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Dynamic Chiropractic Canada – March 1, 2009, Vol. 02, Issue 02
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Koren Specific Technique Not Chiropractic?

WFC leads opposition to Koren seminar series.

By Editorial Staff

Dr. Tedd Koren is well-known in the profession as the developer of Koren Specific Technique (KST), which he teaches in various countries around the world. His decision to teach the technique to German non-chiropractors in June 2007 caught the attention of the World Federation of Chiropractic (WFC). The organization ultimately sanctioned Dr. Koren after several requests to cancel his Berlin seminar.1 In 2008, Dr. Koren again scheduled a seminar to teach his KST in Berlin on Oct. 24-26. The current WFC president, Dr. Stathis Papadopoulos, wrote letters to Dr. Koren asking him to refrain from teaching the course. The WFC presented its "major concerns with your proposed seminar" in a letter dated Oct. 15, 2008:2

  1. It is being offered in partnership with the illegitimate Berlin School of Chiropractic which, as you know from complaints made when you gave a similar seminar in June 2007, has no qualified chiropractors on staff, is commercializing low-quality and unaccredited training in chiropractic, and is strenuously opposed by the European chiropractic profession. The Berlin School is able to operate because there is no law to regulate chiropractic education or practice in Germany.
  2. Your seminar is being offered to non chiropractors - lay practitioners or heilpraktikers, many of whom will go on to claim they are practicing chiropractic. Further, they will be free to teach chiropractic technique in seminars like yours. Past international experience suggests that some will do so, particularly given the large financial returns possible.
  3. Your seminar is clearly marketed as chiropractic - "professional, low-risk chiropractic from the USA."
  4. There is the suggestion that chiropractic and osteopathy are the same thing.

In its letter, the WFC went on to note: "The position of the World Federation of Chiropractic is that your current and proposed activities with respect to delivery of seminars in Germany and elsewhere in Europe represent serious professional misconduct. First, it is clearly against the public interest, encouraging persons without adequate chiropractic training to offer and seek to provide chiropractic services. Second, it is against the interests of the profession, undermining its reputation particularly in Germany, and its continued efforts to gain public confidence and legislative recognition throughout Europe."

Soon thereafter, the European chiropractic community joined the WFC in its opposition the Koren seminar series, seeking assistance from chiropractors in North America and elsewhere, as explained in the following "Open Letter to Our North American Colleagues and Friends"  authored by Philippe Druart, DC, president of the European Chiropractors' Union, in late 2008:

"Last year, and now again in October this year, the American chiropractor Dr. Tedd Koren has taught his Koren Specific Technique to non-chiropractors in Germany, with his seminar marketed as 'gentle North American chiropractic.' These non-chiropractors then claim to be practicing chiropractic, and some openly call themselves chiropractors or use the initials DC. All this is possible because there is not yet law to regulate the practice of chiropractic in Germany.

"The European Chiropractors' Union has spent many years supporting its colleagues in Germany (and other European countries) that, as yet, have no law regulating the practise of chiropractic in their country. We will not stand by and see one man 'thumb his nose' at bona fide German chiropractors in a self-interested effort to make money by peddling a technique seminar to non-chiropractors.

"Dr. Koren has acted despite clear explanations from the German Chiropractors' Association, representing qualified DCs in Germany; the European Chiropractors' Union, representing the profession in Europe; and the World Federation of Chiropractic that this is a betrayal of chiropractic that will greatly set back the development of the profession in Europe.

"In the past, other American DCs have understood our explanations and position in Europe and stopped giving such courses. We believe Dr. Koren has simply decided to put his financial interests before the interests of patients and the profession. Therefore, with this letter we ask you to say no to Dr. Koren. If he will not respect his colleagues and his profession, please decide now not to support his seminars and activities. We know you share our passion for chiropractic. Say no to Dr. Koren. We thank you in anticipation for this."

