At long last, the damage the General Chiropractic Council and BCA alliance is doing to the profession, is being recognised internationally.

May 28, 2010


We all laughed five years ago when Terry Rondberg came to the UK and described the GCCs Code of Practice and Standards of Proficiency as “Chiropractic Pornography”. GCC members Kevin Proudman and Matt Flanagan were censured by GCC for not standing up for Margaret Coats as she defended the GCC, which admittedly had a little bit more credibility that it has to day. (Only 77% of the profession had no confidence  in the regulator back then.

Rondberg predicted Armageddon and stated that it was the UK profession that need protecting no one listened to Rondberg because he is at one  extreme of the profession on the other hand he may understand the mentality of those who take an extreme view. BCA president of the time Barrie Lewis described him as coming from the dark side. It was also surprising when GCC deputy registrar Greg Price would defame Rondberg on anti chiropractic websites using the pseudonym Cognito.

For years now I have been trying to get chiropractors to sit up and see where the GCC/BCA alliance is taking the profession. The BCA/GCC suits told them I was a nutter and the UK  profession was better off without me after I resigned from the GCC register.

One can only hope when a moderate like Bill Estebs starts commenting on the GCC it will concentrate the minds of those apathetic chiropractors and will motivate them to change course for the ship which is headed straight for the biomedical ice berg

Bill Estebs posting is titled RCTs and the Cult of Scientism

billIf you’ve had your head down helping patients, you may not be aware of a dangerous trend taking place in the United Kingdom. There, under the heavy hand of the General Chiropractic Council (GCC) regulatory body, many chiropractors are discovering that they cannot promote chiropractic for any health problem other than those proven by randomized clinical trials (RCT).

In other words, the fact that subluxated, colicky babies often respond to chiropractic care cannot be mentioned because there aren’t any RCTs of sufficient quality to “prove” that chiropractic care administered to infants with subluxations has any effect. So, ignore the countless personal experiences you and other chiropractors have had with subluxated bedwetters, asthma sufferers, those oppressed with PMS or other conditions. Ignore the firsthand evidence that you’ve experienced with your own eyes and hands. If there’s no RCT to support your experience, you’d better not be mentioning that to patients or posting it on your website!

Apparently, it’s this clarity, made possible by ignoring millions of cases, that makes so-called “evidenced based chiropractic” so safe and appealing.

It gets worse.

You might be curious to know what health complaints have passed muster and have enough “proof” that chiropractic is helpful:

Acute low back pain • Acute whiplash-associated disorders • Acute/subacute neck pain • Adhesive capsulitis • Cervicogenic dizziness • Cervicogenic headache • Chronic low back pain • Chronic neck pain • Hip osteoarthritis • Knee osteoarthritis • Migraine headache • Patellofemoral pain syndrome • Plantar fasciitis • Shoulder girdle pain /dysfunction • Tennis elbow

The latest proclamation from this governing body is that there is no RCT, or as they put it, “Evidence of the Highest Standard” for the “involvement of the Vertebral Subluxation Complex in health concerns.”

In other words, this subluxation thing you’ve based your practice and patient explanations on? No proof. Chiropractors treat only biomechanical spinal joint dysfunction and there’s no proof that doing so has any effect on whole body health peripheral to the spinal column. There’s just no proof that organic and visceral health issues can be affected by spinal biomechanics.

Poor Dr. Joseph Flesia, who devoted the last 20 years of his life to the scientific evidence confirming the Vertebral Subluxation Complex, must be rolling in his grave.

Just how does a regulatory body reduce chiropractic to such a purely mechanistic modality? By consulting its “Education Committee,” chaired by a physiotherapist and consisting of a medical doctor and representatives from the two, so-called “chiropractic” colleges in the UK. Based on the anti-chiropractic sentiment of the committee members and the mechanistic nature of the curriculum of both colleges, the following advice was handed up to GCC:

• The chiropractic vertebral subluxation complex is taught only as an historical concept
• There is no clinical research base to support the belief that it is the cause of disease or health concerns.

