An investigation has been launched into a Melbourne chiropractor after a video of him manipulating a two-week-old baby caused controversy.
Dr Andrew Arnold, the owner of Cranbourne Family Chiropractic in Melbourne's south east, was filmed last August performing treatments on Harvey, a two-week-old boy.
In the video, Dr Arnold can be seen tapping Harvey on the head, using an activator on the baby's spine and dangling him upside down.
The video, captioned "Andrew adjusts two-week-old Harvey for the very first time. Frisky little chap", caught the attention of other chiropractors and the state's health minister Jenny Mikakos.
"This vision is deeply disturbing" Ms Mikakos said on Wednesday.
She's referred the practitioner to the Chiropractic Board of Australia and the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency "to take the necessary action".
"It's appalling that young children and infants are being exposed to potential harm," Ms Mikakos said in a statement.
The minister called on the CBA to condemn the practice of treating infants, saying it was "unprofessional and unacceptable".
The minister said a range of peak expert groups — including the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners and the Royal Australian College of Physicians and other similar groups overseas — have cautioned against spinal manipulation in infants.
The Chiropractic Board of Australia said it is aware of the videos and is assessing the concerns raised.
"The board has made a strong statement about the care of children and has written to every chiropractor in Australia to warn them to comply with their professional and ethical obligations, which are clearly outlined in the board's code of conduct for chiropractors," a spokeswoman said.
The spokeswoman said the board has acted against chiropractors who fail to meet their obligations, by limiting their registration when they fail to meet expected standards.
"The board is always concerned if there are any chiropractors not practising in accordance with these obligations and welcomes advice about such practitioners," she said.
There has been a mixed reaction to the video on social media, with some expressing support for the tratement and others their shock.
It's understood AHPRA launched a confidential investigation into Dr Arnold's consultation with the newborn a short time after the video was posted to the practice's Facebook page.
It was removed this morning after backlash followed the video being published by the Herald Sun.
In the five-minute video, Dr Arnold can be seen walking the parents through his techniques.
"All you want to do is really gently lift his legs up … and you're just feeling for a click," Dr Arnold tells the parents.
"Don't force it but be sort of gently firm".
In another manipulation, Dr Arnold tells the parents to "tap on both sides of the head … wiggle and tap".
The Melbourne chiropractor also asks Harvey's mother to briefly hold her baby's head when he grabs his legs and holds him upside down.
When Dr Arnold uses his activator, a spring-loaded chiropractic device, the baby immediately bursts into tears.
"He's going to squawk a bit," Dr Arnold tells the parents. "Sorry mate … A bit of a cry is a good thing."
While infant chiropractic treatments are not explicitly illegal in Australia, they are divisive in the medical community.
In 2016, a different Melbourne chiropractor was banned from manipulating the spines of children under the age of six.
The AHPRA placed conditions on Dr Ian Rossborough in June 2016 after he was widely criticised by doctors and other chiropractors for cracking the back of a four-day-old baby in a viral video released in April of the same year.
It is understood Dr Rossborough will also be heavily supervised when treating patients under 18 years of age and will not be able to undertake any spinal manipulative therapy on patients between the ages of two and six.
Dr Rossborough, who claims to have been treating patients for 30 years, will no longer be allowed to undertake any chiropractic treatment of patients under the age of two years and must meet the Chiropractic Board of Australia's specific requirements in relation to this condition.
In 2009, a three-month-old baby died in Europe after her neck was manipulated by a cranio-sacral therapist.
Chiropractic and Osteopathic College of Australasia CEO John Reggars has previously recommended parents only take their baby to a chiropractor on the advice of their paediatrician.
"We are registered as primary care practitioners, which means we have an obligation to practice using an evidence-based approach," Mr Reggars told KidSpot.
"We state in our policy that there is very little evidence to support spinal manipulation for infants, but if parents want to do it, we suggest it's done under medical guidance."
In July 2017, former president of the Australian Chiropractors Association Laurie Tassell defended his profession's work with infants.
"There is nothing more rewarding than a mum bringing a baby in with colic and then coming in the next day to thank you for the transformation you have made. Colic impacts on the whole family," Mr Tassell said.
"We use a very different technique on babies — it's not the way we treat adults. There is some evidence emerging that a chiropractor can help with colic."
News.com.au has contacted Cranbourne Family Chiropractic for comment.