"Would BJ Palmer have worn a mask?"

Clarifying my statements on the recent Chiro Inspired Podcast

Richard Ledda interviewed me recently on the Chiro Inspired Podcast (my second time) and we spoke briefly about wearing masks. Subsequently, I’ve had a few lively discussions on Facebook with my fellow chiropractors so I figured I’d collect all my thoughts on the matter here.

Here’s the short version:

  1. Chiropractors shouldn’t be taking anti-mask stances right now on social media.

  2. Masks are a sanitary practice, like hand washing, they are not perfect but they may help a little.

  3. More importantly, they allow the public to feel safe in your office and allow you to keep your doors open for the people that need it most.

The long version follows below.


People want to feel safe in your business. You want your business to stay open. Right now, wearing a mask will allow both to happen.

Chiropractors need to scale down the anti-mask rhetoric. We should not be fighting an anti-mask battle during a pandemic. It’s a bad look and the public will think you are nuts.

I will concede the point that the science is somewhat fuzzy on masks (as are most things pandemic these days), but their effectiveness is NOT zero, or even dangerous, as some have suggested. This is a bad interpretation of the data. Confirmation bias and cognitive dissonance are likely at play whenever someone cites anti-mask research without considering pro-mask research.

My argument isn’t necessarily for every chiropractor to stay quiet on all things natural health and not rock the boat ever again, I’m simply suggesting we pick our battles better. Maybe it’s hard for chiropractors to hear, but I see a lot of passion and rhetoric about masks, vaccines, politics, microchips, Q-Anon fantasies, and not nearly enough about chiropractic lately.

I don’t believe wearing masks will lead to the erosion of our principles and the end of everything we stand for in chiropractic. You can be an outstanding, principled chiropractor and still wear a mask in your office in order to help people feel safe, and keep your business open.

Wearing a mask does not negate the principles of chiropractic which I understand, practice, and live every day. Just like covering my mouth when I cough, changing the face paper on my tables, or washing my hands after I use the toilet. Yes, we can educate the public on natural health, and people should still wash their hands, and take vitamin d, and get adjusted, and manage their stress, and exercise, and all the good things.

And they can also wear a mask.

None of these things are 100% effective at preventing colds or cases of flu or coronas on their own, but together they work well. We should at least do what we can, and masks are low-hanging fruit that the majority of the public can do easily.

We need to look at the bigger picture here. Imagine an outbreak traced back to your office. Imagine the absolute field day the anti-chiro skeptics would have with your reputation and the chiropractic profession as a whole. Imagine if someone dies because of it? Imagine they had screenshots of your social media? The first thing they will do is check if you or your staff were wearing masks. The media won’t be kind to you or all of us as a whole.

While wearing a mask in your office might only protect you, let’s say, 1% from the virus, it will potentially make you 100% immune to that type of criticism and fallout because you were operating your business just like everyone else.

Would DD or BJ Palmer have worn a mask? Who cares? DD Palmer smoked cigars and BJ ran over his father and killed elephants for no reason. Look, we all have anecdotes to share: I have pro and anti-mask patients too. When we started wearing masks 2 weeks ago, I had good feedback from my patients. No one quit because I put one on and some returned because we did. For me, it was a small sacrifice.

I think it’s time every chiropractor put on their big boy/girl pants and do whatever it takes to keep adjusting. I suggest we go with the flow on this one and follow the mandate. Quit wasting so much time on the mask issue. People want to feel safe right now. That’s all.

If the pro wrestler Kane can defeat 29 opponents at the Royal Rumble while wearing a full face mask, we can all suck it up for a few minutes while we adjust our patients to keep them healthy and keep our doors open.

There are some chiropractors that believe wearing a mask is an outside-in approach and against the ADIO principles of chiropractic. Well, Vitamin D , Vit C, exercise, Zn, meditation, hand washing, essential oils, and yes even chiropractic adjustments (Dr. Dan Murphy has been saying DD got it wrong years ago: The chiropractic adjustment is actually outside-in and below-up from a neurological perspective) are all common outside-in approaches many chiropractors use everyday including myself. Are they violating chiropractic principles? Are they assuming their immune systems are weak? Or are we simply hedging our bets? When is a potato a pill? Intent still matters.

Do I personally want to wear a mask all the time? No, but the fact remains, there is very little downside to wearing one in the short-term, and they will help a little. Maybe a lot. Time will tell.

Call me when there are bigger fish to fry.