Regulation of alternative health care questioned
May has severe, chronic spinal disease in her neck, her medical records show. She can walk because two years ago she had urgent surgery to remove discs that were compressing her cervical spinal cord, making it swell with fluid. She also has spinal osteoporosis - weak, brittle vertebrae. Spinal manipulation - commonly known as chiropractic adjustment - can be dangerous for patients with spinal nerve damage or osteoporosis, states the Mayo Clinic website, which offers comprehensive information on hundreds of diseases.
But before May knew she had spinal disease, she spent almost a year in the care of a Milwaukee man named Sik Kin Wu. And May says she paid Wu, a self-described “intuitive healer,” to adjust her neck - not once or twice, but 11 times during a year.
Wu, a Shorewood restaurant owner with a history of federal tax fraud, says he can tell what’s wrong with people by looking at them. He acknowledged he isn’t licensed to provide health care in the United States, instead providing a certificate stating he completed a four-month acupuncture and Chinese massage program in Shanghai.
But a Journal Sentinel investigation found Wu has used spinal manipulation - considered the work of a chiropractor or, in some cases, a physical therapist or credentialed massage therapist - on May and many others for years. By his own account, Wu also charges $350 to put his hand in people’s vaginas and rectums to “heal” conditions such as erectile dysfunction and ovarian cysts.
The state Department of Safety and Professional Services wouldn’t say whether Wu’s activities are legal, but Wisconsin statutes prohibit the unlicensed practice of medicine, surgery or chiropractic care.