As lawmakers in Florida and across the country consider adding a chiropractic school to state universities, Gaffney’s Dr. Kim Ehlich-McDowell and Dr. Craig McDowell give it to their patients straight.
“There is a continually growing body of evidence and research to show that chiropractic is based on science,” Dr. Craig McDowell said at his Highway 11 office Tuesday. “I just don’t understand these professionals who question it.”
After practicing in Gaffney for the past 17 years, he and Ehlich-McDowell have seen hundreds of patients who they say have had their lives improved by regular chiropractor visits. And a thick binder full of testimonials in the office lobby shows patients have agreed throughout the years.
Still, as Florida State University becomes the battleground for taxpayer funded schools of chiropractic, detractors persist.
More than 500 professors, including the university’s two Nobel laureates, have signed a petition opposing the school and a handful have even threatened to resign rather than teach alongside what they consider a ‘‘pseudoscience.’’
“I am a second generation chiropractor,” Dr. Kim Ehlich-McDowell said. “I watched both my parents use their talents to help improve the lives of countless patients. That experience made me want to do the same thing for people.”
Both doctors attended Sherman College of Straight Chiropractic in Spartanburg, and their practice emphasizes chiropractic as a means of total health.
“It is a science, and an art,” Craig said. “I got involved in chiropractic because of personal experience with its healing. For years I suffered horrendously from allergies. I had hives all over my body, respiratory problems that developed into asthma and all kinds of symptoms. Finally, I turned to chiropractic for help and in a short period of time, I was allergy-free and have been for a number of years. My asthma is gone, too. I wanted others to share in the almost miraculous results I had seen.”
Straight chiropractic uses chiropractic methods of examination, analysis and adjusting to accomplish the objective of correcting vertebral subluxation, a condition in which a vertebra becomes slightly misaligned with an adjacent segment in such a way as to disturb nerve function, interfering with the body’s striving to maintain its health.
“We know that the brain uses the spinal cord to send signals throughout the body,” Kim added. “If something happens to impede those signals, the body can’t heal and maintain itself the way it was designed.”
And both doctors agree that a state-sponsored school of chiropractic is a good idea.
“It is certainly a strong education,” Kim added. “I attended school for seven years, and it wasn’t easy. But seeing my patients lives changed makes it all worth it. The healthier you are, the more you are going to enjoy life and have more to give to God and your family.”
Chiropractic, which focuses on manipulating the spine to lessen back pain and improve overall health, has won wider acceptance over the years, as evidenced by its coverage in most health insurance plans.
But in the 110 years since the chiropractic profession was created, the established medical community has largely boycotted it — challenging its scientific validity in courts and legislative bodies. In 1990, the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals found the American Medical Association guilty of conspiracy to destroy the profession.
(The Associated Press contributed to this story.)