Why Chiropractors Have Such Healthy Kids: Lessons from the Freedom for Family Wellness Summit

December 04, 2014

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By Jackie Lombardo, SafeMinds Board Member

When my kids start their families I hope they don't necessarilly do what they're told but instead read the science and think for themselves.

Chiropractors. Whether you go to them regularly or have never visited one in your life and are not really sure what they do, there is something you need to know: If the conference I just attended is any indication, it seems there are much lower rates of autism among children of chiropractors than in the public at large.

So what are they doing right?

My cousin Marc is an outstanding chiropractor.

Marc and I both come from big Catholic families. I am one of six children, four girls and two boys, and Marc is one of five brothers (his poor umm – lucky parents, right?).

Two of my sisters and I attended the Freedom for Family Wellness Summit in Reston, Virginia held two weeks ago. The Summit is sponsored by the International Pediatric Chiropractic Association (ICPA) and is geared towards chiropractors and their families. You can earn continuing education credits for chiropractic if you attend.

But I went to the conference as a mom. Which brings me back to Cousin Marc.

Marc has two sons, both strapping young men now. Marc’s brothers have children too, born in the 1970s and early 1980s. Maybe because Marc spent so much time studying alternative medicine, his siblings did things differently than some of my siblings and I did. They chose not to vaccinate, they ate warm breakfasts instead of sugar-laden conventional cereal advertised on TV, they avoided pesticides and harmful cleaning products, they took their kids to the chiropractor for monthly adjustments.

When I saw an announcement for the Freedom for Family Wellness Summit in Pathways to Family Wellness, a magazine that has reprinted an article written by SafeMinds, I jumped on the opportunity to learn more of the secrets chiropractors like my cousin Marc have known all along.

Photo courtesty of Jennifer Margulis
Organizer Jeanne Ohm and Ina May Gaskin (Photo courtesy of Jennifer Margulis)

Freedom for Family Wellness Presenters Included:

✓ Midwife, author, and Right Livelihood Award Winner (which is like an alternative Nobel Prize) Ina May Gaskin.

✓ Journalist and award-winning author Jennifer Margulis, Ph.D., whose book, The Business of Baby, changed my niece’s life.

✓ Nephrologist and vaccine critic Suzanne Humphries, M.D.

National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) co-founder and president Barbara Loe Fisher, whom I’ve admired for years.

✓ Psychiatrist Kelly Brogan, M.D., whose on-line articles about mental health and physical wellness have really made me think.

✓ Consumer activist Jeffrey M. Smith.

Vaccines May be Causing Kidney Damage

Suzanne Humphries, M.D. explained that though she was a successful medical doctor, she realized her kidney patients were not getting better and in many cases were actually getting worse. It took years to connect the dots, but she finally figured out that the adults in her care showed health declines after they got the flu shot. When Humphries tried to tell her colleagues that vaccination was having a pronounced ill effect on kidney function, they ignored and dismissed her concerns.

“Something is very wrong when doctors are threatening to throw patients out of their practice for refusing a consumer product.” Interesting. I’m looking forward to reading her latest: Dissolving Illusions: Disease, Vaccines, and The Forgotten History.

Costliest Maternity Care in the World Yields Among the Worst Outcomes

Photo courtesy of Jennifer Margulis
Photo courtesy of Jennifer Margulis

Jennifer Margulis, Ph.D., gave a powerful talk about medical doctors who dismiss patients for not following their rules, telling the story of a young mom named Donna Sills who was actually dismissed from two hospitals in North Carolina while in active labor because she wanted a vaginal birth and refused to sign the hospitals’ consent for surgery forms.

Discharged from a hospital while actively giving birth.

Because she would not do what she was told.

Margulis explained that the United States spends more money than any country in the world on health care, and that our maternity care system is among the costliest in the world, spending over $50 billion a year on women and infants.

Despite the enormous amount of money we put into our health care system, we have some of the worst maternal and fetal outcomes of the developed world. We over-test, over-stress, and over-prescribe to our expectant moms.

Donna Sills was sent by ambulance to a third hospital, over the border in Norfolk, Virginia, where she gave birth to a healthy baby boy. Vaginally. Turns out Donna was right—she never needed that C-section the other doctors insisted she have after all.

What You Eat Affects Your Mental Health

When Kelly Brogan, M.D., was 16 she refused to be confirmed because she had deep reservations about Catholicism. But then, though she didn’t realize it at the time, she adopted a new religion: medicine.

Always a critical thinker, she started to question what she was taught in medical school. She read the scientific literature herself, not only the textbook’s interpretation of it. She realized that pharmaceutical drugs were not always appropriate and that some mental illness could be treated with simple dietary and lifestyle changes.

For example, she described being “hangry.” Hangry: a cross between hungry and angry when blood sugar drops. Anger… caused by a lack of food! I smiled as I thought back to when my son was young and most definitely hangry. So much so that I’d meet him at the bus stop with a chicken leg to avoid a blow-up. Food is powerful.

In a separate workshop, Brogan spoke about creating a healthy microbiome in our bodies. Ninety percent of the cells in our body are bacterial, not human. Brogan says it is essential for human health to foster beneficial bacteria through vaginal birth, breastfeeding, and eating fermented and other probiotic foods.

5 Family Wellness Lessons

Photo courtesy of Jennifer Margulis

As humans we have optimal health results when we …

  1. Live more simply.
  1. Eat real food.
  1. Understand that food is medicine.
  1. Eliminate or reduce our exposure to harmful chemicals and environmental toxins, including GMOs, food dyes, and the toxic additives in over-the-counter and prescription medication, including vaccines.
  1. Realize the importance of the mind-body connection.

Another presenter asked a room full of about 1,000 people if anyone in the audience had a child with autism. Only one mom raised her hand. Given the CDC’s current statistics that 1 in every 68 children has autism, there should have been at least 14 parents with raised hands.

This audience was careful. And thoughtful. And full of critical thinkers.

When my children were young, I handed over the decision making to their well-intended doctors.

Well-intentioned doctors who were doing what they were told.

I did what I was told.

My children will start families of their own someday. I hope they can find doctors who are careful.

And who don’t necessarily ‘do what they’re told’ but instead, who read the science and think for themselves.

When it comes to your family’s health, ask questions. Think critically. Then ask more questions and decide for yourself.  SafeMinds is committed to providing you the information you need to make these decisions.  Consider supporting our work here.

jackielombardo Jackie Lombardo is a SafeMinds board member and a mother of three with a keen interest in children’s environmental health. As a member of the Sierra Club National Toxics Committee, she has been involved in national projects stressing education, precaution and strong legislation for mercury, bisphenol A, pesticides, and lead in children’s products.