Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

Who Has the Backbone to Stop This?

By Peter Bowditch

Chiropractors should not promote their services as an alternative to vaccination or treat children for conditions like autism and asthma.

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.

Australia has an excellent health system. Many improvements could be made, but generally the mixture of public and private provision of health delivery and insurance, together with regulatory oversight, provides one of the best, if not the best, health care systems in the world.

Alongside this system is a parallel system of “medicine” where science might receive lip service but superstition, tradition and faith provide the supposed evidence of efficacy and safety. This sector used to be called “alternative medicine” but now prefers to be referred to as “complementary medicine” in the hope that it can be seen as an adjunct to real, scientifically-based medicine.

In the grey area between these two forms of medicine sits chiropractic.

There is a popular misconception that chiropractors are some sort of back pain specialists. If a chiropractor confines himself to treating lower back pain by massage and manipulation then he is not really doing chiropractic, he is doing physical therapy.

The fundamental principle of chiropractic is that all dis-ease (note the hyphen) is the result of subluxations of the spine causing pressure on nerves and therefore inhibiting the transmission of the signals that allow the innate intelligence of the body to heal itself. Everything is caused by subluxations (which chiropractors have trouble reliably identifying on X-...

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.

Peter Bowditch is Immediate Past President of Australian Skeptics Inc. (