This self-referential way of seeing reality is breathtaking in its ignorance and bias. Or as B. J. Palmer observed, “Many have the eyesight of a hawk, but the vision of a clam.”


Something happens when a subluxated infant receives chiropractic care and colic resolves. Something happens when a subluxated child receives chiropractic care and bedwetting ends. Something happens when a subluxated teenager receives chiropractic care and her scoliosis improves. Something happens when a subluxated couple receives chiropractic care and soon after gets pregnant after years of trying. And it happens, not with every patient, but with a regularity that drug manufacturers can only dream about.

Naturally, I could go on. Oh, lets! For the chiropractic-is-just-a-placebo crowd:

Something happens when a subluxated dog receives chiropractic care and is able to carry on as dogs carry on. Something happens when a subluxated horse receives chiropractic care and becomes more fully horsey.

Something happens! And thousands of chiropractors and hundreds of thousands of chiropractic patients (probably millions) can attest that something happens. Something that doesn’t interest pharmaceutical companies who fund most of the RCTs held as the gold standard! Something that seems largely positive, worthwhile, pretty much side-effect-free and for many, so valuable and beneficial they willingly pay cash for the opportunity to experience it.

I’m guessing that hardened skeptics imagine that busy, vitalistic chiropractors are that way due to brilliant salesmanship. Or the use of scare tactics or some other manipulative tactic to coerce stupid, dim-witted patients to interrupt their busy lives to periodically visit their chiropractor and pay for ineffective care.


And let’s not forget the slur that VSC is merely a quaint historical concept. In case the regulatory agencies in the UK forgot, the profession of chiropractic is based on the innate self-healing qualities of living things, mediated by the nervous system. If you want to pervert it into something that better fits your model of the universe, create your own profession and call it something else. Sure, you may be embarrassed by the flamboyant peccadilloes of the Palmers or its metaphysical aspects, but the fact remains, from its very beginning chiropractic has always been about whole body health. And if things that are “old” are so bad, keep in mind that your precious RCT was first used in 1025 AD to test the efficacy of drugs and other substances. A thousand years later, using RCTs to test chiropractic procedures is like using a breathalyzer to test someone’s blood pressure.

If the motive for using the blunt instrument of advertising regulations to punish chiropractors were because patient after patient was complaining to regulatory boards after having been snookered, misled and abused, I’d be compelled to look past the volitional aspect of the doctor/patient relationship and be first in line to protect the public. But that doesn’t seem to be the case here. Instead, it appears to be just another example of the jealous (“My practice would be successful if those infant-treating chiropractors would just toe the line!”) or the pious (“I’d be busier if those other chiropractors would just stop bringing down the reputation of this profession!”) chiropractor with the time and interest to condemn their busier brethren.

It must be especially satisfying to protect the public from greedy, predatory chiropractors who prey on the sick and hopeless. Simultaneously, for someone so enlightened, it must be confusing to see such high levels of patient satisfaction from a healing art that is unscientific, cultish and simply unproven quackery. It’s ironic that this arrogance, combined with a dollop of self-righteousness, obscures the overwhelming evidence to the contrary—RCT or not.

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13 Responses to At long last, the damage the General Chiropractic Council and BCA alliance is doing to the profession, is being recognised internationally.

  1. Salvatore Grinvalsky on October 13, 2010 at 10:10

    Find jobb in Sweden about Tekniskt Arbete – Technical Work . Send your resume . Note do not type email and other sensitive information.

  2. j on June 15, 2010 at 14:46
  3. Fed up on June 1, 2010 at 20:39

    Hi skepticb. I know where your shop is and will call in 1 day and say hello. Cheers. Double espresso for me.

  4. bemused on June 1, 2010 at 18:14

    You sceptics just don’t give up! I was at a seminar the other day and happened to see a drug advert for Lyrica which is a drug widely used for treatment of diabetic nerve pain and it stated in small print – “the exact mechanism of action and relevance to humans are unknown as studies were conducted on animal models”
    There are plenty of unknown questions out there in all fields not just chiropractic! No we dont know all the answers and our understanding today can only be based on what we know now, and if you took the trouble to look you would find a phlethora of substantial independant research! So start being a little more consistent with your diatribe!

