ATTADALE chiropractor Michael McKibbin has dedicated 50 years to a profession large swathes of the medical community still view as quackery – and he is just as passionate about dispelling that notion as he is about adjusting subluxations.
Mr McKibbin’s first encounter with chiropractic came as a patient in the early 1960s.
“After a car accident I had a constant, intense sense of being about to faint,” he said.
“Medical treatment failed to fix the issue so I went to a chiropractor who adjusted my spine and the sensation disappeared immediately,” he said.
An instant convert, Mr McKibbin travelled to Iowa in the USA to learn the profession.
“I arrived towards the end of an era during which the American medical profession was trying to prevent chiropractors from obtaining registration by encouraging prosecution,” he said.
“The last state to recognise chiropractic was Louisiana and by then chiropractors had served 3300 prison sentences simply for practicing without registration.”
When Mr McKibbin returned to Perth and set up Attadale Chiropractic in 1967 only one private health insurer, Goldfield Medical Benefit, covered chiropractic.
Half a century later chiropractic is an optional inclusion in the vast majority of private health funds but remains a steadfast exclusion from Medicare.
“If you likened it to two rooms, I practice in the room called private health and I’m not permitted in the room next door called public.
“The locked door between the rooms is created by a trade barrier that was in place when I set up 50 years ago and boils down to protecting the income of pharmacy-based medicines.
“There exist mechanical problems that require mechanical solutions and the chemical solutions often prescribed can mask the symptoms but do nothing to address the root cause.”
Mr McKibbin believes the modern day popularity of chiropractic and the volume of patients through his door are a testament to the benefits of the practice.
“Just last month I was handing out leaflets down at the South Fremantle markets and I only struck one person that didn’t have a chiropractor or at least knew someone that had used a chiropractor,” he said.
“Without question patients recommend chiropractic to their friends and family and I have had thousands of referrals over the years.”