Some vitally flawed Australian chiropractic

I want to introduce you to a Californian chiropractor. His name is Billy DeMoss. I encourage you to visit his Facebook page. There is no way anyone could include all of his anti-science conspiracy theories in one post, so you’ll need to see it, and gauge it, for yourself. Because my modus operandi (you’ll see what I did there), is to allow subjects to speak for themselves, I’ll include many screenshots in this post – and for this I apologise in advance. On DeMoss’ page you will see many testimonials which include the names and faces of babies, who, one would think, have not given their permission to be included on a public page. Obviously “Mom” gave the permission. I’m also guessing they did not ask to be taken to a chiropractor. As it is unethical to include these names and faces I have redacted all from the screenshots. I give you, Billy DeMoss:

“Vaccination is the biggest hoax ever sold to humankind”:

Contains bonus Tenpenny and Siegel, his sources.

Contains bonus Tenpenny and Siegel, his sources.

Chiropractic treating severe autism, caused by the MMR vaccine, of course:

Just two weeks? Result! Incredible stuff.

Just two weeks? Result! Incredible stuff.

Chemtrails. No, really:

Be aware of the chemtrails. It is you only hope.

Be aware of the chemtrails. It is your only hope.

Depopulation caused by vaccines and fluoride:

It's a shoot 'em up end game. I lost the game. Did you?

It’s a shoot ’em up end game. I lost the game. Did you?

Chiropractic treats eczema and asthma, apparently:

Subluxations are freaking amazing. No wait. They're not. Or are they?

Subluxations are freaking amazing. No wait. They’re not. Or are they?

The whole pie. This is just amazing:

When these guys shout, I like to watch. I have nothing to add, here.

When these guys shout, I like to watch. I have nothing to add, here.

“What has this got to do with Australia?” I hear you ask; and I thank you for your patience. This is what it has to do with Australia.

The Australian Spinal Research Foundation (ASRF) is listed on the Chiropractors’ Association of Australia website as an “Associated Organisation”:

CAA ASRF Associated OrganisationWho is the ASRF? The ASRF appears to be born out of the CAA, as a research arm. However, it appears to operate more as a public relations unit. From their “about us” page:

Our Focus

Our focus is chiropractic research.

Spinal Research is a non-profit organisation facilitating research that is unique to the chiropractic paradigm.

That doesn’t sound so bad. Research is great. Research is awesome. Let’s see what else is there:

Vision Statement

We are the Research Foundation which demonstrates that subluxation-based chiropractic care enhances quality of life and human performance.

Oh dear. I am now having visions of Tony Abbott’s recent denialist statement about pricing carbon emissions. Only, the latter are obviously real. Subluxations, however, are magic. I’ll quote the Leader of the Opposition:

It’s a so-called market in the non-delivery of an invisible substance to no-one.

Not quite accurate, in that there is a market, and subluxations are sold to real people, for real money, as something that need fixing. But let’s see what the ASRF says about the need for research in invisible substances:

Modus Operandi

Our Modus Operandi is to be evidence-based, collaborative and engaging.

Evidence-based – It is critical to ensure our activities add to the evidence base for health outcomes through chiropractic. We believe chiropractic by nature is vitalistic and patient-centred, and therefore recognise that being evidence-based does not and must not restrict us to considering only such evidence as that gained through the traditional, reductionist scientific method. We are committed to a view that robust, evidence-based research will ideally come from a variety of research methodologies.

Let me attempt to understand that one. I think it means that ASRF research does not necessarily need to be encumbered by that for which there is no evidence, so we’re going to power along in a robust manner looking for the elusive evidence for the elusive subluxation, proving that it is not elusive, because we believe it is not elusive, even though we just cannot pin down that sucker. And, we will base further research on the existence of this invisible substance.

