Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Get an Ideal Spine - Have a quack crack your back.

According to Web 2.0's favourite information pile-up, Wikipedia, the word 'Quack' comes from:
... the archaic word "quacksalver," of Dutch origin (spelt kwakzalver in contemporary Dutch), meaning "boaster who applies a salve."[2] The meaning of the German word "quacksalber" is "questionable salesperson (literal translation: quack salver)."

The dictionary defines it as:
quack (kwk)
1. An untrained person who pretends to be a physician and dispenses medical advice and treatment.

And so, a band of duck-noisers have claimed the area in fighting pseudoscience; hence we get QuackWatch and the excellent Quackometer, and the newly created Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council being dubbed Ofquack in The Times. (Incidentally, I think the first recorded use of the term was here by The Quackometer in January 2008. Just so as you know.)

Anyway, once again the Advertising Standards Authority, the fantastically vigilant, thorough (but ultimately rubber-toothed) guardian of the advertising world has struck quack-gold. (For other Thinking Is Dangerous entries on the ASA, see here)

Let me introduce CHEF, or , to give him his full name, Christian Hamilton Edward Farthing, the main man behind the "Ideal Spine Centre" in Canterbury, UK. He also likes to be called 'Dr', although on his website he has two interesting statements:
... [Dr Christian Farthing] attended the University at the Royal Melbourne Institute of (RMIT) Technology in Melbourne, Victoria. In 1997 he gained a double degree in Bachelor of Applied Science (Clinical Science) and Bachelor of Chiropractic Science and swore an oath to become a Doctor of Chiropractic

Dr. Farthing is not a Chiropractor, Osteopath or Medical Doctor.

Ah hmmmm.....Let me see, now; he swore an oath to become a Doctor, but not a Doctor in any traditional sense of the word. He's definately not a Chiropractor, as the General Chiropractic Council chucked him out a few years back following a "dispute with the regulatory body".

Indeed a previous ruling by the ASA in February 2008 (see further down for more) considered that
the references in the main text to "Dr Farthing", "The Family Doctor" and "Spinal Specialist" gave the impression that Christian Farthing was a registered medical doctor who was a specialist in the spinal field. We considered that the disclaimer, which appeared in small print, could be overlooked.

On this point, the ad breached CAP Code clauses 3.1 (Substantiation) and 7.1 (Truthfulness)

As has been found before, ASA rulings don't cover the interweb and so CHEF can call himself a Doctor (providing Trading Standards aren't told about it). I'll call him CHEF.

CHEF first came to the eyes of the ASA from adverts for his book, "The World's Best Kept Health Secrets - REVEALED" (which raises the questions, who is keeping them and how did CHEF find out? What is it about Quacks and conspiracy theories?). The webpage contains an anonymous quote (possibly even CHEF's own):
This book takes you directly to the center of the Human Universe. Without a full understanding of Subluxation, you can never remain forever young

Eh? Of course, he is being somewhat disingenuous. The meanings of subluxation (medical) and vertebral subluxation (metaphysical chiropractic) are not the same. Complimetary and Alternative Medicine practitioners have a nasty habit of taking sciency sounding words and changing the meaning for their own ends (have a listen here to Ben Goldacre speaking to Sue McGinty from BANT - she tries to redefine 'phenotype' for her own dubious purposes). In addition, I'm still pretty young but even I have figured out that no-one remains forever young, regardless of their subluxation understanding levels.

One of the gems on the advert for the book said:
If you're sick, the wellness messages are being trapped or interrupted, probably somewhere along the spine...

Are they really? And pray, what proof have you for this? *Silence*. So the ASA ruled that the ad breached CAP Code clauses 3.1 (Substantiation), 7.1 (Truthfulness) and 50.1 (Health and beauty products and therapies). The full blurb is here.

His next flirtation with the ASA happened in February this year. He popped a few leaflets hither and thither authored by:

Remember, that's 'Doctor' as in 'not a Chiropractor, Osteopath or Medical Doctor' but as in 'Wellness Doctor'. See how he gives the words new meanings. He (or Ideal Spine Clinic) also offered the excuse that:
...they had not realised the leaflet to be within ASA's remit

Oh I see, so as long as it isn't policed, you can write what you like. This is an insight into the mentality that perhaps their belief in their 'wellness' regimes is not as strong as their paying punters'.

Given his penchant for double meanings, this testamonial caught my eye:

I had been down the endless road of doctors, specialists and consultants. However, the Ideal Spine Centre has provided correction to my spine and I have never looked back.
Heh, not such a good testimonial after all...

Anyway, as mentioned above, the ASA said using the title Doctor was likely to mislead. Funny that, what with him not being a medical Doctor and all. The ASA also got CHEF and ISC to admit:
that chiropractors could not treat serious or prolonged conditions but that they did not claim to cure them, and that they merely corrected spinal dysfunction, better known as vertebral subluxation, and the body functioned better
And so to the present, and three regional adverts from the Ideal Spine Centre - which made a number of bizarre claims. The full gory affair is documented here on the ASA website. Needless to say (as twice before) it wasn't in the mood for such paltry things as 'proof' or 'references':
Some of the adverts Claims:
1. Hospital admissions from errors relating to medication had hit an all time high
2. Vertebral Subluxation affects 75% of the population, and can be caused by ... chemical imbalances and mental stress within the body
3. Vertebral Subluxation (misalignment of the spine) can manifest itself in all sorts of ways - headaches, migraines, neck pain, numbness, asthma, high blood pressure, pins and needles, poor concentration, sciatica, neuralgia, scoliosis, behavioural problems, bedwetting, and ear infections in children, lowered immunity, indigestion and back pain just to name a few
4. the facts tell us that our planet is now sicker than ever before in recorded history

The comparison to conventional medicine

1. An average 300 people die each day due to errors made by medicine. That number has increased in the past five years to make medicine the leading cause of death in the UK after heart disease and cancer

2. the new model for health that is sweeping the nation and the world is WELLNESS CARE and it works. [Conventional Medicine is] useless and [is] the world's greatest failure

3. The power that made you, is the same power that keeps you and is the power that heals you. It is the same healing power the planet's best surgeons rely on for you to recover from life-saving surgery. That power is better known as 'innate intelligence' and it runs through your nervous system

Wow. Those are pretty big claims. The ISC website doesn't stop at providing case studies of chiropractic help for behavioural problems, high blood pressure and ear infections. No, you'll find cancer, autism and diabetes to name a few, oh, and AIDS.

So what happened when the ASA asked for proof of the claims? ISC said they:
were unable to send evidence to substantiate the claims at this point in time

Same games played three times. Say what you want, then shrug your shoulders when the ASA comes knocking. It is a real disgrace that CHEF and ISC can get away with the nonsense they are advertising. As I've written before, I would like to see the ASA get some real teeth - repeat offenders should be subject to public flogging, or at least a fine. Otherwise, what is to stop it happening again? And again?

