Bloodletting, Leeches and Chiropractic

Another week – another blog

The view from my "second office" this week is looking out at the Atlantic while sitting at Lagerheads in Ormond By The Sea, Florida. I rode my awesome tricycle bicycle the 3.5 miles to this spot.

Recently while browsing around my favorite vintage book store, The Muse Bookstore in one of America’s most iconic downtown’s - DeLand, Florida - I happened upon an old medical text - The Rise, Minutes and Proceedings of the New Jersey Medical Society between the years 1766 to 1859, being a native of the Garden State myself, I simply could not pass up this gem.

Now, if you know anything about the history of our great country then you know that in 1762 we were on the precipice of the American Revolution, and on March 17th the very first St. Patrick’s Day Parade in NYC took place. In 1766 the New Jersey Medical Society was formed. In

1770 the Boston Massacre occurs, and in 1773 the Boston Tea Party ferried in the start of the Revolution.

And on July 4th, 1776 Britain announced the American Colonies be free and independent from British rule. However, the war didn’t end until September 3rd, 1783 with the signing of the Treaty of Paris.

My home state of New Jersey was the location of more battles than any other colony during the war, a total of 296. The state constitution of New Jersey didn’t even come into effect until 1776, a full ten long years after the formation of the New Jersey Medical Society - the very first such society in the colonies. In fact New Jersey became the very first province to require examination for licensing of physicians, before it even became a state.

The germ theory of disease wouldn’t be published for another 100 years. By any understanding, the beginning of societal medicine in the US was… archaic at best. Most medical practitioners still relied on remedies from Indian shaman, and the “old wives tales” were really remedies which New Jersey housewives concocted or borrowed from the Natives to treat their ailing families.

Of note a woman would not be inducted into the New Jersey Medical Society for nearly 85 years.

Okay okay.. what the hell does this brief US history have to do with your chronic pain?

While I was browsing through this 221 year old book I came across dissertation papers written by medical students (all men) hoping to be inducted into the society chronicling their “adventures in doctoring”… if you will.

More like a nightmare really. These dissertations regaled me with details of blood letting, leeches, surgeries without anesthesia (which would not be used for the first time in the US until 1844!!).. all during a bloody vicious war for our independence where we lost close to 30,000 Americans to battle, or diseases like dysentery

- No that’s not just some made up disease that killed your whole family when playing the Oregon Trail game on the computer in elementary school. I may have just dated myself there.

The detailed accounts of horrendous suffering, death and disease came plainly written in a gentilemans hand, with a curt properness that erred on being grossly offensive.

But then again.. everything offends these days. (Sorry did that offend you?)

My point is that the early days of what is now considered Medicine in America was bloody, had no scientific basis, was all guesswork, and lead to incredible amounts of suffering and death, but also lead to life saving discoveries on which we have continued to build as we have become the top nation for medicine in the world.

I hear it often - you aren’t a real doctor. It just rolls off the tongues of people like a heat seeking missile straight through the heart - most who would make such an accusation have no actual idea of what education a Chiropractic Physician undergoes, or how many board examinations we have to endure in order to obtain a license..but I digress.

Don’t be so soft Doc…. You must have a thicker skin. They don’t know what they don’t know.

Yea, yea. I hear it, but you see.. its not about me, or my feelings, or my ego. It’s about my genuine need to help people live pain free, full and happy lives. It’s not about me.. it's about YOU.

Someone out there, maybe its you, a family member, a friend… is suffering from chronic pain, chronic DISease, or a life unfulfilled.

When you have been to dozens of medical doctors - gained dozens of diagnoses, and even more medications… but are still suffering daily…. That is what offends me.

Listen - Chiropractic isn’t voodoo magic, its not witchcraft, and its nothing like the violent medicine which was practiced during the American Revolution which actually had no basis in scientific fact, or even rigorous research! The medicine of 200 years ago was little more than pseudoscientific “practice”.

<--- Ancient practices of using leeches and bloodletting were common during the American Revolution and for nearly 100 years afterwards. Some people still employ these medieval treatments today.

Chiropractic was founded in 1895 - nearly 120 years after the formation of the first medical society in America, having had the unique opportunity to learn from the mistakes of medicine for 120 years prior to its founding, and for the last 125 years Chiropractic has proven over and over again through rigorous medical research which has only become more scrutinizing over the decades - that it WORKS.

Chiropractic, like medicine was once a pseudoscience, but even the Supreme Court of the USA recognized in a ruling on the landmark case Wilk V. The American Medical Association in 1990 – Chiropractic is an authentic alternative medical practice which should be seen as legitimate and Chiropractors could no longer be discriminated against by members of the American Medical Association.

“Taking into account all of the evidence, I conclude only that the AMA has failed to meet its burden on the issue of whether its concern for the scientific method in support of the boycott of the entire chiropractic profession was objectively reasonable” - Justice Getzendanner commenting in the Judgement Wilk V. The American Medical Association 1990

Now, 31 years later the body of scientific evidence that chiropractic not only works, but is safe and efficacious continues to grow, and in-fact Chiropractors pay the least in malpractice then any other healthcare practitioner worldwide.

In a day and age where medical malpractice is the 3rd leading cause of mortality in the US, I hope that everyone who reads this is having a moment.

A moment in which you are questioning if you really need to take 5+ different medications a day, whether you need to be on pain medication, if all that ibuprofen is really worth the risk of a failed liver?

If you take nothing else away from this momentary time warp I hope you will consider this - that your body is not a machine which was made to fail. That pain is not the normal human condition, and that medicine started from far more humble and grotesque beginnings based on guess work, and pseudoscientific “practice”.

You have the right to the best care, delivered by a physician who will take the time to listen to you, thoroughly examine you, and tailor their treatments to you, and you alone - not following some pre-prescribed regimen that was sold to them by a pharmaceutical rep, or a textbook written 100 years ago…

Still not convinced? I sincerely recommend the book Dope Sick - now a Hulu Original Series first airing on 10/13/2021 which intimately chronicles one medical doctors war with big pharma regarding the over doping of Americans, and the opioid crisis which has claimed nearly a million American lives since 1999.

What if more people believed that I, the local “quack chiropractor” were “real doctors”? What if even half of the nearly 1 million who have died due to chronic opioid use and overdose sought out a chiropractor first? Even Medicare recognizes and pays for chiropractic and the VA hospitals around the world employ chiropractors to treat our military heroes.

Your ability to heal, to rise and thrive - that is why I do this. That is why….as the Dirty Heads sing in their song Vacation -

"I’m on Vacation, every single day, cuz I love my occupation…"

Because I simply can’t get enough of healing with my hands and using holistic health practices to help my patients live the life they deserve. Pain free, and full of joy.

Click the link below to schedule your free consultation today!

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