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The health of the spinal column is critical to the body's other functions as it protects a large part of the nervous system. Disrupting this connection can affect muscles, nerves and ligaments in the back, neck, shoulders, and also the arms and legs. Any strain or distortion of the spine can also cause problems with internal organs, preventing the body's own healing processes. Not only does chiropractic assist with conditions obviously associated with the skeletal structure of the back, it can also alleviate problems such as asthma by easing tension in the chest muscles. Chiropractic is said to be particularly beneficial to those suffering from sciatica, lower back pain, slipped discs, and even constipation, migraines and tinnitus. McTimoney and McTimoney-Corley Chiropractic are gentle variations of the treatment, based on the concept that the whole body should be reintegrated for full alignment.

Derived from the Greek word 'cheiro', meaning hand, chiropractic was developed by a Canadian healer in the late 19th century. In a famous early case, Dr Palmer restored hearing to a man who had been deaf for 17 years by manipulating his spine. Early civilisations put great store on body manipulation and Hippocrates - 'the father of medicine' - asserted that 'one should look to the spine for the cause of disease'. Chiropractors differ from osteopaths in that both deal in manipulating the spine, but with chiropractors making more use of X-rays and concentrating on specific adjustments.

What to Expect
As holistic practitioners, chiropractors will first take a detailed medical history, asking questions about your health and lifestyle, including any exercise patterns or physical demands in your everyday activities. Your blood pressure will be taken and reflexes tested; X-rays may be clinically necessary. You will probably be asked to remove most of your clothes, then sit, stand or lie as the practitioner establishes where the problem lies. It is very likely that the treatment itself will not begin until your second visit.

Training & Colleges
With the introduction of compulsary regulation, it becomes a criminal offence for anyone to describe themselves as any sort of chiropractor if they are not registered with, or have not submitted an application to, the General Chiropractic Council. Anyone found guilty could be liable to a fine of up to 5000.

In Britain the Anglo-European College of Chiropractic in Bournmouth offers students a five year full time course leading to a BSc degree in chiropractic. Training is consolidated with a one year Post Grad. course at an established clinic. The McTimoney College near Oxford offers a 4 year part time training.

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Information graciously provided by Holistics UK
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