Ironically, "Dr" Christian Farthing has a registered trademark "GET IT STRAIGHT UK" - let's hope he does from now on, eh?



  1. These guy really does deserve the title quack. One of the most worrying claims on his site is the chiropractic treatment of newborns. Considering the amount of damage spinal manipulation can afflict on an otherwise healthy adult would you want him getting his hands on your baby?

  2. Farthing is now registered as an 'osteomyologist' - another made up word that covers all those who will not or cannot call themselves chiropractors or osteopaths. Calling yourself an 'osteomyologist' neatly sidesteps statutory regulation.

  3. The nonsense on these sites would simply be funny if it weren't for the disgraceful claims regarding serious conditions such as cancer, autism, diabetes and AIDS. Nice post Dr* T.

  4. Thanks JDC,

    The more I find out about these types of people, the more intolerant I become. (Not sure whether that's a good thing or a bad thing!)

    Previously, I had thought that these people were mild, possible a touch deluded but otherwise OK people. When you see the potential harm in their work, and the fact they seem so underhand in everything they do to pull the wool over people's eyes and take their money, it becomes clear that they need to be kept in check by something more biting than the ASA.


  5. Hey Dr* T - I feel that you are very well meaning in all of your comments. However, when it comes to truth in advertising - there is little doubt that the most dubious of all advertisers is the Pharmaceutical and Medical establishment.

    I think before tossing stones at CHEF you would do well to spend a few days in his office and have an opportunity to meet his clientelle. Are they benefitting? Do his claims meet the reality of what is happening in his clinic?

    I would say that not being able to present evidence from a double blinded clinically controlled trial is a rediculous standard because if you actually understand that less than 1% of all medical procedures performed today (and advertised) actually have this Gold Standard to lean on. The majority of medical procedures are only able to demonstrate that they are more effective than a placebo and that based on todays evidence they don't harm anyone...then in a few years after millions have been made and thousands of lives have been lost we are told that this once thought to be safe medical product is being taken off the market. The even funnier part is that within a few months they repackage the same product under a new name and are able to continue selling it.

    So the real question is...why the double standard? Why does this so called quack have to "prove" that what he does works? The reality is he is doing it, people are buying it, and of the thousands that he helps there are only a handful of detractors.

    You should go see for yourself.
    Dr. P

  6. Dr. P

    The best review of all the evidence for chiropractic and similar nonsense comes from a huge systematic review of all systematic reviews for various spinal manipulation techniques,(Ernst and Canter, 2006). They said,

    In conclusion, we have found no convincing evidence from systematic reviews to suggest that SM is a recommendable treatment option for any medical condition. In several areas, where there is a paucity of primary data, more rigorous clinical trials could advance our knowledge.

    Weighed up against this is that fact that such practices regularly produce adverse reactions, including new or worsening pain or stiffness in the affected region. Occasionally, spinal manipulation, particularly on the upper spine, can also result in complications that can lead to permanent disability or death.

    On top of this, chiropractors are twice as likely to be subjected to disciplinary actions as doctors and the rate for fraud is nine times higher. Sexual boundary transgressions were three times higher than for doctors.

    Farthing works outside of any meaningful regulatory system using discredited and dangerous techniques. Your figure that only1% of medical treatments have gold standards evidence behind them is just not true and in no way allows people like Farthing to practice without evidence too.

  7. Dear Anonymous,

    Dr Ernst's "systematic review" is likely the most dubious "review" on chiropractic in the last 30 years. He was a well known detractor of chiropractic long before this study, so how he can honestly produce an unbiased piece of research knowing this is beyond me. In one of his studies he claims that chiropractic is dangerous because a study of injuries due to manipulation claimed so. In fact the study had not one injury produced by a chiropractor. Every injury was produced by a physio, GP or karate instructor. Is this Chiropractic manipulation or Ernst manipulation of the facts? Another study he used quotes no positive effect from chiropractic manipulation, yet the manipulations were all performed by physiotherapists, not trained to the same level as chiropractors in manipulation. Funny as well that his "systematic review" was well packed full of his own "unbiased" studies. If you want real answers, look up studies by people who do not have a stake in the outcomes or a chip on their shoulders. Read up on Manga Report (Ministry of Health, Canada), MEAD study Britain, various Workers Compensation studies in the USA, and recently a retrospective study involving thousands of patients over years within a US Health Management Organization (HMO) that proves the effectiveness and cost effectiveness of chiropractic for back pain. PS: the General Chiropracic Council which regulates the profession and is charged with protecting the public in Britain notifies chiropractors when they begin work that it is not necessary to disclose risk of neck manipulation due to the extremely low risk of injury when compared to other conventional treatments for neck pain. According to them, the vast quantity of research on this topic proves the safety of the treatment when weighed against other treatments. And do not believe for a second that the GCC protects chiropractors, just look at the list of chiropractors they have brought to court. They are very keen on weeding out the quacks of the profession. PPS a)Chiropractors likely are disciplined more often due to the above reason, b) show me your facts on fraud c) chiropractors are three times more likely to suffer sexual boundary issues because they actually touch the patient. Judging by the tone of this website I doubt this comment will likely ever make publication though. Cheers

  8. Thanks for your comment, Dr Sensible. Unlike the gnarly world of CAM, posts which are not uncritically fawning of the subject matter are not deleted. I think it is more you're perception of what is acceptable that indicates your post should be deleted. Over here in the rational world of robust discussion, points of view are tolerated providing they are not unduly offensive, racist etc etc etc.

    Your post, as I understand it, misses the point of the article. The important quote from the article is:

    "Dr. Farthing is not a Chiropractor, Osteopath or Medical Doctor."

    Can you understand why it is a disgrace and a nonsense that he should be pretending to be all three of these things?

  9. Dear Dr T.

    Thanks for the clarification, however my post does not say anything disputing the fact that Dr. Farthing is in fact an unlicenced practitioner and therefore not even qualified to give advice about the common cold. Of course he is duping people and should be exposed as such. My objection is to your claim that chiropractic is "nonsense" and your justification for that claim being a biased, poorly designed, and highly disputed study written by a well known chiropractic detractor. It would do you some good to re-read my post and do the proper research. I agree there is load of rubbish out there both for and against chiropractic (and osteopathy, and physiotherapy), and there are many practitioners that do not follow the code of conduct set out by the General Chiropractic Council, however, the most stringent and unbiased research is what insurance companies and government health agenices use when deciding inclusion in their health plans, and so far as code of conduct goes, if you look at any profession you will find people bending the rules to suit their bank balances rather than fairly treating their clients or patients (credit crunch ring a bell?). Its not right, but it happens, but you cannot paint the profession with the same brush you paint Dr Farthing. It would be nice if the world was a rosy place but the reality is that not even the great moral compass of the Hipocratic Oath can keep human nature on a straight course.

