Chiropractic Secrets

I wrote a little book a few years ago called, The Secret History of Chiropractic.[1] The intent of the book was to bring forth some of chiropractic’s historical facts from an Integral perspective. The story created a context for a categorized collection of some of D.D. Palmer’s most philosophical and spiritual quotes. Much of the history was unknown to the majority of chiropractors I have spoken to. Hence, I used the term “secret” in the title.

Some in the profession were well versed in the history. In fact, one of the more famous chiropractic historians criticized my use of the word “secret,” mostly because he and his colleagues were aware of the stories.[2] And yet, as we continue to research and also peel away the veil of bias from our historical writings, we find new gems even today.

Instead of criticizing bad history or pointing out misleading facts, I would like to use this month’s blog post to share a few delightful gems and some really good historical accounting.

In the last three months, I have had the great honor to lecture on the history of the philosophy of chiropractic in California, Virginia, Mexico City, and South Carolina. In my preparation for these talks, I have encountered many new insights and facts (secrets if you will). I am excited to share these with the profession.

The first gems come from my research into the life of Shegataro Morikubo (1871-1933). He was of noble Japanese birth. His father was a governor of a prefecture and his brother served in Parliament. Morikubo came to the United States in 1889 from Japan. While in the states, he converted to Christianity from Buddhism, engaged in graduate studies in philosophy, earned his chiropractic degree in 1906 at PSC, got married, had a child, and eventually settled in Minneapolis, where he practiced, offered summer night classes in his seemingly brief “Academy of Chiropractic,” and eventually formed the Yamato Corporation. I have not been able to uncover much else about his life.

I have found several of his writings from before he became a chiropractor. Most of his non-chiropractic writings are on Japanese culture and politics.[3-5] The articles are fascinating especially because it shows us how erudite and educated Morikubo was.

Shegataro Morikubo played an important role in the development of the philosophy of chiropractic because he helped to shape the landmark defense in the Wisconsin vs. Morikubo trial of 1907.[6] After reading three of Morikubo’s articles on the philosophy of chiropractic, as well as his writings about the trial, I am more convinced than ever that he played a significant role in the shaping of the defense and the philosophy. I have posted two of his articles below.[7, 8] I will post more in the coming months as I develop an article on Morikubo.

Another gem or series of gems I stumbled upon include three articles by the late Bud Crowder (1920-2002), graduate of PSC class of 1947.[9-11] Crowder taught and inspired generations of chiropractic students and interns. These articles were written in 1986 and 1987, a time in chiropractic’s history similar to today in many ways. It is my hope that Crowder’s words will inspire a new generation to go forth and serve humanity through the gift of chiropractic.

Finally, I am very happy to share the Chiropractic Parallax series by the chiropractic historian Merwyn Zarbuck (1931-2009), graduate of PSC class of 1951. Zarbuck practiced for 50 years. I received permission to post this very important series on D.D. Palmer and his students.[12-17] (This series is an excellent example of the kind of secrets I mean. Unless you were a member of the Illinois Prairie State Chiropractors Association in the 1980s, you probably have never heard of Chiropractic Parallax!) I know you will enjoy these articles as I have.

As more secrets from chiropractic’s past get revealed, we can move forward without bias and embrace the amazing history that is chiropractic’s story.

 

1.  Senzon, S. The secret history of chiropractic: D.D. Palmer’s spiritual writings. 2005. Asheville, NC: Self published.

2.  Senzon, S. Concerning Mr. Gibbons’ review of The Secret History of Chiropractic. Chiropractic History, 2007. 27(1): p. 5-6.

3.  Morikubo, S. Yamato-Damashu. St. Paul Globe, 1904. July 4.

4.  Morikubo, S. Sailing of the Atlantic Fleet: Dr. Shegetaro Morikubo gives Tribune his ideas. LaCrosse Tribune, 1907. December 21.

5.  Morikubo, S. Who are the Japanese: Not cousins to the Chinese. St. Paul Globe, 1904. September 4.

6.   Senzon, S. Chiropractic Revisions, in Chiropraction. 2012.

7.   Morikubo, S. Chiropractic. LaCross Leader, 1907.

8.   Morikubo, S. Chiropractic Philosophy. The Chiropractor, 1915. 11(5): p. 13-17.

9.    Crowder, E. Stand for Something. Straight from Sherman, 1986. Fall: p. 7,12.

10.  Crowder, E. Where is Chiropractic Headed? Straight from Sherman, 1987. Spring: p. 9,12.

11.  Crowder, E. Accommodating Without Compromise. Straight from Sherman, 1987. Summer: p. 6,13.

12.  Zarbuck, M. Chiropractic Parallax: Part 1. Illinois Prairie State Chiropractors Association Journal of Chiropractic, 1988. January.

