The Fire Department Analogy
I occasionally get drawn into debating the value of chiropractic maintenance care vs. medical care and when I do I like to use an analogy to make a point. I want folks to understand how it is possible for medicine to be able to save a life in a crisis but not be able to increase health. I also want to make clear the difference between medicine and chiropractic wellness in terms of what they have to offer humanity.
For this analogy, your mind and body are your house, medical doctors are the fire department, and Wellness Chiropractors are renovation and maintenance experts.
Now, imagine your house is on fire. It is an emergency. Who should you call, the fire department or the renovation and maintenance experts?
I hope you said the fire department. Now, what will the fire department do when they get to your burning house? Well, what they do will depends on what tools they have to work with. What tools does the fire department have? The tools that they have developed are congruent with their goal to put out fires. They have axes and fire hoses. What will they use these for? They will use the axes to break out windows, to chop down your door, and to chop open your walls. They will use the hoses to soak the entire interior of your house and all your cherished belongings.
What is the result? If you are lucky, if they got there in time and did not make any big mistakes, they will save the life of your house. For this you should be eternally grateful. Now, what is left? A huge mess to clean up! In fact, your house is now in far worse shape than it was before the fire ever started!
So now what will you do? Who will you call to restore function to your house? The fire department? Do you think more axes and fire hoses could ever restore your house to proper function? Of course not, that is an absurd notion. Not as absurd as the fire department claiming that they could do this, but nonetheless still very absurd.
So who do you call? The restoration and maintenance experts! What tools to they have? Hammers, nails, paint, wiring, wood, etc. The tools they have are all congruent with their goal to restore and maintain the function of your house, they are the ingredients that your house needs for healthy function.
Now imagine if the fire department convinced everyone, including themselves, to judge the worth of the restoration and maintenance experts according to the ability to put out fires. Obviously the restoration and maintenance experts would look pretty incompetent trying to put out a fire with paint brushes and hammers! The fire department could, with scientific accuracy, tell everyone how incompetent the restoration and maintenance experts are at putting out fires.
But wait a minute. What if the worth of the fire department was assessed by how well they could restore and maintain a house? They would look as incompetent at this as the restoration and maintenance workers did at putting out a fire! Could you imagine the fire department showing up with axes and fire hoses and claiming they could improve the health and function of the house? How absurd. Science would show that no matter how often the fire department used axes and fire hoses, no matter how much technology they had to make new axes and fire hoses, they will always be totally incompetent in terms of improving the health and function of houses.
So who is better? Both, if you validly assess them within their own paradigms, within their own areas of expertise! The trick is to use these resources at the appropriate times. The fire department should be a last resort for health and the first and only resort when there is a fire. The goal should be to NEVER need them. The restoration and maintenance experts should be the last resort for a fire and the first and only resort for health. The goal should be to ALWAYS utilize them regularly.
But my insurance only covers the fire department! Of course it does, insurance is for emergencies not for restoration and maintenance! Does your car insurance cover oil changes and tune-ups? Does your house insurance cover painting and eaves cleaning? Does your life insurance cover going to the gym and eating healthy food?
Restoration and maintenance is not an insurance issue, it is a lifestyle and common sense issue.
Medicine will always have a place in crisis intervention and symptom reduction and when used appropriately can save lives and alleviate suffering. These are the aims of medicine and medical research and they have developed many useful ways to prevent death in acute crisis and to make unhealthy people feel better but medicine was never designed to improve health and function of people who are not in crises. Understanding this will save your life!!