  10. "My objection is to your claim that chiropractic is "nonsense" and your justification for that claim being a biased, poorly designed, and highly disputed study written by a well known chiropractic detractor."

    Please point out where I said that chiropractic is nonsense (apart from here: Chiropractic is nonsense :) ) and my justification for it.

    I think you are getting confused with 2nd 'anonymous' who left those comments.


  11. Apologies, Dr T, for the confusion, your response was in defense of anonymous 2's comments however, so the content of my response still applies, aside from the 'nonsense' comment, which as you noted applies to anonymous 2. And, funny by the way (re: your 'nonsense'), but I would bet you haven't spent a day in a (qualified) chiropractors office yet. Opinion is worthless without the knowledge to back it. It is interesting to note that patient satisfaction levels in chiropractic offices are multiples higher than GP offices (research from independant sources, not chiropractors) . You have probably guessed that I am a chiropractor, so I may be biased from your point of view, and it is your right to ignore everything I have written, however if you actually do your research you will likely be quite surprised. The fact that I personally get over 100 specialist (90%) and GP referrals every year proves the point that it is not nonsense (in my mind at least). Would these specialists continue to refer if my treatment were "nonsense"? Of course I admit we cannot help everybody with any condition, but what we are trained to do is very effective, and for the rest, well, even medications and physiotherapy many times fail, healthcare is not a perfect science as you know. You would be shocked at how many patients state that physiotherapy is a waste of time (not to mention their GP's knowledge and/or aknowledgment of back pain), however every chiropractor I know including myself, tells their patients that every professional has his/her place in the healthcare system, we excel at different things, and therefore do not judge them solely on the basis that they did not help your specific condition. If all healthcare were judged with such a black or white standard there would be no healthcare to speak of. Ps: I was a biochemist before getting my doctorate in chiropractic (total of 9 years post secondary education). I have been in practice for many years and am totally appalled by the fact that only the names 'chiropractor', 'osteopath', 'GP', 'physiotherapist' and 'Specialist' are protected in the UK. There is no law against praticing any of these disciplines without a licence in the UK, so anyone can do them if they do not use these names. I was thinking about trying to perform a spinal fusion next week on some ignorant patient, I will call it 'spinal scalpal therapy', and I will call myself a 'spinal mechanoterrorist'- sound good? ;) Signing off per infinitas, Dr. Sensible.

  12. Apology accepted! Your bet would be safe, but the neither have a been to medium, reiki therapist or homeopathist. Doing so would not change 'opinion' into knowledge, quite obviously, it would not suddenly make the sugar pills efficacious.

    I'm afraid there are so many interesting things in this world that I would like to know more about. Chiropactic is not one of them, due to the fact that more knowledgable and intelligent people than I have established that it it next to useless - certainly Christian Farthings claims do you no favours.

    I note you are quiet on the discussion of "innate intelligence" that runs through our nervous system, as Christian Farthing discussed in his literature.

    ... therefore do not judge them solely on the basis that they did not help your specific condition - this is an odd thing to say. Surely someone needs to keep an eye on what help the specific conditions so that efficacy can be established. Worthwhile treatments should remain and the rest discarded.

    The literature is quite clear on where Chiropractic should go.

  13. Don't despair Dr T, you at least have enough intelligence to realize that you are not very intelligent. We can agree on something! Regarding the exerpt you took from my last letter, you apparently miss the whole point of the sentence, but aknowledging the above, I won't hold it against you. As far as the research goes, you still dance around the fact that you base your opinion on one study, that, by even the standards of the General Chiropractic Council (which was enacted by law to protect patients), was considered rubbish. Let me point you in the right direction yet again. If you cannot, or will not look up these sources, then you give yourself far too much credit regarding your intelligence. Try "Evidence based guidelines" (on chiropractic treatment) from the Ontario Workplace Safety and Insurance Board ( (Medical doctors head this Board). Guidelines on Backpain from the American College of Physicians (, European Back Pain Guidelines ( You should find relevant references from these sites regarding the research they used. If not, here are a few more; The Spine Journal (2008) 8 (1):1-278, another (actual) comprehensive review of treatment of low back pain, BEAM study British Medical Journal (BMJ) Nov 19, 2004:1-8, and last but not least "Evidence-Informed Management of Chronic Low back pain with Spinal Manipulation and Mobilization" The Spine Journal (2008) 8:213-245, which cites two better designed and unflawed systematic reviews to Dr Ernsts; namely; Assendelft WJ, Morton SC et al "Spinal Manipulative Therapy for Low Back Pain", (2004)Cochrane Database Sytematic Review CD000447, and; van Tulder MS (2006) "Outcome of Non-invasive Treatment Modalities on Back Pain" An Evidence Based Review. European Spine Journal 14:564-581. And don't forget the rest I have mentioned in my previous blogs. Yes, the research IS quite clear on where chiropractic should go, regardless of what uninformed people such as you "believe" from reading something in the press or online. And please don't write something back to the effect that 'the rest of the world (and the British Medical Journal) are wrong, and Dr Ernst is right' that would just cement the fact that you are silly. Happy reading

  14. Aha Dr Sensible, I knew it would only be a matter of time. I have yet to discuss CAM with anyone without them resorting to Ad hominem arguments.

    Why are CAMsters unable to have robust discussion without name-calling?

    There is little point in discussing ideas when people name-call to try and force an argument (and incidentally don't know the difference between intelligence and knowledge.)

    You started off by claiming I would delete your post (based on nothing), then you start ad hominem comments.

    Thanks for you time.

  15. To clarify: An intelligent person would not base an argument regarding efficacy on one (poor) study. (Anyways I was playing with your own words here for fun, have to keep it lively!) I would have treated your opinion with less contempt had you not attacked my profession with such vigor and with so little "knowledge". More fun; An "uninformed" person relies on very little knowledge. A "silly" person would ignore valid research and stick to their argument even when substantial evidence to the contrary exists, and is pointed out to them. Toodles

  16. Dr Sensible, you mention Assendelft WJ, Morton SC et al "Spinal Manipulative Therapy for Low Back Pain", (2004)Cochrane Database Sytematic Review CD000447 as a study worth looking at. Could you tell me why?
    Taken from the abstract:

    "Main results
    Thirty-nine RCTs were identified. Meta-regression models were developed for acute or chronic pain and short-term and long-term pain and function. For patients with acute low-back pain, spinal manipulative therapy was superior only to sham therapy (10-mm difference [95% CI, 2 to 17 mm] on a 100-mm visual analogue scale) or therapies judged to be ineffective or even harmful. Spinal manipulative therapy had no statistically or clinically significant advantage over general practitioner care, analgesics, physical therapy, exercises, or back school. Results for patients with chronic low-back pain were similar. Radiation of pain, study quality, profession of manipulator, and use of manipulation alone or in combination with other therapies did not affect these results.