13.  Zarbuck, M. Chiropractic Parallax: Part 2. Illinois Prairie State Chiropractors Association Journal of Chiropractic, 1988.

14.  Zarbuck, M. Chiropractic Parallax: Part 3. Illinois Prairie State Chiropractors Association Journal of Chiropractic, 1988. July.

15.  Zarbuck, M. Chiropractic Parallax: Part 4. Illinois Prairie State Chiropractors Association Journal of Chiropractic, 1988. October.

16.  Zarbuck, M. Chiropractic Parallax: Part 5. Illinois Prairie State Chiropractors Association Journal of Chiropractic, 1989. January.

17.  Zarbuck, M. Chiropractic Parallax: Part 6. Illinois Prairie State Chiropractors Association Journal of Chiropractic, 1989. October.

*Crowder articles are republished with permission from Sherman College of Chiropractic.

**Merwyn Zarbuck (1931-2009) was one of the great chiropractic historians. Zarbuck graduated from Palmer School of Chiropractic in 1951. He practiced chiropractic for 50 years in Urbana, Illinois. Below are a selection of his writings as well as one of his classic historical finds. Merwyn Zarbuck’s Chiropractic Parallax series are reproduced with permission from his family.

Zarbuck, M. A profession for ‘Bohemian Chiropractic’: Oakley Smith and the Evolution of Naprapathy.
Chiropractic History, 1986. 6: p. 77-82.*

 

Zarbuck, M. and M. Hayes. Following D.D. Palmer to the West Coast: The Pasadena Connection, 1902. Chiropractic History, 1990. 10(2): p. 17-19.*

 

*Reprinted by permission of the Association for the History of Chiropractic.

 

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Future of Chiropractic Curriculum

Have you ever wondered where the chiropractic curriculum developed from? It is quite an amazing story of intrigue, bootstrapping, and warfare. I won’t fill you with too many of the details today (as I am working on a two-hour online course on the history of the CCE…),1 but I would like to share a bit of my vision of what is possible with you.

The first real attempt at an integrated curriculum was pioneered at Palmer College of Chiropractic in the 1920s. The chiropractic greenbooks integrated the philosophy of innate intelligence and the central importance of the vertebral subluxation in human health and dis-ease throughout every course from chemistry to symptomatology, physiology to anatomy. I recently summarized the quotes about innate intelligence from many of these texts written by B.J .Palmer’s staff. The quotes show extraordinary evidence that the philosophy of chiropractic was on its way to becoming the first systems science of human health, rooted in a deep philosophy that explained human physiology as part of an intricate pattern of intelligence expressing through matter itself. 2

Alas, this approach was short lived due to historical circumstance, economics, philosophical and political disputes, and eventually political agendas, which would soon take over the accreditation process in all American chiropractic colleges. B.J. Palmer was voted out of his leadership role of the Universal Chiropractors’ Association (UCA) in 1926. He then started the Chiropractic Health Bureau, which became the International Chiropractors Association (ICA). According to one of chiropractic’s most revered historians, the break within the “straight” chiropractic movement in the 1920s, “had an impact that was significant enough to change the whole course of the chiropractic education and politics for the rest of the century.”3 The remainder of Palmer’s UCA joined with the newly formed ACA (1922), to become the NCA in 1935, which became the modern-day ACA in 1963. The direction of chiropractic education took a decidedly “medical” turn because of these events.

Chiropractic suffered the fate of most of the pioneering approaches to biology in the first half of the twentieth century. Chiropractic’s systems orientation was often overshadowed by a more molecular/medical approach. The brilliant ideas of emergence, holism, organismic biology, and systems theory, which all emerged around the same time as the Palmer greenbooks, were to take a backseat to the developments in molecular biology inspired by Watson and Crick’s discovery of DNA in 1952. The mechanistic approach to biological systems would gain dominance for the rest of the century.4

