I My Journey in Chiropractic and the Healing Field
My professional journey in life began when I turned twenty-one and left the seminary to pursue a career in Chiropractic. The year was 1961. I graduated from Chiropractic college in 1963 and immediately moved south with my family and opened my first practice in Crowley, Louisiana, in the Winter of 1963-64. The Healing Field was ripe for a new paradigm of health care and I was eager to deliver it.
Little did I know then that my journey through the field of health care was to be a journey of the profession I had joined that was already engaged in a political battle with its nemesis: the medical profession, the Guardian of the Threshold leading to licensure as a separate, distinct and independent profession with a vitalistic philosophy and a drugless healing science and art.
A Battle for Licensure and Freedom of Choice
I joined in the fight for licensure here in Louisiana, my home state — as well as the battle for patients’ “Freedom of Choice” in health care, a separate journey and battle led by a group of passionate Chiropractic patients with whom we shared a common cause and a common nemesis.
After several years of legislative efforts — and court battles to stop the arrest and jailing of chiropractors — we finally defeated our nemesis in 1974 when Louisiana became the last state in the Union to license Chiropractors. It also became the last state to grant patients the freedom and right to go to the doctor of their choice.
The victory was a partial one, however, as licensure was not the ultimate goal of the profession’s quest. The ultimate goal, the Elixir of Immortality, was access to health insurance, the Golden Goose, well guarded by the insurance industry: equality under the law with Medicine in the reimbursement for Chiropractic services. Licensure was only a means to this end — an end that, to this day, Medicine is bent on denying chiropractors by controlling how freely and deeply they are allowed to dip into the Golden Goose’s nesteggs. After all, health insurance was a creation of medical doctors as a way of insuring they got paid for their services. So it’s their game and they don’t want anyone else dipping into their fee-pool. Stiff restrictions and fine-bearing compliance laws have been put in place via HIPPA, making it costly and time-consuming for doctors to file and follow up with reimbursement claims. Documentation has become one of the dreaded aspects of modern day health care, seconded by the escalating cost of malpractice insurance in a litigious society to which healthcare providers dedicate their lives of service. So, the insurance industry has become a nemesis to both professions by determining the amount of the reimbursement for services rendered.
All this to say the field of healthcare — a misnomer in itself — does not have the same lure of attraction it had when I entered it some fifty-six years ago. Medicine continues to be a nemesis to the Chiropractic profession — but only as long as chiropractors worship at the altar of the insurance industry and hold financial remuneration as their primary goal, their Elixir of Immortality.
There is a trade-off, however, in this pursuit for insurance equality alongside Medicine. That trade-off is the surrender of the very soul of Chiropractic, nourished by its philosophy, which honors the Innate Power of the human body to heal itself naturally and without the toxic and invasive intervention of drugs and surgery. A motto of the chiropractors, once held religiously, was “Chiropractic first—Medicine second—surgery last.”
Sadly, that trade-off was made by the bulk of the members of our beloved profession, along with all but a few of its colleges, who continue in the sacred philosophical tradition of our Beloved Founder and developer, Drs. D.D. and B.J. Palmer, respectively.
A schism has rocked the profession at its very foundation, sending it down the same lost path Osteopathy took, as many chiropractors began to look and act more and more like medical doctors, prescribing diagnostic tests, and in some states even delivering babies, all the while abandoning “principled chiropractic” and the holistic model of natural health care to embrace the reductionistic medical model of relieving pain and treating symptoms, settling for acceptance by their medical colleagues as musculoskeletal specialists, an area of expertise in which chiropractors excel. I suppose the saying “men must do what men must do”– as well as women — applies here. Change is what it is, neither good or bad, right or wrong.
Heralds of Vibrational Healing
Chiropractic was born on September 18, 1895, through the heart and hands of a magnetic healer by the name of Daniel D. Palmer in What Cheer, Iowa. That places it at the fountainhead of vibrational healing and what today is being called “energy medicine.” Daniel Palmer had a large vision of his new healing art becoming more an energetic than a physical remedy for all of mankind’s diseases — or dis-eases, as his son, BJ, spelled it in order to describe illness as a lack of ease. This vision became the Palmers’ quest, their Elixir of Immortality. Their belief in the innate healing power of the body, along with the discovery of the spinal adjustment, led them to the central principle of natural healing: Remove the interference to the unfettered flow and expression of life energy and let the body heal itself. They took the “whole man” into consideration to determine the cause of dis-ease, along with the solution. That cause was seen as being “quantitative” as well as “qualitative”– physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual — or a combination thereof. In other words, they looked for the cause of dis-ease in higher levels than just the physical and chemical. They sought the cause of the cause of dis-ease. The obvious solution and cure, then, was to correct or remove the cause, the interference, and the manifest symptoms would simply no longer be necessary to signal a need for change — change in lifestyle and/or mental and emotional stress and attitude. The symptoms would then simply abate naturally.
This was and is the essence of the Holistic model of healthcare, an entirely new and different model from the medical reductionistic model of disease management — both being essential in the healthcare arena; the ideal being for both to work together for the benefit of the patients they serve.
