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Chiropractors told to remove posts claiming their methods boost immune system and prevent COVID-19

Chiropractors told to remove posts claiming their methods boost immune system and prevent COVID-19

Mar 31, 2020

Ottawa (Canada), Mar 31: There's no scientific evidence that chiropractic care can boost your immune system, but that hasn't stopped some chiropractors from touting the practice as a tool to prevent infection from the novel coronavirus that has caused the COVID-19 pandemic.
The problem is so widespread that one Ontario man has filed at least 34 complaints against chiropractic clinics in the province alone in the past few weeks.
"As soon as there is public fear to exploit, these practitioners are really quick to get on message and promote this type of misinformation for their own profit," said Ryan Armstrong, who runs an independent non-profit called Bad Science Watch.
He provided CBC News with copies of 34 complaints he recently filed with the College of Chiropractors of Ontario, along with the posts that triggered his complaints.
In one video Armstrong had captured, three practitioners stand in front of a whiteboard with the word "Coronavirus" on top and the words "Boost your immune system" underneath. During the video, they talk about coronavirus and the need to boost your immune system through chiropractic care.
On Wednesday, the College of Chiropractors of Ontario (CCO) said it has sent 54 cease and desist letters to practitioners since March 2. According to a statement from Dr. Dennis Mizel, the president of the college, the college had sent the letters "within hours of receiving information about potential inappropriate claims for the benefits of chiropractic."
Third-party content
A different Facebook post that Armstrong shared with CBC News reads, "Covid-19? Now is the best time to see your Chiropractor! Spinal adjustments have been shown to boost your immune function."
The post was from Erin Mills Optimum Health, a chain of four clinics in the Greater Toronto Area, and it has since been removed from Facebook.
In an email to CBC News, Dr. Ken Peever, a spokesman for the clinic, claimed the clinic did not knowingly place the post on their Facebook page. He said the first they heard of it was when the CCO sent a cease and desist letter on March 16.
Peever said the clinic uses a third party to provide "monthly in-house newsletters and occasional social media posts" and that the clinic had never previously had an issue with this third party.
"I assume that this third party had already received feedback about this particular post from other clinics that it services and it removed the post," Peever wrote.
He did not provide the name of the third party that posted the content.
Governing bodies issue warnings
Across the country, provincial governing bodies have issued warnings to their members not to spread misinformation about chiropractic care and COVID-19.
The College of Chiropractors of B.C., the Alberta College and Association of Chiropractors, the Manitoba Chiropractors Association and L'Ordre des chiropraticiens du Quebec have all put out statements in the last week or so.
Nationally, the Canadian Chiropractic Association has also warned members about making unsubstantiated claims.
"We would be remiss to ignore the rise of misinformation at this difficult time. While we firmly believe in the efficacy and benefits of chiropractic care in supporting the health of Canadians, there is no scientific evidence that supports claims of a meaningful boost in immune function from chiropractic adjustments," the association wrote in a post from March 16.
'No evidence to support that'
Tim Caulfield is used to critically examining health claims with dubious merit.
He is the Canada Research Chair in Health Law and Policy and a professor at the University of Alberta, as well as the author of several books, including Is Gwyneth Paltrow Wrong About Everything?: When Celebrity Culture and Science Clash.
Source: CBC News