The Evolving Science of Chiropractic Philosophy

March 17, 2010 · Filed Under Main Content 

By Bruce H. Lipton Ph.D.

One of the primary reasons behind the enduring rift between conventional medical science and chiropractic is the contrasting nature of their basic philosophies. Philosophical “truths” in Western civilization are validated through a process employing scientific methodology. “Truths” related to health science, until recently, have only been generated through research conducted by organismal, cellular and molecular biologists, biochemists, pharmacologists and medical doctors. Consequently, chiropractic has been at a distinct disadvantage in acquiring recognition as a valid healing art. However, the leading edge of cellular and molecular biology research is heralding a radical departure from its traditional theories and is in turn, creating a new philosophy.

The mission statement of Modern Science was defined by English philosopher Francis Bacon and adopted shortly after the Scientific Revolution (1543). Accordingly, science’s purpose was to “control and dominate Nature.” The primary purpose of scientific inquiry was to gain an understanding of the “natural laws” of bodily action. Through this process, it was expected that man would obtain mastery over Nature.

Before humans would be able to “control” Nature, it was first necessary to identify what “controls” the expression of a living organism. Western civilization has focused its attention on two mutually exclusive sources of this “control.” Control from without and control from within. These two discordant philosophies were first elaborated during the Golden Age of Greece. Plato divided humans into two parts: body and soul.

Soul is generally regarded as an entity related to but distinguishable from the body–the spiritual part of human beings that animates their physical existence and survives death. The soul, often referred to as the psyche, spirit, or life force, represents an externalized vitalizing force that activates the human body.

In contrast, followers of Democritus, called atomists, believed that living organisms were “machine-like” structures made out of atoms. The character and quality of life was thought to be controlled by the interaction of the physical atoms that comprised the body. Atomists were “materialists” that believed life was controlled by the chemistry within. Consequently, atomists rejected all supernatural sanctions of human behavior. Additionally, the atomist’s perception of a machine-like quality to life led to the concept of healing as representing a “mechanistic” process.

The debate over whether life is controlled by spiritual or material forces peaked in the 19th century. By this time, scientists endorsing “spiritual” control began to refer to themselves as “vitalists.” Vitalism, according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, is the doctrine that the processes of life are not explainable by the laws of physics and chemistry alone and that life is in some part self-determining. Vitalists contended that some vital factor, as distinct from physiochemical factors, was involved with “controlling” the body’s structure and function. Since the definition of vitalism emphasizes that its character is beyond the laws of physics (measurement), vitalistic mechanisms were outside of the defined parameters of modern science. In spite of its metaphysical nature, vitalism was still endorsed by many traditional 19th century scientists.

The support for vitalism was soundly shaken in 1859 when Charles Darwin published his Origin of Species. In his treatise on evolution theory, Darwin emphasized that internalized “hereditary factors” (the existence of genes had not yet been recognized) were responsible for controlling the character of evolving species. Within a decade of its presentation, Darwinian theory was endorsed by the majority of conventional scientists. Darwin’s theory of evolution denied the role of spirit or life force in the unfoldment of life on this planet. Consequently, scientists myopically focused on the search for the internalized material elements that “controlled” biological organisms.

D. D. Palmer was very sensitive to scientists’ displeasure concerning concepts related to spirit and vital forces. In formulating the original science of Chiropractic, he coined the terms Universal Intelligence and Innate Intelligence to refer to the inherent organizing intelligence of the Universe and of life.

In the early years of Chiropractic I used the terms Innate (Spirit), Innate Intelligence (Spiritual Intellect), Universal Intelligence (God) because they were comprehensive, and the world was not prepared to receive the latter terms just mentioned in parentheses. It may be even now premature to use them. (page 542, The Science, Art and Philosophy of Chiropractic).

Since vitalism is at the heart of chiropractic philosophy, and vitalism is perceived as metaphysics, the philosophy of chiropractic is not recognized by conventional medical science. Though modern medicine considers chiropractic as “unscientific,” it has not been able to ignore the large number of their patients that have been increasingly satisfied with chiropractic care. The success of chiropractic in recent years has fueled the antagonism between conventional medical physicians and chiropractors. Biomedical research scientists are at a loss to explain the efficacy of chiropractic adjustment for it is in direct opposition to contemporary knowledge concerning biological “control” mechanisms.