To top it all off, the ASRF is a charity with Deductible Gift Recipient status:

Our Bona Fides

Australian Spinal Research Foundation is a company limited by guarantee under Australian Corporations Law. The Foundation is an approved Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) under the Australian Income Tax Assessment Act (Section 30-15, Research Institute) and an Income Tax Exempt Charity (Section 50-5). The Foundation is registered as Charity No. 1193 under the Queensland Collections Act and is exempt from Stamp Duty under the Stamp Act.

Recently, ABC TV’s Catalyst program had a pretty good look at some of this type of chiropractic. One of the (then) board members of the NSW CAA declined to be interviewed for the program. But, Nimrod Weiner did not come out of this unscathed, due to his anti-vaccinationism, among other practices. We’ve met Weiner before here, and here. After the Catalyst program, secretary Weiner was ejected from the NSW CAA board. Thrown under a bus, as it were. Someone had to go, so as to prove the CAA was serious about cleaning up its act. So, what is Weiner up to now, apart from manipulating babies?

Well, he is still on the board of the ASRF. And here he is at a recent meeting of the ASRF board. Rydges? Nice digs:

ASRF 4 Weiner still on board
The ASRF also holds a lot of seminars. They seem to me to be more about marketing each other, to each other, and learning how to market chiropractic. Think about being stuck in a room full of life coaches for a weekend. That.

One of the larger seminars held by the ASRF is the Dynamic Growth Congress. In 2011 Meryl Dorey of the thoroughly discredited anti-vaccination organisation, the Australian Vaccination Network, was even given a gig. In February 2011 Dorey wrote:

Dynamic Growth Conference, Brisbane 2011     

This is just going to be a very quick post to say that I’ve just returned from an inspiring and fun weekend at the Dynamic Growth conference, hosted by the Australian Spinal Research Foundation (ASRF) in Brisbane.

I have been to several DGs in the past, but this is the first time I have spoken at one and to look out at a sea of 500 or so attentive, interested faces as I described the 10 ‘Must Knows’ of vaccination – well, it was a wonderful experience!

I thank the ASRF for their kind invitation to speak, and to all of the chiropractors, chiropractic students and recent graduates, CAs, naturopaths, homeopaths and others who took the time to come up to me and ask some very interesting questions, thank you as well!

Dorey was back again last year, with a stand:

ASRF AVN stand 2012This year Billy DeMoss got a gig. Here is the blurb:

Full Throttle Heavy Metal ‘Yelling the Story’ and Driving the Starship Enterprise

Billy DeMoss

Billy D might be unique. He organises the world’s largest chiropractic party – California Jam, runs a super successful practice in Orange County California, speaks (loudly) anywhere there is a soapbox, dishes out fistfuls of purposeful posts on Facebook and  surfs whenever he can, wherever. He rides waves and he creates waves! He is HIGH VOLTAGE Rock n Roll chiropractic – no holds barred. This is a man who lives chiropractic full throttle, turbo-chargers maxed out and sparks flying! If you’re looking for a little boost of certainty, conviction and commitment around chiropractic being the most amazing life saving profession on Planet Earth

Billy D is coming to UNLEASH full fury SPIZZ and put the OMG into DG.

I get it. This guy is the full shizzle gangsta, or something.

DeMoss 11 at Dynamic Growth Congress 2013Now you can see where I’m coming from, my homies. This guy – the same guy who publicly states the encyclopedia of conspiracy theory as his personal belief, on his professional Facebook page, where everyone knows what he thinks and feels and does – got a gig at one of the premier Australian chiropractic conferences of the year, run by the ASRF, an “Associated Organisation” of the CAA, and he got a rock star welcome. How could this come to pass? You’ll need to indulge me one more time.