Chiropractic curriculum reform was undertaken by John Nugent starting in the 1930s, a Palmer graduate from the 1920s. As the NCA Director of Education, Nugent took on the task of reforming the chiropractic schools by modeling Flexner’s approach to reorganizing America’s medical schools. Not only did Nugent encourage many schools to close and merge, go from profit to nonprofit, from no pre-reqs to pre-reqs, from 18 month programs to 36 month programs, but he also led the charge on a standardized curriculum (based on the molecular/medical school curricula) and wrote the first manuals of accreditation.  In 1943, the first handbook of the NCA’s accrediting agency, Nugent wrote, “The chiropractor is a physician -a particular kind of physician, and as such is engaged in the treatment and prevention of disease…” Chiropractors from the philosophical side of the profession were outraged at being referred to as physicians. The new standardized curriculum was modeled after the medical schools. The only significant change was that drug and surgery courses were replaced by chiropractic courses. Nugent was hated by both sides of the profession. In fact, B.J. Palmer referred to Nugent as the anti-Christ. Nugent was also viewed as one of the great reformers of chiropractic education. The CCE of today can be attributed to Nugent’s efforts. 5

Calls for curriculum reform are louder than ever in chiropractic (especially with the recent controversy over the CCE’s lack of accountability to the profession, which resulted in CCE’s being required to comply with 43 violations within a year). Calls for curriculum reform span the profession, from the extreme medical fringe of the profession suggesting we fire all philosophy faculty,6 to a more balanced look at innovative approaches to pedagogy and contemporary content,7 to more visionary approaches.8,9,10  It is time we totally revamp our medical chiropractic education.

What if we start fresh and envision a chiropractic curriculum for the twenty-first century, one that keeps the important elements of the old system of education and develops something totally new? What could that look like?

Well, for starters, all students should have a clear and honest exploration of the history and philosophy of this amazing profession. These courses should be standardized and free from politics and disrespect. All future chiropractors should understand the story that is theirs, the good, the bad, the ugly, as well as the leading edge and at least some of what was left behind.

We should also study chiropractic within the context of the paradigms that it helped to bring forth such as systems theory, holism, complexity theory, autopoiesis, non-linear thermodynamics…all of the important biological models of the 20th century. Students should not just study the linear molecular level of biology but also the 40,000 foot view. How do the systems fit together? What are the latest ideas in theoretical biology? Are those ideas consistent with the philosophy of the body as an intelligent and self-organizing system? If so, why aren’t they being taught? (As an offshoot to these additions, we should include the latest research and theory on subtle energy systems and energy medicine!)11

Of course, central to such a curriculum would be the latest science of vertebral subluxation, the leading models of spinal and neural integrity, chiropractic adjusting, instrumentation, alongside the best techniques of the past, ones that have been honed and refined for decades and mastered by the great artists of this profession.

Most importantly we need an integral model that can tie things together; chiropractic philosophy and science, practice and theory, while also developing systems where people feel nurtured and can grow within a community. The chiropractic campus could become a place where humans develop themselves while studying this great profession and feeling included in a worldwide community. Any future curriculum should model the latest ideas of Integral Education.12

Imagine if students could have all of their courses integrated each quarter, with practical hours that were relevant? Imagine if chiropractic school prepared future chiropractors with the practical and business skills needed for their future? Imagine if social networking were integrated into the curriculum not only for each class or each school, but between all chiropractic students worldwide? (I am sure there are many practicing chiropractors that would love to act as mentors through such a system.) Imagine if chiropractic education was a model for doctoral level training that centered on assisting human beings to be their best, serve at the highest, and live a flourishing life?

There is so much more to be added and subtracted to an ideal curriculum. The future of chiropractic education is bright. We are the profession. We get to set the standard if we can share a vision and move forward together.

*(previously published in LifeWest student newspaper – March 2012)

  1. Online Chiropractic Philosophy and History CE Course
  2. Third Wave of Chiropractic Philosophy
  3. Senzon S. 2003. What is Life? JVSR.
  4. Gibbons, R. 1980. The Rise of the Chiropractic Educational Establishment. In: Who’s who in Chiropractic. P. 346
  5. Gibbons R. 1985. Chiropractic’s Abraham Flexner: the lonely journey of John J. Nugent, 1935-1963. Chiropractic History 5:44-51. *Reprinted by permission of the Association for the History of Chiropractic
  6. Murphy, D, Schneider M, Seaman D, Perle S, Nelson C. How can Chiropractic become a respected mainstream profession? Chiropractic and Osteopathy 2008, 16.10.
  7. Johnson C., Green B. 2010. 100 Years after the Flexner Report: Reflections on its influence on chiropractic education. J Chiro Ed. 24(2).
  8. Kent, C. 2010. A new direction for CCE? Dynamic Chiropractic 28(24).
  9. http://mcqi.org/vitalistic-curriculum/introduction
  10. Senzon, S. 2007. What I Wish I Learned in Chiropractic College. Today’s Chiropractic Lifestyles.
  11. Senzon, S. 2008. Chiropractic and Energy Medicine: A Shared History. J Chiro Hum 15.
  12. http://nextstepintegral.org/resources/integral-education-resources

Chiropractic Philosophy and Art

One of the topics that really piques my interest is the art of adjusting as the embodiment of the philosophy. This is one of the things that makes chiropractic’s philosophy so unique! It was an embodied philosophy from the start. This fact becomes obvious when you study the first generation of chiropractors.

