Even so, chiropractic is doing well in Spain. According to the Spanish Chiropractic Association (Asociación Española de Quiropractica - AEQ), more and more people hear about chiropractic thanks to the good image chiropractors have in the community. Part of the reason that chiropractic is doing well is because more than 90 percent of the chiropractors in Spain are members of the AEQ, whose 155 members are working hard to promote chiropractic on a unified basis.
Unfortunately, since the profession does not have legal status in Spain, many are using the title of Quiropractico inappropriately. Some people have started independent schools that offer short-term programs on natural therapies, where weekend courses in quiropraxia (chiropractic) are being taught with 50 hours or less of training before they deliver diplomas as Quiropracticos.
Sadly enough, one of those people appears to be a doctor of chiropractic. Alain Dhers, DC, a French chiropractor who graduated from Sherman College of Straight Chiropractic and is living in Castellon, Valencia (southeast Spain), is advertising weekend courses in chiropractic techniques (see advertisement above). According to his ad, Dr. Dhers offers weekend courses on chiropractic technique. This is reportedly done in conjunction with the sale of equipment.
When contacted by phone, Dr. Dhers repeatedly responded with "No comment" to almost all questions regarding his weekend seminars. He did make a few statements that are only somewhat relevant to the issues surrounding his activities:
- "I don't see what Americans are doing in this. This is Europe, things are very different here."
- "I don't belong to the AEQ and I don't have any contact with them."
- "Yes, they (the AEQ) have contacted me."
Dr. Dhers' comments (and lack thereof) are sharply contrasted by British chiropractor Dr. Anthony Metcalfe, president of the World Federation of Chiropractic (WFC):
"Here we have evidence of a chiropractor from one country, France, moving to a neighbouring country where the practice of chiropractic is not regulated, Spain, and offering weekend chiropractic technique courses to non-chiropractors for personal financial gain.
"Such actions, if true as seems to be the case, represent a gross betrayal of the chiropractic oath taken upon graduation, of fellow chiropractors and the profession. Equally, they place patients at real risk of incompetent and harmful treatment. On these grounds, they are condemned by the World Federation of Chiropractic."
The WFC's members include the national chiropractic associations in 80 countries. Through its chiropractic national association members, the WFC effectively represents most of the world's chiropractors.
Upon hearing of Dr. Dhers' activities, Jerry L. Hardee, EdD, president of Sherman College of Straight Chiropractic, wrote Dr. Dhers a letter, stating:
"As president of Sherman College, I would remind you that this type of behavior by one of its graduates not only reflects negatively on the college but also marginalizes the academic qualifications of all practitioners in the profession. I would urge you for the sake of protecting the integrity of the profession to refrain from such activities that appear to be intended solely for financial gain rather than for promoting opportunities for health and wellness as you have been trained to offer."
The AEQ reports that it is "in the process of taking more measures to stop" Dr. Dhers. Meanwhile, the reputation of chiropractic is being severely tarnished.
According to Gregory Veggia, DC, the international vice-president of the AEQ, a recent study found "last year over a period of 6 months, that 23 cases of injury, mostly CVA (cerebrovascular accident) reported in peer reviewed journals (such as the British Medical Journal, the Journal of Neurology, Revista de Neurologia and the Journal of Neurology and Neurosurgical Psychiatry) were attributed to a 'chiropractor' or 'chiropractic manipulation' here in Europe. By investigating upon the source and details of these papers, it was found that none of those case reports involved a licensed chiropractor and the authors had therefore inappropriately used the title 'chiropractor' and/or words 'chiropractic manipulation.'
"This is why it is paramount to follow a proper education in chiropractic science before you can claim to be a chiropractor. This is also the reason why the profession as a whole keeps its educational standards high to maintain its own credentials and safety for its patients."