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That isn’t my title. It is the title of a post by Richard Lanigan, with whom I’ve been corresponding. He has a major grudge against the General Chiropractic Council. And in particular he is disaffected about the GCC’s chair, Peter Dixon, about whom he has written a lot, I can’t judge the details of his complaints, but they are laid out in detail on his blog, http://chiropracticlive.com/

Particular interest attaches to his recent revelation of a letter that was sent on July 8th to its members by the McTimoney Chiropractic Association. The McTimoney sect of chiropractic are the ‘true believers’ in the most mystical codswallop aspects of the subject. Oddly enough their College has been validated by the University of Wales, I’ve put in a Freedom of Information Act reguest to the University of Wales to see how that happened. Watch this space.

My interpretation of this letter is that it is as near as you can get to an admission, by chiropractors themselves, that many chiropractors make claims that are against the law. And worse still, that the McTimoney Chiropractic Assocation is well aware of that.

News travels fasts in the blogosphere. This item has already appeared today on The Quackometer, The Lay Scientist and Gimpy and on Zeno’s blog. Let’s hope that the news spreads far and wide.

Date: 8 June 2009 09:12:18 BDT


Dear Member

If you are reading this, we assume you have also read the urgent email we sent you last Friday.  If you did not read it, READ IT VERY CAREFULLY NOW and  – this is most important – ACT ON IT.  This is not scaremongering.  We judge this to be a real threat to you and your practice.

Because of what we consider to be a witch hunt against chiropractors, we are now issuing the following advice:

The target of the campaigners is now any claims for treatment that cannot be substantiated with chiropractic research.  The safest thing for everyone to do is as follows.

  1. If you have a website, take it down NOW.

When you have done that, please let us know preferably by email or by phone. This will save our valuable time chasing you to see whether it has been done.

  1. REMOVE all the blue MCA patient information leaflets, or any patient information leaflets of your own that state you treat whiplash, colic or other childhood problems in your clinic or at any other site where they might be displayed with your contact details on them.  DO NOT USE them until further notice. The MCA are working on an interim replacement leaflet which will be sent to you shortly.
  1. If you have not done so already, enter your name followed by the word ‘chiropractor’ into a search engine such as Google (e.g. Joe Bloggs chiropractor) and you will be able to ascertain what information about you is in the public domain e.g. where you might be listed using the Doctor title or where you might be linked with a website which might implicate you. We have found that even if you do not have a website yourself you may still have been linked inadvertently to a website listing you or your services.




  1. If you use business cards or other stationery using the ‘doctor’ title and it does not clearly state that you are a doctor of chiropractic or that you are not a registered medical practitioner, STOP USING THEM immediately.

5.   Be wary of ‘mystery shopper’ phone calls and ‘drop ins’ to your practice, especially if they start asking about your care of children, or whiplash, or your evidence base for practice.



Although this advice may seem extreme or alarmist, its purpose is to protect you.  The campaigners have a target of making a complaint against every chiropractor in the UK who they perceive to be in breach of the GCC’s CoP, the Advertising Standards Code and/or Trading Standards.  We have discovered that complaints against more than 500 individual chiropractors have been sent to the GCC in the last 24 hours.

Whatever you do, do not ignore this email and make yourself one of the victims. Some of our members have not followed our earlier advice and now have complaints made against them.  We do not want that to happen to you.

Even if you do not have a website, you are still at risk. Our latest information suggests that this group are now going through Yellow Pages entries. Be in no doubt, their intention is to scrutinise every single chiropractor in the UK.

The MCA Executive has worked tirelessly over the last week keeping abreast of development and contacting at risk members.  We have decided that this is our best course of action to protect you and the Association at this time of heightened tension.  This advice is given to you solely to protect you from what we believe is a concerted campaign, and does not imply any wrongdoing on your part or the part of the Association.  We believe that our best course of action is simply to withdraw from the battleground until this latest wave of targeting is over.

Finally, we strongly suggest you do NOT discuss this with others, especially patients, Firstly it would not be ethical to burden patients with this, though if they ask we hope you now have information with which you can respond.

Most importantly, this email and all correspondence from the MCA is confidential advice to MCA members alone, and should not be shared with anyone else.    

Please be aware that the office phone lines are likely to be busy, so, if you need our help, please send an email to the office and we will get back to you as soon as we can.


Berni Martin

MCA Chair.

Best wishes,


Nicki Choules-Rowe

Administrative Officer – Executive Liaison

McTimoney Chiropractic Association

Crowmarsh Gifford

Wallingford OX10 8DJ

Tel : 01491 829494


free debate


The deleted pages are here. Thanks again to quackometer, here is where you can see the pages that might have been taken down as a result of McTimoney’s letter. I hope they won’t grumble. Really, they sjould never have put them up if they weren’t true, should they?.

