Chiropractic is founded on the understanding that interference to the body's nervous system can directly and negatively affect overall health and wellness. Health consequences may take the form of overt disease and medical conditions – or they may present themselves in more subtle, less easily observed ways. The spinal cord is central to the practice of chiropractic because it functions as the main pathway for the body's internal messages, signals sent by the brain to each organ, tissue and cell. When the bones of the spine are misaligned, the signals sent by the brain are interrupted – and the body has a much harder time maintaining optimal health and healing itself.
With an awareness that chiropractic health is essential for our overall wellbeing, practitioners are often compelled to give back – to help patients who for geographic or economic reasons, can not access professional chiropractic care. Because service to others is such an important concept to chiropractors, some colleges even include it in their mission statements. Chiropractic colleges often serve the community by providing quality chiropractic care for free or reduced prices and by partnering with community organizations. Colleges also serve the profession by offering continuing education programs to doctors of chiropractic and by participating in professional and educational organizations.
Doctors of chiropractic often live out their service following graduation. For example, 2001 chiropractic college graduate Marlene Mahipat practices three days a week and devotes the rest of the week to charitable endeavors. She has established two charitable foundations. Wherever she goes, even on vacation, Mahipat's compassion for others becomes evident. During her own childhood, Dr. Mahipat suffered many ills. She found healing through giving and service to others; this drives her community service.
Graduates of chiropractic training interested in using their well-trained healing hands for charitable purposes can find humanitarian projects overseas or right in their own backyards. Most cities have a range of ongoing events such as spinal screenings, health fairs and presentations, nursing home volunteer positions, and opportunities to administrator chiropractic care at local mission Shelters. Practitioners can join international organizations or build on the charitable networks that they participate in as students.
Many chiropractic training programs, like the one at Sherman College of Chiropractic, incorporated humanitarian initiatives into their education programs. Curricula and the profession's “Chiropractic Oath” reinvigorate the right of all people to optimal health care, and the critical role spinal alignment plays in our overall wellbeing. Learning first-hand the importance of giving back and the impact their skills can make, Sherman College interns regularly participate in local events including Special Olympics, Adopt-a-Highway, Kids Day America, Special Food Drives, and Lunch & Learn training programs.