  5. Skeptic Barista on June 1, 2010 at 17:57

    @ Fedup
    If you call in for that coffee and the man behind the counter looks slightly confused and then starts preaching at you, that’s becuase the coffee shop in whitwick is run by a church group
    ……… Oh and they have as much evidence for their god as you do for your subluxation ;-)

    Mine is about 20 miles away!

    @ dazed
    Just to clarify …. I have never submitted any complaints to the GCC.

  6. dazed on June 1, 2010 at 13:23

    HI Skeptic Barista, now that you have boxed the GCC into a corner on the vertebral subluxation complex, what next? Another round of complaints to the GCC/ ASA etc? Or will you and your buddies call it quits now?

  7. fed up on June 1, 2010 at 11:50

    Hello Skeptic B I will take you up on that offer one day, cheers.
    I really have no problems with what you are doing as it has merely shown what a weak and useless general council we have. Though, going back to those posts on your blog, I still find it very hypocritical that science is promoting a bogus particle, for which there is not a jot of evidence, ie the Higgs particle, and the majority of the science sceptics accept this without question, but when a chiropractor uses the term subluxation you demand proof it exists. It is without doubt that a chiropractor alters joint postion, without doubt we create a physical change, wether that is correcting a subluxation or not it happens and research (the type you would need to be convinced) has shown the changes can be beneficial. As I said on your blog I don’t use the term subluxation, but do you think you would get the same response from the GOC if you asked for evidence for a lesion? or asked the physio council for evidence of malalignment? I don’t think so. There is far more evidence that subluxations exist than there is for higss particles or dark matter or dark light but as usual these theories are taught to the masses without question. as I said science is the new religion.

  8. Skeptic Barista on May 31, 2010 at 17:53

    Hello again Fedup,

    If you are ever passing please drop in for a coffee, it’s the very least I can do to thank you personally for giving me the incentive to contact the GCC for their views & evidence on subluxations.

    I believe in credit, where credit is due and without your initial posts on my blog I doubt I would ever have given it a passing thought.

  9. fed up on May 30, 2010 at 16:20

    Yep science is the new religion. If you didn’t have faith you were a heretic now if you don’t have gold standard RCT evidence you are a quack. Both wrong, both blinkered (biased, constricted, discriminatory, hidebound, insular, lopsided, narrow, narrow-minded, one-eyed, one-sided, parochial, partial, prejudiced, restrictive, selective)

    He studied the peculiar appearances of Saturn and observed the phases of Venus. In 1611, he went to Rome, where he joined the Accademia dei Lincei and observed sunspots. In 1612, opposition arose to the Copernican theories, which Galileo supported.
    In 1614, from the pulpit of Santa Maria Novella, Father Tommaso Caccini (1574-1648) denounced Galileo’s opinions on the motion of the Earth, judging them dangerous and close to heresy. Galileo went to Rome to defend himself against these accusations. However, in 1616, Cardinal Roberto Bellarmino (1542-1621) personally handed Galileo an admonition enjoining him to neither advocate nor teach Copernican astronomy, because it was contrary to the accepted understanding of the Holy Scriptures. In 1622, Galileo wrote the Saggiatore [The Assayer], which was approved and published in 1623. In 1624, he developed the first known example of the microscope. In 1630, he returned to Rome to apply for a license to print the Dialogo dei Massimi Sistemi [Dialogue on the Great World Systems], published in Florence in 1632. But in October of that year, he was ordered to appear before the Holy Office in Rome. The court issued a sentence of condemnation and forced Galileo to abjure. He was confined in Siena and eventually, in December 1633, he was allowed to retire to his villa in Arcetri. In 1634, he was deprived of the support of his beloved daughter, Sister Maria Celeste (1600-1634), who died prematurely. In 1638, when he was almost totally blind, the Discorsi e dimostrazioni intorno a due nuove Scienze [Discourses and demonstrations on two new Sciences] was published in Leiden

  10. fed up on May 30, 2010 at 11:51

    See if you can see where this story originated, I have altered a few words.

