This has been a bad new week for the Australian Woo Woo industry. Good
In The Weekend Australian (July 2-3) Richard Guillatt raised some truly troubling questions about how chiropractors are ‘brand stretching’ and tapping into the lucrative new ‘wellness’ income streams. Not content with manipulating backs and bones they are now extending this to entire bodies of people. Worried parents and yummy mummies looking for something suitably ‘alternative’ may be the most susceptible here as some of these ‘healers’ are now extending their ‘treatments’ to kids and claiming legitimacy in being able to treat everything from autism to asthma.
I’ve visited a chiro in the past for some persistent headaches. It was interesting to say the least to feel my spine pushed through my back until it looked as if I was wearing a joke tie and having my head rotated until I could body double for Linda Blair in the Exorcist. I felt a pleasant lightness in my head following the treatment, matched by the lightness in my wallet. The headaches of course return, but then again, they also return after a couple of panadeine.
Significantly, and no surprise here, the parents all raved about the chiro’s ‘bedside manner’, their kindness, patience, empathy and ability to spend time listening and communicating rather than just firing off a script and saying ‘next please’. Unfortunately, these are often exactly the same ‘qualities’ that fraud and con victims will mention when describing the charming ‘nice young man’ or woman or kindly old gentleman who eventually separated them from their life savings in a slimming con or ponzi scheme.
There’s part of the problem. Those ‘bedside manner’ personal qualities are ones that we want all health professionals to have, not instead of, but in addition to tried, tested and evaluated care. Cake and Eat it? Why not?