What’s the future of chiropractic?

One of the main reasons I began this blog is to seek to develop a conversation that concerns itself with the future of chiropractic. The profession I’ve been in and around for more than thirty years is a real enigma to me. For me it’s the healing art for which the main therapeutic contribution most closely matches most of a body’s needs, and utilizes a paradigm (yet to be effectively articulated) that is based on an acknowledgement of the innate, powerful abilities of the human body–and spirit. But it’s also a profession that is quite capable of hurting itself, over and over again.

The observations in 1895 that gave D.D. Palmer the basis for beginning the profession concerned basic functional health of a body, with a focus on optimal neurologic function. With the knowledge from embryology of the early development of the neural plate and its distinctive cell lines, one of the first things a human embryo does is seek to monitor its surroundings. The ability of our nervous systems to seek, absorb, assimilate, organize, and act upon billions of bits of data every second of our lives is absolutely phenomenal–and one that is quite easy to impair. Since the first days of classes in chiropractic science at Northwestern College of Chiropractic, where Dr. Howard Balduc illustrated the scientific basis for the philosophy and paradigm of chiropractic, I have found the whole subject entrancing, almost miraculous in its scope and implications. And the ability of my profession to offer a meaningful contribution to people who’s ability to effectively manage their relationships to their environment as mediated by the nervous system is, in my professionally biased opinion, unsurpassed.

Yet the contributions of chiropractic to the health of the world are substantially underutilized, and I believe that one of the things holding the profession back from being more effectively utilized is that we don’t have conversations about what we’re doing wrong; we keep having the conversations about what we’re doing right.

One of my ‘soapbox issues’ is that, viewed from a business perspective, chiropractic has been stuck at 14-16% (give or take, depending on what research you believe) market penetration for many, many years. This despite huge population increases, so the profession’s numbers have increased along with the US population but proportionately have not increased its active participation in people’s lives. Why is that? The varied answers to that question are what I’d like to explore. Comments and contributions welcomed.

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