Evolution of Health Care
As health care itself evolved, our professional journey merged into a collective and global journey of the Human Species in search for the Elixir of Immortality in the field of health-and-wellness care. Building and maintaining a healthy physique has become the focus of health-and-wellness centers throughout the land. “Functional Medicine” is the latest buzz word among chiropractors who are exploring the benefits of nutrition in restoring function to failing organs, tissues and glands. “Clinical Nutrition” has come into the holistic model here in the West, as the cause of more and more diseases was found to be related to poor dietary habits and an “Empty Harvest,” as Dr. Bernard Jensen describes our commercially grown fruits and vegetables in his book by the same name. Depleted soil can only render foods deficient in vital nutrients, resulting in missing cogs in the nutrient chain, thereby creating an interference to the flow of vital life force in and through the body. This is a modality that I have found to be indispensable in my practice.
Acupuncture and several other techniques, such as BioEnergetic Synchronization (BEST), have also emerged as energy-based healing methodologies to take their places in Western Holistic Medicine. Eastern healing traditions have long been harbingers of holistic healing and many of their traditions have found their way into our healthcare systems. Practices such as meditation and yoga have become popular, and gyms are popping up everywhere.
This revolution in health-and-wellness care has drawn the attention of the Guardian of the Threshold, the FDA and the AMA, as chiropractic boards began expanding their scope of practice to include procedures that heretofore have been the exclusive domain of Medicine. With the emergence of Applied Clinical Nutrition, Contact Reflex Analysis (muscle testing) and Functional Endocrinology, such conditions as diabetes, hypertension, coronary heart disease, and even autoimmune disease are being treated and reversed by chiropractors and other alternative practitioners, much to the objection of medical licensing boards. Law suits have been filed and fines levied.
This is not stopping the evolution of health care, however. People have awakened and started to assume responsibility for their health, a responsibility that had been placed with trust in the willing and able hands of Modern Medicine — which unfortunately has cornered the market on the treatment of disease, especially of Diabetes, Coronary Heart Disease, Cancer, and other autoimmune diseases.
“Keepers of the Flame”
“Alternative healthcare” made its debut in the last half of the twentieth century carrying the torch of holistic healing into the New Age of Aquarius. Holistic practitioners began popping up throughout the healing field. The words Attunement and Sound Healing entered our vocabulary as energy healing modalities. I was introduce to a model of Attunement in the late nineteen-sixties that works with the energy fields around the endocrine glands, as well as with the Chakra energy centers of the Eastern tradition and Reiki. I later incorporated Sound Healing into my attunement service. The consciousness of humanity has begun to shift to a higher frequency of awareness that has awakened a realization that we are spiritual beings having a human experience rather than physical beings having a spiritual experience.
This realization was actually dawning as early as the turn of the twentieth century when BJ Palmer published The Bigness of the Fellow Within in which he tells stories about the “Giant and the pigmy”– the inner spiritual Self and the outer mental self, or the “Innate Intelligence” and the “educated intelligence.” This realization lit up his mind and put a fire in his heart that burned passionately for several decades and was carried forward by those who came to the light of his shining and became inspired to bring forth a new paradigm of vibrational healing.
As the fire began to cool in their hearts and the light began to dim in their minds, the torch was set aside in lieu or a “more scientific” approach to Chiropractic. Now the torch has been given to others to carry forward, along with a new paradigm of health care which honors once again the innate healing powers of the body. We’ve come full cycle back, or forward, to our humble beginnings as magnetic healers, only now calling ourselves “Holistic Healers” and “Energy Workers.” A few colleges still teach principled chiropractic and a small but passionate number of chiropractors still carry the flame in their hearts and in their clinics. The Torch has not been entirely dropped.
The table has been turned
Alternative health care has now become Medicine’s nemesis as more and more doctors are returning to school and abandoning the reductionistic model in lieu of the holistic model of true health care. Physicians of all disciplines are attending seminars to educate and certify themselves in clinical nutrition, herbal medicine and other modalities emerging with the holistic paradigm. It’s what the people want and are asking for, and the people have the final say in such personal matters as their health. And the irony of it all is that health insurance doesn’t generally cover alternative health care, a forty-plus-billion-dollar industry.
The wave has been set in motion and it will dissolve the monopolistic stronghold Medicine has assumed over health care. It will ultimately be defeated by its nemesis and be forced to vacate its self-appointed role as the Guardian of the Threshold to the health care arena. Licensing boards will not be able to stem the tide of this revolution as doctors and non-medical practitioners in the field of healthcare dare to take on the reversal and cure of diseases only Medicine has held the legal right to treat symptomatically.
It’s a new day . . . thank God! And I am glad to have lived long enough to see it and be a part of its dawning. God bless our doctors, especially our surgeons, whose hearts are in the right place of compassion for the sick and suffering and have only a prescription pad and a scalpel between them and their patients. The vast world of Mother Nature’s Cornucopia of natural medicines lies open and ready to heal all our ills.
Thank you for sharing my thoughts. Do feel free to share yours.
Here’s to your health and healing,
Anthony Palombo, DC