Ever since the nature of DNA had been revealed, biomedical science has been grounded in the belief that the structure, function and health of an organism is directly or indirectly regulated by its genes. This has led to the concept of the Primacy of DNA, the belief that our physical and behavioral traits are controlled by genes. Scientists took a leap to the next level and subsequently evolved the idea of genetic determinism, the notion that our health and fate are “predetermined” in our heredity. Consequently, the fact that an “externalized” chiropractic adjustment can alter the expression of the system flies in the face of conventional medicine.

A principal source of dissension between practitioners of allopathic medicine and chiropractic is evident when one examines how each practice perceives the flow of information in living systems. The schema for allopathic medicine is as follows: Genes represent the internalized source of control; gene-mediated cell expression of peripheral tissues and organs is relayed internally to the spinal cord, that information is then sent up the cord to the brain. Essentially this path can be described as Outside>Inside>(from)Down>(to)Above (O-I-D-A).

In contrast, the basic philosophy of Chiropractic, as defined by D. D. Palmer (before its modification by B. J. Palmer), perceives the flow of information from an externalized source, Universal Intelligence. An eternal “metamerized” portion of that intelligence, referred to as Innate, is needed by each individualized being (pages 494 and 496, The Science, Art and Philosophy of Chiropractic). Although Innate is not localized, its seat of control is the brain. From the brain, Innate’s intelligence travels down the spinal cord, and from the spinal cord outward to the periphery, a pathway referred to as Above>Down>Inside>Out (A-D-I-O).

The crux of the controversy lies in the philosophical foundation of each practice. The A-D-I-O principle of Chiropractic is diametrically opposed to the O-I-D-A principle in medicine. By virtue of “might makes right,” the populous membership of conventional science acknowledges its certitude in its dogma and disavows the beliefs of the smaller group of chiropractors.

However, profound philosophical changes are in the air. Leading edge research in cellular and molecular biology is currently offering a radically new understanding of the mechanisms that “control” life and evolution. These new findings will inevitably integrate and unify the truths of both biomedical scientists and chiropractors.

Conventional medical research has emphasized that genes are the responsible elements “controlling” health and disease. It is implied in the Primacy of DNA dogma that genes function as self-regulatory elements. Fundamental to this assumed truth is the requirement that genes must be capable of “controlling” their own expression. By definition, genes must be able to switch themselves on and off, as suggested in the concept of a cancer gene “turning itself on.”

However, the notion of the Primacy of DNA has been soundly challenged by current research, which reveals that the existence of a self-regulatory property for genes is a patently incorrect assumption. An important article by H. F. Nijhout (Metaphors and the Role of Genes in Development, BioEssays 12:441, 1990) describes how concepts concerning genetic “controls” and “programs” were originally conceived as a metaphor to help define and direct avenues of research. Widespread repetition of this compelling hypothesis over time has resulted in the “metaphor of the model” becoming the “truth of the mechanism,” despite the absence of substantiative supporting evidence.

Nijhout elegantly and succinctly redefined the truth as follows, “When a gene product is needed, a signal from its environment, not a self-emergent property of the gene itself, activates expression of that gene (emphasis mine).” Simply stated, a gene cannot turn itself on or off, it is dependent upon a signal from its environment to control its expression. Genes are indeed involved with the structure and behavior of an organism, however they are not the source of “control.”

Gene expression is under the influence of specialized proteins referred to as regulatory proteins. Regulatory proteins bind to DNA and mask the activity of genes. In order to activate a specific gene, its regulatory proteins must be removed from the DNA strand. The binding and release of DNA regulatory proteins is controlled by “environmental” signals. Rather than recognizing the Primacy of DNA, it is more correct to acknowledge the Primacy of the Environment as causal in shaping biological expression.

