Comparisons between the chiropractic paradigm and systems science are developed based on historical facts, similarity of theories, constructive developmental models, multiple perspectives, and the various ways systems science has impacted chiropractic subluxation theory. Over the course of chiropractic’s first hundred years several theories developed, which viewed the organism from a systems viewpoint. Three chiropractic paradigms are defined based on deep and flat holism. The vertebral subluxation was viewed by many in terms of deep holism, which included its neurological impact on the organism’s ability to adapt to the environment on multiple levels of complexity. One way that chiropractors from the 1930s to the 1980s integrated systems views was through integrating Speransky’s neurodystrophic theory. Speranskian Subluxation Theory is proposed as one way to distinguish systems approaches to chiropractic. Recent models of chiropractic analysis and application such as Newell’s spine attractor model, Epstein’s spinal and neural integrity model, and Brown’s spine and chaos model are described. Current practices to assess for multiple levels of subluxation detection are suggested as part of a wider systems view of chiropractic for modern practice.
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