Transcript for Chiropractic Neurology: Miracle Method or Placebo?
His methods are unorthodox. His critics are many. And yet, a waiting list full of hopeful patients believe that one man has a miracle cure that can help them reclaim their lives. While alternative treatments f fors are not a new concept, one chiropractor's unusual brand of surgery-free teaming has made a major splash and abc's juju chang went in for a closer look. You play other sports besides lacros lacrosse? Reporter: Will arlen has a traumatic brain injury and he's so sensitive to light, he wears sunglasses all the time. How is our appetite? Good. Reporter: His family believes this doctor holds the key to a miraculous cure. Ted carrick is a chiropractor by training, who specializes in the brain. That's what I want to see, okay. Let's take your glasses off. We have to do this stuff. Just sort of look at my nose, if you are. Reporter: The 17-year-old dribls his migraines like a knife stabbing his brain. He can barely stand up on his own. Let go of you now. Reporter: And he has trouble moving his level arm. Let's have you just come up and walk over to that platform and come back here, just walk as you would normally. Reporter: It started with a vicious hit during a lacrosse game. The concussion sent him into an eight-month tail spin. Tell me what it was like. Pretty active kid, straight-a student normally. Outgoing, all that. They had to pull him out of school within a couple of weeks. Reporter: It's here at luf university in georgia that carrick is a pioneer in a field known as chiropractic neurology. A treatment he's been perfecting for 33 years. When hockey superstar sidney crosby suffered serious concussions, he praised dr. Carrick for saving his career. it's all about reactivating parts of the brain. Is this a miracle cure? I think miracles are things that only happen once in awhile. And what we find is that the miracles that we see, we're seeing them frequently, every day, so, they're not really miracles. What we do is amazing, because of what human kind can do. Can you see your left hand there? Reporter: In this exercise, carrick uses a full length mirror on will, to trick his mind's eye with his own mirror image of a healthy arm, in order to reprogram his brain. When you lift your hand up all by yourself, your left hand. Reporter: A few minutes ago, will couldn't lift his left arm without help. But now, this. For will, it's huge. Okay. Good man. Reporter: But the big gun in carrick's arsenal is this machine. Carrick says the gyrostim helps stimulate parts of the brain. Starting to breathe better. Reporter: Were you skeptical? What did you think coming in? I'm very skeptical. But what really sold me, watching the passion in dr. Carrick's eyes. Hgot a big heart. Reporter: Critics say carrick's results don't pass scientific muster. And his success is often dismissed as placebo, meaning the patients feel better because they believe in his cure. How can you be so sure that it's not a placebo? Well, if it was placebo, we're doing a pretty darn good job of it. We don't do anything that is really original in our work. We just combine things that other people have done in a different fashion. Reporter: Yet, despite the cricism, most of carrick's patients are referred to him by neurologists. And he says he has a months-long waiting list. Stacey hubbard traveled 500 miles to find out why she can't walk more than a few steps without stumbling. What do you feel? Unbalanced. Reporter: A hands-on mother of two, she barely got out of bed for ten long weeks. If you can pick one thing, what's the worst thing you would like me to fix for you? I want to be able to hug my kids. I want to greet them at the door. Let's go. Reporter: You did these arm movements and you reprogrammed her brain? Is that fair to say? Absolutely. And it happens very, very quickly. I look very, very carefully at what's happening with her eyes, her head, the degree that her pew pill p pupils or open or closed. And we find if we do a certain motion and we get a different tracking, we say this is going to have a good probability of working. This is my problem today. Reporter: Over time, stacey conquers her biggest enemy. The pattern on a hall carpet. I think I got this hallway today. I did it. I'm excited. Reporter: It's day three for will. I'm happy since yesterday. For the first time in awhile, so -- it feels good to definitely have someone who knows what they're doing. Is that why I don't have feeling in my left side? That's pretty significant. So, if your brapt doesn't know where your hand is, it doesn't control it. Reporter: For will, just doing that with his fingers is the first glimmer of hope. Nice, huh? Oh, my gosh. Okay, okay. Let me see you walk. Swing your arms like a ldier. And he's even able to swing his left arm. That's huge, will. Huge. A lot looser up there. Yeah, it's huge. Huge. Okay. Show me off. Go, go, go. Reporter: On average, the week-long therapy cost $5,000. For stacey, it's worth every penny. When she gets home from the clinic, she's finally able to hug her kids on her own two feet. These are the glasses I used to wear 24 hours a day. Reporter: And will, who couldn't tolerate any light, is now able to get around without sunglasses. No longer on the sidelines, will is slowly getting back in the game. Feels good to be back on the ice. Reporter: I'm juju chang for "nightline" in marietta, georgia.
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