The fact that the cell’s nucleus and its enclosed genes do not represent the controlling element or “brain” of the cell is easily verified in studies wherein the cell is structurally or functionally enucleated. Cells in such experiments continue to express complex behavioral repertoires and purposeful interactions with their environment and may survive for months despite the absence of functional genes. Consequently, genes can not be invoked to be the source of “control” in regulating cell behavior.

Even though genes are not self-regulating, they do encode the characteristics of our physical body. All of our genes are derived from parental DNA, therefore it could still be argued that our expression (physiology, health, behavior) is “predetermined” by our genetic heritage. Even that assumption has now gone by the wayside. In 1988, geneticist John Cairns published what has since become a revolutionary paper entitled On the Origin Of Mutants (Nature 335:142, 1988). Cairns recognized that gene mutations were not solely the result of random chemical events as is currently perceived.

Cairns placed bacteria, possessing a defective gene for the enzyme lactase, in Petri dishes that contained only lactose as a food source. The mutant bacteria were not able to metabolize the substrate. After a short period, the stressed, non-replicating bacteria began to thrive and proliferate. Upon examination, it was found that the bacteria specifically mutated the unresponsive lactase gene and repaired its function. Cairn’s research revealed that, in response to environmental stresses, organisms can actively induce genetic mutations in selected genes in an effort to survive. These mutations would represent mechanical “adaptations” that are induced by the organism’s response to life experiences.

Though Cairns’ results have been vehemently challenged by traditionalists, a molecular mechanism accounting for his observations was substantiated by Harris, et al., in a paper entitled Recombination in Adaptive Mutation (Science 264:258, 1994). This latter publication revealed that organisms, as primitive as bacteria, contain “genetic engineering genes.”

This newly identified class of genes can be actively accessed by the organism to selectively mutate existing genes. Through successful “adaptive” mutations of selected genes, organisms are able to create new proteins, whose altered structures or functions may afford a better opportunity in surviving stressful environments.

Based upon this new perspective, David Thaler published an important revisionist article entitled The Evolution of Genetic Intelligence (Science 264:224, 1994). Thaler’s new perspective recognizes that biological expression is actively defined by the individual’s perception of their life experiences. Thaler emphasizes the significance of perception, not only in its ability to regulate the body’s expression by dynamically switching gene programs, but also in its ability to induce the “rewriting” of existing gene programs in order to better adapt to environmental stresses.

When put into perspective, the newly emerging view of conventional biomedicine reveals a profound change in fundamental beliefs. The Primacy of DNA is giving way to the Primacy of the Environment. Essentially, conventional science has shifted the source of intelligent control from the internalized genes to the externalized environmental “signals.” These regulatory “environmental” signals appear to be, in part, related to D. D. Palmer’s concept of Universal and Innate Intelligence.

In addition, it has been demonstrated that in response to life experiences, the organism may actively alter “Innate” gene programs as a means of mechanical adaptation to perceived environmental conditions. When perception of the environment is biased by the “educated” brain, then “educated” may bother or worry Innate by selecting inappropriate gene programs and producing disease. Conventional medicine is now recognizing that “educated” may also induce a rewriting (mutation) of Innate programs. Consequently, a perceptual bias by “educated” may lead to genetic dysfunction and cancer.

There is clearly an upheaval of conventional thought brewing in the allopathic ranks. The interesting nature of these new considerations is that it is bringing conventional biomedicine into closer alliance with D. D. Palmer’s original Chiropractic Philosophy. The uniqueness of chiropractic is that it has a vitalistic foundation. Leading edge cellular and molecular research is now proving that Chiropractic should embrace and promote its vitalistic roots.

