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Dynamic Chiropractic
June 3, 2004, Volume 22, Issue 12

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Somatovisceral Aspects of Chiropractic: An Evidence-Based Approach

Book Review by Steven Lavitan, DC, LAc

Title: Somatovisceral Aspects of Chiropractic: An Evidence-Based Approach
Editors: Charles S. Masarsky, DC, and Marion Todres-Masarsky, DC
Publisher: Churchill Livingstone, 2001
Length: 248 pages
Part #: T-526
Price: $42.00

Steven Lavitan Image01With our desire for respectability and insurance reimbursement, some chiropractors have recently accepted positions as manual orthopedists. D.D. Palmer will probably turn over in his grave as this trend grows. He saw a bigger picture. Almost a century ago, he wrote, "Life is the expression of tone. In that sentence is the basic principle of chiropractic. Tone is the normal degree of nerve tension. Tone is expressed in functions by normal elasticity, activity, strength and excitability of the various organs, as observed in a state of health. Consequently, the cause of disease is any variation in tone."

In school, my neurology instructor presented us with the thesis that chiropractic was for neuromuscular problems. He stated that chiropractors who limited themselves to that were on terra firma. Later on, the New Zealand report came out; Dr. Scott Haldeman wrote about Type O (organic) problems that chiropractors treat.

What's a chiropractor to do when most people come in for neuromusculoskeletal problems, but there are organic changes in many cases? Should we ignore the clinical outcomes for fear of creating cognitive dissonance in patients, or embrace them and risk being ostracized from the "scientific community"? In the end, doctors just have to tell the truth, but in a thoroughly documented way.

Somatovisceral Aspects of Chiropractic: An Evidence-Based Approach deals with these issues. There are plenty of gems, as one would expect. For example, do you know that myasthenia gravis, a condition in which WBC attack acetylcholine sites, may respond to chiropractic adjustments? There is at least anecdotal evidence that chiropractic has helped individuals so afflicted.

All the data about chiropractic producing organic changes is huge, contradictory and almost incomprehensible. The editors and authors of this text somehow manage to make sense out of chaos. This book is the scholarly equivalent of Neurodynamics of the Vertebral Subluxation by Dr. Earl Homewood and The Essentials of BioMechanics by Dr. Joel Goldthwait. It is slated to become a classic, but unlike the first two, it requires regular upgrades, because it uses an evidence-based approach.

The book uses an ingenious mechanism: What is written should result in comprehension. The paradox is that understanding has a large component of duplication, something the typical book doesn't take into account. Each chapter in this book has study guide questions right before the reference section. By reading them first, one can achieve a focused reading style.

This book is highly polished prose that at time approaches poetry. "A symptom is a good barometer but a poor compass; it may indicate the presence of stormy weather: but cannot reliably guide you to the center of the storm."

The chief author states that 10 percent of all sales are pledged to the FCER. All and all, this text would have made D.D. very proud. It is a logical extension of his philosophy. This book rates a 10 and I heartily recommend it for any chiropractor's library. It is the way all of us would like to be presented to the scientific community: It neither denies nor embellishes - it just tells the truth.

Dr. Lavitan's rating:

10 out of 10

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Dynamic Chiropractic
June 3, 2004, Volume 22, Issue 12

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E-mail to a Friend

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