Melbourne chiropractor Tony Croke is a board member of the Chiropractors’ Association of Australia. He appeared in the Catalyst episode, and you’ve met him before in my post, here, as a 10 year Professional Member of the anti-vaccine Australian Vaccination Network:

CAA National Board Tony CrokeI want you to see what happened today. Yesterday, DeMoss posted a nuclear grade screed to his Facebook page. I will include it here in full. It is as brilliant as one billion guano-fueled stars. It will likely collapse on to itself:

…last week we had 4 NEW AUTISTIC PEEPS in our practice…this is [child]…the story is pretty much the same on all of these children…perfectly normal HEALTHY children that get vaccinated usually at around 18 months,usually the MMR and instantly these children become totally disconnected and permanently damaged neurologically AUTISTIC…you see you DON’T have to be a rocket scientist to see a trend here and anyone with any degree of common sense would step back and say maybe we should stop or slow down this massive CHEMICAL assault on these children’s lives…let’s at least do some REAL research on what is really going on…but see if we proved that vaccines were REALLY at cause of destroying the health of our children then that whole BOGUS SYSTEM/PARADIGM/well baby care would CRUMBLE…mind control is working…vaccines are the biggest HOAX ever sold to humankind…they NOT only don’t work but they DESTROY the lives of poor innocent children like [child]…I look forward to helping improve [child]’s life but he will NEVER be what he could have been in this life ALL because of DESTRUCTIVE DRUGS…(yes vaccines are drugs and you think you and your family are DRUG FREE???)…go ahead LIVE the LIE…be good little obedient citizens/sheeple and do everything the man/big brother tells you to do…DO YOU REALLY THINK THEY WANT YOU AND YOUR FAMILY HEALHTY???…for Christ’s sake their WHOLE industry is based on SICKNESS CARE and selling you MORE drugs when you are SICK…WAKE THE FROG UP…HEALTH IS PROMOTED FROM WITHIN…1. EAT HEALTHY 2. EXERCISE 3. SLEEP HEALTHY 4. THINK HEALTHY THOTS 5. EXPRESS HEALTH OVER YOUR NERVOUS SYSTEM…ie GET UNDER CHIROPRACTIC CARE TO MAXIMIZE YOUR LIFE POTENTIAL…HEALTH DOES NOT COME FROM OUTSIDE IN…FROM A NEEDLE FULL OF ANIMAL PUS AND CHEMICALS…is the frog awake yet?

I admit to being very surprised at one of the commenters who welcomed this stream of unconsciousness, going so far as saying that Australian chiropractic will again welcome it Down Here:

Croke Billy De Moss welcome in Australia antivax screed autismHere are the pertinent comments in the thread leading up to the Croke comment. Ben Phillips is a chiropractor at  Innisfail’s Total Lifestyle Chiropractic. I am only guessing that he is a CAA member, and ASRF member, going by his “professional links” page:

Ben Phillips Go you, Billy d. Keep these stories coming. Our board in Oz have determined that it is not within our scope to discuss this with people. BAH. I asked them what evidence they were quoting as ‘accepted opinion’ in making this determination. ..they referred me to the australian government immunisation handbook. Good to see they’ve done some independant research of the facts…NOT!

Billy DeMoss Ben Phillips…the question is am I banned from coming back to OZ???

Ben Phillips Never banned by me Billy DeMoss! The Board have no call on you coming to visit! Your energy is always welcome…it just tends to rub some Aussies the wrong way…cultural differences or something…but I love you!

Tony Croke Always welcome in my country, dude. [Child] is a smart guy to find his way to your office. Serve him up the good stuff!

Be afraid, Public Health Unit, in Innisfail. Be very afraid. Codes and policies mean nothing, apparently. But, we knew that.

We have been here before with the CAA and what they deem to be appropriate information. Remember when they gave CPD approval to US anti-vaccine chiropractor, Tim O’Shea? I don’t really see that anything has changed at all. The same misinformation is still being peddled, and accepted; only now they attempt to be a little more discreet about it. They can’t even do discretion properly. The only time they are ever held to account is when public cock-ups happen, like that above. When the Chiropractic Board of Australia are informed, nothing much ever changes. The implementation of codes of conduct, and policies on immunisation and subluxation are only as good as in the adherence to those codes and policies. There is hardly any of that.

