This year we have seen an exceptionally high number of flu cases, including deaths. Exactly 100 years ago, during the winter of 1917-1918, the world experienced an epidemic much worse than usual as well. The best estimates say that there were approximately 100 million deaths around the world due to the flu, with 500,000 of them being here in America.
Back then medical science knew almost nothing about how to care for the victims. There were no drugs to use for prevention or treatment. At that time chiropractic was just an emerging science, but since traditional methods of care were not effective, many chiropractors were called into service to help with the epidemic. They saw some amazing statistics:
Flu Treated with Medical Care vs. Chiropractic
In the state of Iowa, medical doctors treated 93,590 people for the flu. Out of those, 6116 died—or 1 in 15. Also in Iowa, excluding the city of Davenport, chiropractors treated 4,735 people. Of those, only 6 died–or 1 in 789.
In New York City, out of every 10,000 treated medically for the flu, 950 died. For every 10,000 treated for pneumonia, 6400 died. In the same city, out of every 10,000 who were treated with chiropractic care, only 25 flu victims died, and only 100 pneumonia victims died. Medical doctors lost 1 in 10 patients; chiropractors only lost 1 in 400 patients.
How Chiropractic Helps with the Flu
A very important part of keeping our immunity strong is the lymphatic system. It consists of a network of lymph nodes, ducts and vessels that move the lymph (a fluid made of white blood cells and chyle) from various parts of the body into the bloodstream. The lymph nodes are responsible for making immune cells which help to fight infections.The better the lymph is able to travel through the body, the more it is able to carry the infection-fighting cells to every part.
The lymphatic system is connected to both the central nervous system and the musculoskeletal system. A chiropractic adjustment helps the central nervous system by removing subluxations which prevent proper communication throughout the body. The musculoskeletal system transports the lymph through the body as we move and contract our muscles. Adjustments allow for more movement in the muscles, which increases movement of the lymph.
Today we have much better knowledge of how to prevent and care for the flu through medical means. However, even without drugs, the statistics above show that chiropractic care can make a huge difference in keeping our bodies resilient through a bad flu year—no matter which strain is prevalent!