A Melbourne chiropractor has been slammed for his treatment of children after a video of him hanging a two-week-old baby boy from his ankles was launched into the spotlight.
Dr Andrew Arnold from the Cranbourne Family Chiropractic and Wellness Centre came under fire on Wednesday for a “distressing” video published on the company’s Facebook page in August last year.
The post, which has since been deleted, shows the doctor treating an infant, by manipulating the baby’s hips, collarbone and back, and using a spring-loaded device on the child’s neck. However, what is most shocking to some is when Arnold hangs the infant upside down by his ankles.
Throughout the video the newborn can be heard screaming while Arnold performs the techniques as the doctor calmly says: “He’s going to squark a bit”.
Victorian Health Minister Jenny Mikakos has since labelled the treatment as “unacceptable” and called on the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) to step in.
“The Chiropractic Board of Australia must condemn this practice as unprofessional and unacceptable and the AHPRA must act quickly to stop these rogue practitioners in their tracks,” she told 9 News.
“This vision is deeply disturbing. Newborn babies are extremely fragile and it’s important to be aware that damage done to an infant may not be obvious immediately and may not manifest until years later.”
Addressing the public’s concerns, the Chiropractic Board of Australia claimed they have knowledge of the video and are looking into it.
“We are aware of the videos and the concerns that have been raised about them and the Board is assessing these concerns,” a spokesperson told Starts at 60.
“The Board has made a strong statement about the care of children and has written to every chiropractor in Australia to warn them to comply with their professional and ethical obligations, which are clearly outlined in the Board’s Code of conduct for chiropractors.”
On top of this the the spokesperson said the board has taken action in the past against chiropractors across the country.
“The Board has acted against chiropractors who fail to meet their obligations by limiting their registration when they fail to meet the expected standards,” they added. “The Board is always concerned if there are any chiropractors not practicing in accordance with these obligations and welcome advice about such practitioners.”
Meanwhile, Today medical expert Dr Penny Adams claimed there is no evidence to suggest that treatment of this kind is beneficial to babies in any way.
“If you look at the position statement from the Royal Australian College of Physicians … there is no evidence for this so-called malalignment of the spine,” she said on the morning show on Wednesday.
“If you look at the Cochrane organisation based in the UK that analyses health data worldwide, they say that the studies for chiropractic treatment in newborn infants are limited and of poor quality, but there is no evidence that they do anything.
Adams added that while the footage to some may seem disturbing, she’s not worried the baby is being harmed but more that the cause behind the baby’s health issues may go unnoticed.
“I’m more worried that if you’ve got a baby that’s unsettled you might by going to the chiropractor and having unnecessary expensive treatment that has no proven benefit, you might miss the underlying cause,” she claimed.
“And some of the claims that he (Arnold) makes in the video that he’s releasing valves.. there are no such valves, and he talks about pumping cerebrospinal fluid from the bottom of the baby, you don’t need to do that. I’m not so much worried that he’s hurting the baby but that it’s a waste of time and money.”
Experts weren’t the only ones to weigh in on the debate with many Australians taking to social media to express their views. While some claimed it was “horrifying” to watch, others defended the doctor, saying their own children have received similar treatment in the past and are perfectly fine.
“Both of my kids had this treatment. It helped them tremendously. The chiro knows what he is doing,” one person wrote on Facebook.
“Doubt he is hurting the child. Lots of people take babies to the kiddy chiropractor,” another added.
While a third said: “There is nothing difficult about watching this. It’s a professional adjusting an infant using safe techniques”.
Starts at 60 has reached out to Cranbourne Family Chiropractic and Wellness Centre for comment.