    Authors' conclusions
    There is no evidence that spinal manipulative therapy is superior to other standard treatments for patients with acute or chronic low-back pain."

    I think I'm right in saying that it's only for back pain that there has been any efficacy shown for chiropractic at all, and even that is no better than conventional treatment, normally at considerable extra cost.

  17. Is that the one Dr Sensible described as "[a] better designed and unflawed systematic review to Dr Ernsts"?

    Same conclusion though.

  18. I recently looked at four Cochrane reviews of Chiropractic as part of the post I did on ASA rulings against two Chiro clinics. One was the review of chiro for acute or chronic lower back pain that was cited by Norbury, one was for mechanical neck pain, one for enuresis in children and one for dysmenorrhoea. None found any good evidence that chiropractic was useful. The enuresis study found 'weak evidence' for all the treatments tested (which also included acupuncture). The studies were said to be "single small trials, some of dubious methodological rigour" - and that was about as good as it got for chiro. It seems that the only evidence for it is weak and comes from studies that were not well-designed.

  19. Dear Norbury,

    The definition of the word "Efficacy" states that the treatment is effective, or at least as good as other conventional forms of treatment available. Ernst implies the treatment is useless. The study you refer to clearly reads that it is not useless, and it is at least as effective as conventional forms of treatment, so why dismiss it? You state cost, but I believe you are not basing that on any particular study. Surely insurance companies do not like handing out money. I mentioned in a previous posting that one of the largest retrospective reviews (performed by an insurer) of treatment (paid for by the insurer) regarding backpain, involving tens of thousands of patients showed significant cost savings when patients were sent (within an HMO setting) to a chiropractor. There are more studies regarding cost effectiveness that I have already mentioned (Manga), you can find them within the references of the literature I have mentioned. Mr./Ms. JDC 325, look up the other studies I have mentioned FYOI. Anyways, I'd love to stay and chat more, but initially I entered this site purely to defend my profession from reckless onslaught (not Farthing). I do agree with everyone that Farthing is a quack, he can make any claim he likes now that he is free of regulation. But similarily in the case of Shipman, you can't paint a profession with the same brush as him. I need to ask; could Chiropractic really grow into the third largest health profession in the world -and growing (behind medicine and dentistry), by providing useless treatment, or scaring people into treatment?, I use no form of advertising whatsoever aside from a small yellow pages ad, yet I get over 35 new patients per month in my office. Only about 2/month come from the yellow pages advert, 30% GP and specialist referral, and the remainder word of mouth. I do not use any of the nonsense claims Farthing uses (or I would quickly lose my medical referrals), so how do you explain my success, and that of my colleagues who on the whole, mostly practise like me? Surely people are happy with chiropractic treatment or they would not refer others. Does it seem likely that this profession should have grown as it did, in spite of all the negativity directed at it institutionally by medical associations (see Wilk v AMA, USA, 1987 I believe) and individually (Ernst, and another cheery fellow named Katz who has been somehow funding a 30year personal vendetta against my profession, and who was discredited by a whole government, not to mention several inquests that he himself instigated, and yet still manages to get front page fare?) If you only knew the truth about how much this profession has endured over the last 100+ years you would be amazed. Chiropractors are people just like you, they want to help others, they want to sleep at night, they avoid wrong-doing as much as human nature allows anyone, and they want to feel good about the work they do. We are some of the happiest people you will meet because we are told every day how much we have helped someone who was deemed a "lost cause". If anyone believes that people are just out to screw other people out of their money then I truly feel sorry for that person, because he/she must lead a very empty life indeed. I personally know several chiropractors that have worked well into their seventies, not for the money, but because they like to help others and they enjoy the work. Honestly, the only thing that keeps dragging us down are attacks from people that have had little first hand experience, and don't care to get any. This one thing is the source of most stress for chiropractors, nothing else. I will not be returning to this site, however a sincere thanks for everyones thoughts, and good luck with the hunt! ;)

  20. A few comments on the claims made by Dr Sensible:

    1. Whilst it’s understandable that Dr Sensible will want to play down the number of injuries caused by chiropractors compared with that of other manual therapists, the fact remains that the majority of injuries *are* caused by chiropractors (which is not surprising considering that spinal manipulation is the hall mark treatment of chiropractors). See figure 2 here:

    2. With regard to physiotherapists “not being trained to the same level as chiropractors in manipulation”, it has already been established that the profession of the manipulator is irrelevant. See here (discussion section p.1643):
    “A systematic review of spinal manipulation concluded that there is no evidence that high-velocity spinal manipulation is more effective than low-velocity spinal mobilisation, or that the profession of the manipulator affects the effectiveness of treatment.”

    3. Regarding Professor Edzard Ernst’s systematic review being “packed full of his own unbiased studies”, here’s is Ernst’s response to that (see page 5):
    “…it is disingenuous to imply that we merely evaluated reviews of our `own opinion'. The fact that four of the 16 included articles were our own simply shows that we are research-active in this area. To exclude one's own work in systematic reviews would be woefully unscientific.”

    3. The British Meade study from the 1990s, which chiropractors are so fond of touting, is not the meal ticket that they thought it was. Plenty criticism of it here:

    4. Bearing in mind Professor Edzard Ernst’s recent comments on the official guidelines for the treatment of back pain…
    “And what about national guidelines? Chiropractors argue that their approach must be safe and effective, not least because the official guidelines on the treatment of back pain recommend using chiropractic. However, this is true only for some, but by no means all, countries. Secondly, guidelines are well known to be influenced by the people who serve on the panel that develops them. Cochrane reviews, on the other hand, are generally considered to be objective and rigorous. Writing about the importance of systematic reviews for health care in the Lancet, Sir Ian Chalmers stated, ‘I challenge decision makers within those spheres who continue to frustrate efforts to promote this form of research to come out from behind their closed doors and defend their attitudes and policies in public. There is now plenty of evidence to show how patients are suffering unnecessarily as a result of their persuasive influence.’”

    …it’s interesting to note that Alan Breen, Professor of Musculoskeletal Heath Care at the UK Anglo European College of Chiropractic (AECC), collaborated in the development of the European Acute Back Pain Guidelines cited by Dr Sensible:

    But at least the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) seems to be up to speed on the scientific evidence on spinal manipulation. Its guidelines for the management of acute low back pain which recommended chiropractic spinal manipulation were withdrawn three years ago. See page 2 of the GCC’s Spring 2005 newsletter (#15) here:

    5. With regard to the publication 'Spine', apparently it is…
    “…a well known dumping ground for chiropractic articles. In no way is it a “leading international journal”. “

    So it doesn’t look like much credence can be given to Dr Sensible’s citation “The Spine Journal (2008) 8 (1):1-278, another (actual) comprehensive review of treatment of low back pain”.

