In an article written for Spinal Manipulation Dr. Cheryl Hawk, chiropractic researcher, stated, “…the medical establishment views chiropractic as a procedure-spinal manipulation rather than a profession which operates based on a unique approach to health care.” She argues that, “If chiropractic is a complete system of health care, then it must have more to offer than the procedure of spinal manipulation [adjustment], its application must be informed by a unique approach to healing and health… For it is the philosophy, the intuitive knowledge-belief system-that differentiates a complete system from a procedure.” Bravo, Cheryl. In fact, I can add a point from social research that the more clear a practitioner is with their own belief system and how congruently they live and express that belief system in their professional and personal lives the more successful and happy they will be; and while the philosophy is always an ideal and the living of it is always flawed, it is the striving toward the ideal that creates vision, power and inspiration.
At Life University we strive to live that ideal—simply stated it is a lifestyle. Chiropractic principles imply and dictate a way of living and making decisions about life and health. There is no moral way we can hold to our vitalistic philosophy of the body as self developing, maintaining and healing without having an opinion on drug consumption, vaccination, natural childbirth and natural organic foods, to mention a few. The Van Brada studies published by the ICA looked at the family lifestyle of 200 pediatricians and 200 chiropractors and found that the chiropractic families took fewer drugs, received more adjustments, were more interested in healthy nutrition and vaccinated less. Interestingly, their children were healthier in a multitude of ways; i.e., the chiropractic kids were 69 percent otitis media free while the pediatrician’s kids were only 30 percent OM free.
Dr. James Chestnut, one of the sharpest swords in the chiropractic sheath today, points out that 80 percent of Americans have one or more chronic diseases and the vast majority of these conditions are related to lifestyle. His Eat Well, Think Well, Move Well program is congruent with our vitalistic philosophy, and encourages education and simple natural lifestyle changes that are obvious outcomes of a chiropractic philosophy. I'm not implying that a chiropractor has to turn their practice into an alternative therapeutic center, but I am suggesting that people who get IT make changes in how they live. At Life we can no longer put up an epigram that reads, “Nature Needs No Help, Just No Interference,” and then not attempt to express it by building non-invasive environmental buildings, constructing a natural organic cafe, etc.
Is there a chiropractic lifestyle inherent in and informed by our philosophy? Absolutely. I think Chestnut is correct when he says that chiropractic adjustments plus lifestyle changes are exponentially better together than either one used autonomously, no matter how great either is on its own.