    He studied the peculiar changes in colicy babies and the massive changes in peoples health. In 1993, he went to Bournemouth, where he joined the AECC and observed and adjusted subluxations. In 2008, opposition arose to the evidence of subluxation, which the Chiropractor supported.
    In 2009, from the Coffee shop in Whitwick Skeptic Barista denounced the chiropractors opinions of subluxation, judging them dangerous and un-scientific. The Chiropractor went to the GCC to defend himself against these accusations. However, in 2010,Margaret Coates personally handed the Chiropractic profession an admonition enjoining him to neither advocate nor teach subluxation , because it was contrary to the accepted understanding of science. In 2010, a Chiropractor wrote “A Scientific Test of Chiropractic’s Subluxation Theory”, which was approved and published in 2010. In 2010, he returned to the GCC to apply for a license to teach about the subluxation. But in October of that year, he was ordered to appear before the GCC in London. The court issued a sentence of condemnation and forced the Chiropractor to abjure. He was confined in evidence based chiropractic and eventually, he was allowed to retire to his only salvation the UCA. In 2010, he was deprived of the support of his beloved BCA,who died prematurely (you can only hope). In 2012, when he was almost totally blind to anectodal and case studies the “Chiropractic Theory in Research: Subluxation Theory Finally Gets the Attention It Deserves” was published in the USA.

  11. Richard Lanigan on May 29, 2010 at 19:04

    Garland, regarding your football analogy it may be very offensive to Australians. Its called Aussie rules and a complete bastardiseation of Gaelic football and they even go to Ireland and recruit our best young players for this mutant sport.

    Thanks for all the comments especially William Esteb’s. I am off for a few days, to pay my respects to the fallen at Dunkirk and see if Mr Disney needs an adjustment.

  12. Garland Glenn on May 29, 2010 at 15:15

    It’s always enjoyable to read what Esteb has to say. As a chiropractic advocate, he’s articulate and well informed.

    At the very time in the progress of health care that the RCT is seen as being inadequate, the GCC is embracing the past. Even medicine here in the US is moving away from the RCT towards what is, at this point, being called Outcome Based Care and looking more at patient satisfaction than at research. What the GCC and the BCA have always failed to realise is that patients vote with their feet. Example: Just last month, a patient of mine became pregnant after trying for 6 years unsuccessfully. We began a series of pelvic adjustments to correct a long term problem resulting from an injury after the birth of her last child. My counsel to her at the outset was that: I’ve seen this work before in both my practice and in others, there’s no down side to it or negative side effect, and the choice is completely up to you the patient. She and her husband chose to procede with care. She’s pregnant. Anyone who thinks she cared about RCT is actually denying her the freedom to chose the care she wants.

    It is my understanding that the GCC is violating the charter by making decisions on scoope of practice. They can call it monitoring advetising claims but it’s a lie. It is reasonble for the claims to be consitant with the chiropractic pardigm, chiropractic has never embraced RCT as a validation for efficacy. Aplying RCT to chiropractic is like saying we’re going to play football (soccer) and giving the players an american type football to use. It just wont work.

    After 25 years of practice, I treat patients based on my clinical experience not on research. I’m a doctor and not a technician. My training gave me the tools to make clinical desions. My experiance gives me the wisdom to know what I can and cannot help and what is likley to help or not help. And as long as I do no harm and there’s a good rational behind my choices and this is explained to the patient then I’m practicing as a good doctor would. I would be grossly negligient if I knew something would help the patient but refrained from doing it because there’s no RCT to back it up. I would go so far as to say that it should be considered immoral and borderline criminal to deny the paitent care I know from expeience might help. These people should be ashamed of themselves and then they should start a new perfession.

  13. William Esteb on May 28, 2010 at 22:35


    Thanks for considering my attempts at making sense of this worthy of reposting! And thanks for taking the stand and bearing the costs that you have to stand by your principles!

    I also wrote about the chiropractic patient brochure put out by the GCC here:


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