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21 Responses to The McTimoney Chiropractic Association would seem to believe that chiropractic is “bogus”

  • […] DC ‘If’ by Rudyard Kipling […]

  • michaelgrayer says:

    The final paragraph of Richard Lanigan’s blog post is interesting:

    The current leadership never had the courage of their apparent convictions and have little to offer chiropractic, they should bring back Tony Gilmore, Dana Greene et al. Christina Cunliffe flirtation with the biomedical model is going to end in tears. My clinic is http://www.parkclinic.info I will not be taking it down because I have not made any false claims.

    (emphasis added)

    Let’s have a look at that website shall we…

    Humans have evolved from hunter gatherers, however since the 1950s our lifestyle has become increasingly sedentary. Our spines have not had time to adapt in this minute period of evolution, resulting in a huge increase in health problems such as back and leg pain, sciatica, headaches and migraines, neck shoulder and arm pain, pins and needles, whiplash, poor posture. Sports and trauma injuries, degenerative problems like arthritis in an ageing population also contribute to these pain syndromes. Babies and children can benefit from chiropractic, osteopathy and spinal health care as conditions like colic, ear infection, asthma can be caused by spinal nerve irritation. Back, limb pain and headaches have resulted in a huge increase in the pain and anti-inflammatory medication people are taking which have side effects. In addition “bad backs” have led to other health problems, particularly obesity which is a major threat to public health. These people are caught in a vicious cycle having developed back problems, unable to exercise they gain weight and are susceptible to diabetes and heart disease. Chiropractic treatment can help these people.

    (emphasis added)

    Following the links citing the “evidence” for chiropractic being an effective treatment for the various childhood conditions boasted about yields (surprise surprise) the usual batch of “abracadabra/alleluia!” case studies, uncontrolled trials, poorly randomized trials, and unblinded trials, most of which are published in the various print- and web-comics that Chiropractors write themselves.

  • […] Dr.Coloquhoun’s Improbable Science blog covers the story and offers the interesting thought that the letter might be “as near as you can get to an admission that many chiropractors meake claims that are against the law”. […]

  • phayes says:

    “Because of what we consider to be a witch hunt against chiropractors…”

    Well… yes! 😀

  • Sili says:

    500 reports in 24 hours? Awesome. Glad to hear this is working for you.

    Sounds like this email will be a help to Singh’s barristers.

  • Muscleman says:

    Let us use my larger scales . . .

  • Muscleman says:


    No, unfortunately it will be no help to Simon Singh’s case since he is being sued by the BCA, not the MCA.

  • […] er ellers et fabelaktig brev. Les det og se analyser flere […]

  • […] Science; Quackometer; Gimpyblog; Thinking is Dangerous; Improbable Science; and Zeno have all provided us with their take on the situation. Meanwhile, Yaxu has a pretty […]

  • Sili says:

    And the MCA and BCA are completely non-overlapping organisations? It must certainly help to prove that the profession as a whole has bad eggs.

  • […] never heard of the McTimoney Chiropractic Association before today, but you can guess their general purpose from the name. And, in fact, that […]

  • Mojo says:

    Hey, this sounds familiar:

    5. Be wary of ‘mystery shopper’ phone calls and ‘drop ins’ to your practice, especially if they start asking about your care of children, or whiplash, or your evidence base for practice.

    Didn’t the SoH issue a similar warning a couple of years back?

    “The Society is urging its members to be cautious when responding to phone calls and e-mails following reports of enquirers appearing to be trying to catch out homeopaths”


  • […] Zeno’s Blog: McTimoney Chiropractic Association Quackometer: McTimoney Chiropractic Association Lay Scientist: McTimoney Chiropractic Association Chiropracticlive: McTimoney Chiropractic Association – rumoured to have leaked the email. Gimpy Blog: McTimoney Chiropractic Association DC’s Improbable Science: McTimoney Chiropractic Association […]

  • tandmpayne says:

    This bit struck me as particularly dim: “Although this advice may seem extreme or alarmist, its purpose is to protect you.” Not worried about misleading the patients, then.

  • […] retreat In a very slick move, a chiropractic association are entreating their members to withdraw most of the claims about chiropractic from their literature and web sites. In other good news there appear to be over 500 complaints under the advertising standards or […]

  • […] The McTimoney Chiropractic Association would seem to believe that chiropractic is “bogus” […]

  • Dudeistan says:

    I think you’ve hit the nail on the head.

  • […] The McTimoney Chiropractic Association would seem to believe that chiropractic is “bogus” […]

  • […] by an equally incompetent, or perhaps I should say bogus, procedure. More details can be found at The McTimoney Chiropractic Association would seem to believe that chiropractic is “bogus”, and in a later post, Not much Freedom of Information at University of Wales, University of […]

  • […] The McTimoney Chiropractic Association would seem to believe that chiropractic is “bogus” in 2009, and, especially, […]

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