I really feel for the evidence based chiropractors out there. I can’t say it enough. These people are really hurting due to the guys out there on the fringes of reality, and literacy. How can anyone take them seriously when the loudest in the profession have subluxation and anti-vaccinationism as their core strengths? And, when they do speak up in defence of their evidence based practices, like John Reggars, and many more, they are attacked by the “straight” fanatics. They just can’t win. But, we can help them win, because they deserve it. They don’t deserve the taint which has been forced upon them by the loud, anti-science practitioners from the fringe.

To wrap up, here is a post from Croke’s Liberty Chiropractic, this morning. This says more than I really want to think about:

Croke RCT chiro on colicky kids do betterSometimes, there is only one response available. THIS GUY*:


*THIS GUY’s latest post is also well worth reading:  Chiropractors and the reflex arc.

About reasonable hank

I'm reasonable, mostly.
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20 Responses to Some vitally flawed Australian chiropractic

  1. “Think about being stuck in a roomful of life coaches for a weekend.”

    Great. Now for the nightmares….
    But it’s an apt description. For all their planning, meeting and fundraising the output sure is underwhelming.

  2. wertys says:

    My question for the AHPRA Chiro Board is ….how many CPD points can you claim for attending this rubbish, or will they have the integrity to refuse to recognize it? Lots of ppl are watching….

  3. Reading the illiterate drivel I’m reminded of another snake oil salesperson, the incomparable Monika Milka. Imagine if they were to breed…

  4. Meleese Pollock says:

    Billy really is the full enchilada, isn’t he?

  5. Wow. Just wow. Thanks for digging a bit deeper on ASRF than I did. You’re old hand at it compared to I.
    The supposed “silent majority” is starting to make a little noise internally at least. One Victorian chiropractor has independently written to his local newspaper as a result of the Catalyst story to publicly state that he supports vaccination to prevent disease. I am unsure if that chiropractor is a member of either CAA or COCA. I will be interested to see if it makes it to print and any reaction to it.

  6. Wzrd1 says:

    Now, now, subluxation is a real orthopedic emergency. It’s a partial dislocation of a joint, as in hip dysplasia or various other injuries to a joint. Thankfully, subluxation is not that common, well, until one goes into the mythoverse of chiropractic mythicine.
    Or is that mythocine? Six of one, half dozen of the other.

    As for Billy and his all girl band, there once were chemtrails, they were left by the SR-71 Blackbird, which has been retired. Their constituent chemicals were added to diffract the radar signature of the aircraft, plus fuel additives to limit the fuel’s boiling at altitude.
    One could also make a case that current contrails are chemtrails, they are, after all, hydroxic acid!
    Also known as and I’ll use the antivax method here for “clarity”, HyDroXic AcId, Dihydrogen MoNoXiDe, hYdrOgEn HyDrOxIdE. Oh, wait, it isn’t letters, it’s ENTIRE WORDS that make something true or something. 😉
    Seriously though, water *is* a chemical.
    So, a contrail is a chemtrail of sorts, just to follow the rabbit hole and find a rabbit wishing to be alone in its hole at the end.
    I’ll even give him a bit of rope with acceding that the Smallpox vaccine is the most hazardous vaccine that has ever graced the immunization inventory. Of course, the risks of the disease far, far, far, far outstripped its adverse reaction rate. It was a case of a few might die from the vaccine vs thousands *would* die from the disease. Thankfully, Smallpox is extinct in the wild, may Polio soon join it.

    Still, I have to admit that I agree with our intrepid host’s method; Permit the fool to speak his or her mind, they can help you make your point far better than if one spoke without their assistance.
    It is only regrettable that the human race is so poor in the expression of one sense, common sense.

