Here Folks, is another shining example of the National Enquirer-esque reporting we have come to expect from Bethany Lindsay, funded by your hard-earned taxpayers’ dollars via our national public broadcaster the CBC:

BC chiropractor who advertised unproven ‘brain balancing’ treatment fined $200

While the title includes the term ‘brain balancing’ (with the clear suggestion that it’s nonsense) nowhere in the article will you find a word about what it means, what specifically the technique involves, nor about how exactly it can help clients. The entire article simply lambastes Dr. Daniel Sullins, without any evidence of having done any harm to his clients. How can this kind of reporting be deemed to be anything other than biased?

At the very least, Bethany could have provided a link to an organization that delivers this sort of treatment to allow her readers to dig deeper, should they so choose:

Brain Balance: Home

Here’s a quote from her article:

At one point, patient testimonials on his website suggested he’s helped with some conditions that chiropractors in B.C. are specifically banned from claiming to treat, including ADHD and childhood speech disorders.

The emphasis here, of course, is that Dr. Sullins is doing something that the College of Chiropractors of BC (CCBC) bans chiropractors from doing. Bethany does not, however, question why the CCBC bans them from providing that kind of treatment when the patients testify that chiropractors such as Dr. Sullins are helping their children with those conditions. Would the CBC and CCBC PLEASE START LISTENING TO THE CLIENTS?

You will also note in Bethany’s article that the accreditation of ‘board certified functional neurology’ is also dismissed, with no information as to what that means, nor what training is required, nor how it can help, whether it is a recognized credential in BC or not.

My 30-second internet search revealed this wonderful (and hallelujah – BALANCED) article on functional neurology and how it compares to traditional (medical) neurology:

Functional Neurology: What It Is and What Patients Need to Know

How ironic that Bethany should quote the registrar of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of B.C., Dr. Heidi Oetter, calling Sullins’ marketing “quite frankly, dangerous” in that patients could be led to believe he’s a doctor of neurology. The sensible remedy for that would be to provide information – and to allow the chiropractor to provide information – clarifying the difference, would it not?

As for the ‘quite frankly, dangerous’ link above, you will find a quote from our old friend Ryan Armstrong:

Ryan Armstrong, executive director of the non-profit watchdog Bad Science Watch, said he’d like to see the college impose precise restrictions on the scope of practice for chiropractors, making it clear that their focus should be musculoskeletal conditions. He described Sullins’ claims about certification in neurology as “highly deceptive.” “The entire notion of ‘brain balancing’ is entirely pseudoscientific. I’m not aware of any science recognizing a brain’s inherent ‘balance,'” Armstrong wrote in a message to CBC.

For Ryan’s (and everyone else’s) edification, here’s a fascinating TED talk by Jill Bolte Taylor, a New York Times best seller and a Harvard-trained neuroanatomist, who wrote about her own experience suffering from and recovering from a stroke. You will hear her talk about the very different experiences of being limited to left brain function versus right brain function, and how only through the healthy functioning of both sides of her brain could she feel balanced, in all senses of the word.

Jill Bolte Taylor: My stroke of insight | TED Talk

No doubt the skeptics will dismiss her account as being unscientific and not credible, given that they are being described by a stroke victim operating at the time at much reduced capacity, not to mention that this account was not part of a study undertaken using the scientific method, adequate sample size, controlled conditions, etc. She is, however, Dear Skeptics, not a chiropractor, so that should make you feel better.

Perhaps Ryan could also explain to us how, when every muscle in the body is innervated with nerves, that chiropractors can avoid any influence on the nervous system when they are dealing with ‘only’ musculoskeletal conditions? Even a simple touch on the shoulder – whether from a chiropractor, a friend, or a parent – will engage the nervous system. That touch on the shoulder could elicit a positive or negative response, depending on what the client associates it with, if anything at all. The idea that musculoskeletal conditions can be isolated from everything else is silly and simplistic and shows a total lack of understanding about how the body works.

Remember those 100 trillion connections in the brain that I mentioned previously? If a client were to experience something other than a musculoskeletal benefit, should the client refrain from reporting that to his or her chiropractor for fear of disclosing ‘inappropriate’ or ‘banned’ benefits? Particularly in situations where nothing else has elicited that benefit, is the client to be deprived of it, simply because it hasn’t been ‘proven’ to be a ‘real’ benefit?

Have a look at this article from the Harvard Medical School (linked through the above functional neurology article) regarding the placebo effect:

The power of the placebo effect – Harvard Health

To quote the article, recently “experts have concluded that reacting to a placebo is not proof that a certain treatment doesn’t work, but rather that another, non-pharmacological mechanism may be present.” That is, the placebo effect isn’t simply imagination, as Ryan had suggested to me in a private email, but a genuine benefit derived through unexpected channels.

As for Bethany’s tiresome on-going attack on chiropractic, would the CBC please provide the Canadian public with BALANCED, UNBIASED reporting that challenges both sides of the argument? How about doing a proper exposé on why brain balancing might work in some cases and not in others? How about legitimizing the testimonials of satisfied clients, rather than burying them or invalidating them? How about providing information on the concepts presented, rather than abusing your position of power and dismissing them without a word? How about having an open and UNBIASED dialogue between the chiropractors, medical doctors, and regulatory colleges so that the public can truly understand and decide for themselves which direction to take? This demonization and censorship of a legitimate profession is where the real danger lies.

Anita B.

Concerned Citizen and Grateful Recipient of Chiropractic Care