Early Integration of Chiropractic Philosophy and Art

I love finding writings about this topic by first generation leaders, not only the Palmers. For example, around 1908, Joy Loban, was named by B.J. Palmer as the first head of philosophy at the early Palmer School of Chiropractic. He would eventually break with B.J. and start the Universal Chiropractic College. In 1908, Loban wrote, “The art of adjustment is simply putting into action the Philosophy which we have studied.”[1](p.36) This sentiment was pretty common to the early chiropractors.

Some of the earliest chiropractors linked the philosophy to the art in refined ways. The first actual textbook on chiropractic was written by three of D.D. Palmer’s students, Langworthy, Smith, and Paxson. The book, Modernized Chiropractic,[2] introduced the concepts of dynamic thrust and spontaneity, or Innate’s response to the thrust. According to the authors, chiropractic’s real uniqueness was in the alert moment of the thrust.

The Impact of Jui Jitsu on Early Chiropractic Philosophy and Art

Lately I have been wondering whether Shegatoro Morikubo may have influenced the art of chiropractic with Jui Jitsu. Morikubo was one of the most influential first generation chiropractors. His 1907 court case established the landmark ruling that chiropractic had a distinct science, art, and philosophy, and thus it was its own profession.[3]

Morikubo was raised in Japan in a Buddhist monastery. He completed a degree in philosophy, moved to the United States, and eventually became a chiropractor. In his 1906 letter to D.D. Palmer he wrote,

“About six years ago I was injured while practicing Jiu Jitsu, or what is known as Japanese Kuatsu, the practice of self-defense. One of the cervical vertebra was slightly dislocated.”[4]

After this letter, Morikubo completed his degree, wrote a defense of D.D. Palmer’s human rights during Palmer’s 23-day incarceration in 1906,[5] and may have lectured on philosophy during B.J. Palmer’s travels. Then, in 1907, Morikubo moved to LaCrosse, Wisconsin to confront the osteopath who brought charges against two chiropractors in 1905. Morikubo’s courage to confront the legal question in Wisconsin acted as a catalyst to the philosophy of chiropractic, which soon became a well-developed aspect of the profession.[3] Did he also influence the art?

Years later, Jiu Jitsu is mentioned in four Greenbooks. In 1927, it was mentioned by Ralph Stephenson in his classic Chiropractic Textbook. Stephenson was describing the very important concept of Innate’s resistive forces. When the environmental forces are unbalanced or ill-timed, Innate resists. When the Universal forces are too great, it may lead to vertebral subluxation. Stephenson referred to this as, “destructive jui jitsu.”[6](Vol. 14, p. 79) Stephenson explained it like this,

“The question has often arisen: why is the spine always the part affected by these unbalanced forces? The answer to this is: the spine is not always the part to suffer, but is the most common place to suffer from unbalanced resistive forces, because it is the foundation of the body. It is important to note that unbalanced resistive forces produce sprains, dislocations, torn tissues, prolapses, or fractures, in most any active part of the body. This is the fundamental principle of jujitsu.” [6](Senior Text, p. 324)[Original bold face.]

 

We know B.J. once studied Jui Jitsu to further his art. Perhaps Mabel did as well. Mabel Palmer’s textbook, Chiropractic Anatomy, Volume 9, demonstrates a bit of her knowledge of Jui Jitsu. She notes that “Petit’s triangle,” an area where the latissmus dorsi may not meet the external oblique, above the center of the iliac crest, “is a weak point, easily located in jujitsu.”[7] Did she and BJ study Jui Jitsu with Morikubo?

 

B.J. Palmer even wrote about Jui Jitsu in 1950, as part of his cathartic and voluminous writing period after Mabel’s death in 1948. He mostly described Jui Jitsu in terms of the art of adjusting. He said, in ancient China, in the “THE WILDER provinces,” the practice had an application related to “cracking the bones of the back,” with a hugging motion.[8](p.688) But his largest quote on the topic went like this,  

 

We learned the geometric law of speed and penetration value as against slow no-penetration value of a push. During World War I, a rifle was developed which would shoot a soft-nosed lead bullet 2,000 yards and penetrate thru 18 inches of Bessemer steel. Why? Speed. Speed lowers resistance and increases cleavage.


