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Chiropractic and Christianity: The Power of Pain to Adjust Cultural Alignments

  • Candy Gunther Brown

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Daniel David Palmer (1845–1913) reputedly “discovered” chiropractic in 1895 when he performed the first “adjustment,” using spinal manipulation to restore hearing to an African American janitor named Harvey Lillard. Relegated to the fringes of American medical and religious orthodoxy for most of the twentieth century in part because of its metaphysical philosophy, today chiropractic is mainstream: its offices can be found in strip malls; medical insurance plans cover adjustments; and, in a dramatic readjustment of traditional cultural alignments, conservative Christians embrace chiropractic as a God-given method of pain relief.

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1 Palmer, D. D., The Chiropractor's Adjuster: Text-book of the Science, Art and Philosophy of Chiropractic for Students and Practitioners (Portland, Or.: Portland Printing House, 1910), 18; Linhart, Gordon, “Selling The ‘Big Idea’: B. J. Palmer Ushers in the Golden Age, 1906–1920,” Chiropractic History: The Archives and Journal of the Association for the History of Chiropractic 8, no. 2 (1988): 25.

2 For the rise of alternative healing and parallels between other alternatives and chiropractic, see Fuller, Robert C., Alternative Medicine and American Religious Life (New York: Oxford University Press, 1989), 5560; Whorton, James C., Nature Cures: The History of Alternative Medicine in America (New York: Oxford University Press, 2002), 258, 277; Albanese, Catherine L., A Republic of Mind and Spirit: A Cultural History of American Metaphysical Religion (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 2007), 508–9; Moore, J. Stuart, Chiropractic in America: The History of a Medical Alternative (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1993), 205.

3 Albanese, Republic of Mind and Spirit, 149.

4 This essay accepts Albanese's definition of “metaphysical” as referring to an emphasis on “mind” that includes not only reason, but also intuition, clairvoyance, and correspondence between mind and spirit; Albanese, Republic of Mind and Spirit, 6. The essay likewise accepts David Bebbington's classic definition of “evangelical” as including a focus on conversionism, biblicism, activism, and crucicentrism; Bebbington, , Evangelicalism in Britain: A History from the 1730s to the 1980s (London: Unwin Hyman, 1989), 217.

5 Albanese, Republic of Mind and Spirit, 515.

6 Folk, Holly, “Vertebral Vitalism: American Metaphysics and the Birth of Chiropractic” (PhD diss., Indiana University, 2006), 317.

7 Rieff, Philip, The Triumph of the Therapeutic: Uses of Faith After Freud (New York: Harper & Row, 1966).

8 Hall, David D., ed., Lived Religion in America: Toward a History of Practice (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1997); Maffly-Kipp, Laurie F., Schmidt, Leigh Eric, and Valeri, Mark R., eds., Practicing Protestants: Histories of Christian Life in America, 1630–1965 (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2006).

9 Albanese, Catherine L., Nature Religion in America: From the Algonkian Indians to the New Age, Chicago History of American Religion (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1990), 136.

10 Morris, David B., The Culture of Pain (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1991), 4.

11 Moore, Chiropractic in America, 7–9; Ellwood, Robert S. Jr., “The American Theosophical Synthesis,” in The Occult in America: New Historical Perspectives, ed. Kerr, Howard and Crow, Charles L. (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1983), 151; Ahlstrom, Sydney E., A Religious History of the American People, 2nd ed. (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 2004), 51; Miller, Perry, “From Edwards to Emerson,” in Errand into the Wilderness (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1956), 191; Angeles, P. A., Dictionary of Philosophy (New York: Harper & Row, 1981), 87; Folk, “Vertebral Vitalism,” 109–25. Benz, Ernst, The Theology of Electricity: On the Encounter and Explanation of Theology and Science in the 17th and 18th Centuries, trans. Taraba, Wolfgang (Allison Park, Pa.: Pickwick, 1989), 514. For the appeal of vitalism to some evangelicals, see Ward, W. R., Early Evangelicalism: A Global Intellectual History, 1670–1789 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2006), 11.

12 Palmer, Chiropractor's Adjuster, 718, 501; Gibbons, Russell W., “Chiropractic in America: The Historical Conflicts of Cultism & Science,” Journal of Popular Culture 10, no. 4 (1977): 721; Donahue, Joseph H., “D. D. Palmer and the Metaphysical Movement in the Nineteenth Century,” Chiropractic History: The Archives and Journal of the Association for the History of Chiropractic 7, no. 1 (1987): 2325.

