Federal judge rules in favor of chiropractic in Brazil

I’m a little behind in mentioning the good news out of Brazil. Remember my post on the efforts of the physiotherapists in Brazil attempting to have chiropractic declared a specialty instead of a seperate profession?

Well, on March 19, 2009 Federal Judge Diana Brunstein ruled strongly in favor of the ABQ (Brazilian Chiropractors’ Association).

She declared “chiropractic is a profession not a technique,” and PT authorities should not seek to declare it a specialty of physiotherapy. An appeal by CREFITO, the regulatory body for PT in the State of Sao Paulo, asking to remove an earlier court injunction against CREFITO, was denied.

This battle has obvious impact for the profession.

Chiropractic in Brazil is in Trouble

I love physical therapy as a profession…I really do.  I don’t have the time or interest in walking patients through long rehabilitation procedures or exercises.  I do not enjoy working with stroke patients and teaching them how to walk again.  Not my area of expertise or specialty.  I’m thrilled there are people willing to do those things and who excel at them.  I am friends with some of them and have good, respectful, working relationships with others.

That being said, this situation that is happening in South America is getting my goat.  It seems in a new threat to the independence of chiropractic, physical therapists in Brazil, Peru and other countries in South America are lobbying governments for laws that would make chiropractic a sub-specialty and part of the physical therapy profession.

Since chiropractic is not yet licensed in those countries, the PTs feel that by acting quickly, they can absorb a profession that is more than simply spinal manipulation, and make it their own.  The Brazilian Chiropractors’ Association (ABQ) has been campaigning to establish the chiropractic profession but their 200 members are going to have a difficult time against the 95,000 PTs already in Brazil alone.

Chiropractic has been growing rapidly in Brazil since the opening of two university-based chiropractic colleges in the late 1990s – Feevale Central University in Novo Hamburgo, in partnership with Palmer College; and the University of Anhembi Morumbi in Sao Paulo, in partnership with Western States Chiropractic College. The legislation to protect chiropractic and being promoted by the ABQ was approved by a third and final parliamentary Commission in late November 2006 and must now go back to the full house or Camara for final vote. It is being stalled by legislators working with the PT profession, while PTs are providing short courses in chiropractic to try to create a competing chiropractic profession.

Advertisement claiming chiropractic is a specialty of physical therapy, and placed in Brazil’s national newspaper The Globe in February by Brazilian physical therapists.

Advertisement claiming chiropractic is a specialty of physical therapy, and placed in Brazil’s national newspaper The Globe in February by Brazilian physical therapists.

 Recently, the fight for chiropractic in Brazil took a turn when the Federal Police, acting upon a complaint from physiotherapy leaders, challenged visiting doctors of chiropractic for being engaged in the illegal practice of physiotherapy in southern Brazil. 

As chiropractors, what happens in other doctor’s backyards will eventually affect us. The World Federation of Chiropractic (WFC) is asking for chiropractic associations, colleges, other organizations and individuals to assist the ABQ and chiropractic in Brazil financially. We need to stop the PTs in Brazil from succeeding in their attempts to hijack this profession.

For more detailed background, a list acknowledging donors to date, and a donation form go to the Newsroom at www.wfc.org

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