabilitation approach to musculoskeletal joint
dysfunction." Chiropractic Sports Med 1987; 1:26-28.
11. Cianciulli, A. "Sports chiropractic." Chiropractic Sports Med 1987; 2:46.
12. Whitman, M. "The complete blood count and its clinical nutritional implications." Dig Chiropractic
Econ 1987; 29:20-23.
13. Nansel, D.; Cremata, E. "Effect of unilateral spinal adjustments on goniometrically-assessed cervical lateral-flexion end-range asymmetries in otherwise asymptomatic subjects." J. Manipulative Physiol Therapy 1989; 6:419-427.
14. Johnson, L.M. "Chiropractic and the ’88 Olympics." ICA Review 1988; 44(2):44,47.
15. Leonardi, L. "Global expansion through sports." ICA Review 1986; 42(1):50-51.
Robert Thomle and
Robert Ziegler, Students
Cleveland Chiropractic College
Kansas City, Missouri
What Is A Subluxation And What Does It Do To Me?
In simplest terms, a subluxation (a.k.a. Vertebral Subluxation) is when one or more of the bones of your spine (vertebrae) move out of position and create pressure on, or irritate spinal nerves. Spinal nerves are the nerves that come out from between each of the bones in your spine. This pressure or irritation on the nerves then causes those nerves to malfunction and interfere with the signals traveling over those nerves.
How does this affect you? Your nervous system controls and coordinates all the functions of your body. If you interfere with the signals traveling over nerves, parts of your body will not get the proper nerve messages and will not be able to function at 100% of their innate abilities. In other words, some part of your body will not be working properly. It is the responsibility of the Doctor of Chiropractic to locate subluxations, and reduce or correct them. This is done through a series of chiropractic adjustments specifically designed to correct the vertebral subluxations in your spine. Chiropractors are the only professionals who undergo years of training to be the experts at correcting subluxations.
Now, the detailed explanation.
Subluxations are really a combination of changes going on at the same time. These changes occur both in your spine and throughout your body. For this reason chiropractors often refer to vertebral subluxations as the "Vertebral Subluxation Complex", or "VSC" for short.
In the VSC, various things are happening inside your body simultaneously. These various changes, known as "components," are all part of the vertebral subluxation complex. Chiropractors commonly recognize five categories of components present in the VSC. These five are:
The osseous (bone) component is where the vertebrae are either out of position, not moving properly, or are undergoing physical changes such as degeneration. This component is sometimes known as kinesiopathology.
The Muscle Component is also involved. Since the muscles help hold the vertebrae in place, and since nerves control the muscles themselves, muscles are an integral part of any VSC. In fact, muscles both affect, and are affected by the VSC. This component is known as myopathology.
The Soft Tissue Component is when you have misaligned vertebrae and pressure on nerves resulting in changes in the surrounding soft tissues. This means the tendons, ligaments, blood supply, and other tissues undergo changes. These changes can occur at the point of the VSC or far away at some end point of the affected nerves. This component is also known as histopathology.
The Chemical Component is when all these components of the VSC are acting on your body, and therefore causing some degree of chemical changes. These chemical changes can be slight or massive depending on what parts of your body are affected by your subluxations. This component is often known as biochemicalabnormalities.