Monday, 18 July 2011

South Korea's Medical Professionals Crack Down on Chiropractors


A blog post by Bayani Mills (@bayanimills)

Members of the Korean Chiropractic Association in South Korea are in uproar at the scrutiny of their profession, after an investigation of formal Chiropractic clinics by local health authorities has led to more legal proceedings. Taeg Su Choi, KCA president since 2003, who has faced five prosecutions himself since that time, claims the proceedings are a result of complaints from two of South Korea's professional medical associations, the Korean Medical Association and the Oriental Medical Doctors' Association.

Disputes about the Chiropractors have been ongoing since its introduction in the 1990's when South Korea's first Chiropractor, Yong Serb, returned after attending the Palmer College of Chiropractic in the USA. Serb, the founder and first president of the Korean Chiropractic Association has been convicted three times for breaking South Korean laws.

Under the law, It is illegal for independent Chiropractors to practise. If you were a Medical Doctor who took some seminar classes in Chiropractic or similar manipulative therapies, you could legally practice those techniques, however, someone who just went to a Chiropractic college in America, the UK, or Australia could not legally practice in Korea.

According to the World Federation of Chiropractic, the Korean Chiropractic Association once had over 60 members, which has since fallen to 17 as a result of the convictions of so many of its members. On 30th June 2011 a World Federation of Chiropractic media release explained the argument used in defence of their practice at appeals at the Constitutional Court: "Their argument has been that Koreans have a constitutional right to choose and receive natural forms of health care that relieve pain and suffering, and that Chiropractors have a constitutional right to offer those services."

Appeals from the Members of the KCA claim that the law is unconstitutional, however, while this defence erroneously characterizes the law as being "anti-Chiropractic", South Korean law doesn't state that Chiropractic is illegal. Rather, the law states Chiropractors can't practice their techniques unless they're qualified Medical Doctors.

The issue of right to choice has been the crux of many appeals by "alternative" health advocates, and in South Korea Chiropractors are not alone, with Acupuncturists also feeling the sting dealt out by the courts for not practising within the law.

... apparently, robust evidence-based medical training is too much to ask in other parts of the world too.

Bayani Mills is an amateur skeptic with an interest in science and technology. More of his promotion of critical thinking and skeptical activism can be found at his website.

 

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