13 Gielow, Vern, Old Dad Chiro: Biography of D. D. Palmer, Founder of Chiropractic (Davenport, Iowa: Bawden Bros., 1981), 8283.

14 Albanese, Nature Religion, 149–50.

15 Conversation with Vern Gielow (1982) reported by Albanese, Nature Religion, 151; Martin, Steven C., “‘The Only Truly Scientific Method of Healing’: Chiropractic and American Science, 1895–1990Isis 85, no. 2 (1994): 213. Wardwell, Walter I., Chiropractic: History and Evolution of a New Profession (St. Louis: Mosby-Year Book, 1992), 180–81, uniquely among the sources I have studied, denies that Palmer considered chiropractic a religion. After quoting a lengthy passage from Palmer that identifies the “religion of chiropractic” as belief in Universal Intelligence, “segmented into as many parts as there are individual expressions of life,” Wardwell summarily protests: “If this is religion, it certainly is not Christian. Basically, D. D. did not consider chiropractic a religion”; Wardwell's word choice suggests that Palmer's explicitly “religious” views did not strike Wardwell as “Christian” and that Wardwell considered theistic religions such as Christianity to be the only genuine religions.

16 Moore, Chiropractic in America, 23; Martin, “Only Truly Scientific Method,” 213.

17 Palmer, Chiropractor's Adjuster, 446, 642; Palmer, D. D., The Chiropractor (Los Angeles: Press of Beacon Light Printing, 1914), 10, published posthumously by Palmer's wife through a spiritualist publishing house (see Donahue, “Metaphysical Movement,” 26), and qtd. in Wardwell, Chiropractic, 180.

18 Palmer, Chiropractor's Adjuster, 491, 691, 493.

19 Fuller, Alternative Medicine, 72.

20 The Chiropractor 5 (1909): frontispiece (Davenport, Iowa: Palmer School of Chiropractic Publisher, 1909), qtd. in Fuller, Alternative Medicine, 72.

21 Palmer, Chiropractor's Adjuster, 492, 8.

22 Keating, Joseph C. and Association for the History of Chiropractic, B. J. of Davenport: The Early Years of Chiropractic (Davenport, Iowa: Association for the History of Chiropractic, 1997), vi.

23 B. J. Palmer, Do Chiropractors Pray? (Davenport, Iowa: Palmer School of Chiropractic, n.d.), 25 (emphasis in original).

24 Palmer, B. J., The Bigness of the Fellow Within (Davenport, Iowa: Chiropractic Fountain Head, 1949), 65; cf. B. J. Palmer's reflections on declaring chiropractic a religion, Lecture Notes, October 21, 1908, 4, Archives, Palmer College of Chiropractic, qtd. in Martin, “Chiropractic and the Social Context of Medical Technology,” 813, 816; Martin, “Only Truly Scientific Method,” 213.

25 B. J. Palmer, Do Chiropractors Pray? 27.

26 Palmer, B. J., Up From Below the Bottom (Davenport, Iowa: Chiropractic Fountain Head, 1950; reprint 1991), 2; cf. B. J. Palmer, The Lord's Work (Davenport, Iowa: Palmer School of Chiropractic, n.d.), 9; Palmer, B. J., Our Masterpiece (Davenport, Iowa: Palmer College of Chiropractic, 1966), 116.

27 B. J. Palmer, Do Chiropractors Pray? 28; cf. Palmer, B. J., The Glory of Going On (Davenport, Iowa: Palmer School of Chiropractic, 1961), 56, 71–72; Palmer, B. J., Fight To Climb (Davenport, Iowa: Chiropractic Fountain Head, 1950), 537–38 (emphasis in original).

28 See, for example, Wardwell, Chiropractic, 180, discussed above in note 15.

29 Moore, Chiropractic in America, 49–50.

30 McDonald, William P., How Chiropractors Think and Practice: The Survey of North American Chiropractors (Ada, Ohio: Institute for Social Research, Ohio Northern University, 2003), 2021; this survey is further discussed below.

31 Chapman-Smith, David, The Chiropractic Profession: Its Education, Practice, Research and Future Directions (West Des Moines, Iowa: NCMIC Group, 2000), 14.

32 Steven C. Martin, “Chiropractic and the Social Context of Medical Technology,” 831, concurs that scholars such as Fuller (Alternative Medicine, 71, 76) underestimate the persistence of spirituality in modern chiropractic.

33 See, for example, Whorton, Nature Cures, 17, 285; Moore, Chiropractic in America, 130; Wardwell, Walter I., “Before the Palmers: An Overview of Chiropractic's Antecedents,” Chiropractic History: The Archives and Journal of the Association for the History of Chiropractic 7, no. 2 (1987): 30.

