Richard G. Petty, MD

Chiropractic Treatment in Children with Learning Disorder and Dyslexia

I spend a lot of time scanning, reading and analyzing scientific and medical journals that might have anything in them that are relevant to our themes of Health, Integrated Medicine, Meaning and Purpose.

And as I discussed recently, those that are helpful and accessible may find their way onto the “Journals” resource panel on the left-hand side of this blog. I don’t want any of us to get overwhelmed with information, so I check several issues before any of them make the final cut.

Many readers have been kind enough to make suggestion, all of which I have checked on your behalf. So I have just added a journal – Journal of Vertebral Subluxation Research – that I have only discovered in the last month or so, though I’ve now had a look at all the past issues.

There was a particular article that caught my attention. The paper suggests that chiropractic care may offer significant benefits to children suffering from learning disabilities and dyslexia.

The research was a literature review by the Swiss chiropractor Yannick Pauli, who is President of the Swiss Chiropractic Pediatric Association and who specializes in the care of children suffering from learning and behavioral disorders.

Learning disorders and dyslexia affect anywheere between three and ten percent of school-aged children in the United Sates. The numbers vary depending on the exact criteria that we use. And it is certainly true that individuals with these disorders often suffer from low self-esteem, low levels of motivation, loss of interest in school, academic difficulties and often have problems in social functioning.

Dr. Pauli suggest that any positive effects on learning disabilities and dyslexia may have something to do with improving function in the cerebellum. Most books will tell you that the cerebellum is simply involved in motor corodination, posture and balance. But that has long been known to be a limited view: amongst mammlas, humans have the largest cerebellum relative to the rest of the brain, and it is involved in coordinating not just motor functions, but also sensation, language, emotion and social functions.

According to Pauli, “The only source of constant stimulation to the brain comes from the spine and the postural muscles constantly adjusting to the force of gravity…. If the daily physical stresses of life cause misalignments in the spine — called vertebral subluxations by chiropractors — the brain is not adequately stimulated. This can cause problems throughout the body.”

This work is preliminary and skeptcs will imediately ask why it was not done by independent scholars? The answer is that they will rarely touch a topic like this unless someone has done some preliminary work to show that it might be worth their attention. This is exactly what happened a number of years ago when several friends of mine – all eminent researchers – decided to examine chiropractic manipulation in low back pain. The research was only done because some British chiropractor had already produced some pilot data. Then the full resources of a major research team swung into action.

I also have some personal observations that lead me to think that the results of this small Swiss study will have traction. Tough not everyone gets better, I have seen several children with neurodevelopmental problems and traumatic brain injuries helped greatly by chiropractic and Ayurvedic forms of manipulation. One of the most striking was a young South Indian girl whose family lived in Germany. She had a form of cerebral palsy, and at the age of 5 was in a bad way. I saw her after a dozen manipulative treatments in London, and the change was stunning.

That is why research is so important. Not just to see if a thing works, but to try and work out in whom it might work. And then to see if we can make the treatment yet better.

About Richard G. Petty, MD
Dr. Richard G. Petty, MD is a world-renowned authority on the brain, and his revolutionary work on human energy systems has been acclaimed around the globe. He is also an accredited specialist in internal and metabolic medicine, endocrinology, psychiatry, acupuncture and homeopathy. He has been an innovator and leader of the human potential movement for over thirty years and is also an active researcher, teacher, writer, professional speaker and broadcaster. He is the author of five books, including the groundbreaking and best selling CD series Healing, Meaning and Purpose. He has taught in over 45 countries and 48 states in the last ten years, but spends as much time as possible on his horse farm in Georgia.

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