British Columbia

B.C. chiropractors warned about 'inappropriate' claims on COVID-19

A handful of B.C. chiropractors marketing supplements or spinal manipulations they suggest will build immunity to the novel coronavirus face investigation for "inappropriate" advertising.

At least 3 clinics face investigation over materials suggesting they can help 'boost' immunity

Chiropractors at three B.C. clinics face investigation for making claims that suggest they might help prevent COVID-19. (Albina Glisic/Shutterstock)

A handful of B.C. chiropractors marketing supplements or spinal manipulations they suggest will build immunity to the novel coronavirus face investigation for "inappropriate" advertising.

Chiropractors are not trained in either treating or preventing infectious disease, and there is no scientific evidence that chiropractic techniques can be used to treat infections of any kind, according to the College of Chiropractors of B.C.

But CBC has learned the college is looking into online posts and email advertisements from at least three chiropractic clinics that make claims about preventing COVID-19.

In a statement online, college registrar Michelle Da Roza says she "has become aware that some registrants are promoting treatment or supplements as a means to boost the immune system and may imply that this will prevent infection from the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Any such claims made by registrants are inappropriate."

Da Roza says any chiropractor who makes claims like this will be referred to the college's inquiry committee for investigation.

The college is already investigating a recent email from Vancouver chiropractor Michael Foran to his patients that promised "essential nutrition to protect yourself against coronavirus."

The email advertised a supplement called Immunoplex that Foran said he's selling for $29.99 per bottle of 90 capsules. Immunoplex's manufacturer describes it as "a comprehensive immune formula designed with herbs and thymus glandular extract," but does not suggest it protects against viral infection.

Foran did not reply to requests for comment. He has previously admitted to breaking the college's rules on advertising, resulting in fines and conditions on his practice in 2002.

An email from one B.C. chiropractor offers supplements for $29.99 to "protect yourself against coronavirus." (Submitted)

The college is also looking into other B.C. chiropractors who have posted information suggesting that spinal adjustments might help "boost" immunity to COVID-19.

Until Thursday, the Williams Lake clinic of chiropractor Kelly Carson addressed the outbreak in a post titled "boost your immune system with chiropractic care."

It suggested that spinal adjustments "have shown to improve immune function by correcting spinal misalignment or subluxations that cause neural dysfunction."

The post has since been removed.

Kelowna's Creative Healing clinic, home to chiropractors Elizabeth Easterling and Cheryl Joy Kalashnikoff, suggested on Facebook this week that regular chiropractic adjustments should be part of "standard hygiene practice" in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Carson, Easterling and Kalashnikoff did not respond to requests for comment.

The college says that any chiropractic patient who has questions about the novel coronavirus should be referred to a medical doctor, nurse practitioner or public health officials.

If you have a COVID-19-related story we should pursue that affects British Columbians, please email us at impact@cbc.ca.  

About the Author

Bethany Lindsay

Journalist

Bethany Lindsay is a B.C. journalist with a focus on the courts, health, science and social justice issues. Questions or news tips? Get in touch at bethany.lindsay@cbc.ca or on Twitter through @bethanylindsay.