I found this group meeting particularly interesting because I had heard a lot about previous struggles the chiropractic profession has had in terms of being recognised as legitimate but knew little about its current standing across the globe. I have been lucky enough to hear various stories of the triumph of chiropractic in France and how it went from illegal to practice to having its own school of chiropractic and regulatory body. There are many unique situations and opportunities across the globe as most countries that students reported on in my group meeting had low utilization of chiropractic. My classmates and I found many unique situations including active prosecution of chiropractic practitioners by law enforcement, practitioners being allowed to practice even though chiropractic was illegal, countries with no practicing chiropractors and countries regulation of legal chiropractic practices. In the countries presented on there seemed to be many consistent landmarks to the progress of chiropractic recognition. These landmarks include chiropractic treatment being recognised by patients to be beneficial despite cultural biases towards chiropractic, chiropractic practice being legalized, formation of a chiropractic school and formation of a chiropractic regulatory body. It is our duty as chiropractors to spread information from the ever growing body of research on chiropractic’s benefits however we can to ensure chiropractors are able to help patients across the globe. One of the organizations that is most interested in achieving global acceptance of the chiropractic profession is the World Federation of Chiropractic which is recognized by the World Health Organization.
Of any project that was presented the one that stuck with me the most was Spain. According to my class mates in Spain chiropractic is not legal but chiropractors are allowed to practice as long as they are not breaking any small business laws and reporting all income. Many of these chiropractors only receive training is a course offered on weekends with minimal hours of informal instruction. This stuck out to me as a prime example of why chiropractic needs to be recognized and regulated. Without regulation you can’t insure a standard of practice or define a scope of practice for these chiropractors. This also provides a significant advantage to these chiropractors who have attended weekend courses because there is far less of a financial barrier to becoming a chiropractor on this route as opposed to those who those who choose to go to an accredited chiropractic school out of country. Advocacy groups are important in this example to ensure patient’s rights with regard to being able to access to properly trained practitioners who operate professionally, morally and ethically.
Another example that left an impression on me was Kuwait. The presenters stated that chiropractic is unregulated by law and they could not find any chiropractors that had tried to practice in that country. However, Kuwait has a fairly developed medical system and some patients in search of chiropractors actually leave the country to places like Dubai to receive chiropractic care. This resonated with me because it is an example of a total unrealized niche for the chiropractic profession. It also shows that our profession still has much room to grow if we can continue to become recognized and legitimized by law. It is also frustrating to me to know that there are many patients out there who can benefit from chiropractic treatment but have no access to it.