34 Wilk v. American Medical Assoc., 671 F. Supp. 1465, 1473 (N.D. Ill. 1987), aff'd, 895 F.2d 352 (7th Cir. 1990), cert. denied, 498 U.S. 982, 111 S. Ct. 513 (1990).

35 Whorton, Nature Cures, 17.

36 Alternative Medicine: An Objective Assessment, Journal of the American Medical Association 280, no. 18 (November 11, 1998): 1551–640, qtd. in Whorton, Nature Cures, x.

37 Whorton, Nature Cures, x, 243, 295; Herron, M. and Glasser, M., “Use of and Attitudes Toward Complementary and Alternative Medicine Among Family Practice Patients in Small Rural Illinois Communities,” Journal of Rural Health 19, no. 3 (2003): 279.

38 U. S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (1965), qtd. in White, Marjorie and Skipper, James K. Jr., “The Chiropractic Physician: A Study of Career Contingencies,” Journal of Health and Social Behavior 12, no. 4 (December 1971): 300; Wiese, Glenda, “Chiropractic History and Trivia,” in Chiropractic Secrets, ed. Gardner, Seth and Mosby, John S. (Philadelphia: Hanley & Belfus, 2000), 242–45.

39 Brown, Michael F., The Channeling Zone: American Spirituality in an Anxious Age (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1997), 6.

40 Whorton, Nature Cures, xiii, 223, 245–49; Eisenberg, David M., et al. , “Unconventional Medicine in the United States: Prevalence, Costs, and Patterns of Use,” New England Journal of Medicine 328, no. 4 (January 28, 1993): 246–52; Eisenberg, David M., et al. , “Trends in Alternative Medicine Use in the United States, 1990–1997: Results of a Follow-Up National Survey,” Journal of the American Medical Association 280, no. 18 (November 11, 1998): 1569–75.

41 Reed, Louis Schultz, The Healing Cults: A Study of Sectarian Medical Practice; Its Extent, Causes, and Control (Washington, D.C.: Committee on the Costs of Medical Care, 1932), 1; Numbers, Ronald L., “The Fall and Rise of the American Medical Profession,” in Sickness and Health in America: Readings in the History of Medicine and Public Health, ed. Leavitt, Judith Walzer and Numbers, Ronald L., 3rd ed. (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1997), 233.

42 Johnston, Robert D., The Politics of Healing: Histories of Alternative Medicine in Twentieth-Century North America (New York: Routledge, 2004), 2.

43 Whorton, Nature Cures, 245–49.

44 Martin, “Only Truly Scientific Method of Healing,” 224; Fuller, Alternative Medicine, 90, 92; Whorton, Nature Cures, xii, 4, 246, 24. The South African philosopher Jan Smuts coined the term “holism,” from the Greek holos, or whole, in a book entitled, Holism and Evolution (New York: MacMillan, 1926), that practitioners of holistic medicine had revived by the 1980s.

45 R. Laurence Moore, “The Occult Connection?: Mormonism, Christian Science, and Spiritualism,” in Occult in America, ed. Kerr and Crow, 151; Martin, Steven C., “Chiropractic and the Social Context of Medical Technology, 1895–1925,” Technology and Culture, Special Issue: Biomedical and Behavioral Technology 34, no. 4 (October 1993): 831.

46 Boyner, Peter, “Isn't It Time to Abandon Anachronistic Terminology?Journal of the Australian Chiropractors’ Association 17, no. 2 (1987): 53, 54, 56, 57.

47 American Chiropractic Association, “Policy Statement” (1994), qtd. in Chapman-Smith, Chiropractic Profession, 58.

48 Whorton, Nature Cures, 184.

49 Association of Chiropractic Colleges, “Position Paper” (1996), qtd. in Chapman-Smith, Chiropractic Profession, 57, 60.

50 World Chiropractic Alliance, “Practice Guidelines for Straight Chiropractic” (1993), qtd. in Raso, Jack, “Alternative” Healthcare: A Comprehensive Guide (Amherst, N.Y.: Prometheus Books, 1994), 150.

51 Donahue, Joseph H., “The Trouble With Innate and the Trouble that Causes,” Philosophical Constructs for the Chiropractic Profession 2, no. 1 (1992): 23; Donahue, Joseph H., “D. D. Palmer and Innate Intelligence: Development, Division and Derision,” Chiropractic History: The Archives and Journal of the Association for the History of Chiropractic 6 (1986): 35.

