Shock over ‘appalling’ chiro baby treatment video
EXCLUSIVE: A Melbourne chiropractor is under investigation after posting online a video of himself performing controversial spinal treatments on a two-week-old baby - including hanging the bub upside down.
The video, put up on his Cranbourne Family Chiropractic clinic's Facebook page, has also reignited calls for infant chiropractic treatments to be outlawed.
The footage shows Dr Andrew Arnold also manipulating the baby's back, hips and collarbone; using a spring-loaded device on the child's neck and spine; and repeatedly tapping on its head.
While the use of such techniques on infants is not illegal, they have proved highly divisive within the medical profession.
Victorian Health Minister Jenny Mikakos confirmed she had written to the Chiropractic Board of Australia and the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency, demanding they "take the necessary action".
"This vision is deeply disturbing - it's appalling that young children and infants are being exposed to such potential harm," she said.
"The Chiropractic Board of Australia must condemn this practice as unprofessional and unacceptable, and the AHPRA must act quickly to stop these rogue practitioners in their tracks," she said.
DO YOU THINK THIS TREATMENT IS ACCEPTABLE? HAVE YOUR SAY BELOW
The Chiropractic Board of Australia warned members it would take action against those failing to engage in safe practices when a similar video emerged in 2016.
The Herald Sun understands the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency and the Chiropractic Board have launched a confidential investigation into Dr Arnold's actions, however a spokeswoman said the regulators were prevented from discussing individual cases.
After viewing the Cranbourne video - posted on Facebook last August - the Australian Medical Association's Victorian president, Professor Julian Rait, said reviews into the research of infant spine manipulation found such treatments were not valid, while other studies found they could cause harm.
"There is no evidence of this working, which really makes this a dangerous procedure and therefore something that the medical profession would very seriously criticise," Prof Rait said.
"We would be very much alarmed if people were allowed to do this, given there is evidence of potential harm and no evidence of efficacy.
"We would condemn anyone who is engaged in this sort of practice, and would encourage the regulator to deal with them appropriately."
Cranbourne Family Chiropractic on Tuesday told the Herald Sun Dr Arnold could not be contacted in time to comment about the video.
At the beginning of the filmed consultation, a baby identified as a "two-week-old" has his legs folded into his hips until the chiropractor feels a click, when he warns the off-camera parents "don't force it, but be sort of gently firm".
Dr Arnold then briefly holds the baby upside down by its ankles to check its neck before laying it down and using an "activator" - a spring-loaded chiropractic device - to apply a gentle pulse to the baby's jawline. As the bub starts to cry, Dr Arnold warns: "He is going to squawk a bit".
As the video progresses, Dr Arnold applies another technique he claims synchronises the baby's bowels with its brain, wiggling his fingers into the baby's abdomen while tapping it on the head.
He later pushes at the base of the baby's spine, claiming to be moving the cerebrospinal fluid.
On its web page, Cranbourne Family Chiropractic states it uses "non-crack techniques" for babies, including "brain training and kinesiology".
The latest controversy comes less than two years after Parkdale chiropractor Dr Ian Rossborough was banned by AHPRA from treating infants or manipulating the spines of children under six, amid the fallout of a viral video in which he cracked the back of a visibly distressed four-day-old infant.