In addition to the above, similar letters were released by the Association Française de Chiropractique, Belgian Chiropractors' Union, British Chiropractic Association, Chiropractic Association of Ireland, Finnish Chiropractic Union, German Chiropractors' Association, Hellenic (Greek) Chiropractors' Association, Netherlands Chiropractors' Association, Norwegian Chiropractors´ Association, and Swedish Chiropractic Association.3

Dr. Koren has already responded to the issues raised by the World Federation of Chiropractic and European chiropractic associations regarding his KST seminars reportedly being taught to unlicensed individuals.4 In an exclusive e-mail interview, Dr. Koren answered questions regarding the recent action by the ECU and its member chiropractic associations. Unfortunately, Dr. Koren's responses to the following five questions, plus his rather lengthy introduction, are too substantial to be reproduced in print in their entirety. In the interest of space, his introduction and the supporting elements to his answers to question #2 have been omitted from this article. Dr. Koren's entire interview response is available online.5

DC: The letter from Dr. Druart suggests that you are putting your "financial interests before the interests of patients and the profession." The amount that we have heard suggests that you have been paid more than $40,000 for giving your most recent seminar in Berlin. For the record, how much were you paid for your most recent 2008 Berlin seminar(s) and how do you respond to Dr. Druart's statement?

TK: I make about 15% of revenue over expenses on a seminar and run about one seminar a month. Our seminars are unlike most others in that we provide one-on-one mentor instruction, meals and lifetime support. They are very expensive to produce. If I made more I would give more seminars. However, each time you write about this issue the demand for KST seminars grow.

DC: In his letter, Dr. Druart asks the profession to "say no to Dr Koren." What response do you have to this request?

TK: "Say yes to Dr. Koren!" Here's why: 1. KST is good for patients. More people are being helped than ever before. 2. KST is good for practitioners. We are fulfilling the promise of chiropractic. 3. KST is good for chiropractic - our profession needs help. KST can help increase chiropractic's effectiveness and popularity. 4. Increased revenue - KST is good for the chiropractic profession. 5. It's good for lay people to come to KST seminars. 6. It's good for the public health. 

DC: You have previously stated, "KST can even be used on oneself and can be used by lay people (as AK is taught to lay people, as demonstrated in the book Touch for Health, and BodyTalk is taught to lay people). Surely I am not the only chiropractor to teach methods for public or lay use." This and similar statements have some U.S. doctors concerned that you have or will give KST seminars to non-DCs in the United States. Have you? If so, when and to whom? Do you plan to? If not, how can DCs be sure you won't in the future? (No response to this question from Dr. Koren.)

DC: Have you conducted seminars similar to your Berlin seminar in any other part of the world where the attendees were not licensed DCs?

TK: As I have repeatedly stated, KST is a protocol (emphasis added) chiropractors and other health professionals can use to assist patients in improving their health and well-being which does not require chiropractic training to be used effectively. For this reason, any licensed health practitioners are welcome at my seminars. DCs MDs, osteopaths, dentists, nutritionists, optometrists, naturopaths, CranioSacral therapists, orthopedic surgeons, herbalists, specialists in Chinese medicine, acupuncture, and psychologists have attended my seminars both in the U.S. and Europe.

DC: Do you plan to conduct any more seminars in Berlin or anywhere else in the world where the attendees need not be licensed doctors of chiropractic?

TK: My 2009 seminar schedule is posted on my Web site. If I were invited to present seminars where non-DCs are in attendance, I would, for the reasons set out above and time permitting, accept such invitations.

Assuming KST is not a chiropractic technique begs obvious questions. Does it still fit into the chiropractic scope of practice of all states? Should DCs be providing it to their patients, or is it a non-chiropractic technique DCs should be teaching to patients to perform on themselves?

Since KST appears to require the purchase of adjusting equipment and assuming all KST seminar "graduates" can purchase the equipment, are seminars to lay people designed to sell this equipment to a larger market? And since the use of KST by lay people assumes a diagnosis/analysis and use of the equipment, doesn't this essentially eliminate the need for DCs in the minds of lay persons who can use KST on family, friends and co-workers? What's to keep lay "graduates"from teaching KST to other lay people?

There is clearly a line between what a DC is qualified to do and what lay consumers should do for themselves. DCs will have to wonder if KST hasn't crossed that line at the expense of both the profession and the patient.

References

  1. "In Defense of Legitimate Chiropractic." DC, Aug. 13, 2007. www.dynamicchiropractic.com/mpacms/dc/article.php?id=52290.
  2. Letter to Dr. Koren from the WFC, Oct. 15, 2008. www.dynamicchiropractic.com/koren.
  3. Complete letters from the ECU and the 10 chiropractic associations are available at www.dynamicchiropractic.com/EuropeSaysNotoKoren.
  4. Dr. Koren's e-mail response to Dynamic Chiropractic regarding his 2007 seminar, July 23, 2007. www.dynamicchiropractic.com/koren.
  5. Dr. Koren's e-mail interview with Dynamic Chiropractic, Jan. 13, 2009. www.dynamicchiropractic.com/EuropeSaysNotoKoren.

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