Yet again a Victorian chiropractor manipulates a baby’s spine in ‘deeply disturbing’ video

Andrew Arnold performing controversial spinal treatments on a newborn 

Victoria’s health minister Jenny Mikakos has condemned a Melbourne chiropractor filmed hanging a two-week-old baby upside down by his ankles. She slammed the treatment as “unacceptable” and called on the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) to act.

“The Chiropractic Board of Australia must condemn this practice as unprofessional and unacceptable and the AHPRA must act quickly to stop these rogue practitioners in their tracks,” she told 9News.

Friends of Science in Medicine (FSM) paediatric expert, Professor Don Cameron said, “The treatment demonstrated in the video is nothing more than ludicrous nonsense. It is inappropriate for any chiropractors to be treating infants as this is not without risk of significant harm; also, the ‘Activator’ device used by the chiropractor, has no sound scientific basis and is at best, an expensive placebo”.

If you watch the longer 3:19 video, the chiropractor is also tapping the sacrum and skull: Craniosacral therapy! This “therapy” lacks a biologically plausible mechanism, shows no diagnostic reliability, and provides no clinical effect; see:

Yet plenty of people are offering it:

“Chiropractors continue to pursue expanding their practices into paediatrics, in particular, neonates. The federal government should legislate that no child under 8 years can be treated by chiropractors” said FSM Professor Alastair MacLennan.

FSM President, Professor Ken Harvey repeated his concerns that pseudoscientific, ineffective, dangerous and poorly regulated ‘treatments’ and ‘products’ are increasingly being inflicted on a public that is poorly served by regulators such as the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) and the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) who are supposed to protect them.

“In 2016 there was similar publicity about chiropractor Ian Rossborough. He was prohibited from manipulating children while he underwent “education”. There is now no indication on his AHPRA record of any of this and presumably he is now free to continue to treat neonates and children. I imagine the same pattern will occur with
Andrew Arnold. It’s time the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) stopped slapping these practitioners with a limp lettuce leaf and acted decisively”, said Professor Harvey.

An interview of Professor Harvey by Nadia Mitsopoulos on ABC Radio Perth is available.

A FSM press release is also available.

A letter to the Victorian Health Minister has been sent by FSM

A letter to “The Age” has been published:

Dangerous practices

Manipulation of babies’ spines (The Age, 20/2) is unnecessary, unproven and potentially dangerous. Chiropractors who convince mothers that their babies have mythical subluxations and deformities following birth, which can be magically manipulated away (for multiple fees), are dangerous. Effective regulation of pseudo treatments for non-existent disorders by non-medical practitioners is almost non-existent. It is time that alternative therapists stopped targeting children and regulators such as the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency acted.

Associate Professor Ken Harvey, public health and preventive medicine, Monash University

Additional media cover:

2016 coverage of this issue:

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About Dr Ken Harvey

Public Health Physician, Medical activitist
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