|Editor's note: In the May 21, 2005 issue, we reported on an American chiropractor, Dr.Mark Styers, who is teaching a 432-hour, 26-weekend course for lay manipulators in Hamburg, Germany. Graduates of the course are encouraged to join a new chiropractic association - as chiropractors. Helping to break that story was Gordon Janssen, DC, who contacted us on behalf of the German Chiropractic Association. Now, he submits this open letter to the profession, detailing Dr. Styers' continuing actions.|
Dr. Styers, the WCA and the Never-Ending Story
An Open Letter to the Profession From Dr. Gordon Janssen
"I will adhere to the code of ethics espoused by the chiropractic profession." This statement is the beginning of the "Chiropractor's Oath" to which I pledged when I graduated from Palmer College of Chiropractic. It states further: "I will observe and practice professional conduct in relations with my patients, my colleagues, myself and my profession. I will seek to preserve the integrity of my profession and help it to grow in service to the benefit of all humanity." We have to ask ourselves if this oath really means something to our profession, or if it is just words!
My name is Gordon Janssen. I am a chiropractor in my home country of Germany. As many probably know from previous articles, chiropractic is not considered a profession, but a type of therapy in Germany. Therefore, lay practitioners and medical doctors, with minimal training in chiropractic techniques, are allowed to legally practice "chiropractic."
Many probably know that Dr. Mark Styers was teaching and continues to teach these lay practitioners to become a chiropractor in 52 days (26 weekends). I have presented many facts in the past for everybody to see with their own eyes, and unfortunately, nothing has really happened since. Not that it is only Dr. Mark Styers, as he is doing all of this with not only the blessing but the support of the WCA. How can it be that a lay-practitioner school in Germany, which is also teaching "chiropractic" on the weekend, has the copyright to the German version of Dr. Terry Rondberg's book? They do not only have the copyright, but also have a "thank you" note in the end of their book, thanking the WCA and mentioning that many of their members are members of the WCA. How can it be that Dr. Terry Rondberg called Dr. Styers' "52-day chiropractors" better chiropractors than all of the chiropractors in Germany together at Dr. Styers' organized symposium in Austria last year? (If you do not believe me, just ask Dr. Styers to [show you] the video of the symposium, since everything was taped!) Not only that; Dr. Rondberg also asked them to join the WCA. How can a German lay practitioner be a founding member of the WCA-Germany and proudly advertise it on his own Web site (as you can see on the Web site: www.cafeoflife-jever.de)?
If all of this can happen in our profession without every chiropractor, every chiropractic college and every chiropractic association standing up to it, then the "Chiropractor's Oath" must be just words! Why is nobody, with the exception of a few dedicated people, acting?
Just the other day, I received an advertisement for chiropractic which will be published on a list for alternative medicine by a public insurance company in Germany. Everything it says about chiropractic is well-written; unfortunately, there was no mention of the education required to become a qualified chiropractor. I kept reading when I finally got to this little box:
I am sure you all recognize the logo, but it further says: "You will find a list of experienced and well-trained chiropractors in Hamburg in the back of this booklet." In the back is listed Dr. Mark Styers and also four lay practitioners. Dr. Styers put "D.C." behind his name, but all of the other names only have a "HP" in front of their name. What does this mean? It stands for "Heilpraktiker" in German, which translates to "lay practitioner."
Including Dr. Styers, there are five other qualified chiropractors in Hamburg; however, none of them is included. It says "experienced and well-trained chiropractors," but Dr. Styers is only listing himself and four of his "students"? Again, this is offensive, not only to his colleagues in Hamburg, but also to the chiropractic colleges they graduated from! And all of this is happening with the blessing of the WCA! Although I have to say I do not believe that the WCA's members truly know what Dr. Terry Rondberg is doing.
Why is our profession not acting? I know many will say, "Why should I care? I do not live or practice in Germany." Everyone should care, not because it is Germany, but because people like Dr. Rondberg and Dr. Styers disrespect our profession and standards for their own benefits. So many times our profession is busy fighting about unimportant things and who is right, so that many times, the only important thing is forgotten: "chiropractic"! We cannot tolerate people disrespecting and taking advantage of our profession only because a legal loophole allows it. If it is OK that Dr. Styers is educating lay practitioners in 52 days to become "experienced and well-trained chiropractors" and is even putting their education over those of his colleagues, then why aren't the colleges taking actions? Dr. Styers graduated from Life University in 1999. Does he believe his "52-day education" is better than the education he received at Life University?! This is offensive to Life University and every other chiropractic college. Why is all of this tolerated? Every chiropractor in Germany, including myself, is trying every day to make people understand the difference between a chiropractor and all of the "chirotherapists" and lay practitioners in Germany who claim to practice "chiropractic." Now Dr. Styers is telling his "students" to call themselves "chiropractors." Is this helping our profession in Germany?
I believe our profession has to finally unite again and start fighting for chiropractic. I know many of you will have a smile on your face now and call me a "dreamer." But think about it: Many chiropractors before us were fighting and even went to jail for our profession, so that we could live this dream today. Let's work together to bring the chiropractic profession the respect it deserves, not only in the United States, where it was founded, but worldwide!
|Editor's note: As referenced at the beginning of this article, our original article on Dr. Styers ("American DC Angers Profession in Germany: Should DCs Be Teaching Chiropractic to Non-DCs?") appeared in the May 21, 2005 issue of DC. A printable version of that article is available online at www.chiroweb.com/archives/23/11/03.html.|