Chiropractic’s life-saving claims are just another flight of fancy,Edzard Ernst,The Skeptic

Practitioners of so-called alternative medicine (SCAM) are famous for making therapeutic claims that are based on pure fantasy. In fact, most seem to think that their particular SCAM is a veritable panacea. Over the years, I have got used to this phenomenon, and today I hardly bat an eyelash when I hear that acupuncture is an effective slimming aid, or that osteopathy cures IBS.

Yet, recently someone did manage to surprise even me. The occasion was nothing less spectacular than a chiropractor claiming to have saved the life of a patient suffering a heart attack.

Can chiropractic save lives? What can a power of one adjustment do? This person started experiencing a heart attack during the flight we were on today. After 2 oxygen tanks down. There was nothing else left to do as 5 MDs, 2 EMTs, 1 nurse gathered around wishing the symptoms will get better. The pilot was contemplating an emergency landing. After explaining to his wife how removing the interference in his nervous system can save his life she gave me the consent to adjust her husband. Shortly afterwards his breathing and heart rate returned back to normal… To all my fellow chiropractors out there. We honor the creators design. We know the potential in the body is limitless. Remember you didn’t choose chiropractic. Chiropractic chose you. You were called for a time like this.

I like this story, not least because it reminds me of one of my own experience:

I was on a plane to Toronto and had fallen asleep after a good meal and a few glasses of wine when a steward woke me saying: “We think you are a doctor!?” “That’s right, I am a professor of alternative medicine”, I said trying to wake up. “We have someone on board who seems to be dying. Would you come and have a look? We moved him into first class.”

When I arrived in first class, she showed me the patient and proudly presented a stethoscope. The patient was unconscious and slightly blue in the face. I opened his shirt and used the stethoscope only to find that this device is utterly useless on a plane; the sound of the engine by far overwhelms anything else. With my free hand, I tried to find a pulse – without success! Meanwhile, I had discovered a fresh scar on the patient’s chest with something round implanted underneath. I concluded that the patient had recently received a pacemaker implant which had malfunctioned.

“The captain needs to know now whether to prepare for an emergency stop in Newfoundland or to fly on. It is your decision”, said the steward. I had difficulties remaining calm. What was best? The patient was clearly dying and there was nothing I could do about it. I replied by asking her to give me 5 minutes, while I would try my best. But what could I do? I decided that I could do nothing but hold the patient’s hand and let him die in peace.

By now several stewards were watching me; they must have thought that the ‘alternative medicine man’ was applying some sort of energy healing, perhaps Reiki. This awkward situation continued for several minutes until – out of the blue – I felt a regular, strong pulse. Evidently, the pacemaker had started functioning again. Within less than a minute, the patient’s colour turned pink and he began to talk. With great relief, I instructed the pilot to continue our path to Toronto.

After I had remained with the patient for another 10 minutes or so, the stewards came and announced: “We have moved your things into first class; like this, you can keep an eye on him.” The rest of the journey was uneventful – except the stewards came repeatedly giving me magnums of champagne and fine red wine to take with me into Toronto. Each time they gave me a present, they politely asked whether my healing method might also work for the various ailments they happened to suffer from – varicose veins, headache, PMS, fatigue, jetlag …

After this dramatic experience, I feel entitled to pass on my message to all the fellow energy healers out there:

We honour the creator’s design.
We know of the potential of the body is limitless.
Remember, you did not choose energy healing.
Energy healing chose you.
You were called for a time like this.

In case you are beginning to wonder whether I have gone round the bend, the answer is NO! I am not an energy healer. In fact, I am as much NOT an energy healer, as the chiropractor in the above story did NOT save the life of his patient. Chiropractors and stewards, it seems to me, have one thing in common: they do not understand much about medicine.

On arrival in Toronto, the patient was met by a team of fully equipped medics. I explained what had happened and they took him off to a hospital. As far as I know, he made a full recovery after the faulty pacemaker had been replaced. After my return to the UK, British Airways sent me a huge hamper to thank me.

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A viral post from a chiropractor claiming to have saved the life of an airline passenger further demonstrates that alt-med practitioners have no idea of their own limitations
The post Chiropractic’s life-saving claims are just another flight of fancy appeared first on The Skeptic.