Some years ago Patricia Brennan Ph.D and her team found that when a chiropractic adjustment was applied to the middle back, the response of white blood cells taken from blood collected 15 minutes after the adjustment was significantly higher than blood collected 15 minutes before. This research demonstrated an, ‘enhanced respiratory burst’ following the chiropractic adjustment – such a ‘burst’ is specifically needed for our immune cells to destroy invading viruses and bacteria…
How Can That Be?
The immune system protects us from all manner of bugs and strives to get us well again when our immune system becomes weak. Like every other system in the body, the immune system is coordinated by and works intricately with the nervous system.
In fact, the brain and immune system are the two major adaptive systems in the body. During an immune response, the brain and the immune system ‘talk to each other’ and this process is essential for maintaining homeostasis or balance in the body.
Teodorczyk-Injeyan, in his research described the interplay between the NS and IS as neural immunoregulation, when one system is taxed so too is the other:
Chiropractic focuses on making sure our brain and nervous system are clearly coordinating all bodily systems. That the nervous, immune and endocrine systems, for example are working intimately well together to keep our bodies resilient and strong.
Chiropractic has always asserted that viruses and microbes threaten us all equally and that a healthy immune system easily repels most invaders. We need to consider what lifestyle factors are taxing our body and hence immune system – please see our previous “Thriving this Winter!”.
Other Chiropractic studies:
A large retrospective study, conducted by Robert Blanks Ph.D and colleagues (1997) observed 2,818 individuals under-going chiropractic care. These individuals reported an average overall improvement in physical symptoms including stiffness/lack of flexibility in the spine, physical pain, fatigue, incidence of colds and flu, headaches, menstrual discomfort, gastrointestinal disorders, allergies, dizziness and falls. More importantly though the incidence of colds and flu was reduced by an average of 15% in this large population who were undergoing regular chiropractic care.
Brennan (1991) published another paper demonstrating that upper thoracic spinal adjustments resulted in markers indicating significant increased phagocytic activity of neutrophils and monocytes compared to a sham treatment or soft-tissue treatment.
J Allen’s paper “The Effects of Chiropractic on the Immune System” (December 1993) outlined how the nervous system plays a role in modulating the immune response. He performed a literature review and found that Chiropractic adjustments appear to influence lymphocyte and antibody numbers helping the immune system regulate allergens and inflammation.
Neil (January 2012) found that Chiropractic adjustments help regulate central anti-inflammatory responses by down regulating leukocytes and pro-inflammatory cytokines. Spinal adjustments seem to have a positive effect on immune function and researchers are exploring the common denominators in disease processes, and the role of the nervous, immune, and hormonal systems in development of immune related illnesses.
While more research is needed we can see that from the research above regular Chiropractic care is a great choice when it comes to supporting your immune system. Mix that with the tips listed in my previous post and you will be jumping for joy this cold and flu season!
Yours in health,
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Dr Jennifer Barham-Floreani
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- Brennan PC, et al. – “Enhanced phagocytic cell respiratory burst induced by spinal manipulation: potential role of substance” P. JMPT, 1991;14:399-408.
- Dymanic Chiropractor “Immune Response to Spinal Manipulation.” – Author, Malik Slosberg, DS, MS
- Teodorczyk-Injeyan JA, et al. “SMT reduces inflammatory cytokines but not substance P production in normal subjects.”JMPT,2006;29:14-21.
- “Journal for Vertebral Subluxation Research” 1997 – Robert Blanks, Ph.D, Tonya L. Schuster, Ph.D, Marnie Dobson, B.A.
- Brennan PC, et al. J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 1991.
- “Chiropractic Journal of Australia.”(Volume 23, Number 4, December 1993) – “The Effects of Chiropractic on the Immune System.” Chiropr J Aust 1993 23;123;5 – Author, James M Allen.
- Neil J. “Manipulative therapy and immune response: A literature review of the chiropractic and osteopathic evidence.” Clinical Chiropractic 2012; 15(3): 186.