We learned how to use arms into a toggle mechanical action— toggle meaning a double-acting joint, where little does much. We took toggle double-acting motion, speeded it up with a recoil mechanical motion, where that toggle did much.

With this knowledge, we studied jujitsu, with purpose of learning how to turn resistance of cases against themselves; to make resistance passive, that invasion could be high to overcome resistance.


Jujitsu takes advantage and makes it into a disadvantage; takes contraction and forces it to a relaxation, so invasion can be less to accomplish more.


In the RECOIL period, INNATE IN PATIENT made the minute and final refined correction of replacement.


That any man can PUSH and/or PUSH AND PULL bones into arbitrary places HE thinks they should go, has long been believed. That some ways of PUSHING and/or PUSHING AND PULLING bones are easier than others, is obvious.


We studied to find easy ways, when we were studying that kind of work.”
[9] (Vol 23, p. 742-3)

 

This quote of B.J.’s is important because it links the art of adjustment to the philosophy and relates it directly to Stephenson’s description of Resistive Forces. According to the philosophy, the exterior forces might be either resisted by Innate or accepted by Innate. The adjustment happens when Innate accepts the force and then uses the energy of that force for correction of the vertebral subluxation. Mastering the art is the key to the philosophy.

 

DD Palmer and the Fourth Generation

 

Perhaps you may begin to understand why I love hunting through old books for gems of insight. One of my favorite treasure hunts was studying D.D. Palmer’s writings alongside the books he was reading![10-12] Every chiropractic student should take the time to read D.D. Palmer’s tome. It is not easy to do so, but with the proper context such as Todd Waters’ new book, Chasing DD, it is easier than ever. Waters’ book came out on October 20th, 2013, exactly one hundred years since D.D. Palmer’s death.

 

Very little has been written about the transmission of knowledge through touch in the chiropractic professional lineage.[13] Some of the early students of D.D. Palmer founded their own schools. Unfortunately, many early schools offered correspondence courses and some were even diploma mills. There may have even been instances in the earliest days, where fake schools were organized by anti-chiropractic agitators to hurt the young profession. Was there a transmission of sorts through touch shared through some sections of the early profession and not by others? This is certainly a hypothesis worth exploring.

 

We just entered the fourth generation of chiropractic’s history since D.D.’s death.[14] One intellectual generation is 33 years according to sociologist Randall Collins.[15] It is a good time in our history to reflect on the origins of the ideas and practices so that we may build a greater chiropractic for the future.

 

1.            Loban, J., The completeness of chiropractic philosophy. The Chiropractor, 1908. 4(7 &8): p. 30-35.

2.            Paxson, M., O. Smith, and S. Langworthy, A textbook of modernized chiropractic. 1906, Cedar Rapids (IA): American School of Chiropractic.

3.            Keating, J. and S. Troyanovich, Wisconsin versus chiropractic: the trials at LaCrosse and the bilth of a chiropractic champion. Chiropractic History, 2005. 25(1): p. 37-45.*

4.            Morikubo, S., Clinical Reports: Vertebral Adjustment. The Chiropractor, 1906. 2(4): p. 6.

5.            Morikubo, S., Are American people free? The Democrat, 1906.

6.            Stephenson, R., Chiropractic textbook. 1927, Palmer School of Chiropractic: Davenport.

7.            Heath Palmer, M., Chiropractic Anatomy. 1923, Davenport: Palmer College of Chiropractic.

8.            Palmer, B., Fight to climb; vol. 24. 1950, Davenport, IA: Palmer College.

9.            Palmer, B., Up from below the bottom; vol. 23. 1950, Davenport, IA: Palmer College.

10.          Senzon, S., The secret history of chiropractic. 2006, Asheville, NC: Self Published.

11.          Senzon, S., Chiropractic foundations: D.D. Palmer’s traveling library. 2007, Asheville, NC: Self published.

12.          Senzon, S., Chiropractic and energy medicine: A shared history. J Chiropr Humanit, 2008. 15: p. 27-54.

13.          Senzon, S., Constructing a philosophy of chiropractic: When worldviews evolve and postmodern core. J Chiropr Humanit, 2011. 18(1): p. 39-63.

14.          Senzon, S., Chiropractic’s Fourth Generation, in Chiropraction: The philosophy of chiropractic in action. 2013.

15.          Collins, R., The sociology of philosophies: A global theory of intellectual change. 1998: Harvard University Press.

 *Reprinted by permission of the Association for the History of Chiropractic.