52 Raso, “Alternative” Healthcare, 148.

53 National Association for Chiropractic Medicine, official website, http://www.chiromed.org/ (accessed August 20, 2007; emphasis in original).

54 Keating, Joseph C. Jr., Charlton, Keith H., Grod, Jaroslaw P., Perle, Stephen M., Sikorski, David, and Winterstein, James F., “Subluxation: Dogma or Science?Chiropractic & Osteopathy 13, no. 17 (August 10, 2005), http://www.chiroandosteo.com/content/13/1/17 (accessed December 13, 2007).

55 Personal communication to author, June 30, 2009.

56 Brochures promoted the chiropractor's mentor, Stevens Chiropractic and Wellness, whose patient-directed literature lists a variety of health resources; Stevens Chiropractic and Wellness, “Health Resources,” http://www.stevenswellness.com/custom_content/1380_health_resources.html (accessed July 7, 2009).

57 McDonald, How Chiropractors Think, 15, 16, 35, 49, 55, 60, 89, 90, 91, 101.

58 Interestingly, the study discussion (p. 59) suggests that acupuncture garners less support than acupressure because it is more “invasive,” not because respondents question the vitalistic theory upon which it is based.

59 Ledermann, E. K., Philosophy and Medicine (Brookfield, Vt.: Gower, 1986), 43.

60 Chapman-Smith, Chiropractic Profession, 69–70, 135.

61 For the shared vitalistic premises of many CAM therapies, see Whorton, Nature Cures, 10.

62 For instance, a 2009 Newsweek poll found 30% of Americans identified themselves as “spiritual” rather than “religious,” up from 24% in 2005; Meacham, Jon, “The End of Christian America,” Newsweek (April 13, 2009), available at http://www.newsweek.com/id/192583 (accessed April 7, 2009). Surveys conducted by the Baylor Institute for Studies of Religion with the Gallup Organization in 2005 and 2007 found that 57% of Americans self-identified as both spiritual and religious, but only 10% identified as spiritual but not religious. Although much attention has been paid to recent polls finding that 11–12% of Americans have come to identify with “no religion,” the Baylor surveys shed light on what people mean when they self-identify as such. The study concludes that “the percentage of atheists hasn't changed at all,” found to be 4% by a 1944 Gallup poll and 4% by the 2007 Baylor survey. Instead, “what ‘no religion’ seems to mean to most who give this response is that they reject conventional religions, but not supernaturalism of more exotic sorts—two-thirds of them can be classified as New Agers … [who are] very likely to accept occult and paranormal beliefs”; Stark, Rodney, What Americans Really Believe: New Findings from the Baylor Surveys of Religion (Waco, Tex.: Baylor University Press, 2008), 117, 141, 144. On seeker spirituality, see Wuthnow, Robert, After Heaven: Spirituality in America since the 1950s (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998), 34; Roof, Wade Clark, A Generation of Seekers: The Spiritual Journeys of the Baby Boom Generation (San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1993), 67, 259.

63 Brian Keene, review of Jacob's Ladder, directed by Adrian Lyne, Carolco Pictures, http://www.feoamante.com/Movies/JKL/jacobslad.html (accessed February 17, 2006); “Jacob's Ladder,” The Internet Movie Database, http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0099871 (accessed February 17, 2006).

64 Donahue, “Trouble With Innate,” 23.

65 Burgess, Michael M., “Chiropractic Informed Consent,” Journal of the Canadian Chiropractic Association 34, no. 1 (1990): 2426; Steinecke, Richard, “Informed Consent,” Journal of the Canadian Chiropractic Association 40, no. 1 (1996): 4346. Since the civil rights and consumer revolutions of the 1960s, “informed consent” has become a watchword as Americans insist upon their moral and legal rights to make autonomous choices based on the principles of personal autonomy and self-determination. According to theorists of informed consent, the ability to make choices autonomously requires substantial understanding of all material information—not only medical risks and benefits, but also factors bearing upon patients’ “long-range goals and values,” including religious commitments; Faden, Ruth R., Beauchamp, Tom L., King, Nancy M. P., A History and Theory of Informed Consent (New York: Oxford University Press, 1986), 303.

66 Albanese, Republic of Mind and Spirit, 5–6.

67 Platt, John R., “Strong Inference,” Science 146, no. 3642 (October 16, 1964): 347–53; Barnes, Linda L. and Sered, Susan S., eds., Religion and Healing in America (New York: Oxford University Press, 2005), 22.