The chiropractic philosophy of D. D. Palmer provided an understanding of the principles employed in his healing art. Palmer declared that life’s vital functions were “controlled” by Innate Intelligence, which was under the guidance of an eternal Innate (spirit). He further defined Educated as an “intelligence” that is acquired through one’s life experiences. Educated provides Innate with an awareness of the body’s environment and in the process it serves to “keep, fix, and adjust the skeletal frame …” in an ever changing environment.1A

The perceptions acquired by Educated represent one’s “beliefs,” and these beliefs guide the behavior of Innate. According to Palmer, “The Educated impresses its thoughts upon Innate, directing its functions more or less.”1B If learning experiences are fraught with errors and misperceptions, then Educated would inadvertently misdirect the activities of all-knowing Innate. Palmer stated that “Educated bothers and worries Innate when trying to direct that of which Innate knows far more of than Educated will ever know.” 1C He was referring to the fact that misperceptions in the Educated mind would cause dis-ease if they misinformed the Innate. Palmer further asserted that Auto-suggestion, the process of “self-talk” by Educated, represented one of the primary causes of disease. 1D

D. D. Palmer was expelled from the Palmer School of Chiropractic 11 years after he founded the science. His chiropractic philosophy was subsequently altered, removing the concept of “spirit” from Innate and eliminating Auto-suggestion, the role of mind over matter, as a cause of disease. These notions, considered too metaphysical or religious, were eliminated in an effort to make Chiropractic more “scientific,” more acceptable to the “conventional” world.

Over the last 80 years, the profession has experienced an undercurrent effort to align chiropractic with allopathic science, for biologists have obviously made great strides in understanding the mechanisms of life. Currently, conventional biology recognizes that the physical character and behavior of an organism is defined by its protein building blocks. Since the nature of proteins is “programmed” in DNA, medical science recognizes the following hierarchy in regard to information flow in living systems: DNA>RNA>Protein.

Based upon this flow, contemporary biomedical thought is preoccupied with the concept of genetic determinism, the belief that an organism’s expression is primarily under the “control” of its genes.

As we approach the new millennium, leading edge cell research now reveals a profoundly different story. The primary difference concerns the fact that genes are not self-emergent.2 This means that genes are unable to turn “themselves” on and off, genes cannot “control” their own expression. Obviously, this challenges the concept that genes “determine” our character.

How then are genes controlled? Within the cell’s nucleus, DNA (gene) molecules are sheathed within a layer of regulatory proteins. Concealed (i.e., protein-encased) genes are inactive. Removing the protein “sleeve” exposes the gene and allows for its activation. The binding and release of regulatory protein is controlled by “environmental signals.”3,4 Consequently, active “control” of cell expression is in the hands of the environment and is not in the domain of the genes.

In contrast to genetic regulation, the “revised” version of information flow reveals that environment represents the prime source of control: 2 Environment>Regulatory Protein>DNA>RNA>Protein

The processing of environmental information and its translation into biological behavior is carried out by the cell membrane, the “skin” of the cell.5,6 The membrane separates the external non-self environment from the internal self, the cytoplasm. For the following discussion refer to the illustration below.

The cell’s INPUT devices are the protein receptors, which extend from both of the cell membrane’s surfaces. Receptors facing inward “read” the status of the cytoplasm’s environmental conditions. These receptors receive information concerning cytoplasmic pH, salt balance, membrane potential, the availability of metabolites and energy molecules and other parameters related to the cell’s physiology.

Protein receptors displayed on the outer surface of the membrane provide the cell with awareness of the external environment. Cells use information derived from external receptors to “navigate” through their world. Internal membrane receptors are concerned with visceral needs, externally deployed receptors primarily regulate somatic behaviors. Consequently, information of the external environmental profoundly influences the cell’s cytoskeleton and behavior.

To PROCESS the environmental information (i.e., convert signals into biological responses), “activated” receptors couple with complementary effector proteins. The activity of membrane effector proteins, which include ion channels, enzymes and components of the cytoskeleton, is controlled by receptor proteins. 6

The OUPTUT behavior is mediated by activated effector proteins. Effector proteins primarily serve as “switches” or “second messengers” that turn on or off more complex protein pathways deployed within the cell. Effector proteins regulate cytoplasmic pathways, which include motility, digestion, excretion, and respiration among others.