 This article was originally published in Lifelines – the student publication of Life Chiropractic College West.

Rehm Legally Defensible

Legally Defensible:

Chiropractic in the Courtroom and After, 1907

Author: William S. Rehm, D.C.

Citation: Chiropractic History, 1986. 6: 51-55.

This article was published in 1986 in the journal Chiropractic History.1 At the time, not much was known about Morikubo and his trial. The Palmer Archives were not yet catalogued and available for researchers. Rehm, a chiropractic historian, mostly relies on the unpublished Lerner Report as his source.

Rehm’s article establishes some context for the landmark Morikubo case. The article itself has led to decades of theory about the historical origins of chiropractic’s history and perhaps more particularly, chiropractic’s philosophy. Unfortunately, much of it is incorrect.

The article does establish that the case set a precedent and established chiropractic as separate and distinct based on its science, art, and philosophy.

In order to objectively and critically analyze the article, seven criteria are used. These criteria were developed by Dr. McAulay, a prominent chiropractic academic, as a critical way to approach the chiropractic literature. The criteria are; Clarity, Accuracy, Precision, Relevance, Depth, Breadth, and Logical Consistency.2

Chiropractic Honesty

I was recently made aware of a blog post written by Stephen Perle,[1] a well-known voice in the chiropractic profession and a professor at a chiropractic college. Interestingly, the subtitle of Perle’s blog is, “A forum for intellectual honesty.” In my view, intellectual honesty requires that we include as many perspectives as possible, not only one, because it is bound to be limited, narrow in focus, and prone to errors.

It is obvious that Dr. Perle thinks his approach is historically accurate. Unfortunately, such assumptions are at the core of chiropractic’s internal conflicts. When we don’t consider our own perspectives and how they shade our point of view, we are prone to think that we must be correct. Add to that a hand full of references that come from the same perspective and a self-perpetuating false authority gets established. In my first blog post I compared this to the telephone game.[2]

More than anything, I seek to build bridges in the chiropractic profession. Doing so makes it vitally important to point out faulty arguments and bad scholarship so that we may all move forward together. There is hardly anything more important in a profession than good scientific research, accurate historical accounting, and solid philosophical reasoning. When these three methodological approaches are utilized from the widest possible perspectives, we are likely to find large areas of agreement.

Since the post in question was written in 2009, I would have ignored it at this point if not for the fact that it was recently sent to all of the members of a state association. And, it does represent some of the most basic mistakes being made in historical interpretations of the philosophy of chiropractic, so here we go…

Perle begins the article by pointing out the important research of the late Joe Keating. One of Keating’s main contributions to the history and philosophy of chiropractic was establishing how D.D. Palmer’s ideas evolved during his final decade of life.[3]

Palmer’s use of the term vertebral subluxation was only written down after the 1907 Morikubo trial, and after it was widely used in Smith, Langworthy, and Paxson’s textbook.[4]  There is no written evidence of Palmer’s use of the term subluxation before. The term is generally attributed to Langworthy and made important to the profession based on the Morikubo case.

So, I don’t really take issue with the fact, that Perle would equate all of D.D.’s previous theories with his final theory. That is common pluralistic thinking in academia. But to suggest that D.D.’s final writings on chiropractic DID NOT set the tone for decades of the profession’s core focus on vertebral subluxation is bizarre.

In fact, Perle goes so far as to suggest that embracing the vertebral subluxation as chiropractic’s core identity is an “attempt to revise the history of chiropractic.” Does this seem Orwellian to you? Just look at the facts.

The vertebral subluxation as a clinical entity is considered by several researchers and scholars in the profession as its reason for being.[5-7] Furthermore, our understanding of the biological mechanisms of vertebral subluxation is constantly evolving, and not rooted in one model.

Historically, it wasn’t just B.J. Palmer and his school that took up the mantle of vertebral subluxation although the Palmer School certainly carried the torch. Many schools and associations have focused on vertebral subluxation going all the way back to the earliest days. Even the leaders of National College of Chiropractic embraced the scientific research of vertebral subluxation since its earliest days; Howard incorporated it into his encyclopedic system, Forster wrote about it extensively, and Janse developed his own theories about vertebral subluxation.[8-12] Not to mention the fact that vertebral subluxation terminology is codified in state law, federal law, Medicare, as well as chiropractic’s main trade organizations. And, 88% of chiropractors want to retain the term.[13]

I will be the first to agree that the traditional use of the term was embedded in other philosophical concepts that made it difficult to consider it solely in terms of objective physiology, but that is another discussion.

