The Meric System: Does it Pass the Test?
I’ve had an interesting topic cross my path on two different occasions within the last month. As usual, when that happens, I take notice.
This time around the topic is The Meric System. Now, I might ruffle a feather or two on this one, but onward I go! What is the Meric System? Simply put it is a chart that claims to correlate vertebral subluxations with areas and parts of the body and possible symptoms (see below)
While some of the correlations make sense from a musculoskeletal perspective, it’s all of the visceral correlations that come into question.
My first encounter with the chart was at a Mastermind Meeting with other manual therapists. This topic was brought up to be discussed. None of the practitioners used the system nor felt it was accurate. I went onto Pubmed and could find no published reference on the Meric System whatsoever. I left it at that.
However, quite recently, I came across a newly (2021… but that’s still ‘new’) published paper.
Côté P, Hartvigsen J, Axén I, et al. The global summit on the efficacy and effectiveness of spinal manipulative therapy for the prevention and treatment of non-musculoskeletal disorders: a systematic review of the literature. Chiropr Man Therap. 2021 Feb 17;29(1):8.
What is the gist of the paper?
On September 14-15, 2019, in Toronto, Canada, 50 researchers from 8 countries and 28 observers from 18 chiropractic organizations met in a Global Summit to determine the efficacy and effectiveness of spinal manipulative therapy for the primary, secondary and tertiary prevention of non-musculoskeletal disorders. Here is their conclusion:
“Our systematic review included six randomized clinical trials (534 participants) of acceptable or high quality investigating the efficacy or effectiveness of SMT [Spinal Manipulative Therapy] for the treatment of non-musculoskeletal disorders. We found no evidence of an effect of SMT for the management of non-musculoskeletal disorders including infantile colic, childhood asthma, hypertension, primary dysmenorrheal, and migraine. This finding challenges the validity of the theory that treating spinal dysfunctions with SMT has a physiological effect on organs and their function. Governments, payers, regulators, educators and clinicians should consider this evidence when developing policies about the use and reimbursement of SMT for non-musculoskeletal disorders.”
It should be noted that six of 50 participants (12%) in the Global Summit did not approve the final report.
Why do you care?
1) I think it’s important that we all strive towards Evidence Informed practice.
2) Simply to know.
3) IF you meet with the argument that your manipulation / mobilization of the animal spine might inadvertently ‘mask’ a visceral disorder (and therefore should not be allowed to perform such treatment unless you are a veterinarian), then this paper dispels that myth as well. (Yes, I’ve heard this argument!)
I hope you find this useful!