The MEMORY system of the cell, the genes, are also controlled by the membrane. Sometimes cells receive environmental signals necessitating specific responses, however, the cell may not have the necessary proteins in the cytoplasm to enact the required behavior. In this case, activated receptor-effector protein complexes are able to target the regulatory proteins that mask specific genes. These membrane “messengers,” known as transcription factors, alter the binding of regulatory proteins causing them to detach from the DNA, exposing specific genes that need to be read. 3,4

This is how “environmental signals” control gene expression. As the cell experiences new environments, it is capable of dynamically adjusting its genetic readout to accommodate any environmental exigencies. Consequently, the structural and behavioral expression of the cell is a reflection of the organism’s environment.

The primal role of “environment” in controlling gene expression is revealed in recent studies of newly discovered stem cells. Stem cells, akin to multipotential embryonic cells, proliferate forming large colonies of undifferentiated cells. The developmental destiny of stem cell progeny can be experimentally “controlled” by regulating their environment. Environmental signals activate stem cell transcription factors, which in turn select specific gene programs controlling the differentiation of these cells.7,8

Genes are coded “programs” that enable the organism as an individual, and the species as a whole, to survive. Gene programs can be subdivided into two functional groups. One group, representing “growth” mechanisms, is expressly designed to provide for the physical construction and physiologic maintenance of the body. However, an organism possessing only “growth” mechanisms would most likely be called “food,” and would soon become extinct. Environmental threats are managed by the second group of genes, which code for “protection” programs. These genes provide for physical mechanisms and behaviors that are deployed in life-threatening situations. 9

Survival = Growth Programs + Protection Programs

Protection behaviors do not provide growth, and visa-versa. Both growth and protection behaviors require an energy expenditure on the part of the organism. An individual’s ability to grow and reproduce is ultimately based upon the amount of energy available to support those processes. However, their ability to protect themselves is also dependent upon the same energy source.

Organisms engaging in protection behaviors utilize energy from their reserves, leaving less energy for growth processes. Under extreme environmental stress, protection demands may deplete the energy budget to the extent that the organism dies from an inability to sustain normal metabolic functions. In simple economics, survival is inversely related to the need for protection. More protection equates to less growth.

Survival = Growth/Protection

Growth behaviors are associated with the character of attraction. Organisms are “attracted” toward elements of the environment that support their life (e.g., food, water, air and mates). In contrast, protective behaviors are most frequently associated with repulsion. Protection responses to threatening stimuli are characterized by a “posture” that reflects an avoidance reaction.

Growth and protective behaviors can readily be distinguished by observing the cell’s motility. Cells expressing growth move toward (attraction) life-sustaining environmental stimuli. In contrast, cells expressing protection move away from (repulsion) life-threatening stimuli. The behavior of single-celled organisms appears “digital,” they either move toward positive (+) stimuli or away from negative (-) stimuli.

Recent studies on molecular control mechanisms support this “digital” nature of regulating behavior. It has been recognized that cells possess “gang” switches, which collectively shunt growth pathways into protection behaviors in response to environmental stress. 10,11,12 Growth and protection appear to be mutually exclusive behaviors in single cells; a cell cannot be in growth and protection at the same time. Simply, a cell cannot move forward and backward simultaneously.

The dynamic interaction between environmental signals and growth-protection genes evolved an “Innate Intelligence,” which enabled cells to “read” environmental signals and invoke appropriate survival mechanisms. For the first 3 billion years of life, the Earth was inhabited by unicellular organisms that survived by employing individualized Innate Intelligence. Five hundred million years ago, single cells came together forming “colonies,” wherein cells could collectively share awareness of their environment. More awareness increases an organism’s chance at survival.

The first communities were just “loose associations” of cells with all individuals expressing the same functions. At any time, a single cell could leave the colony, divide and start a new one on its own. Original cell colonies contained as few as four and up to several hundred participating cells. Multicellular communities necessitated a language of communication, for survival depends upon organization and coordination of community activities. In small groups of cells, coordinating communications consisted of the first neurotransmitters, as well as vibrational frequencies, that were freely exchanged among the close knit cells.13

As communal intelligence mechanisms evolved, successful colonies could support larger cell populations. A point came wherein colonies were so physically large that it was inefficient for all cells to do the same “work.” Larger communities began to subdivide survival-related labors among their population. This resulted in differentiation, a process wherein cells began to express specialized functions such as skin, bone, and nerve.

