Is Warren Hammer a Fasciaist?

Fascia is the newest focus in manual medicine. Those fibrous sheets that surround muscle are proving to be the link to all sorts of musculoskeletal problems. In this podcast episode, I interviewed one of the foremost experts on soft tissue manipulation who is bringing some groundbreaking techniques on fascial manipulation to the United States for the first time.

Excited about his recent work with well-known Italian physical therapist Luigi Stecco, Dr. Warren Hammer brings his 50 year experience in chiropractic and soft tissue procedures to his candid talk with me on our On The Other Hand podcast.

The episode can be found on iTunes or here.

Think you know all about chiropractors? Think again.


Interview published on the On The Other Hand podcast series by Rochester, NY chiropractor Dr. Brett L. Kinsler.


BMJ Writer Discovers Head Up Ass

photo of a kid on the beach with a clenched fist and the caption "I hate sandcastles."

John C. McLachlan is a professor of medical education who wrote an article in the British Medical Journal (BMJ 2010; 341:c6979) called “Integrative medicine and the point of credulity.”  McLachlan proposed that integrative medicine should not be used as a way of smuggling alternative practices into rational medicine by way of lowered standards of critical thinking. He worries that failure to detect an obvious hoax is not an encouraging sign.

The author, upon seeing a request for presenters at an integrative medicine conference in Jerusalem, submits a paper posing as an embryologist who discovered a new version of reflexology. He explains that he has identified a homunculus represented in the human body, over the area of the buttocks. The homunculus being inverted, such that the head is represented in the inferior position.  As with reflexology, the “map” responds to needling, as in acupuncture, and to gentle suction, such as cupping.

He stops short of telling the conference organizers he has discovered a system whereby the head is up the ass and responds to needles.  Funny, right?  Well, after submission of an abstract with some sciency sounding references, the proposal gets accepted for presentation.  The author declines to present and, instead, publishes the correspondence in the BMJ.

Now, I’m all for having a good laugh at the expense of wacko alternative medicine practices but my goal is clear — I want to help clean up the field in order to highlight the people who are actually doing some good, honest, logical research.  I actually have a problem with what Dr. McLachlan has done.  By poking fun from a distance and walking away without letting the conference organizers in on the joke, the author misses a huge opportunity to educate and possibly improve that which he criticizes. It would have been far better if he accepted a slot at the conference and awaited to see if people would point out the errors in his “research” or simply used the platform to show what bad science is.

The only thing that makes him not a 100 percent coward is that he published his story. Someone who asks difficult questions so that when you answer incorrectly you will learn is called a teacher.   To ask difficult questions and then tell your friends how stupid someone is without letting them in on where their error was is called by a different name entirely.

Remember Smith’s article about how parachutes aren’t evidence based? That one is funny and brilliantly illustrates its point. This article, while funny with its head-up-ones-ass ha ha I get it humor, is really only about as funny as watching your kids get their math homework wrong and, instead of helping them, you call all of your friends and laugh at your kids’ ignorance. Nothing was learned. Nothing was improved and we all feel a little bit sick for participating in the joke.

Yes, it was a hoax but science relies on some degree of honesty and trust.  It is impossible for one scientist to be at the apex of all fields and know all that is known from every discipline.  Isn’t that why we have specialists?  Could it be that the scientific committee accepted McLachlan’s proposal simply in order to learn whether or not this revolutionary discovery was plausible or bunk?  Unlikely, but possible.  Today, I would rather lend the benefit of the doubt to the conference organizers rather than the scientific playground bully.


Brett L. Kinsler is a chiropractor in Rochester, NY who writes the RochesterChiro blog and produces the podcast On The Other Hand.


Where are we going? Where have we been?

I had my eyes opened a little bit wider during a conversation with a true chiropractic guidepost.  Dr. Richard Vincent is truly a rich resource of information. He has served as Chairman of the Massachusetts Board of Chiropractic Examination and Registration, President of the Federation of Chiropractic Licensing Boards and President of the National Board of Chiropractic Examiners. He is currently the President of Integrated Health Care Practice Resources (IHCPR).  I had a great talk with him on the podcast about where chiropractic has come from and what needs to be done in the name of progress.

He talks about the days before licensing in Massachusetts, the development of cultural authority and where the horizons of opportunities are for chiropractors right now.  He also illuminates some issues that existed — some much improved yet many remain unchanged.

The interview with Richard Vincent, DC and Brett L. Kinsler, DC can be heard here.

