Research: chiropractic and creative thinking

Honestly, people don’t usually show up our office complaining about a lack of creativity! Maybe with the study discussed below that might just change. Makes sense to me: Chiropractic removes stress on the nervous system. Less stress means more capacity for higher functioning activities such as creativity.

A recent study reported in the Chiropractic Journal of Australia has found that chiropractic adjustments may enhance creativity and divergent thinking. Ten subjects between 10 and 62 years of age were assessed for spinal subluxation and adjusted . The majority of subjects received both cervical and thoracic adjustments; but some also received cranial, jaw, upper extremity, and lumbar adjustments as well.

The main outcome measure was performance on the ‘alternate uses test’ both before and immediately following one treatment session. The majority of the subjects were found to have enhanced scores on the post-administered test indicating a short-term improvement in creativity.

Mechanisms for the improved cognition identified in this pilot project remain speculative but a number of possibilities exist including: reduced anxiety and emotional stressors, enhanced blood flow to specific regions of the brain with mild ischemia (so called ischemic penumbra), etc.

This line of research would seem to be sorely needed in the chiropractic profession today with many in the ranks standing on the verge of throwing in the towel or conceding that the adjustment is only good for transient improvements in a few pain syndromes. Historically in chiropractic, subluxation was thought to be linked to interference with the nervous system’s ability to function—Creativity of the mind would seem to be a primary component ‘of the nervous system’s functional capacity’.

Future studies will need to test this study’s findings with more rigorous methods including control groups matched for age, occupation, social class (and other variables), draw upon larger samples and include longevity of the results.


1)Masarsky CS, Todres-Masarsky M. Effect of a single chiropractic adjustment on divergent thinking and creative output: a pilot study, Part 1. Chiropr J Aust 2010;40:57-62.