Professional Developments in Chiropractic: Asia Pacific Chiropractic Doctors’ Federation (APCDF)

Since its inception, the APCDF has been committed to legislation, education, health promotion and research. At the moment as of this writing, the APCDF is itself in its early or pioneer stage, not yet able to financially support every one of these programs, but over time that will change.

The current President of the European Chiropractic Union, Dr. Øystein Ogre, speaking of their own early years says: “These pioneers had a vision of bringing chiropractic to the European public. They wanted to build a new health profession in Europe. In order to succeed with their vision, they realized that they had to stay united. Since then, the number of chiropractors has grown from a handful in just a few countries to around 5,000 practicing chiropractors all over Europe.”

“What are the tangible benefits of the APCDF?” A common question asked by leaders of a small association. As we have learned from the history of chiropractic in America and Canada, essential for progress was their national associations acting as cross-jurisdictional agents; and so it was with the ECU in Europe. The best future of chiropractic profession in Asia cannot only come from the few individuals that first arrive in the country to practice chiropractic. The WFC is a trade federation focused on UN related liaisons and truly International concerns of the profession. Without the APCDF there will be no collective effort at meeting the same goals and objectives that support high International standards in this region that are to be represented within the profession today.

Many colleagues who have misconceptions about what the APCDF is all about ask questions like: “What is the chiropractic philosophy of the APCDF or where does it stand on the vertebral subluxation?” The APCDF is not a club that debates philosophy, academic or professional issues. It is a federation of Asia and Pacific Islands’ national chiropractic associations, committed to improving the status of the chiropractic profession by fighting to secure the rights for chiropractors to practice at their very best within their jurisdiction. This means to promote proper legislation, more chiropractic schools, public health promotion and more local research are recommended in each country in the region.

Other areas the APCDF can assist in are new chiropractic programs on quality assurance systems and helping to partner consulting institutions, ongoing involvement in the Consortium of Chiropractic Institution – Australasia, and the CCEA as umbrella organisations for all higher learning in Asia.

Could all of this have been done by a single national association or alternatively by the World Federation of Chiropractic? The only organisation best positioned to expand the profession in Asia and the Pacific is the APCDF. The APCDF may not directly bring more patients into private practices (although legal rights and public recognition does result in greater public utilization). It’s about creating and strengthening a profession in Asia. It’s about bringing the services of a quality chiropractic profession to the Asia and Pacific public. And it is about securing the legislative rights of our highly qualified members to practice freely and in the best interests of the public as they offer their special skills.

Weak support of the APCDF threatens the very existence of our profession in Asia as we know it in the long run. There is much yet to be done but united we are stronger. Strong support means that we increase our chances of securing chiropractic in fledgling countries and where it hardly exists at all. Strong support of the APCDF also means that the profession can attract many to enter the profession so that they may succeed as chiropractors in the future. Asia can be like a box of snakes with risks and pitfalls in many places leaving a small national association to struggle for decades with limited progress.

There are two countries in the Asia Pacific region that have everything when it comes to laws, regulations and schools – Australia and New Zealand… while other countries have little to nothing. Chiropractic is a household word in some countries but through out Asia the mention of chiropractic produces a look of complete confusion and bewilderment.

Success in chiropractic for those countries we admire have worked tirelessly for many years to build strong national associations. Once all rights and privileges are acquired in Asia, these countries can participate even more in the APCDF. Smaller country associations want to see the results of their annual investment of members’ dues but they fail to see that their money is a small part of the APCDF matched by a commitment of more developed countries and some benefactors for the entire region to succeed.

One of the key strengths of the profession in Asia is the diversity within the profession and growing respect of each other’s differences. However, when it comes to the external presentation of chiropractic in Asia, unity must be preserved.