New Podcast Episode: Alternative Dentistry

Ellie Phillips, DDS spoke frankly with me about the dental profession and how it can and must adapt from a drill and fill to a systemic and truly preventative model.  She is the author of the book Kiss Your Dentist Goodbye and a most interesting person to listen to.  I assure you, you have never heard a dentist like Dr. Ellie.

Find this episode in the podcast section of iTunes by searching for “On The Other Hand” or go to our podcast site here.

New CCE Standards Will Improve Chiropractic

The Council on Chiropractic Education (CCE) has released a Draft of the proposed 2012  standards for chiropractic education.  There are some extremely important changes proposed in this draft and I urge all chiropractors (and informed non-chiropractic health care providers) to immediately comment in support of the new standards.  The major changes, with my personal comments in italics, are:

  • Removing the term “subluxation”

This is an antiquated, arbitrary term that only belongs in history textbooks.  New chiropractic students deserve a scientific premise for what they will be treating.

  • Removing the phrase “without drugs or surgery” in reference to chiropractic practice

More chiropractors and states are considering opening their scopes to allow limited prescription rights. Why should we be limiting our own scope of practice?

  • Modifying language from its definition of Chiropractic Primary Care Physician that distinguishes a chiropractor from other types of primary care physicians.

Chiropractors are primary spine care and even primary musculoskeletal care but we are not primary care physicians. You simply cannot have it both ways.  If we cannot use drugs or perform simple surgical procedures (removing a splinter or prescribing an aspirin) we are not primary care doctors.  The definition with respect to chiropractic education requires modification.

I applaud the CCE for drafting language that will do much to improve and reform the chiropractic profession.  The time is now for chiropractors to embrace actions that will lead us into rational, collaborative, scientifically sound practice and denounce that which may have had its time but now is holding us back.

I hope you will do as I have done and provide the CCE with your strong support of these proposed changes.

The deadline for providing feedback on this issue is Sept. 24, 2010.

A link to the current draft and a response form are posted on the CCE website at:

You do not need to complete the response form in detail. It is enough for you to state that you support the CCE’s draft as written.

I led my pigeons to the flag


Father’s Day breakfast in my daughter’s third grade classroom was delightful.  She made me a great book complete with pictures, we had bagels, fruit and (for the dads) coffee.  But there was a bit of a “Big Brother” moment when the principal came on the P.A. system and lead the school in the Pledge of Allegiance.  The class and their fathers obediently placed right hands over hearts and faced the colors of our nation.  The entire class and their guests recited the monotone rendition of that familiar oath of loyalty.

(and to the Republic for Richard Stands)

That evening on the way to meet a friend’s newborn baby (incidently, one that she delivered in a van, in a driveway and essentially directed her husband in her own delivery process), I recalled the moment from that morning.  I asked my first and third grade children what “pledge” meant.  Uh oh.  How about allegiance?  Still no.  Republic?  Hmmm.  How about United?  These are smart, well-read kids.  Indivisible?  Justice? 


My kids have been saying “The Pledge” every school day for a collective 6 years, and probably did it at preschool, maybe summer camp, and certainly scout meetings too.  They don’t know what the hell it means.  Nobody ever told them.  Every day they spew out the drivel they are forced to endure without anyone actually teaching them.  In all that time!

(One nation in a dirigible)

I pressed further.  Did they think they ‘had’ to say the pledge?  Well of course.  Everyone said it.  You had to.  They’d get in trouble if they didn’t….wouldn’t they?

(With liver tea, and justice for all)

I couldn’t have been much older then my daughter when I realized that forcing me to say the same thing as a group of other people in my declaration of freedom was actually sadly ironic.  It was at that age I began standing respectfully with those around me, removing a cap or placing my hand on my chest appropriately…but I never again recited the pledge.

It had, and still has, nothing to to with my patriotism.  And I have yet to “get in trouble” for my actions.

I recall a famous Supreme Court case which provided me that right.  One of the judges wisely stated, “Words uttered under coercion are proof of loyalty to nothing but self-interest.  Love of country must spring from willing hearts and free minds…”

If my children learn nothing besides the three R’s in all of their pre-collegiate education, I want them to be critical thinkers.  I want them to question, ponder, deduce and think for themselves.

My kids, my wife and I had a long chat about what the oath means.  We broke it down to its’ simplest parts and discussed it for a while.  We talked about what one “has to do” and how one can quietly protest without being disrespectful.

Then we further solidified our decision to homeschool in the Fall – with a strong bent toward critical thinking. 

(José, can you see?)


Dr. Brett Kinsler is a Rochester chiropractor, self-proclaimed proponent of critical thinking and soon to be homeschooling parent.

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