    6. Regards the UK BEAM study, this was the view of Professor Edzard Ernst (who, incidentally, has been trained in spinal manipulation):
    "My reading of the results is that the data are compatible with a non-specific effect caused by touch: exercise has a significantly positive effect on back pain which can be enhanced by touch. If this “devil’s advocate” view is correct, the effects have little to do with spinal manipulation per se."

    7. With regard to Dr Sensible’s assertion that “Ernst implies the treatment [chiropractic] is useless”, what he is actually saying is this:
    “The effectiveness of spinal manipulation for most indications is less than convincing. A risk-benefit evaluation is therefore unlikely to generate positive results: with uncertain effectiveness and finite risks, the balance cannot be positive.”

    He also issues a reminder in that paper that the adverse effects of NSAIDs are subject to post-marketing surveillance while those of spinal manipulation are not – an alarming fact which is further underscored by the reviewers of a recent (2007) systematic review of adverse events associated with paediatric spinal manipulation who commented that despite the fact that spinal manipulation is widely used on children, paediatric safety data are virtually nonexistent:

    8. With regard to cost, the most recent systematic review (2006) suggests that spinal manipulation is more expensive than conventional treatment:
    “Prospective, controlled, cost-effectiveness studies of complementary therapies have been carried out in the UK only for spinal manipulation (four studies) and acupuncture (two studies). The limited data available indicate that the use of these therapies usually represents an additional cost to conventional treatment.”

    9. As for Dr Sensible asking “could Chiropractic really grow into the third largest health profession in the world -and growing (behind medicine and dentistry), by providing useless treatment, or scaring people into treatment?”, the simple answer to that question is ‘yes’.

    Chiropractic largely owes its growth to relentless marketing and political lobbying. In other words, chiropractors have managed to dupe legislators, and the public, both of whom are generally not well-versed in scientific matters. However, chiropractic’s future is not looking as bright as Dr Sensible paints it:
    “Although four possible scenarios were given by Dr. Bezold, it’s clear the worst case scenario, Scenario #2: Downward Spiral, is the most accurate now inasmuch he said 15% of DCs have quit the profession. Meanwhile, there has been a 39% drop in chiro education student enrollment from 1969-2002 and, while the use of CAM in general has increased, the largest decrease occurred for chiropractic (9.9% to 7.4%) according to the recent Eisenberg study. Indeed, there’s little to cheer about when faced with the hard facts about this profession.” 967697&page=1

    10. Dr Sensible asks “how do you explain my success, and that of my colleagues who on the whole, mostly practise like me? Surely people are happy with chiropractic treatment or they [including GPs and specialists] would not refer others?”.

    As someone said on another forum, perhaps GPs unload intractable, self-limiting cases on chiropractors for placebo "treatments." That is not really an endorsement of chiropractic as much as an acknowledgment that they are repositories for people who really need no treatment (with the hope they will not harm).

    11. Dr Sensible asked, “Does it seem likely that this profession should have grown as it did, in spite of all the negativity directed at it institutionally by medical associations (see Wilk v AMA, USA, 1987 I believe)?”. See my answer to [9] above, and here’s the upshot of the Wilk v AMA case:
    "In 1987, federal court judge Susan Getzendanner concluded that during the 1960s "there was a lot of material available to the AMA Committee on Quackery that supported its belief that all chiropractic was unscientific and deleterious." The judge also noted that chiropractors still took too many x-rays. However, she ruled that the AMA had engaged in an illegal boycott. She concluded that the dominant reason for the AMA's antichiropractic campaign was the belief that chiropractic was not in the best interest of patients. But she ruled that this did not justify attempting to contain and eliminate an entire licensed profession without first demonstrating that a less restrictive campaign could not succeed in protecting the public. Although chiropractors trumpet the antitrust ruling as an endorsement of their effectiveness, the case was decided on narrow legal grounds (restraint of trade) and was not an evaluation of chiropractic methods."

    12. Dr Sensible said, “If anyone believes that people are just out to screw other people out of their money then I truly feel sorry for that person, because he/she must lead a very empty life indeed.”

    Well it looks like quite a few chiropractors lead a very empty life. For example, see the comments made about ex-Clash drummer Terry Chimes here…

    …and have a browse through these chiropractic ‘practice building’ links too:

    Finally, in view of all of the above, is it not a little premature for the UK College of Chiropractors to be applying for a Royal Charter? See the 5th June 2007 news item here:

    Furthermore, does anyone know if the completion of the College's Charter application process has been timed to coincide with King Charles III's arrival on the throne?

  21. Fark nell, Blue Wode, that is an incredibly well written, detailed, fair, referenced and argument-exploding screwover of Dr Sensible's tirade and of chiropractic in general.

    It should be kept in an internet museum for future reference.

    My hat is off and I salute you.


  22. Wow, that should be published in the anal....

    Yes I'm back. Cannot resist this one:

    1) Physiotherapists, who by the way just love chiropractors, great place to start Blue. Oh yes only Pt's in that study.
    2) What more PT's? only Pt's in that study too?
    3) 1/4 of studys were by Ernst, no not biased at all, and neither was his review packed full of his own studies.
    3-2)A site for UK skeptics?-great research, I give up now, I was wrong ok?
    4) More Ernst?
    4-2) Ehmm, all guidelines were revamped, and no chiropractic was not removed,also separately read "whats in", sorry Blue Eyes
    5) I love page 3, paraphrasing - "if you are going to have a stroke anyways, why touch the neck" - Will it change the fact that someone will have a stroke anyways? logic anyone?
    5-2) last section on that page - "statistically more likely to have a stroke coming out of the GP's office" People go to chiropractors for neck pain and headaches, If you are going to have a stroke anyways, what on gods green earth is going to change that fact? what is the difference whether your neck is manipulated? At least you are in an office where the person treating you can recognize the stroke occuring.
    6) I wouldn't let myself get treated by Ernst thats for sure! Nice unbiased opinions again.
    7) Great logic Ernst! especially using your own study!
    Part 2 (children) I concede
    8)Ernst again!!!
    9) Yet another skeptics site! thats a shock!
    11) wow, I was waiting for you to digup Barratt- He is soo unbiased (25 yrs or so of trashing my profession) - And - another skeptics site. Such scientific rigour Blue wonder!
    12) Blah blah blah - skeptics site again, see note 11.


  23. Hello, Dr Sensible. Thank you for your response.

    1. Can you provide any evidence that chiropractors are injuring patients at a *less* frequent rate than PTs, MDs, DOs, etc. *who perform spinal manipulation*?

