You may not have been aware that there are two types of chiropractor in England and Wales; McTimoney chiropractors and, well, chiropractors. In this article we explore the similarities and differences between the two. A shorter summary is available on our FAQs page.
First thing's first, it is important to clarify that by the letter of the law there are not two types of chiropractor. The Chiropractors Act (1993) requires a person to be registered with the GCC before they can be called a chiropractor, and thereafter draws no distinction.
This solves the problem of nomenclature; if there are "McTimoney Chiropractors", what does that make the rest of the chiropractic profession? Ordinary Chiropractors? Orthodox Chiropractors? Normal Chiropractors? No. Just chiropractors.
So where does the McTimoney prefix come from? What does it mean??
When you see a McTimoney Chiropractor, this means that they are a chiropractor practising the McTimoney technique. This is taught at the McTimoney College of Chiropractic in Abingdon and was originated by John McTimoney. His biography (external link) is a worthwhile read for anybody wishing to find out more about McTimoney Chiropractic.
The McTimoney technique is often described by its proponents as being gentler than that practised by mainstream chiropractors. On average, this is almost certainly true, however, it is misleading to say that this must be the case. There are a number of techniques practised by mainstream chiropractors that are very gentle, and these are used when the clinical situation requires or when the patient would prefer.
It is reasonable to ask why, in that case, more gentle techniques aren't used all of the time, and the answer is that the technique chosen is selected in light of examination findings to provide the fastest and longest lasting solution to a particular patient's complaint.
At this point it is worth noting that McTimoney chiropractors do not learn the same breadth of techniques as mainstream chiropractors unless they attend specific post-graduate seminars.
Apart from learning different treatment techniques, the education of chiropractors should be relatively similar whether they practice the McTimoney technique or not. That said, the McTimoney College of Chiropractic is the only organisation offering part-time qualifications for chiropractors and has failed to meet the conditions of GCC recognition in the past.
An essential consideration when looking for a chiropractor is whether that person is GCC registered. If they are not, then they are not a chiropractor.
Of interest, one avenue of further education particularly common amongst McTimoney Chiropractors is the application of chiropractic treatment to animals, particularly horses and dogs. This not offered at Worcester Chiropractic Clinic.