Mystical Chiropractic. Part 6

In a booklet titled “Suggestive Therapy Applied: The Chiropractic Approach to the Treatment of Psychosomatic Disorders” (1977), Thurman Fleet wrote:

If the Doctor holds in his mind a picture of what he wants that [patient’s] body to do and be, he will then give the instructions to the Innate of that body as to what it is to do. If that person has perfect faith in the Doctor, the composite personality has been established — the two have become one in healing — then the mind of that patient, his conscious mind, accepts your image and your adjustment, and immediately the “trapdoor” to the Innate is opened. That image which you have given, along with the physical adjustment, activates the Innate Intelligence within the patient so that it will manifest exactly what you desire it to do.

An institute flyer illustrates the relationship between the “diagnostic” and “therapeutic” phases of concept therapy:

Improper eating habits cause … [the digestive] zone to be out of order in the majority of cases and it is most often in a state of subluxation. With Suggestive Therapy the Doctor, through the Chiropractic adjustment and proper suggestion, can impress the Innate Mind of the patient with the concept of perfect digestive health and the expression of health will result in the patient’s body. …

In treating circulatory disorders, which may be functional, there is more involved than merely moving a bone. The Doctor, having diagnosed the cause, must create an image to accompany the adjustment. Then … this image of Perfect Circulatory Health is transferred to the Innate Mind of the patient which will begin the expression of bodily health.

Concept therapy is thus a “winning” combination of fundamentalist chiropractic, creative visualization, faith healing, food combining, psychic healing and self-healing. If this isn’t religion, what is?

My First Chiropractic Exam
Chiropractor John Crescione and a colleague operate the BQE Chiropractic Wellness Center in Woodside, N.Y. Their facility is located inside a health spa called the BQE Racquetball and Fitness Center, of which I have been a member. An information sheet from Crescione’s office states that he has a B.S. degree in nutrition and a strong background in exercise physiology. Over several years, I have collected flyers from the office that include the following assertions:

Food preservatives and additives add considerable stress to the body.

The death of a loved one, separation from a spouse or any other emotionally charged trauma often creates physical difficulties. … Pain will occur where it never did before. This is often the sign of an emotionally induced subluxation.

A chiropractic spinal adjustment is one of the best things that could happen to a child (or adult) suffering from ear infection.

If drugs truly corrected health problems, then they would only have to be taken once. … Drugs lie to you.

Tiredness, fatigue and exhaustion are one of the early signs of vertebral subluxations.

Healing is indeed one of nature’s miracles. It is as miraculous and mysterious as the miracle of birth.

One of the flyers states that a chiropractic examination is “essential” if a child has asthma, bronchitis, colic, constipation, a cough, a sore throat, frequent colds, a sinus problem, a fever, an ear infection, a hearing impairment, an eye problem, hypertension, numbness, poor posture, scoliosis, a skin disorder, or a pain in the arm, hand, leg, foot, head, neck, shoulder, hip, stomach or a joint.

During the summer of 1993, a sign in the window of the BQE Chiropractic Wellness Center offered a free spinal exam and consultation. I made an appointment for Aug. 10. Shortly after my arrival, the receptionist asked me to complete a case-history form that included the question, “How long has it been since you really felt good?” As I did so, the portly chiropractor gave dietary advice to a trim passerby he knew:

It’s not what you’re eating [that’s important]; it’s the quantity. If you’re working out heavy, there needs to be a constant supply of nutrition in the body so that your cells … will be able to constantly give you nutrition for healing and growth. It’s not having two other meals somewhere in the course of your day [that’s important]; there has to be a meal — not a full-course meal, because you won’t be able to sit down and eat five times a day, but enough of a meal where you’re getting enough protein, carbs, and, you know, blah, blah, blah. All right. Now, that’s the dietary change you make. Get used to eating more, so that you have more fuel. … [Telling you] to eat this but not eat this and eat this [is] too complicated. Right now, get used to eating food. I’m a simple man.

The acquaintance thanked him.

I informed Crescione that I was a health writer who had never consulted a chiropractor and that this inexperience had motivated me to see him. “Oh, boy!” he responded. “You picked the right guy to come to.” He briefly described his credentials and said his wife was a registered dietitian. He stated that he’d elected not to pursue a career in exercise physiology because he’d gotten tired of administering tests. “You can call me John,” he said. “I’m pretty laid-back.”

I had indicated low-back pain as my major complaint on the case-history form but told Crescione that I had not had it recently. As I lay fully clothed on my back on a slender table, he asked me to counteract pressure from his hand with one, and then the other, of my variously outstretched arms. With his other hand, he poked different parts of my body. He explained: “All I’m doing right now is trying to ascertain the muscle strength and position of the pelvis in relation to your muscle strength, in relation to your entire nervous system. The tests may be similar [to those of physical therapy], but the reason that we’re doing them is different.” With my arms relaxed, he continued poking, evidently searching for tenderness.

He asked me if I tended to yawn in the afternoon, and I said I did. Then I lay on my stomach. He began poking me alternately on the left and right sides of my body and asking me which side was more sensitive. Next, he initiated a procedure involving my legs that was similar to his previous “tests” of arm strength.

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