    2. I think you may have mis-read the conclusion of the study, so here it is again:
    “A *systematic review* of spinal manipulation *concluded that there is no evidence* that high-velocity spinal manipulation is more effective than low-velocity spinal mobilisation, or *that the profession of the manipulator affects the effectiveness of treatment*.”

    3. Again, I think you may have mis-read Ernst and Canter’s authors’ reply on the JRSM Systematic Review of Systematic Reviews of Spinal Manipulation:
    “To exclude one's own work in systematic reviews would be woefully unscientific.”

    3-2. Yes, it would appear that your were, indeed, wrong about the Meade study (which funded by the Medical Research Council). For the benefit of drive-by readers, here’s why:

    From 1991
    "Effectiveness of chiropractic and physiotherapy in the treatment of low back pain: a critical discussion of the British Randomized Clinical Trial

    The results are difficult to extrapolate, because only a small portion of the eligible patients participated, and chiropractic seems to be clearly superior only in the subgroup originally presenting to a chiropractic clinic. We conclude that it is premature to draw conclusions about the long-term effectiveness of chiropractic based on the results of this study alone." st_uids=1833493

    From 1995
    "T W Meade and colleagues have provided further data from their study comparing chiropractic with hospital physiotherapy.1 Unfortunately, their report is far from convincing. The "headline" advantage of chiropractic over hospital management at three years (29%) sounds impressive but refers to an improvement of three points on the 100 point Oswestry scale, or one and a half responses on the questionnaire. This difference may be statistically significant but is clinically trivial.

    In their original article the authors noted that chiropractic was 50% more expensive,2 and in the latest report they note that the chiropractic group had more treatments in the long term. The measured improvement does not seem to support such an expenditure.

    The design of the study was criticised after the first paper was published.3 The patients initially presenting to a chiropractor were self selected on the basis that they believed that chiropractic would be effective (as they were expecting to pay for treatment). It is interesting that only the patients referred by chiropractors showed a significant advantage for chiropractic. Those initially recruited in hospital practice showed no significant difference. The study compares private practice with NHS treatment, with all the implications for environmental and personal factors that this brings. The follow up rate (70% and 77%) is inadequate and would preclude publication in some journals.4 Analysis by intention to treat does not obviate this deficiency. Important variables such as psychological disturbance are not addressed, although these are noted to have a greater impact on results than does treatment.5

    It is disappointing that in the five years between the reports these and the other criticisms that were raised were not more fully addressed. Despite the acclamation of the first report in the popular media, I do not think that this study has advanced our understanding of the treatment of back pain in any useful way."

    From 1998
    “Chiropractors often cite the trial of the UK Medical Research Council in defence. They say it favoured chiropractic over physiotherapy. This trial, however, is much misinterpreted as both its treatment groups received spinal manipulation."

    4. Yes, “more Ernst”. It would be interesting to hear any criticisms you might have regarding the the studies cited in the article from which the quote was lifted:

    4-2. You say that ‘chiropractic’ was *not* removed from the RCGP clinical guidelines on low back pain. This is the RCGP’s website:

    Would you please point out where the recommendation for ‘chiropractic' can be found.

    BTW, I’ve read “what’s in” here

    and those European guidelines which the General Chiropractic Council's newsletter *implies* recommend chiropractic for the management of back pain, only briefly mention spinal manipulation and not 'chiropractic'. See here:

    Once again, it’s worth remembering here that Professor Ernst (who has no vested interest in chiropractic) recently commented that “guidelines are well known to be influenced by the people who serve on the panel that develops them”, because Alan Breen, Professor of Musculoskeletal Heath Care at the UK Anglo European College of Chiropractic (AECC), collaborated in the development of the European Acute Back Pain Guidelines. Presumably, at the time, he would have been aware that the most recent scientific evidence on spinal manipulation for back pain, published by the (impartial) Cochrane Collaboration, concluded that it was no better than conventional treatments, many of which are cheaper and more convenient:

    5. If a patient was going to “have a stroke anyway”, wouldn’t manipulating his or her neck exacerbate the stroke in progress, potentially increasing the resultant neurological deficits?

    Let’s not forget that Sandra Nette, a Canadian lady who presented to a chiropractic clinic in September 2007 as a healthy, asymptomatic 40-year old, had her neck manipulated as part of a chiropractic ‘maintenance’ regimen (which her chiropractor had recommended) and the procedure allegedly tore both her vertebral arteries, creating a tear in one of them that was 3” long. See here to read about her $529 Class Action lawsuit:

    5-2. Interestingly, following her neck manipulation, Sandra Nette’s chiropractor didn’t recognise the symptoms that should have alerted him to the fact that she was in the process of having a stroke. Instead, he suggested that she book a massage at his Spa before sending her on her way. (Ms Nette is now tetraplegic.)

    6. You are entitled to your own opinion.

    7. Professor Ernst is applying a cautionary attitude in the interest of patient safety.

    Where is yours?

    8. Please cite any recent systematic reviews refuting Ernst’s findings regarding the cost effectiveness of spinal manipulation.

    9. The source of the information in this quote…

    “Although four possible scenarios were given by Dr. Bezold, it’s clear the worst case scenario, Scenario #2: Downward Spiral, is the most accurate now inasmuch he said 15% of DCs have quit the profession. Meanwhile, there has been a 39% drop in chiro education student enrollment from 1969-2002 and, while the use of CAM in general has increased, the largest decrease occurred for chiropractic (9.9% to 7.4%) according to the recent Eisenberg study. Indeed, there’s little to cheer about when faced with the hard facts about this profession.” 967697&page=1

    …comes from here (a non-skeptic site):

    The Future of Chiropractic Revisited: 2005 to 2015 Report & Online Poll

    11. Please point out what is factually incorrect about the outcome of the Wilk v AMA case (full details via the link provided):
    "In 1987, federal court judge Susan Getzendanner concluded that during the 1960s "there was a lot of material available to the AMA Committee on Quackery that supported its belief that all chiropractic was unscientific and deleterious." The judge also noted that chiropractors still took too many x-rays. However, she ruled that the AMA had engaged in an illegal boycott. She concluded that the dominant reason for the AMA's antichiropractic campaign was the belief that chiropractic was not in the best interest of patients. But she ruled that this did not justify attempting to contain and eliminate an entire licensed profession without first demonstrating that a less restrictive campaign could not succeed in protecting the public. Although chiropractors trumpet the antitrust ruling as an endorsement of their effectiveness, the case was decided on narrow legal grounds (restraint of trade) and was not an evaluation of chiropractic methods."

    I look forward to a considered, professional response.

  24. Correction to point #5:

    Sandra Nette's Class Action Lawsuit is for $529 MILLION.

