The Flu, Your Immune System and Benefits of Chiropractic

As we are the middle of cold and flu season I thought back to something that I found out during my chiropractic schooling at Palmer College of Chiropractic in Davenport Iowa.  I am passing along some of my thoughts about the history of chiropractic and how the nervous system and the immune system are linked, as well as what that link might mean to you during this cold and flu season.

Chiropractic care was first connected to the immune system during the deadly flu epidemic in the early 1900’s.  The data reported that flu victims under chiropractic care had an estimated .25 percent death rate, a lot less than the normal rate of 5 percent among flu victims who did not receive chiropractic care.  It is my understanding that the medical profession often saw the very worst of the worst and obviously that could skew the results but you should pay attention to the statistics from the public record.

In Davenport, Iowa, 50 medical doctors cared for 4,953 cases with 274 deaths while 150 chiropractors saw 1,635 cases with one death. Outside of Davenport, medical doctors in the state treated 93,590 patients with 6,116 deaths. That’s 1 death out of every 15 patients. 4,735 patients were seen by chiropractors and only six patients died. That’s 1 out of every 789. A significant difference!

In the same epidemic, New York health experts (who kept records of flu as a reportable disease) showed that under chiropractic care, only 25 patients died of influenza out of every 10,000 cases; and only 100 patients died of pneumonia out of every 10,000 cases.  This comparison is made more striking when viewed in the following table:

Influenza Cases Death
Under Medical  Care 10,000 950
Under Chiropractic Care 10,000 25
Pneumonia Cases Death
Under Medical Care 10,000 6,400
Under Chiropractic Care 10,000 100

I am not making any claims here, but these numbers are public record.  Many of my patients share with me that they feel much better after being adjusted even when suffering from the aches and pains that often accompany a cold or flu.  In my own family with young children, chiropractic care accompanied by use of natural therapies and coupled with proper medical care is the order of the day when someone comes down with the latest “bug” that is going around.

Here is some food for thought.  Dr. Robert Ader, a psychologist at the University of Rochester School of Medicine, performed the key experiments to prove the brain-nervous system-immune system connection. The following is a summary of the essential evidence of the connection between the brain, the nervous system, and the immune system.

  • Nerve Endings Are Found in the Tissues of the Immune System

    The central nervous system is linked to both the bone marrow and thymus, where immune system cells are produced and developed, and to the spleen and lymph nodes, where those cells are stored.

  • Changes in the Central Nervous System Alter Immune Responses and Triggering an Immune Response Alters Central Nervous System Activity

    Researchers have found that inducing an immune response causes nerve cells in the hypothalmus to become more active and the brain cell activity peaks at precisely the same time that levels of antibodies are at their highest. The brain monitors immunological changes closely.

  • Lymphocytes Are Chemically Responsive to Hormones and Neurotransmitters

    Immune system cells have receptor-molecular structures on their surfaces that allow them to receive information from the nervous system and other parts of the immune system.

Chiropractic care is founded on the idea that a properly working nervous system is essential to controlling and regulating bodily function. At Bodyworx Health Studio, we consider ourselves specific in not only how we adjust the spine but in being specific about knowing when you need to be adjusted in order for your nervous system to work optimally.