    And yes, all but the last two paragraphs are dark humor and sarcasm.

  7. bluewode says:

    Reasonablehank wrote: “I think it means that ASRF research does not necessarily need to be encumbered by that for which there is no evidence, so we’re going to power along in a robust manner looking for the elusive evidence for the elusive subluxation, proving that it is not elusive, because we believe it is not elusive, even though we just cannot pin down that sucker. And, we will base further research on the existence of this invisible substance.”

    Great post, Hank, although the quote above doesn’t appear to be universally true. These days, some chiropractors seem to be resorting to relying on semantics rather than research. Here’s some damning comment Phillip Ebrall* of the ‘Bachelor of Science’ chiropractic degree at the Central Queensland University (Mackay) which should be of interest to you…

    “Inspired by a visit to Disneyland this paper explores the challenges associated with the need to teach something that may not exist…perhaps the entire profession of chiropractic is a ‘bizarre fiction’ with no substantive grounding. If so, what is the basis for anyone being a chiropractic academic? In writing this paper the content preceding the point was shared with an academic colleague of the writer. The colleague is a learned man with qualifications in chiropractic and philosophy and suggested the writer should stop wasting time and simply accept that the subluxation exists…as long as we lack a technological means to generate quantitative evidence of the subluxation and its effects on human function, there is little option other than to rely on an intelligent use of language within a true context of philosophy to encapsulate the discipline’s beliefs…it matters not whether the subluxation is a tangible clinical entity with physical dimensions or a mental creation; what does matter is that the statements used to describe it are in themselves true.”

    Ref: Ebrall, P., Chiropr J Aust 2009, 39: 165-70.

    *Phillip Ebrall was the former Head of Discipline, Chiropractic, Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology.

  8. So the whole concept of chiropractic subluxation is philisophical rather than evidence based, so don’t waste time with research.
    And they want so much to be primary health providers. No wonder the CAA has little time for those who question their evidence base.

  9. Sue says:

    “Research” newsletter from APRF:
    Sixteen pages, lots of ads, discussions about funding research, the need to do research for PR and survival of the profession – but NOT ONE research project completed, reported or published from the “Foundation”. WHere does all that money go?

  10. roguechiropractor says:

    That’s a great question Sue. One that really needs to be answered. I think some money goes to research projects done by NZCC by Heidi Haavik. However when one of the listed priorities of the ASRF is for “Basic science research that investigates the vertebral subluxation theory and the chiropractic adjustment” then that severely restricts the type of research done, and it may explain the dearth of research being published.

  11. Andy says:

    If there’s NO MONEY IN HEALTHY PEOPLE… what’s the purpose of chiropractic and/or how do chiropractors put food on the family table?

    While I can sympathise with the plight of evidence-based chiros, I’m not sure I agree they don’t deserve to wear the taint of their profession when it appears it comes from the top down. While anti-vax chiros sit on national boards, while a national body refuses to support vaccination, while the “fringe element” don’t actually appear to be very fringe at all and when the bulk of exposition and finger-pointing appears to come from outside of the industry, I think all chiropractors must accept that they are members of a questionable profession.

    I’m willing to stand corrected if someone wants to point to a collection of blogs and Facebook pages where chiros are openly condemning their conspiracy-monger colleagues.

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  17. Liz says:

    A local chiropractor wished to present to a group of child health nurses the benefits of chiro for infants and small children. I asked him to bring evidence, journal articles etc – there was none forthcoming. I checked out his website later and in the professionals section, an area where he encourged other chiros to promote services for children, with marketing strategies, there was a slogan describing how if you get them early ( children) you have a client for life!
    Unfortunately there are Nurse believers.
    Thanks Reasonable Hank – love your work!

    • Thanks so much for sharing, Liz. A perfect example of the cradle to grave marketing which infects a registered health profession. Practice building seminars (now removed from CPD); motivational speakers; wealth accumulation coaches. It reeks.

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