In physically large cell communities, most of the constituent cells are not in direct contact with the environment. Out of necessity, a subset of the cellular population became specialized in reading the environment and relaying their “perceptions” to cells internalized within the community. These information handling cells became the organism’s nervous system.

Today, individual cellular communities may be comprised of trillions of cells. For example, human beings represent a social community of from 50 trillion to 70 trillion cellular citizens. Each human cell, like an amoeba, is a free-living entity, possessing Innate Intelligence and capable of appropriately responding to its “local” (i.e., tissue-specific) environment.

Through the action of the nervous system, each individual cell is also influenced by a much larger environment, that experienced by the whole organism.9 Your liver cell knows what’s going on in your liver, but through the nervous system, it also aware of what’s going on in your job or in your relationships.

As illustrated here, the cells receive environmental signals via the central nervous system. In truth, the cells receive a “perception” of the environment as interpreted by the Educated brain.

Our nervous system tabulates approximately 4 billion environmental signals per second. Its primary role is to “read” the environment and make appropriate adjustments of growth and protection behaviors in order to ensure survival. Memory systems evolved to facilitate information handling by storing previously “learned” experiences. Memories, which represent perceptions, are scored on the basis of whether they support growth or require a protection response. In chiropractic philosophy, these learned perceptions constitute the Educated Intellect, which is by evolutionary design, a derivative of the collective Innate Intelligence.

As described above, the switch between growth and protection behaviors in unicellular organisms is “digital.” An individual cell moves either forward or backward. In organisms comprised of large numbers of cells, environmental signals can elicit a graded, “analog” response, wherein some cells are in growth and others are in protection.

The more relevant a stimulus is to the organism’s survival, the more polarized (either + or -) the resulting response. In humans, the extremes of the two polarities might appropriately be described as LOVE (+) and FEAR (-). Love fuels growth. In contrast, fear stunts growth. In fact, someone can literally be “scared to death.”

Perception of environmental threats suppress a cell’s growth activities and cause it to modify its cytoskeletal in adopting a protection “posture.” 9,14 Suppressing growth mechanisms conserves valuable energy needed in exercising life-saving protection behaviors.

In humans, a similar systemic switch functions to shut down our growth processes and prepares us for launching a protection response.15,16,17 This switching mechanism is represented by the Hypothalamus-Pituitary-Adrenal (HPA) axis. The brain’s hypothalamus is instrumental in perceiving and assessing environmental signals. The perception of stress causes the hypothalamus to secrete corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF), which in turn, activates certain pituitary cells to release adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) into the blood.
ACTH stimulates the adrenal gland to secrete adrenal hormones.

These hormones constitute a “master switch” that regulates the systems growth-protection activity and routes vascular flow in preparation for “fight or flight” reactions. Firstly, adrenal hormones shunt blood from the viscera and redirect it toward the body’s somatic tissues, which adopt a protective posture. Reduced blood flow to the viscera, by definition, implies a suppression of growth-related behaviors.

Secondly, adrenal hormones directly inhibit the action of the immune system, the internal “protection” mechanism.18 The adrenal system’s function is to protect the body from threats it perceives in the external environment. Adrenal suppression of the high budget immune system makes more energy available to the somatic system. Consequently, the more stress one experiences, the more susceptible they will be to disease.

Adrenal hormones also reroute brain blood flow by constricting forebrain blood vessels and dilating hindbrain vessels. Fight or flight situations are more successfully handled using hindbrain-mediated reflex behaviors. Constriction of forebrain blood flow suppresses “logic” or “executive reasoning,” since slower thinking responses ultimately jeopardize fight-flight reactions.19 Have you ever experienced a loss of intelligence in response to adrenal-mediated “exam stress?”

Collectively, HPA stress suppresses visceral-mediated growth, inhibits the immune system and stunts intelligence. The degree of expression of these influences is directly related to the level of perceived stress. The more stress, the less growth. The interference with growth due to chronic stress leads to disease, since the body is unable to adequately maintain its metabolic vitality.

