Murray Tough introduced our guest speaker, Dr. Mark Smith.  Mark has operated a unique practice called “Progressive Chiropractic” since August 2011.  He studied in Atlanta Georgia, where he learned not only about chiropractic, but sunshine, southern culture and floating down the Chattahoochee River on an inner tube.  Prior to chiropractic studies, he obtained a degree in kinesiology from the University of Calgary.  His work experiences as a student include stints as a tree pruner, forestry surveyor, lifeguard, oyster farm labourer (scribe’s note – in Calgary?), tourism centre host and bus boy.  He was led to chiropractic by a desire to help people live more fully by improving their health.  His talk will focus on what chiropractic is and why spinal health is important to everyone.

Mark started by telling us of receiving a Rotary scholarship that helped him in his kinesiology studies.  The story of chiropractic began in 1895 when a man injured his back while picking up a box and became deaf.  A magnetic healer named D.D. Palmer claimed to have cured his deafness by manipulating his spine.  Palmer developed the theory that spinal health was key to overall health because the spine protected the nerve system, the most important system in the body (not the cardiovascular or immune systems, according to the theory).  If out of alignment, each disk in the spine can be symptomatic of a variety of conditions.

Mark used a few anecdotes of cases he has dealt with. 

ð   A woman who had her urge to pee frequently relieved by an adjustment

ð  Another woman whose eye sight was improved by an adjustment.

ð  A 21 year-old student whose severe pain kept her from university. Chiropractic treatments enabled her to take on a complete course load and get the career she wanted.

He likened the relationship of chiropractor/medical profession relationship to that of a carpenter/fireman.  A fireman is the one you call to knock down your door and sprays water to put out the fire after the damage is done.  The carpenter rebuilds.  Similarly, a medical doctor and hospital try to fix and ailment or injury after it has happened.  A chiropractor views himself as someone who can prevent the ailment or at least rebuild after it is cured.  Another analogy is with dentists.  We regularly visit dentists to have preventative measures taken on our teeth.  Similarly, regular chiropractic visits can help prevent damage to the spine.

Mark concluded with a quote from B.J. Palmer, also a chiropractor and the estranged son of D.D. Palmer.  There is a ripple effect.  If you are in pain, those around you will also be I pain.  If you are happy and healthy, they will be likewise – your health and happiness rubs off on others.

A number of members had questions:

Wayne Shillington asked how chiropractic fits in with remediation and prevention and the rise of multidisciplinary clinics.  Mark is a sole practitioner, but he does work with acupuncturists, massage therapists, naturopaths, personal trainers, etc.  These professionals, in his view, work on the pillars of health – physical, psychological, spiritual and nutritional.  The medical profession focuses on prescriptions and surgery.

Cheryl Thomas commented that kinesiology ideals with muscles so found it interesting that Mark’s degree would lead him to this field.

Norman Bruce noted that he sits on an exercise ball at his office.  Is this a good thing?  Mark responded by saying that sitting is about the worst thing one can do for one’s back.  Sitting on a ball is good as it keeps the back muscles working.  One needs to be sure that the ball keeps the thighs nicely horizontal and the lower legs vertical.

Tom Martin observed that ball size must matter.

Reid James warned that injuries sustained if you fall off the ball are not covered by WCB.

Doug Lunam inquired about the benefits of inversion tables that effectively hang you upside down.  In Mark’s view, this therapy doesn’t really help, but if you feel better, there’s nothing wrong with it.

Julie Findlay asked whether Mark used pre and post treatment X-rays to monitor progress.  Mark indicated that he did, also using video X-rays to show movement.

Damian Sowa thanked our speaker with the usual certificate of a donation to The Cridge Centre. 

President Paul had the final word by saying that some members need an attitude adjustment, not a chiropractic adjustment.