The historical and scientific veracity of vertebral subluxation is hardly the main issue at hand. The issue is really philosophical honesty while understanding the importance of perspectives. I will discuss this issue based on three other historical inaccuracies and omissions from the Perle blog post. All three can be viewed in terms of the philosophical perspectives that the Palmer’s attempted to imbue into the profession and a lack of understanding of the role perspectives play in human thinking.

The next problem comes from Perle’s referencing of Gaucher-Peslherbe’s research.[14, 15] He points out the important fact that D.D. Palmer was indeed better read in anatomy, physiology, and surgery than most medical doctors of his day (Perle doesn’t go that far, but Gaucher-Peslherbe does). Perle then uses this fact along with D.D.’s revisions of his ideas to suggest that chiropractors today should be able to rethink chiropractic.

If that were it, I would say, sure whatever, that seems to be what has been happening anyway if you read the literature on vertebral subluxation research, and keep up with technique development in the profession. The problem is that Perle completely omits Gaucher’s main conclusions about D.D. Palmer’s theories and the important role they played in the history of physiology.

Gaucher-Peslherbe was a medical historian who completed his Ph.D. at Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (French for School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences). His dissertation was published by National (at the urging of Louis Sportelli) as a book entitled, Chiropractic: Early Concepts in Their Historical Settings. D.D. Palmer’s theories are explored in the context of a history of such theories in the medical literature. Gaucher concluded that Palmer was way ahead of his time and contributed to the physiological literature in a significant way. Gaucher Peslherbe writes,

“D.D. Palmer was undoubtedly a visionary…It was because of this vision that he was able to formulate a scientific definition of the concept of subluxation that was in many ways far superior to anything that medicine and chiropractic were able to produce subsequently.” [15](p.166)

He even went so far as to compare Palmer’s wider philosophical approach in terms of subluxation and “what causes disharmony in man,” to philosophers from the last century such as Bergson, Freud, Merleau Ponty, and Heidegger.

A few other glaring mistakes in the Perle “history” should be pointed out:

Perle offers up a picture of the Rehabilitation Laboratory that was part of the B.J. Palmer Research Clinic in the 1940s. Perle points out that B.J. Palmer’s signature (what we might call a logo today) was on the rugs, thus Perle writes, “What this shows is that even BJ Palmer wasn’t so pure and straight as he “mixed” using rehab.” The logic itself is appalling but to so misrepresent B.J. Palmer’s approach and philosophy is a mistake. Perhaps the mistake is because the Lab was called Rehabilitation Lab? I’m not sure but it certainly shows a lack of knowledge.*

The intent of the Rehab Lab was congruent with Palmer’s Innate philosophy. The premise of the lab was  that the internal self-organizing functions of the organism should be allowed to assimilate the energetic changes set in motion by the adjustment through self-guided movements. Thus the whole concept of rehabilitation was turned on its head. I would add, this was because it originated from a perspective that focused on the inherent autopoietic aspects of the organism. It was an inside-out approach to assist the organism to more fully integrate and express the innate intelligence.

The photo itself is from a magazine from 1945 about the Palmer research clinic. In the magazine it clearly states, “At no time, in no way, do we use any therapeutic apparatus on any case.” The Rehab Lab was really for research purposes and also for a place for patients to “digest” the energy now freely moving to paralyzed parts after the adjustment. Patients were not directed to use the equipment and there were no electrical devices besides a riding horse, “which was seldom used.”

Yet another mistake in the blog post is the erroneous claim that the term “innate intelligence” was coined in the book Modernized Chiropractic and used by Palmer after the Morikubo case like subluxation. Not true. Palmer’s first documented use of Innate comes from an article in 1906.[16, 17] In addition, Modernized Chiropractic does not even mention Innate Intelligence!

Finally, Perle refers to the philosophy of chiropractic as a pseudo-religion. I have dealt with this elsewhere and this blog post is way too long.[18]**

As I see it, the core issue (besides mistakes) is a misunderstanding of the role of perspectives in chiropractic. This is a common problem in chiropractic and in most professions.

As adults develop, the research shows that they can increase in the complexity of their thinking and be able to take on more and more perspectives. The level of thinking that most adults are assured to reach is the objective, rational, third-person point of view. Research shows, somewhere around 40% of our culture are at this level.[19, 20] It used to be thought that this was the height of human development, the rational scientific thinker. This is the person who can comfortably deal in 3rd person perspectives. That is, he or she can take the role of another and even view themselves as an “it” or an “object.” Children have not developed this ability yet, and teens are new to this perspective.

