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Matthew McCoy DC, MPH, Christopher Kent DC, JD, Simon Senzon DC, MA, PhD(C), & Phillip Ebrall BAppsSc (Chiropr), PhD, DC (Hon)

Annals of Vertebral Subluxation Research ~ May 12, 2020 ~ Pages 59-62



The objective of this paper is to provide a critical evaluation of the World Federation of Chiropractic’s (WFC) “Rapid Review” of the role of chiropractic in immunity and their conclusions. The WFC claims to have reviewed 7 items including an unpublished report with no citation, four studies involving enhancement of immune markers following chiropractic intervention (including enhanced respiratory burst, increased interleukin 2, and increased CD4 cell counts), a review of literature on the evidence supporting stimulation of the neuroimmunoendocrine system and a review of one hundred thousand cases of influenza managed by osteopathy during the 1918 flu pandemic.

All of the reports they reviewed demonstrated positive findings in support of manual methods such as chiropractic adjustments and manipulation in effecting a positive immune response.

Despite these positive findings, the WFC Research Committee came to the opposite conclusion that no credible, scientific evidence exists that spinal adjustment / manipulation has any clinically relevant effect on the immune system.

Our critical evaluation reveals that their conclusion is based on flawed methodology, a grossly incomplete review of the literature, unfounded interpretations of the results of the studies, and bias demonstrated by the authors. It is well established that the nervous system controls and coordinates all functions and systems of the human body including immunity and the immune system. Many in chiropractic consider that this relationship confers salutogenic benefits in people undergoing chiropractic care. The scientific literature reviewed here, while limited, demonstrates a positive, salutogenic effect from chiropractic on the human immune system. 

Key Words: World Federation of Chiropractic, immunity, chiropractic, adjustment, manipulation, vertebral subluxation, coronavirus, COVID-19

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