Imagine flying from New York to Paris on a jumbo 747. Your thoughts are on your vacation and experiencing the City of Lights. Midway over the Atlantic Ocean, you overhear the flight attendants talking in muffled voices.
This is how a patient might feel if they found out the person they went to see for a stiff neck was not really a doctor of chiropractic. Discovering, in the midst of a cervical manipulation, that the person holding their head has only taken a weekend instant chiropractor seminar would not be reassuring.
There are still countries in our world that have yet to recognize chiropractic as a legitimate health care profession. The lack of a statute defining chiropractic leaves open a door for anyone to claim they are a chiropractor and proceed to do whatever they want to patients. This also leaves open a door for others to make money selling two-day seminars promising to teach chiropractic techniques.
According to two advertisements [see the larger ad in the app version of this article], American doctor of chiropractic Phillip Lee Rock was the primary speaker at the "American Clinical Chiropractic Conference" in Taipei City on Dec. 24-25, 2013. One advertisement promised, "Attendees will learn the latest chiropractic manipulation methods." The only apparent qualification they needed was the ability to pay the $200 registration fee and the $980 conference fee.
In the ads, Dr. Rock is described as a licensed American chiropractor, the director of the International Chiropractic Research Center and an "America chiropractor license exam advisor." He practices in Wilmington, Calif.
According to the larger ad, the American Clinical Chiropractic Conference boasts demonstrations of "various high-end clinical manipulation methods," with each "demonstration" taking 45-160 minutes:
- Ankle joint manipulation
- Knee joint manipulation
- Caudosacral vertebra manipulation
- Caput femoris manipulation
- Pelvis manipulation
- Lumbar vertebra manipulation
- Dorsal vertebra manipulation
- Wrist manipulation
- Elbow manipulation
- Shoulder manipulation
- Cervical vertebra manipulation
- TMJ manipulation
- Skull manipulation (Craniosacral therapy)
The advertisements also state that attendees receive a "Certification of Completion from the International Chiropractic Research Center." Attendees are encouraged to supply a photograph to be included as part of the certificate.
Adding insult to injury is the fact that the Taiwan Department of Health (DOH) is persecuting legitimate doctors of chiropractic (those with diplomas from recognized chiropractic colleges). The Taiwan Chiropractic Doctors' Society (TCDS), the World Federation of Chiropractic (WFC) member association in Taiwan representing 25 chiropractors, reports recent prosecutions and fines.
Upon receiving complaints (often from medical and other non-chiropractic providers) DOH representatives conduct an onsite investigation at the DC's office. Using words such as chiropractic, chiropractic doctor, pain, joint, etc., can result in a practicing-medicine-without-a-license fine of US$1,000-$2,000.
The WFC has also weighed in on Dr. Rock's activities with an article titled "The Betrayal of Chiropractic in Taiwan," published in the Dec. 31, 2013 issue of the WFC Quarterly World Report. The WFC has a clear policy against chiropractors from one country teaching joint adjustment or manipulation to non-chiropractors in another country. Given the current anti-chiropractic environment in Taiwan, teaching manipulation to unqualified individuals is likely to not only result in patient injuries, but also give the chiropractic profession in Taiwan an undeserved black eye.
Although unconfirmed, this is reportedly not the first time Dr. Rock has presented chiropractic-related topics in Taiwan. While he did not respond to our repeated efforts to conduct an interview with him, he did leave a voicemail contending that he "was teaching BEMER technology .. was teaching that in Taiwan this last weekend ... [it] is physical vascular therapy." It is not known whether the California Board of Chiropractic Examiners is conducting an investigation into Dr. Rock's activities in Taiwan.
Editor's note: This article required that an in-house translator translate the ad (originally in Chinese) to provide accurate English-language descriptions of the material being advertised.