Since the birth of chiropractic in 1895, the profession has grown and advanced to become a strong evidence based primary health care profession. Here are some of the features of chiropractic in South Africa:
- No drugs or surgery
- Chiropractic is done by hand
- Treatment works with the body, not against the body
- Treatment restores normal function to joints, muscles and nerves
- Thorough 6-year Masters degree at UJ or DUT
- Two years of full, supervised clinical experience
- UJ & DUT Chiropractic programmes are fully accredited by the ECCE
- Most Chiropractors are registered with and accountable to CASA
- All Chiropractors are registered with the AHPCSA
Chiropractic is a health care discipline that emphasises the built-in self-healing properties of the body without the use of drugs or surgery. Chiropractors are primary-contact physicians who have the diagnostic skill to determine if a condition is safe to treat or if referral or co-management is needed. In line with the Hippocratic Oath, Chiropractors’ first aim is to “do no harm.” Treatment is done by hand and generally consists of well-practiced highly specialised manipulative techniques often referred to as adjustments. Such adjustments are performed by hand and consist of a high speed; low power thrust being applied to specific vertebra in the spine. Being gentle and specific, adjustments are safe and some patients can experience immediate relief as the normal joint motion is restored and nerve irritation is minimized.
The University of Johannesburg (UJ) and Durban University of Technology (DUT) offer a six year MTech Degree in Chiropractic. The first two years include a solid grounding in the general sciences after which time students are introduced to the clinically oriented subjects. At the end of the 4th year as well as in the 5th year, students are required to write and present a research project and dissertation. In the 6th year each student is required to complete an internship, which includes a variety of practical applications in both the public and private sector. Throughout the course of 5th and 6th year, students treat patients in the UJ Health Clinic (more info here) under the careful supervision of qualified Chiropractors. The UJ Department of Chiropractic was established in 1993, with the first output of graduates in 1999.
International accreditation & professional bodies
At the end of 2010, the UJ Chiropractic programme was awarded full international accreditation by the ECCE (European Council for Chiropractic Education), placing it and its qualified Chiropractors alongside respected international Chiropractic colleges and their professionals. Similarly, the DUT Chiropractic programme was awarded full international accreditation by the ECCE in 2009.
The majority of Registered Chiropractors in South Africa are members of the Chiropractic Association of South Africa (CASA), which in turn is affiliated to the World Federation of Chiropractic (WFC) and subscribes to its’ standards. CASA was instrumental in securing the original recognition of the profession attained through Act 63 of 1982 and has actively participated in further amendments leading to the Allied Health Professions Act (promoted and protected by the Allied Health Professions Council) which offers some of the finest Chiropractic laws in the world.