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Philippines to Get Chiropractic College?
Canadian chiropractor wants to upgrade the services of hilots
Paterno Jr Rebosura (junzsky07)     Print Article 
Published 2007-10-08 11:13 (KST)   
Chiropractic, introduced in the Philippines in 1986 as sports medicine, today has but 10 practitioners in country. There are about 250 total Filipino practitioners, but almost all of them work outside the country.

Dr. Michel Tetrault of Manitoba, Canada, director of Mabuhay Chiropractic Clinics in the Philippines, has said the world needs around 315,000 chiropractic doctors as against the 79,000 currently practicing, most of whom can be found in California, New York, Toronto, Canada, and Melbourne, Australia.

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Too few people avail themselves of the services of a chiropractor due, he said, to a lack of information. South Korea has one or maybe two chiropractor, and they are in Seoul. Other countries such as New Zealand have a few each, he added.

Chiropractic is a drugless healing profession. A chiropractor assists in the restoration and preservation of health without the use of medicines or surgery. Its focus is mainly manual manipulation of the spine.

A vertebral subluxation is the primary chiropractic diagnosis. This has been used for more than 100 years to describe the misalignment of spinal bones and the effect this misalignment has on the nervous system. Its result could be scoliosis, back and neck pain, and even headaches.

Because the services of a chiropractor are not affordable to the average Filipino, only the rich have availed themselves of their services. So whenever an athlete or a factory worker dislocates his leg or arm he seeks the services of a local hilot practitioner or folk medical practitioner -- what some would call a quack doctor. The country has only one tertiary orthopedic hospital.

Another reason why chiropractors are a rare breed could be that it can take more than seven years to become a well-trained chiropractor. While the local therapist gets his training usually from his elders. A daughter practices hilot when her mother gets older, her mother in turn having practiced on her mother.

Some beliefs are also associated with the skill of a hilot. One is that a hilot will be effective if she was born legs first or premature. In the Philippines, a hilot has been compared to a tribal medicine man.

A year after I got married, my wife (who was over 40 at the time) sought the services of a hilot so her ovary could be restored to its original position. A hilot can double as a prenatal masseuse who restores the position of a woman's ovary so she may bear a child. After we decided to cancel the services -- for I doubted the skills of a hilot -- few months later my wife "miraculously" conceived what was to be our only daughter.

Hilots are a vanishing breed. There are scores of hilots in Manila but many are fake and are mal-practicing for the money not really to heal. The national government wanted to improve the skills of hilots by training them to become para-midwives or paramedics. But after some hits and misses, the government is back to square one. A lack of midwives still plagues the countryside.

Tetrault, the chiropractor from Canada, wants to upgrade the services of the hilot by establishing a Philippine Chiropractic College and providing them with spinal health therapist training. In effect, this could save hilot, which is an ancient Filipino art of healing.

Tetrault's initial move was the formation of the Prochiropractic Association of the Philippines, the educational arm of his proposed college. In a Makati hotel last week, he also launched a good posture campaign dubbed Tindig Diretso Pinoy, a spinoff from campaigns in the United States about good posture.

He is enthusiastic about his venture, especially after the World Health Organization recognized chiropractic as a profession and not a mere procedure. The WHO has acknowledged the skill and education of chiropractic practitioners with a title: doctor of chiropractic.

Tetrault is also the founder and chief executive officer of the Chiropractic Diplomatic Corps and vice president of the Rotary Club of Bacoor, Cavite, Philippines.
©2007 OhmyNews
Other articles by reporter Paterno Jr Rebosura

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