Anti-vaccine chiropractors 59 – Balloons and Onions R Us

[Originally published as Anti-vaccine chiropractors redux 9 – Balloons and Onions R Us]

Ackerman 1 YT still

David Ackerman is a registered chiropractor who plies his trade in the Northern Rivers area of New South Wales. He is a member of the Chiropractors’ Association of Australia, as we have come to expect from the stars of this series. He has a website, and an open Facebook profile which he also uses for his business activities:

Ackerman 1 account used for business

Ackerman operates out of a business called Jade Tortoise Clinic of Natural Medicine, located in New Brighton. A look at the chiropractic tab on the website immediately rings alarm bells: absurd claims are made for treatments of “ADD/ADHD, learning difficulties…allergies, asthma”, whilst promising that treatments will include benefits such as “More Energy, Increased Clarity and Concentration, Emotional Balance and Ease, Greater Wellbeing and Health”:

Ackerman 9 Jade Tortoise ADHD allergies asthma learning difficulties
A perusal of Ackerman’s Facebook profile soothes one’s raging confirmation bias that, surely, this guy will post anti-vaccination screeds worthy of the worst. Yep.

Here’s one from a couple of years ago which would tug at the heartstrings of any conspiracy theorist. Baby monkeys! Needles! Vials! Skulls! BABIES:

Ackerman 1 baby monkeys autism

And because Ackerman was told he’d get bonus points for this, underneath that post is his Facebook friend, Michael Jensen. Yes, that astonishing Michael Jensen:

Ackerman 2 Jensen comment autism

Next we see one of the anti-vaccination movement’s favourite strawman arguments: claiming that vaccines didn’t save us, by using mortality graphs, devoid of nuance.  I think the worst part of these arguments is that anti-vaccinationists don’t really care if a small cohort of kids still die; as long as they think they’ve won an argument – which they haven’t – then a few hundred/thousand/hundreds of thousands of dead kids is a mere piffle to them:

Ackerman 3 vaccines didn't save us mortality graph

Where would any self-respecting, conspiracy-mongering, anti-vaccine chiropractor be without claiming that providing the Gardasil vaccine is exactly the same as murder? This is a man worth his salt:

Ackerman 5 Gardasil murdering of our daughters

And, of course, Ackerman shares one of Meryl Dorey’s misleading petitions, like so many other of his chiropractic brethren who are enamoured of the vile, discredited anti-vaccination group, the Australian Vaccination Skeptics Network:

Ackerman 6 Dorey NSW Parl petition
What led me to Ackerman was some keen-eyed WTF-spotting by my friends who noticed an ad placed by Ackerman in The Byron Shire Echo. So, really, his advertising dollar bought space in this blog. Kudos.

Ackerman claims to be a Neurocranial Restructuring practitioner, in which he “unwinds the skull” to alleviate a range of conditions which include “anxiety/depression” and – shut up, it’s there in the ad – “improved facial appearance”:

Ackerman 1 newspaper ad

And not only that; he also advertises it on his Facebook profile:

Ackerman 4 NET neurocranial video

The Facebook post takes us to this YouTube video , wherein Ackerman explains how he carries out all sorts of techniques – to manipulate the facial bones so as to alleviate a range of conditions – including guiding a balloon up the nose, inflating it in situ, thereby creating a greater space in which the brain can relax, imbuing the inflatee with a “pleasant sensation” like an “endorphin rush” leading to “emotional balance” whilst being “mentally clearer”, and having a “shift of consciousness”. As an aside, this is also a testimonial, provided by the practitioner, himself. There will also be the waving of hands:

Ackerman 4 YT still waving of hands

All I can do is cite an anonymous, senior clinician who states, simply:

Balloon up nose to ”rearrange” facial bones and sphenoid = dangerous pseudoscience

Chirobase also notes that the technique is “irrational and unsafe”:

There is no published scientific evidence or logical reason to believe that NCR is effective for treating any of the conditions for which it is recommended. There is no reason to believe that the sphenoid bone can be safely manipulated or that moving it would provide health benefits. In addition, although few complications have been reported, there is good reason to believe that it can be harmful.

In 1983, during treatment with Bilateral Nasal Specific (a variant in which a finger cot is used as the balloon), a Canadian baby was asphyxiated after the finger cot slipped off the syringe on which it was mounted and lodged in the child’s windpipe. The practitioner was found guilty of manslaughter, fined $1,000, and ordered to stop using BNS [5].

A case has reported of a 51-year-old woman who sustained fractures in two sectors of her nasal septum (the bone between the nostrils) during an NCR treatment in which balloons were inflated inside her nostrils. During the procedure, the patient heard a crunching sound and experienced severe midface pain accompanied by nosebleed. Surgery was required to reposition her nasal septum. The authors noted that if the balloons had been placed more deeply into the nose, disastrous complications could have occurred [6].

I highly recommend you spend 6 minutes watching the video. Hopefully the Chiropractic Board of Australia will do the same. Maybe they could also look at Ackerman’s claims underneath the YouTube video, in the comments:

Ackerman 4 comments realign lopsided eyes

Maybe I should give him a call. My eyeballs just popped out.

Of course, where there’s one or two streams of crackpottery happening, there’s always more. Here is the old aspartame-is-poison meme, shared via that prestigious medical journal, A Sheep No More:

Ackerman 8 aspartame poison

However, of much more concern are the sinister, illegal claims to cure cancer, not once:

Ackerman 10 hemp oil cures cancer

But, twice:

Ackerman 11 cannabis oil cures cancer

And, just for good luck, here is some advice which might just save your life. Put an onion in a bowl which will draw in all of the bacteria and viruses in the room. I did search the whole post for mentions of placing one in your sock, or on your belt, but, there was nothing:

Ackerman 7 onions in bowls suck in all the bacteria and viruses

Ackerman needs to be reported. He is in breach of a plethora of guidelines, and codes of conduct. He is also in breach of the law for advertising to cure cancer. Notifications for NSW chiropractors must be made through the Health Care Complaints Commission, here.

As promised, here is that video:


Thanks for reading.

And a big thank you to my friends for pointing out the initial advertisement.

About reasonable hank

I'm reasonable, mostly.
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