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Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Immune Boost: This Is Spinal Zap

It came to the point where something had to give. Lilian Garcia's pollen, dust, and food allergies were getting her down. Her allergies were even affecting her job. The recording artist and World Wrestling ringmaster's voice wasn't achieving optimal performance. But that soon changed. While she was cutting a record with singer-songwriter Jon Secada, he suggested chiropractic care. Though the recommendation struck her as unconventional, Garcia was desperate for a solution. She set up an appointment.

The test of efficacy came soon after she started regular chiropractic treatment, during a moment of weakness in the mall. "I saw an ice cream cone and I went for it," Garcia remembers. "I ate two and I had zero complications. It was my first ice cream cone in 12 years." The connection between her allergies and chiropractic care seemed natural. "Something's flowing better."

Terry Rondberg, president of the World Chiropractic Alliance, explains that the spine does play a role in wellbeing. He notes that many factors affect the body's ability to maintain optimal balance. Nutrition, posture, exercise, stress, fatigue are important, but so is the health of your spine.

Chiropractic care was first linked to improved immunity during the deadly flu epidemic of 1917 and 1918. The funny thing was: Chiropractic patients fared better than the general population. This observation spurred a study of the field. The data reported that flu victims under chiropractic care had an estimated .25 percent death rate, a lot less than the normal rate of 5 percent among flu victims who did not receive chiropractic care.

In the years since, studies are finding that chiropractic care is a way to improve immunity. One study, from the National College of Chiropractic in Lombard, Illinois, found that disease-fighting white blood cell counts were higher just 15 minutes after chiropractic manipulation was applied to the back. A similar study investigated the immune system response in HIV-positive patients under chiropractic care. After six months of treating spinal misalignment, the group receiving the chiropractic treatment showed a 48 percent increase in white blood cell counts. Conversely, the group that did not receive chiropractic manipulation experienced a 7.96 percent decrease in immunity cells.

Time—and more studies—will show whether chiropractic treatment is a necessary addition to your immune system's arsenal. Lilian Garcia, however, has all the proof she needs. "I see my chiropractor every week," she says, "and there's no way I'm going to stop."

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