As early as 1921, the medical profession has validated chiropractic when Henry Winsor, a medical doctor in Haverford, Pennsylvania posed the question:
"Chiropractors claim that by adjusting one vertebra, they can relieve stomach troubles and ulcers; by adjusting another, menstrual cramps; and by adjusting others conditions such as kidney diseases, constipation, heart disease, thyroid conditions, and lung disease may resolve - but how?"
Inspired to experiment if the relationship between spinal misalignment, nerve impingement, and organ disease was valid, Dr. Winsor planned to dissect human and animal cadavers. As he wrote:
"The object of these necropsies was to determine whether any connection existed between curvatures of the spine, and diseased organs; or whether the two were entirely independent of each other."
At the University of Pennsylvania, Dr. Winsor began his experiments in a series of three studies as he dissected a total of seventy-five human and twenty-two cat cadavers. Dr. Winsor's results were as follows:
"221 structures other than the spine were found diseased. Of these, 212 were from the same sympathetic (nerve) segments as the vertebrae in curvature. Nine diseased organs belonged to different sympathetic segments from the vertebrae out of line. These figures cannot be expected to exactly coincide ... for an organ may receive sympathetic filaments from several spinal segments and several organs may be supplied with sympathetic (nerve) filaments from the same spinal segments. In other words, there was nearly a 100% correlation between minor curvatures of the spine and diseases of the internal organs."
Winsor, H. Sympathetic segmental disturbances - II. The evidences of the association, in dissected cadavers, of visceral disease with vertebral deformities of the same sympathetic segments, The Medical Times, November 1921, pp./ 267-271.back to top of page
Study of Chiropractic and Immunity
Ron Pero, head of cancer research at the University of Lund, Sweden and Chief of Cancer Research at the New York Preventative Research Center conducted a study that sought to correlate changes in immune function with chiropractic care. In a three-year study of 107 individuals who had been under chiropractic care for over five years, Dr. Pero found that the chiropractic patients had a 200 percent greater immune competence than people who had not received chiropractic care. When compared with people who had been diagnosed with cancer or other serious immune diseases, the chiropractic patients had a 400 percent greater immune competence. Dr. Pero noted that the immune system superiority of the chiropractic patients was not adversely affected by age. He states, "I have never seen a group other than this chiropractic group to experience a 200 percent increase over the normal patients. This is why it is so dramatically important. We have never seen such a positive improvement in a group."
Pero R. "Medical Researcher Excited By CBSRF Project Results." The Chiropractic Journal, August 1989; 32.
Another such study conducted in 1992 examined the regulation of immunity by the sympathetic nervous system. Laying a foundation for the understanding of the direct connection among the nervous, endocrine (hormone), and immune systems, the study found dense numbers of adrenaline-specific receptors in all immune system organs. Because the sympathetic nervous system has an intimate connection to the body's stress response (fight or flight), chronic stress is shown to increase sympathetic activity and as a result, stress hormone concentrations remain dangerously elevated. What this does is weaken the immune system function thereby allowing individuals to be susceptible to various diseases.
Murray DR, Irwin M, Reardon CA, et al. "Sympathetic and immune interactions during dynamic exercise. Mediation via a beta 2 - adrenergic-dependent mechanism." Circulation 1992 86(1): 203.
A research group of HIV positive patients were studied at the Sid E. Williams Research Center at Life Chiropractic University over a six-month period. Half of the group of HIV positive patients were given chiropractic adjustments on a regular basis and the other half served as a control group. The findings at the end of the study were as follows: The adjusted patients had a 48% increase in the immune system cells most impacted by HIV and AIDS, CD4 cells. Conversely, the control group (those that were not adjusted) did not demonstrate an increase in immune function but rather an 8% decrease in their CD4 cell counts over the same period.
Selano JL, Hightower BC, Pfleger B, Feeley-Collins K, Grostic JD. "The Effects of Specific Upper Cervical Adjustments on the CD4 Counts of HIV Positive Patients." The Chiro Research Journal; 3(1); 1994.
A comprehensive review was conducted in 2000 of the current literature to summarize the understanding of the intimate relationship between the nervous system and the immune system. The study confirms the integral roles of the brain and immune system as being the two main adaptive systems in the body. These systems must synchronize and adapt the body during times of illness and environmental stress, to maintain homeostasis and health. This study confirmed the role of the sympathetic nervous system's influence to regulate this by hormone stimulation from the pituitary gland.
Elenkov IJ, Wilder RL, Chrousos GP, Vizi ES: "The sympathetic nerve-an integrative interface between the two supersystems: the brain and the immune system." Pharmacol Rev 2000;52:295-63.back to top of page