68 Palmer, Chiropractor's Adjuster, 19; American Chiropractic Association, “Policy Statement”; International Chiropractors’ Association, “11 Common Questions about Chiropractic” (n.d.), qtd. in Raso, “Alternative” Healthcare, 148–49. The Palmers taught that subluxations are behind every disease; although modern chiropractors have backed away from the theory of singular causation, according to the Ohio survey (p. 50), 10.9% of chiropractors believe that subluxations contribute to 100% of visceral ailments; the mean response was that subluxations contribute to 62.1% of diseases.

69 Moore, Chiropractic in America, 148.

70 Gay, Timothy J., “Why Are You where You Are?The Chiropractic Journal: A Publication of the World Chiropractic Alliance (June 2007), http://www.worldchiropracticalliance.org/tcj/2007/jun/n.htm (accessed December 14, 2007); Harper, David, “The Chiropractic Story,” Natural Health Education Journal 11, no. 3 (winter 2007): 19 (emphasis in original).

71 Eriksen, Krik, Rochester, Roderic P., and Grostic, John F., Orthospinology Procedures: An Evidence-Based Approach to Spinal Care (Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer Health/Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2007), 279; Hammer, Warren I., Functional Soft-Tissue Examination and Treatment by Manual Methods (Sudbury, Mass.: Jones and Bartlett, 2007), 427.

72 See, for example, “Chiropractic Approach to Pain Relief, Rehabilitative Care,” Journal of the American Chiropractic Association 46, no. 6 (August 2009): 16.

73 Reid, Mike, “The Seven Laws of the Power of Attraction,” The Chiropractic Journal: A Publication of the World Chiropractic Alliance (August 2007), http://www.worldchiropracticalliance.org/tcj/2007/aug/l.htm (accessed December 14, 2007; emphasis in original).

74 Amos, Mark A., “What Do Symptoms Mean to the Chiropractor?Journal of Chiropractic Humanities 13, no. 13 (2006): 27.

75 Passalacqua, Christopher, “Advancement or Decline? Still Untold, Yet Ever Telling,” The Chiropractic Choice: A Publication of the International Chiropractors Association 5, no. 2 (April 2006): 21.

76 For the capacity of religions to proscribe as well as prescribe practices, see Thomas A. Tweed, Crossing and Dwelling: A Theory of Religion (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press), 6.

77 Moore, “Occult Connection?” 136.

78 Kerr and Crow, introduction to Occult in America, 6, argue that “chiropractic, now covered by medical insurance and federal income tax deductions, grew out of the same nineteenth-century ‘occult-metaphysical tradition’ that fostered transcendentalism, mesmerism, spiritualism, Theosophy, Christian Science, and New Thought.”

79 Piper, William Hamner, “Giving Heed to Seducing Spirits: The Alluring Deceptions of the Day,” Latter Rain Evangelical (October 1, 1911): 2.

80 Horban, Michael P., “Marks of Error,” The Pentecostal Evangel (December 9, 1962): 7.

81 Bube, Richard H., “Pseudo-Science and Pseudo-Theology: (A) Cult and Occult,” Journal of the American Scientific Affiliation 29, no. 1 (March 1977): 2228.

82 For one such anti-medical statement, see Dowie, Alexender, Doctors, Drugs and Devils, or, the Foes of Christ the Healer (Zion City, Ill., 1901). Some evangelicals included divine healing in their catalogues of un-Christian practices, for example, Buckley, J. M., Faith-Healing, Christian Science and Kindred Phenomena (New York: Century, 1892).