  25. Dear Blue,

    It is interesting to note that you are a frequent blogger on another skeptics website. Additionally, you seem to quote opinions about research from those websites (or Ernst again) without actually discussing the research itself. It seems that you are a victim of hypocracy in that you will selectively only take what supports your argument from a study (or skeptic) and dismiss the rest like it does not exist. Using Ernst over and over again like some mantra doesn't change the fact that he is biased, and I will tell you why I know this from a personal experience. 9 or so years ago, Ernst and another skeptic Katz, (who I have previously noted was discredited by so many different professionals,so many times, he is considered a joke) decided to hold a seminar in Toronto Canada. He sent out leaflets to medical doctors luring them to this seminar with the promise of showing them how to "incorporate CAMs" into their practises. Many friends of mine at the time (who were GPs and Consultants) went to this as they were interested from knowing me (as school friends) and my work. What they got when they attended was, as they put it "a waste of their time, because all these people did was bash everything that was not medical, especially chiropractic". This incidentally was timed to coincide with York university's proposed amalgamation with the chiropractic school in Toronto. Furthermore these MD's "felt like the seminar was a complete scam and a waste of time and money". It was scare tactics at its best, lure those most interested in CAM and then spend the whole time trashing it. Ernst is soo unbiased!! In fact, a good friend, who (funnily) was asked a question by one of the (planted) journalists (in the loo no less) was quoted (while he was holding his wang) in a national newspaper, -- but the quotation was taken out of context to suit the journalists purpose (negative). This friend was a medical doctor.

    So there you have it. Ernst is not really all that biased is he?

    I have referenced previous blogs, and you seem to rely on skeptics websites and biased individuals. I realize now that I have wasted my time on this site. It seems there is a whole culture of malcontent among these skeptics sites. Misery loves company as they say.

    cheers again

  26. Dr Sensible, thank you for your further response.

    I can only conclude that you are unable to produce any robust scientific evidence in defence of ‘chiropractic’.

  27. my partner had a bad back so he called the local chiropractioner and went to see if he could help - the 'dr' took £65 from him and a few xrays and told him to come back the next day with me and our children.!! I don't have a bad back nor do our children so I asked my partner about the encounter - he said it was creepy - and described it to me as a mixture of pyramid selling, psychological and cult techniques - with alarm bells going off I googled the 'dr' and discovered he has been struck off 3 times by the GCC and so I phoned local chiropractors to find out about what they considered to be good practise - most said they offered a free first visit to decide if they could help and thereafter a short course of treatment and a re-evaluation if progress was not good but usually a few treatments should do the trick depending upon the problem - whereas the 'creepy doc' who is not a dr suggests £2,500 worth of family treatment that judging from the description from my partner of the crowd in the building leads to a sustained co-dependancy for lost souls looking for god = a role our man farthing seems to enjoy - now he may be good with backs - or he may not be - but he is super wealthy, struck off and well versed in control tactics! Further more he remains dis-honest - I phoned a variety of chiropractioners one life, the wellness practice and the hope spinal wellness clinic - they all have the same voice on the answer machine!!! Despite the chiropractic/osteopath debate which google enlightened me on, my overall conclusion is that I do not want him to fix the family because we arent broke - despite the argument put forward on his behalf that just because we don't feel unwell it is no proof that we are !!!!! so I guess I will give him a miss - too shady too cult like and too dishonest for me - so I will leave him to those who appear to have lost/misplaced their own lives for now !!! ps I am surprised at the impotence of the GCC who have struck him off their register 3 times cos it certainly has not dampened his enthusiasm for practising!!!

  28. Spooky. My family had a similar experience recently. One of our youngsters (15 going on 55) had spotted an advertising banner offering free spinal health checks outside the Ideal Spine Centre in Canterbury, and having a bit of a sore coccyx (sp) from a sports accident thought, 'hey, that sounds like a good deal' so hopped off the school bus and went in. Cue a spate of phone calls to me, my partner and various other members of our family asking us to a) settle up the bill for the 'free spinal check' (which seems to be, 'yep, you do have a spine. Now, if you want us to look any further at it that'll be sixty quid and a quick dose of radiation), and b) attend a session (bring along as many aunties, cousins, next-door-neighbours-cousins-twice-removed, the more the merrier to spread the good word, hallelujah). So you sit in a room with plasma screens playing what appear to be subliminal/evangalistical messages, surrounded by piles of Dr (sic) - (no pun intended) Farthing's paperback, while strange 'upright' Stepford-type people referred to as Dr Stacy or Dr Sharon - perhaps they have all changed their first names by deed poll to Dr? - flit noiselessly in and out. Then in comes the Doctor himself (ta-dah, cue drum-roll) who takes about an hour to tell you and the other mugs in the room that, more or less, if you don't part with something like two thousand quid for each family member, you are condemning your kids & rellies to life in a wheelchair with permanent migraines. It's OK, they take credit cards. Needless to say we scarpered. Scary stuff.

  29. Ahh, what a lot of writing and or scribble precedes this missive.


    I've had headaches, migraine and backache for the last few years after a lifetime of extreme sports and lots of accidents.

    I checked the net for a local sports massage and got an appointment at friend, CHEF's practice.

    After a very thorough consultation I am now a couple of months into a regular course of treatments. I have no more headaches, no more backaches and no longer need to take the daily 3 x 50mg Diclofennac prescribed by my GP or Migrainleave I buy from the chemist.

    I was sceptic to begin with but the proof of the pudding is in the eating.

    However your mate CHEF describes his qualifications and experience, his treatment is working and I'm very, very grateful.

    Sincere best wishes,

  30. Most of the comments on this website that cast aspersions on the character of CHEF are unfair. He has earned a Doctor of Chiropractic degree in Australia, and even if he is unable to register in this country; no-one can remove his academic qualifications. I was a regular patient of his for a number of years and he did wonders for my back - all very carefully explained and backed up with rigorous assessment. CHEF has been the target of an odious squabble within the General Chiropractic Council which still seems to be in the dark ages.

  31. I'm sure he is an upstanding respectable person. Funny tho, that description doesn;t quite sit with the type of person who has plenty of run ins with the Ad standards watchdog for dodge advertising and for claiming to be a Dr when he knows he isn't allowed to.

    Blinker yourself to evidence much?


  32. I rarely write reviews but because my experience was negative I'd like to share it with other who might be looking for real reviews about this clinic and Christian Farthing.

    I suffer with back pain in the neck area which is posture and lifestyle related (carrying laptop, oversized handbag, working long hours at the computer). I've seen physio and osteopath in the past who were great at relieving the muscle tightness and pain but I always wanted to investigate further as to what was causing the problem.

    I came across the body well group on the Internet as they were having a special promotion to come and have your spine assessed. I didn't know of anyone who used them before and they were not recommended.

