There is but one cause in disease,
the bodies inability to comprehend itself
and/or its environment.
There is but one cure in disease,
the bodies ability to heal itself.
And there is only one thing
any doctor can do for a patient.
And that is to remove an obstruction to healing,
thus facilitating it.
The chiropractic aphorism “One Cause, One Cure” has been revered and defiled in both print and at the pulpit. Misinformed as well as malicious authors, field doctors, students and stage philosophers have misrepresented the meaning of these words with both the best intent and the worst conniving.
Many chiropractors and students continue to misunderstand the statement as meaning the one cause of disease is the vertebral subluxation and logically that the one cure is the specific chiropractic adjustment. Other chiropractic leaders and authors have perpetuated that inaccurate assessment to promote a political agenda.
I came to this conclusion after reviewing both the major authors and critics of chiropractic philosophy for my thesis paper for the Academy of Chiropractic Philosophers. The reason I feel it is a misconception on the part of the well-intentioned advocates of chiropractic philosophy and a purposeful misrepresentation by its detractors is that the advocates are often not well versed in the literature while the critics certainly have access to the works and quote freely from the same works that contain references to the true meaning of One Cause, One Cure.
So what is the meaning of One Cause, One Cure? Dr. Fred Barge stated it simply above yet it continues to be misconstrued and misrepresented. Let’s elaborate.
The one cause is the body’s inability to recognize itself and/or its environment and to respond appropriately to demand and supply.
The one cure is the restoration of the body’s natural ability to heal itself by the removal of what was obstructing it to do so.
So where is the confusion? No where in that statement is the word subluxation and no where is it implied. However, both advocate and critic alike jump to that conclusion because of preconceived ideas and because of the singular focus of chiropractic on the detection and correction of vertebral subluxation.
Let’s examine it more closely. Our Major Premise states that “a Universal Intelligence is in all matter and continually gives to it all its properties and actions, thus maintaining it in existence.”
Why start here? We start here because it is the basis for the foundation of knowledge upon which we will build. We perceive order in the universe and state as much. Within that working, ordered universe are living organisms in a state of dynamic flux and naturally displaying the same order of the system from which they came and are a part of.
In chiropractic we have labeled that guiding, regulating intelligence, Innate Intelligence. Innate Intelligence is a vitalistic concept implying that within the organism is a life force which imbues the qualities and signs of life, and that life did not emerge from a random array of physical and chemical components. The latter theory is known as mechanism and is equally grounded with vitalism in a lack of concrete certainty regarding the veracity of each philosophy. Mechanism cannot explain consciousness or “life,” as vitalism cannot give absolutes regarding First Cause. The Philosophy of Chiropractic has recognized this since its early years and over time made the necessary categorization of Universal Intelligence without having to explain how that order came about.
From Stephenson’s Chiropractic Textbook, we find that “the mission of Innate Intelligence is to maintain the material of the body of a “living thing” in active organization,” and “the forces of Innate Intelligence operate through or over the nervous system in animal bodies.”
We have found through empirical observation that vertebral subluxation interferes with the expression of Innate Intelligence to perform its mission. In the Philosophy of Chiropractic, the mental impulse represents the “thought” or value judgement of the organism’s Innate Intelligence to any number of countless sensory inputs or demands upon the system. Interference to the mental impulse therefore negatively affects the potential of the organism to recognize its internal and external environments and to then respond appropriately to demand and supply.
While a vertebral subluxation could certainly be a cause of the body’s inability to recognize itself and/or its environment, it is certainly not the one cause in all bodies. Equally true, the specific adjustment of the vertebral subluxation is not the one cure. The vertebral subluxation is however, one of the most major causes of interference to the innate expression of the organism through the neural system and thus the focus of the chiropractor and the chiropractic profession.
For further exploration of this subject the following books are recommended:
- Chiropractic Textbook by R.W. Stephenson
- One Cause, One Cure by Fred Barge
- Textbook of Chiropractic Philosophy by Rob Sinnott
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Steve Tullius, D.C., ACP
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