83 Moore, Chiropractic in America, 189–90. Since no comprehensive survey data exists, Moore pieces together several studies. A series of biographical sketches of Oklahoma chiropractors published in 1930 gives the religious affiliations of 50 out of the 112 practitioners listed: 11 Baptists, 11 Methodists, 8 Christian/Church of Christ members, 8 Presbyterians, 4 Methodist Episcopals, 2 Catholics, 2 Quakers, 1 Lutheran, 1 Nazarene, 2 from the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and 2 who attended Phillips Christian University “preparatory for Evangelistic work.” Moore notes that many of the same individuals also “belonged to the Masons, Shriners, and other fraternal bodies.” A study of the religious affiliations of chiropractors in Missouri for 1972 concluded that out of 58 practitioners, 40 (70.7%) identified themselves as Protestant, 10 (17.2%) as Catholic, 2 (3.4%) claimed other religious backgrounds, and 5 (8.7%) had no religious affiliation. Who's Who in Chiropractic (1980) includes 875 entries: no religious affiliation is listed for 310 (35.4%) of the individuals; Catholics number 103 (11.8%); Protestants account for 421 (48.1%); 23 (2.6%) are identified as Jewish; and 18 (2.1%) identify other religious backgrounds, including 1 self-described “Unitarian Atheist”; Gallagher, Harry, History of Chiropractic: A History of the Philosophy, Art and Science of Chiropractic and Chiropractors in Oklahoma (Guthrie, Okla.: William E. Welch & William H. Pattie, 1930), 107–76; Lin, Phylis Lan, “The Chiropractor, Chiropractic, and Process: A Study of the Sociology of an Occupation” (PhD diss., University of Missouri-Columbia, 1972), 54; Lints-Dzaman, Fern, Scheiner, Sidney, and Schwartz, Larry, eds., Who's Who in Chiropractic, 2nd ed. (Littleton, Colo.: Who's Who in Chiropractic International Publishing, 1980), 23265. These findings are consonant with surveys of the religious identities of the total U.S. population; for example, the 2008 American Religious Identification Survey (ARIS) found that 76% of Americans self-identify as Christians, down from 86% in 1990; Kosmin, Barry A. and Keysar, Ariela, ARIS 2008 Summary Report (Hartford, Conn.: Trinity College, March 2009).

84 McSherry, H. L., “A Christian Concept of Chiropractic Philosophy,” Journal of the National Chiropractic Association (May 1952): 5, 13, 10.

85 Hultgren, Glenn M., Against All Odds … But God!: An Account of the Activities of the First Fifty Years of the Christian Chiropractors Association (Fort Collins, Colo.: Christian Chiropractors Association, 2003), 8; CCA headquarters, telephone conversation with the author, March 16, 2006.

86 Christian Chiropractors Association, “Statement of Faith” (Fort Collins, Colo.: Christian Chiropractors Association, [1988?]), qtd. in Moore, Chiropractic in America, 190; Christian Chiropractors Association, “Statement of Faith and Mission Statement,” http://www.christianchiropractors.org/state.htm (accessed Sept 19, 2005).

87 Smidt, Corwin E., Kellstedt, Lyman A., Green, John C., and Guth, James L., “The Spirit-Filled Movements in Contemporary America: A Survey Perspective,” in Pentecostal Currents in American Protestantism, ed. Blumhofer, Edith L., Spittler, Russell P., and Wacker, Grant A. (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1999), 120.

88 Glenn M. Hultgren, “Alternative Therapies: Making a Difference through Spiritual Evaluation,” (Christian Chiropractor's Association, n.d.), 7, 2, 5–6, http://www.christianchiropractors.org/altern_page1.htm (accessed September 16, 2005).

89 Curtis, Heather, Faith in the Great Physician: Suffering and Divine Healing in American Culture, 1860–1900 (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2007), 2.

90 Pernick, Martin S., A Calculus of Suffering: Pain, Professionalism, and Anesthesia in Nineteenth-Century America (New York: Columbia University Press, 1985), 78, 13–14, 56.

91 Morris, Culture of Pain, 5.

92 Early resistance to the use of anesthesia (introduced in 1846, but not used universally until the 1880s) came not only from clergy who envisioned pain as sent by God, but also from advocates of nature cures who worried that artificial insensitivity to pain would impede the restoration of harmony between individuals and nature.

93 Fuller, Alternative Medicine, 80; see also Leavitt, Judith Walzer, Brought to Bed: Childbearing in America, 1750 to 1950 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1986), 117.

94 Glucklich, Ariel, Sacred Pain: Hurting the Body for the Sake of the Soul (New York: Oxford University Press, 2001), 62.

95 Scarry, Elaine, The Body in Pain: The Making and Unmaking of the World (New York: Oxford University Press, 1985), 6.

96 Whorton, Nature Cures, 168.

97 “Memorial Service: In Respect to Dr. D. D. Palmer, Discoverer of Chiropractic, October 23, 1913, at the P.S.C.,” The Chiropractor 9 (December 1913), reprinted in Palmer, B. J., History Repeats (Davenport, Iowa: Chiropractic Fountain Head, 1951), 158–59.

98 Moore, Chiropractic in America, 100.

99 Lyon, R. D., “Chiropractic Philosophy and the Bible,” Today's Chiropractic (March/April 1977): 31; cf. Guengerich, J. D., Chiropractic and the Bible: The One as a Means of Correcting the Abnormal Condition of the Body and the Other as a Means of Correcting the Condition of the Soul (Centralia, Mo.: J. D. Guengerich, 1917), 36.

100 Boyajian, George, My Views on Chiropractic (Covington, Ky.: James N. King, [1950s?]), http://christianchiropractors.org/boyaj.htm (accessed March 16, 2006).