In conclusion, conventional allopathic medicine is now beginning to realize that genetic expression, which influences the character of the body, is under the control of the environment. However, the growth or protection posture of an individual’s tissues and organs is mediated by the nervous system’s perception of its environment. Perceptions are beliefs. Misperceptions can inappropriately increase or decrease physiologic mechanisms and produce disease. The role of perception and mind is now becoming a point of focus in allopathic healthcare, as they try to unravel the mysteries of the placebo effect and the role of pyschosomatic stress.20

The power of perceptions or beliefs in promoting health or disease was originally recognized by D. D. Palmer. In chiropractic, perceptions constitute the Educated, and it is this Educated that so worries and bothers Innate. He wrote, “The determining cause of disease are traumatism, poison and auto-suggestion.”1D Auto-suggestion (personal beliefs, self-talk) produces “auto-traumatic action directed to any organ or portion of the body, thereby modifying bodily functions, exciting or relieving morbid conditions by mental processes independently of external influence.” 1E

When Educated perceives an environmental stress, it will signal the requirement for a protection response. Protection behaviors, mediated by the somatic nervous system will adjust the spine to provide a defensive posture. Consider the relationship between a powerful alpha-male dog and a dog of lesser rank. The latter will acquire a protective submissive posture, lowered head and body, in order to avoid inciting the wrath of the alpha-male. After holding this posture for a long time (i.e., a chronic protection response), the dog’s spine will acquire obvious subluxations that would adversely impact its health.

A spinal adjustment would alleviate these subluxations. However, if the dog returns to the same environment, it will continue to perceive a need for a protection posture. Under such circumstances, the dog’s Educated mind will employ auto-suggestion mechanisms that will return the spine to its subluxated condition. In addition to the adjustment, the dog will need to either alter its environment or alter its perceptions, in order to remain free of disease.

As Palmer suggests, the chiropractor needs to seriously consider the role of auto-suggestion in the healing process. While adjustments alone can alleviate subluxations, problems generated by an erring Educated may require the need for “reeducation” as a means of reversing disease-producing beliefs.

In 1907, chiropractors rejected D. D. Palmer’s philosophy as being too religious or metaphysical. In an effort to present themselves in a more “scientific” light, the profession has been gradually moving toward allopathic science for the last 90 years. Interestingly, allopaths have now begun to realize Palmer’s truths. If things continue as they are, allopaths may soon be more “chiropractic” than chiropractors!

Dr. Bruce Lipton


  1. Palmer, D. D., The Science, Art and Philosophy of Chiropractic 1910 Portland Printing House Co., Portland, OR, A) page 753, B) page 681, C) page 97, D) pages 359 and 674, and E) page 360
  2. Nijhout, H. F., “Metaphors and the Role of Genes in Development,” BioEssays 12 (9):441-446, 1990.
  3. Lipton, B. H., “The Evolving Science of Chiropractic Philosophy,” Today’s Chiropractic pp.16-19, Sept/Oct 1998
  4. Graves, B. J., “Inner Workings of a Transcription Factor Partnership,” Science 279:1000-1002, 1998. (How proteins turn on genes)
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  14. Lipton, B., Bensch, K. G., and Karasek, M., “Microvessel endothelial cell transdifferentiation: Phenotypic characterization,” Differentiation 46:117-133, 1991.
  15. Leutwyler, K., “Don’t Stress,” Scientific American pp. 29-30, Jan. 1998.
  16. Mlot, C., “Probing the Biology of Emotion,” Science 280:1005-1007, 1998.
  17. Sandman, C. A., et al., “Psychological Influences of Stress and HPA Regulation on the Human Fetus and Infant Birth Outcomes,” Annals of the NY Acad. of Sciences 739:198-210, 1994.
  18. Pennis, E., “Tracing Molecules That Make The Brain-Body Connection,” Science 275: 930-931, 1997. (Regulation of immune system by stress)
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  20. Brown, W. A., “The Placebo Effect,” Scientific American pp. 90-95, January 1998
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