..The Intuitive Times
Complementary Therapies


The Healing Touch of Massage Therapy

By Dr. Melissa Wicks MacRae

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Each year over four and a half million Canadians seek the care of a chiropractor. Chiropractic offers a drug-free, non-invasive approach to healthcare, treating disorders or problems that have their cause in the nervous system, muscular system or skeletal system (including the joints). Chiropractors are highly trained to assess, diagnose, treat and help prevent conditions relating to these systems.

Your spine is composed of individual bones called vertebrae that protect your nervous system. These vertebrae stack upon one another to form joints. Between each vertebrae is a special shock absorber called a disc. It is these joints that allow you to bend and twist, giving you mobility. When these joints are inflamed or don't move properly they can cause pain, stiffness, muscle spasm and neurological symptoms (tingling, numbness or burning in the extremities). Chiropractic doctors promote healing with spinal adjustments. You don't have to wait until you are hurting to visit your chiropractor. Chiropractic care is an asset to any wellness and prevention based lifestyle and is covered by most extended health care plans.

The word chiropractic has a Greek origin, meaning "treatment by hand". The tradition of "manual manipulation" of joints and soft tissues extends back to the Ancient Egyptians, Classical Greeks, Chinese, and Africans. In the 17th and 18th centuries, medical professionals in England used a manual technique called "bone setting." The founder of "modern day" chiropractic was D.D. Palmer, a Canadian, who opened the first school of Chiropractic in Davenport, Iowa in 1897.

Chiropractic doctors have the same educational background as medical doctors. They are required to have a minimum of 3 years (although most schools require 4) of pre-professional university training before being eligible to apply to a chiropractic school. Currently there are only two chiropractic colleges in Canada - one in Toronto and one in Trois-Riviere. Chiropractic studies entail 4 more years of professional training. Courses include anatomy, biochemistry, physiology, pathology, toxicology, laboratory diagnosis, and neurology. In the final year the chiropractic student does an internship that further prepares them for practice. While medical doctors branch off to study pharmacology in order to be able to prescribe medication as their form of treatment, chiropractic doctors specialize in anatomy, physiology, bio-mechanics of the spine and joints and the skill of manipulation of the joints. After finishing their formal training, chiropractors must then pass rigorous national board exams and provincial licensing exams before they are able to practice. Licensed chiropractors have a provincial license number and are listed with their provincial association.

On your first visit to a chiropractor you can expect a thorough medical history to be taken followed by an examination. The examination may include a postural analysis, as well as range of motion, orthopedic, and neurological testing. X-rays may or may not be required. If your chiropractor feels that chiropractic treatment may benefit your specific condition, a treatment plan is recommended. During your treatments, your chiropractor will often use "adjustments" to help align and improve the motion of certain joints. These gentle "adjustments" may be done by hand or by using a special adjusting tool. Getting adjusted is comfortable and safe for the whole family, from children to the elderly, and even pregnant women.

Dr. Melissa Wicks MacRae, chiropractor, Charlottetown PEI
902-892-BACK (2225)


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