101 Brown, Candy Gunther, The Word in the World: Evangelical Writing, Publishing, and Reading in America, 1789–1880 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2004), 3.

102 Glucklich, Sacred Pain, 4–7.

103 For a typical example, see an article published in the journal of the British Christian Medical Fellowship by Smith, George, “Chiropractic,” Triple Helix (Winter 2005): 10, in which Innate is coded as “akin to the New Age pantheistic view of God.”

104 Smith, Christian, Christian America? What Evangelicals Really Want (Berkeley: University of California, 2000).

105 Gordon, Ruth, “Chiropractic Medicine - Science or Science Fiction?The Watchman Expositor 9, no. 7 (Watchman Fellowship: A Ministry of Christian Discernment, 1992), http://www.watchman.org/na/chiro1.htm (accessed September 20, 2005).

106 Ankerberg, John and Weldon, John, Can You Trust Your Doctor? The Complete Guide to New Age Medicine and Its Threat to Your Family (Brentwood, Tenn.: Wolgemuth and Hyatt, 1991), 206.

107 Balanced against evidence of evangelical suspicions of biomedical science presented elsewhere in this essay, it appears that there is some ambivalence toward modern medicine within evangelical culture: theological concern about the philosophical assumptions of scientific naturalism and cultural insecurity about the authority of medical professionals, but also a desire for the practical benefits and prestige of science.

108 Reisser, Paul C., Reisser, Teri K., and Weldon, John, New Age Medicine: A Christian Perspective on Holistic Health, rev. & expanded ed. (Downers Grove, Ill: InterVarsity Press, 1987), 34, 94, 37.

109 Moore, Chiropractic in America, 204.

110 Anderson, Neil T. and Jacobson, Michael, The Biblical Guide to Alternative Medicine (Ventura, Calif.: Regal Books, 2003), 149, 152–53.

111 Let Us Reason Ministries, “Chiropractic,” http://www.letusreason.org/NAM33.htm (accessed September 19, 2005).

112 Ernst, E. and Canter, P., “A Systematic Review of Systematic Reviews of Spinal Manipulation,” Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine 99 (April 2006): 189–93.

113 Hultgren, “Alternative Therapies,” 5.

114 For a discussion of how evangelicals blend pragmatism, enthusiasm for “science,” and anti-intellectualism, see Noll, Mark A., The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 1994), 12.

115 Brown, Word in the World, 244.

116 McGuire, Meredith B. and Kantor, Debra, Ritual Healing in Suburban America (New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 1988), 29.

117 Fuller, Alternative Medicine, 4.

118 Griffith, R. Marie, Born Again Bodies: Flesh and Spirit in American Christianity (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2004), x; Albanese, Republic of Mind and Spirit, x.

119 Hultgren, “Alternative Therapies,” 7.

120 Whorton, Nature Cures, 24.

121 Herron, M. and Glasser, M., “Use of and Attitudes toward Complementary and Alternative Medicine Among Family Practice Patients in Small Rural Illinois Communities,” Journal of Rural Health 19, no. 3 (2003): 280.

122 Wahner-Roedler, Dietlind L., Elkin, Peter L., Vincent, Ann, Thompson, Jeffrey M., Oh, Terry H., Loehrer, Laura L., Mandrekar, Jayawant N., and Bauer, Brent A., “Use of Complementary and Alternative Medical Therapies by Patients Referred to a Fibromyalgia Treatment Program at a Tertiary Care Center,” Mayo Clinic Proceedings 80, no. 1 (2005): 55.

123 See, for example, Benson, H., Dusek, J. A., Sherwood, J. B., Lam, P., Bethea, C. F., Carpenter, W., Levitsky, S., Hill, P. C., Clem, D. W., Jain, M. K., Drumel, D., Kopecky, S. L., Mueller, P. S., Marek, D., Rollins, S., and Hibberd, P. L., “Study of the Therapeutic Effects of Intercessory Prayer (STEP) in Cardiac Bypass Patients: A Multicenter Randomized Trial of Uncertainty and Certainty of Receiving Intercessory Prayer,” American Heart Journal 151, no. 4 (2006): 934–42.

124 This study received IRB approval from Saint Louis University (#13946) and Indiana University (#06–11383). The surveys were added to the registration packets distributed by the sponsoring organization to all conference participants. Each survey packet included a Study Information Sheet. The surveys were completed anonymously, but informants were given the option of completing a contact card if they wished to participate in a follow-up telephone interview. Demographic information collected through the survey indicated that participants represented diverse gender, age, racial/ethnic, educational, and income groups; most self-identified as Charismatic, Pentecostal, and/or evangelical Protestants or Catholics.

