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Chiropractic and the Immune System: Disentangling Context and Looking at the Big Picture

'… to define chiropractic as only spinal manipulative therapy (SMT) and then seek to find very isolated changes in immune function relating to this specific interaction funnels the wide expanse of chiropractic care into a virtual pinhole.’

Indexing terms: COVID, COVID-19, immunity, chiropractic

Cite: Blum C. Chiropractic and the Immune System: Disentangling Context and Looking at the Big Picture. Asia-Pac Chiropr J. 2020;1:001 DOI

A colleague in Ireland
A colleague in Ireland

Chiropractic in the COVID-19 Pandemic Era - The Clinical Compass

Clinical Compass is chiropractic’s Evidence Centre, providing research, education and empowerment for the chiropractic community. This is their understanding of chiropractic and COVID-19

Indexing Term: Pandemic, COVID-19, Chiropractic

Cite: Whalen WM, Hawk C, Crivelli L, et al. Chiropractic in the COVID-19 Pandemic Era - The Clinical Compass [Exposition]. Asia-Pac Chiropr J. 2020;1:020 DOI


Chiropractic physicians around the world view the assessment and management of immune system dysfunctions from a holistic perspective and seek to identify how other systems that may be amenable to integrative chiropractic care affect its functioning. 

Chiropractic physicians have a vital role to play in this era of COVID-19 ‘analysis and enhancement’ where chiropractic approaches (structural, biochemical-nutritional, and psychoneuroimmunological) can strengthen patients’ innate and specific immunity. 

The chiropractic profession has developed immunological approaches to COVID-19 some of which are presented in this inaugural issue of the Asia-Pacific Chiropractic Journal. We know that areas of structural immobility can become immunosuppressed, possibly because of the stasis of lymphatic fluid and hindrance of muscular function. Improved joint and muscle function reduce such stasis, where it exists. 

With the global increase in antibiotic-resistant strains of pathogenic microbes and its incalculable effect upon patients and societies around the world, the appeal of the chiropractic approach to immune system impairments will increase. Not only doctors and their patients but also the governmental agencies who supervise them must come to understand in the very near future the major components of acute and chronic viral infections.

We are in a phase where rapid learning must occur with regard to how better address each of those components to achieve greater resistance to as well as control over virus-induced illness. The sad and ongoing situation is that medical training provides little if any education in nutrition. 

On the other hand chiropractors receive extensive training in both clinical nutrition and functional neurology. A prototypal search of Medline (31 May 2020) returned over 60,000 articles to the query ‘nutrition’ and ‘immun*’. Chiropractors are yet to explore this area; the Index to Chiropractic Literature returned just 3 papers for the same search string. 

Nevertheless we maintain that chiropractors are able to read and understand the literature of well-studied and highly-effective antiviral treatments and strategies and we strongly urge an attitudinal change from hypercriticism masked as a ‘rapid review’ to writing that is more exploratory and relevant to daily practice.

Nutritional advice is an important element within a chiropractor’s scope of practice, and its influence upon the immune system is elegantly presented in the important papers offered in this issue. 

The Editors

WHO Resources

The Chain of Transmission (below) is adapted for chiropractic from the WHO source document, Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) for COVID-19 Virus.

The Journal directs readers to the WHO for global resources to be read in conjunction with your jurisdictional resources. The definitive resource for chiropractors is at ICA here 

See the WHO Coronavirus resources here ...

All coronavirus (COVID-19) technical guidance documents 2019/technical-guidance

IPC documents 2019/technical-guidance/infection-prevention-and-control

Questions and Answers

The Editors

The ICA view

Dr Stephen Welsh, President of the International Chiropractors Association (ICA) provided a daily update during the height of the 2020 pandemic. These clips are always moderate, very well informed, and calmly presented. The clip below was distributed 12 May 2020.

Dr Welsh presents a rational point of view from a celebratory that seems to reflect DD Palmer's idea that the reason why one person will fall ill while the person next to him or her will not, is due to what chiropractors call 'the health of the host', or individual immunity.

A Japanese perspective

Fancy a buffet lunch? Maybe this clip from NHK will change your mind. In a simulation using invisible fluorescent paint at a mock buffet, just one ‘infected’ guest managed to spread the virus to nine fellow diners.  

The experiment, carried out by Japan’s national television broadcaster NHK in collaboration with infectious diseases experts, was designed to show how easily a virus may have spread on cruise ship buffets.  A blob of fluorescent paint, visible only under ultraviolet light, was applied to the palm of one guest, according to a statement from NHK. The scenario was based on the assumption that this designated ‘infected’ guest would have coughed into the palm of his hand.  

After 30 minutes of enjoying the buffet, the room was darkened and ultraviolet light showed the paint was found on the hands of all 10 guests and the faces of three. The simulated virus was also found on the lids of the food warmers, tongs and a water jug.  

Thank you to NHK for sharing. We show the clip within a CNN News Report

ここで物語を読んでください Read the story here


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