Mental Health Week – What’s Missing?

As it is National Mental Health week in Australia this week I thought I would pen a few thoughts.

Many may assert that chiropractic has no place in the mental health arena and to this I disagree. The interference to the spine and nervous system has profound global effects, especially the brain.

When we look back at history we see that B.J. Palmer, the developer of chiropractic, said of his father, the discoverer of chiropractic; “D.D. Palmer was the first man to discover that insanity was caused by displaced cervical vertebrae, that by replacing them the practice members could be restored to a normal condition.”

Due the results being obtained with chiropractic care they created two inpatient mental health facilities in Davenport Iowa. Chiropractic adjustments were the predominant clinical service provided. In 1922, the Chiropractic Psychopathic Sanitarium was established and its name was later changed to Forest Park Sanitarium. At the time “cure and discharge rate” of the medical mental hospitals ranged from 18-27%, compared to 65% at Forest Park. The Clear View Sanitarium, was procured by Palmer School of Chiropractic in 1951.

Both institutions were closed (Forest Park in 1959 and Clear View in 1961) because the government ruled that only full service (drugs and surgery) medical hospitals could be licensed.

While we have come some distance in the way in which we describe what we do since BJ Palmer, the relationship between the spine and mental health is just as strong.

As well as seeing the changes in people’s mental health on a day-to-day basis in our practice we are continuing to get evidence of the importance chiropractic plays in addressing this significant health issue.

This month, yet another study appears linking the structure of the spine to mental function. Appearing in the e-pub edition of Health Psychology 2014 Sept 15 entitled ‘Do Slumped and Upright Postures Affect Stress Responses? A Randomized Trial.’ By Nair S, Sagar M, Sollers J, Consedine N, Broadbent E. They tested people on various brain functions. Some people were put into a slumped posture and others into an erect posture. They noted, “Upright participants reported higher self-esteem, more arousal, better mood, and lower fear, compared to slumped participants. Linguistic analysis showed slumped participants used more negative emotion words, first-person singular pronouns, affective process words, sadness words, and fewer positive emotion words and total words..”

To reiterate the chiropractic premise – when there are interferences to the brain, spine and nerve system there is alteration of function – in this case the interference of normal structure and movement leads to mental dysfunction.

This week, make an effort to spread the word on the power that chiropractic has to make people’s mental health much better – without drugs and surgery.