125 The telephone interviews followed a semi-structured format. I asked open-ended questions and listened to informants’ answers without comment. Most respondents who mentioned receiving chiropractic treatments volunteered this information before I asked about it. I asked informants who did not initiate a discussion of chiropractic whether they had ever tried any form of alternative healthcare, and I reminded them of a few of the approaches listed in question nine of the survey, including chiropractic. This question in several instances elicited lengthy responses to which I listened without commentary.

126 Cherkin, Daniel C. and MacCornack, Frederick A., “Patient Evaluations of Low Back Pain Care from Family Physicians and Chiropractors,” Western Journal of Medicine l50, no. 3 (1989): 351.

127 The quotation is from question six of the post-conference survey; question fourteen of the post-conference survey provides the identical list of alternatives given by question nine of the pre-conference survey.

128 Cherkin and MacCornack, “Patient Evaluations,” 351; Kane, Robert, Olson, Donna, Leymaster, Craig, Woolley, F. Ross, and Fisher, F. David, “Manipulating the Patient: A Comparison of the Effectiveness of Physician and Chiropractor Care,” Lancet 1 (1974): 1335–36.

129 Kaptchuk, Ted J. and Eisenberg, David M., “Chiropractic Origins, Controversies, and Contributions,” Archives of Internal Medicine 158, no. 20 (November 9, 1998): 2215; White and Skipper, “Chiropractic Physician,” 305. The sociologist Naisbitt, John, in Megatrends: Ten New Directions Transforming Our Lives (New York: Warner Books, 1982), 48, helps to explain the appeal of chiropractic by observing that the “escalation of high technology within a society creates a compensatory need for ‘high touch.’” As the historian J. Stuart Moore argues, in Chiropractic in America, 141, chiropractors win a loyal clientele in part because of their willingness to spend time “touching and listening, validating the often ambiguous pain associated with back ailments.”

130 Having classified pain as morally evil, Charismatics tend to classify practices as bad or good depending upon whether they are perceived as exacerbating or alleviating pain. Interestingly, Charismatics are quick to denounce other “nature cures,” such as freemasonry (Albanese, Nature Religion, 56, 186; Whorton, Nature Cures, xii), that they blame for causing sickness; see, for example, Cassada, Barbara, Unto Death: Freemasonry … Freedom in Christ or Bondage to Lucifer? (Maryville, Tenn.: Tome Publishing, 1998), 8, in which Cassada lists diseases that she claims occur more frequently among Masonic families—and explains that it was this discovery that made her aware of freemasonry's non-Christian religious beliefs.

131 Albanese, Republic of Mind and Spirit, 510.

132 Johnston, Politics of Healing, 4; see also Goldstein, Michael S., Alternative Health Care: Medicine, Miracle, or Mirage? (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1999), 1011.

133 Frohock, Fred M., Healing Powers: Alternative Medicine, Spiritual Communities, and the State (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1992), vii.

134 Whorton, Nature Cures, 277; Albanese, Republic of Mind and Spirit, 508.

135 Illustrative of current debates over the meanings of alternative practices are popular publications like: Alexandra Alter, “Yoga Stretches Traditional Christian Boundaries,” Religion News Service (2003), available at http://www.hvk.org/articles/0703/169.html (accessed March 10, 2009); Agnieszka Tennant, “Yes to Yoga,” Christianity Today Magazine (May 19, 2005), available at http://www.ctlibrary.com/ct/2005/mayweb-only/42.0b.html (accessed March 10, 2009); Holly Vicente Robaina, “Take a Pass on Yoga,” Christianity Today Magazine ( January 17, 2007), available at http://www.ctlibrary.com/ct/2005/juneweb-only/123-22.0.html (accessed March 10, 2009); Ernst, Edzard, “Is Reiki Anti-Church and Is It Harmful?Pulse 63, no. 37 (2003): 96; Fuchs, Michael, “Reiki Is Not Religion,” Massage Magazine 121 (2006): 3435; Salladay, Susan Anthony, “Should Christians Use Therapeutic Touch?Christian Bioethics 8, no. 1 (2002): 2542; Westbrook, W. Michael, Baptizing Alternative Medicine: A Guide for the Curious but Cautious Christian (New York: Writer's Club Press, 2003).

Candy Gunther Brown is Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Indiana University.

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Chiropractic and Christianity: The Power of Pain to Adjust Cultural Alignments

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