Chiropractor servicing the Launceston Area
We’re registered with all health insurers. Hicaps and eftpos are also available at the clinic.
Searle Chiropractic is conveniently located at 1 Cypress Street, Newstead with plenty of street parking. Above is a photo of our clinic which is situated close to Launceston’s town centre.
About Searle Chiropractic
I (Paul) graduated from the Anglo-European College of Chiropractic in Bournemouth, England in 1977. We (wife Rose) are Australian – we travelled to England so I could study chiropractic as there were no recognised colleges in Australia at the time.
We moved to Launceston with our daughter Ana at the beginning of 1978. After completing a 4 week locum for Launceston chiropractor Dr Hans Mueller we set up practice.. Read more.
SCOPE OF PRACTICE
At present there is considerable internal debate going on within the chiropractic profession concerning our professional identity and, as in all similar debates, there is a spectrum of views. At one end of the spectrum are those who adhere to a belief system which puts them in conflict with current western medical and philosophical concepts. At the other end (and this is where I position myself) are those who wish to see chiropractors as full players in a modern healthcare team. There are, of course, chiropractors who are positioned at all points along this spectrum.
To understand these divergent positions we have to have an understanding of two of the ideas and practises related to health and human body function which were circulating at the time chiropractic was founded by Daniel D Palmer.
In its purest sense this concept holds that the operation of some form of non-material principle creates and sustains living organisms.
As the name implies these practitioners were involved in dealing with bone fractures (a role distained by the medical practitioners of the time) but also in using various techniques, including manipulation, to deal with pain arising from the spine, joints and muscles of the body. So far as I am aware the bone setters were pragmatic practitioners unconcerned with trying to tie their results to metaphysical explanations. The persistence of bone setters over several hundred years, right up to the end of the 19th century attests to the efficacy of their work.
Daniel D Palmer was an eclectic healer practising in the USA in the late 19th century. He was exposed to the concepts of vitalism and also familiar with manipulation. He reports that his “light bulb” moment came when he manipulated the spine of a person who complained of deafness and effected a cure. His efforts to explain this phenomenon caused him to imagine a synthesis of vitalism and spinal manipulation.
VITALISM AND CHIROPRACTIC
In his thinking he gave a specific name to the “vital essence” of vitalism and called it “innate intelligence”. In his model the nervous system was the distribution system for innate intelligence. Apart from cranial nerves, our nervous system outside the brain is contained within, and accesses all parts of our bodies through, the spine. Therefore that structure became the focus of attention as the site at which the flow of innate intelligence could be disrupted. His view was that certain conditions affected the spine which interfered with the free flow of innate intelligence throughout the body thus resulting in “dis-ease”.
The role of the chiropractor was to remove these impediments (known as subluxations) by using adjustments (manipulation) thereby creating a state where innate intelligence was free to function as it should and returning the patient to health. A strict adherence to this view meant that chiropractors felt free to believe they were capable of influencing every condition to which the human body is prone. This paradigm was used to explain both the improvement in local spinal pain and the effects that could flow to other systems of the body.
In approaching the matter this way he was able to combine vitalism in the form of “innate intelligence” and the techniques of the bone setters in dealing with spinal disorders to produce chiropractic (literally done by hand). He began teaching and practising under this banner in 1895.
OTHER APPROACHES TO CHIROPRACTIC
From the beginning of the chiropractic profession there were those who were very happy with the benefits provided by their treatments, but disputed vitalistic concepts as a means of explaining the outcomes. This sector of the profession has always sought to incorporate new scientific and clinical knowledge into their practises and these efforts continue to evolve and grow including a full speed progression of relevant research. Because the approaches outlined are based on different paradigms, a significant degree of tension exists within the profession.
As indicated earlier I am not an adherent of the concept of vitalism. If “innate intelligence” is defined as the ability of a living organism to self-regulate (as opposed to being subject to the control of external forces/principles), I do not have an issue with the concept. I am not ridiculing vitalism as a valid historical concept. In its time this idea was held and defended by many reputable and serious thinkers but its time is well and truly passed.
It seems to me however that there are still a significant number of chiropractors who, while not adhering to strict vitalism, nevertheless are influenced by the concept. The importance of vitalism to sectors of the profession is illustrated by the fact that one major professional association contains a definition of the term on its website. I do not think it is an accurate definition but that it is there at all is revealing. It is the not fully questioned incorporation of vitalistic concepts into the thinking of some chiropractors which lead them to believe that spinal care on its own can play a role in many (if not all) human health problems.
While a chiropractor may legitimately be involved in playing a role in many human health problems, it is by also advising on factors such as diet, exercise patterns, postural stress, mental and emotional stress and social factors, which provide a rational basis for their involvement. This way of viewing health problems is known as the biopsychosocial model. It is far from being solely the domain of chiropractors and is influencing the thinking of all health care professions.
It is a clumsy word but means that it is necessary to take three factors into account in understanding human disease patterns. Firstly, we have to take into account biological aspects of a problem eg for the problem that a chiropractor might encounter, is there a disc herniation or is there a facet joint deterioration. Secondly, psychological issues must be considered eg is the person having relationship problems or under excessive work stress. Thirdly, is the person’s social environment such that it is influencing outcomes eg cultural background, family support or otherwise, employment status, workers compensation status.
If you come to see me some or all of these issues may have relevance to your problem and may need to be explored.