    My impressions during the first appointment were pretty good. I arrived at the clinic early in the morning and the surroundings and the environment looked very pleasant, spacious and modern. The staff were friendly and welcoming.I was given some forms to fill in about the medical history.It took nearly an hour's waiting before I finally went in for my assessment but various members if staff came and introduced themselves which I thought was nice.
    The assessment involved doing a couple of scans to measure the alignment of the spine and the nerves, and the lady who did it explained all well. I then had some photos taken to see my posture problems. Dr Farthing stopped by briefly to say that he'll give me an overview of results on the next visit.

    A week later I went back for the results and that's where things started to get a bit weird. There were about 10 of us waiting for the results so we were brought all together into one room and told that Dr Farthing will go through some basics first. He came in saying that he'll talk to us for 10 minutes as a group and then go through the results individually afterwards. It turned out to be a 45 min lecture about subluxation. Dr Farthing is a very well spoken and quite funny Australian man, and there were some interesting and useful points in his presentation, however it felt as if the underlying message was to intimidate us that if we don't have our spines regularly adjusted, all these nerve signals will not get through from the brain to the other body parts and we'll end up with all sorts of disease. There might be some truth in that but he was sort of implying that spinal subluxation was the cause of a lot of human health problems, including asthma, headaches, infertility etc etc.
    He then proceeded giving the overview of our results (individually) at the computer. Considering that there were quite a few of us, there was a lot of sitting around and waiting for your turn. What I thought would be a 30 min appointment turned out to be nearly 2 hours long which really messed up my schedule for that day. We weren't warned in advance that this would take so long.

    The overview of results was pretty basic.I was shown the photos of my scans which showed some misalignments in a few places (which I already knew because that's where it hurts) and told that my back was in pretty bad condition (I am in my early 30s). He didn't comment on anything that i put on my form during the first visit nor on the notes that the lady who did the assessment took. He then said he'll go over my results and recommendations in more detail at the 3rd visit to which I had to bring my spouse.

  33. He then said he'd do my first adjustment. He didn't ask if I wanted one or how much it would cost.
    He quickly proceeded cracking my neck, and pressing a couple of times on my spine. This was done in under 2 minutes fully clothed. If I haven't been to see anyone else in the past I might have thought this was the norm, but all other practitioners i saw would relax the tense muscles round the sore area first and then do the adjustments which would result in the immediate tension release and allow joins to move more freely. As a result of Dr Farthing's adjustment I only got the headache which was probably because my muscles round my neck were so tense when he did it. And it was £39!

    I was also given my report. It was about 5 pages long and apart from two of my scan photos it did not have anything relevant to my individual case just the general stuff about subluxation which you can read on the Internet and Q&A about the clinic itself. Overall it wasn't worth the paper it was written on.

    At the 3rd appointment (saturday) the things got from bad to worse. I arrived without my spouse as he had other urgent things to do but brought my toddler as had nowhere else to leave him that day. Dr Farthing told me that it was hugely important that my spouse was there and he couldn't go through his recommendations without him. when I challenged him as to why, he couldn't give me any decent explanation. When my toddler refused to play in their family room because he wanted to stay with me (no surprise here considering we've only just walked through the door and he didn't have a chance to adjust to a new place and explore) I was told I won't be able to concentrate with him running around and a member of staff quickly carried him outside whilst my child was screaming "I want my mummy". They did a good job calming him down and entertaining him but nonetheless it was just like being in a bad dream and not being able to wake up. Dr Farthing even said that when he needed to go to meetings like this he got a baby sitter for his child which I though was very rude.

    Once again there were a few other people who came for their 3rd appointment so once again we were all seated together and given another lecture. If you have ever been on holiday abroad and for whatever reason got sucked in into attending a "timeshare" sales meeting, it was like being there again. We were told we needed to start with 3 adjustments a week, and he had all these wonderful pricing plans that we could join on a monthly or yearly basis and save a fortune. That would still cost us in the region of £2,000-£4,000. I've never been to any professional practitioner in my life who said you needed all this long term care and maintenance programme before you even started the treatment and saw how your body responded to it and how long you actually needed it. This sales talk was about half hour and then we were invited to discuss our individual needs and care plans which involved more waiting around for your turn. Now I understand the reason why they require the spouses to be there because if you sign up to this expensive treatment they are fully aware straight away.

    I wasn't going to sign up to any of this and told him straight away. His attitude and mood changed immediately. He said he wanted to help but because i didn't care about it there was no point to continue talking. Within a minute I was ushered out of the front door. It didn't feel like he wanted to help at all, as soon as I was not going to buy I was a waste of time to him.

  34. I work in a service industry myself and sometimes you gain clients, sometimes you loose them. However, regardless of the outcome you always try to give them a positive experience because you never know whom they are going to tell about it and how it can damage the reputation of your business if the experience they had was not a good one.

    I am sure Dr Farthing has helped some people in his career with their problems and pains, however having googled his name and done further research it appears that many more people had similar experience to mine.

    I would not go back to his clinic again and I recommend you do your research first before dealing with him. Look beyond the testimonials on his website because, of course, he is only going to show the good ones there but they don not tell the full story.

    A chiropractor struck off by the General Chiropractic Council (GCC) in 2009 is continuing to practise as a ‘spine specialist’, in a case that has raised serious concerns about a loophole that could be putting patients at risk.The case illustrates how a practitioner struck off by a professional regulator can continue working simply by changing the description of his or her job.

  35. I have just read the above and realise I have just had a very narrow escape although he has still managed to mug me for £125 for spinal x-rays, nerve scan and an email of these results. I fell for the free assessment at the Folkestone airshow and told the staff that I couldn't attend the 10.30 one and a half hour's follow up session the Wednesday following my tests. I was a little bit puzzled by the mention of a group session and he was very grumpy but agreed, "as he wanted to help me" to a 2pm appointment last Monday. I travelled 1 and a half hours to the appointment and was on time but he arrived 20 minutes late! He got indigent when I pointed this out saying he had sacrificed family time to be there! Things could only deteriorate! I told him that as a widow I felt all the literature and forms were geared towards couples and families and all his advertising literature showed only "Saga couples" and "sanitised ideal families". He objected saying that he treated lots of widows and had a poster of a woman with a blue rinse. This is not me! He then showed me the scans and said that as I lived so far away and didn't drive he would refer me to a more local practitioner. But then he wasn't actually able to recommend any and told me that it would cost £30 for me to have my results emailed. I told him that I wasn't happy about that as I already felt "mugged" and felt that the least he could do was to email them to me free of charge. He refused saying that it was a special rate. Chef has a large number of special rates but I didn't bother asking about his buy one get one free offers. I also found this clinic unnerving as everyone, even those I had never seen before, greeted me by my first name each time I went to the clinic and although they were very pleasant, they were all rather false and patronising. I did manage to discomfort one of them as I was leaving. She said, "how are you?" I replied, "Not very happy." Something needs to be done about this man!