When I first came to Singapore in 1992 there was only one other practice here that was established in 1978. However within a few months after I set up my practice, a business man from Hong Kong established a large chiropractic office with state of the art equipment. He hired several associates from the USA and Australia and a complete management team to run this big clinic.  Within a short time, this clinic commenced a very aggressive fax marketing campaign; something that was never done in Singapore before.  Tens of thousands of people throughout the country received advertising about their clinic.  This campaign not only brought awareness of chiropractic to many Singaporean citizens but government officials as well.  Unfortunately these faxes also riled the medical community as at that time all registered health care practitioners were prohibited from doing any advertising of their services. This single event had a huge impact upon the fledgling chiropractic profession and set the tone for its future development.

The Chiropractic Association (Singapore) was a small organization back then with only a hand full of members.  As a group we decided to follow the current advertising standards of the medical profession so we were also at odds with this fax campaign.  We tried to communicate with this clinic though the associates of the practice were prohibited by their management to discuss their policies as well as to join our association. This was the first major division in our profession in Singapore.  We now had two groups of chiropractors, members and non-members. During the next few years, several Singaporeans returned from their chiropractic education abroad and there was a slow but steady growth of the profession. Almost all of these practitioners became association members.

However in the late 90’s things were about to change as many practices were set up by non-Singaporeans chiropractors with the goal of bringing chiropractic to the mass market.  They set up booths in shopping malls with the intent of doing education and screenings in order to sell big packages of treatment. This type of promotion was never done in Singapore before and once again caused uproar in the health care community.  Several Orthopedic specialists and general practitioners who I knew called me and asked what is going on with your profession?  They were now getting people in their offices for second opinions asking them about subluxations and why they needed 50-100 treatments over the year. This of course was totally foreign to the medical community and caused them to think much differently about our profession. Unfortunately these practices became the dominate face of chiropractic in Singapore.

By 2005 the chiropractic profession was in rapid expansion as several practices set up branch offices throughout the country and hired many foreign chiropractors, primarily from the USA and Australia.  With the growing population of practitioners, the association felt the need to bring as many of them in to our group as possible and hosted meetings open to all.  However after several meeting it was apparent   that philosophical differences regarding things such as mall screenings and the sale of big packages were too great to reconcile with many of these practitioners. It was at this point that we decided that a revision of our code of ethics and practice was needed to address many of these practice issues.  In 2006, we engaged a consultant from UK, Dr. Richard Brown, an expert in standards of practice, to assist us by mediating a one-week series of workshops that were open to all chiropractors in Singapore.

Based on Dr. Brown’s recommendations and additional meetings of the association over a one year period, a revision of the Self-Regulation Document was ratified by the membership in December 2007. As a consequence, many qualified chiropractors that fulfilled our educational requirements, were not eligible for membership due to their business practices.  This greatly reduced that membership numbers of the association and in fact the non-members greatly out- numbered the members.

Unfortunately this is still the case as membership in the association is voluntary.  Over the years we have met with the government regarding the regulation of chiropractic in Singapore.  They have told us to try and self-regulate though they have never given our association regulatory power nor make it mandatory for practitioners to join.  In addition the government continues to issue work passes to foreign chiropractors with little check of their background.  Chiropractic continues to grow un-regulated to this present day and business practices by some chiropractors that would be considered illegal or unethical still exist in Singapore.