Here is the problem, not only may people develop to even more complex ways of viewing the world, such as 4th person perspectives, 5th person perspectives, etc…, but those of us who spend our days relying on 3rd person perspectives might miss that! We don’t even know those other perspectives exist. And, we may generally confuse all other perspectives as less objective than ours, because anything that is not 3rd person perspective tends to look the same to us; probably 2nd person, or at least dogmatic or fundamentalist.

This becomes a real problem in a profession like chiropractic because evidence shows that D.D. Palmer was one of the first post-conventional thinkers of our era and may have attempted to establish the first 4th person perspectival profession.[21] And get this, his son may have even developed to 5th person perspectives or higher in his later years.[22]

Let’s just all take a step back and acknowledge that we might not have the entire truth even though it sure feels like we do. In fact, we might each have partial truths that could in some way blend together and make for a much stronger profession.

Instead of dismissing “everyone” you disagree with as dogmatists, which has become a very tired and philosophically shallow approach in the profession,[23, 24] let’s see if we can determine what else might be going on that other scientific researchers, perhaps in the social sciences, might shed light upon that we are just missing. Honesty comes from facing things you did not even know were there and accepting them.

References

1. Perle, S. 2009. Foundation for Anachronistic Chiropractic Pseudo-Religion, in Perles of Wisdom: A forum for intellectual honesty.

2. Senzon, S. 2012. Chiropractic games & distortions of truth, in Chiropraction.

3. Keating, J. 1992. The evolution of Palmer’s metaphors and hypotheses. Philosophical Constructs for the Chiropractic Profession, 2(1): p. 9-19.

4. Smith, Oakley G., Solon. M. Langworthy, and Minora C. Paxson. 1906. Modernized chiropractic. Cedar Rapids, Iowa: S.M. Langworthy.

5. Haavik-Taylor, H., K. Holt, and B. Murphy. 2010. Exploring the Neuromodulatory effects of vertebral subluxation. Chiropr J Aust. 40: p. 37-44.

6. Gatterman, M. 2005. Foundations of Chiropractic Subluxation: 2nd Ed. St. Louis: Mosby. [Description @ googlebooks]

7. Boone, W. and G. Dobson. 1997. A proposed vertebral subluxation model reflecting traditional concepts and recent advances in health and science: Part I. 1(1). [Abstract]

8. Beideman, R. 1996. The role of the encyclopedic Howard System in the professionalization of Chiropractic National College, 1906-1981. Chiropr Hist. 16(2): p. 29-41.

9. Phillips, R. 2006. Joseph Janse: The apostle of chiropractic education. Los Angeles: R. Phillips.

10. Janse, J. 1975. History of the development of chiropractic concepts: Chiropractic terminology, in The research status of spinal manipulative therapy: A workshop held at the National Institutes of Health, February 2-4, 1975. M. Goldstein, Editor. U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare: Bethesda. p. 25-42.

11. Forster, A. The White Mark: An editorial history of chiropractic. 1921. Chicago: National Publishing Association.

12. Forster, A. 1923. Principles and practice of chiropractic. Chicago: The National Publishing Association.

13. McDonald, W., K. Durkin, and M. Pfefer, How chiropractors think and practice: The survey of North American Chiropractors. Seminars in Integrative Medicine, 2004. 2(3): p. 92-98. [ABSTRACT]

14. Gaucher-Peslherbe, P. G. Wiese, and J. Donahue. 1995. Daniel David Palmer’s Medical Library: The Founder was “Into the Literature.”. Chiropr Hist. 15(2): p. 63-69.

15. Gaucher, P. 1993. Chiropractic: Early concepts in their historical setting. Chicago: National College of Chiropractic.

16. Zarbuck, M. 1988. Innate Intelligence (Part 1). Illinois Prairie State Chiropractors Association Journal of Chiropractic, 1987. 8(4): p. 12-13.

17. Zarbuck, M. 1988. Innate Intelligence (Part 2). Illinois Prairie State Chiropractors Association Journal of Chiropractic, 1988. 9(1): p. 11,16.

18. Senzon, S. 2011. Constructing a philosophy of chiropractic: When worldviews evolve and Premodern roots. J Chiropr Humanit, 18(1);10-23.

19. Cook-Greuter S. 2007. Ego development: Nine levels of increasing embrace. Wayland, MA: Cook-Greuter & Associates.

20. Kegan, R. and L. Lahey, The immunity to change: How to overcome it and unlock the potential in yourself and your organization2009, Cambridge (MA): Harvard University Press. [Preview @ Google Books]

21.  Senzon, S., Constructing a philosophy of chiropractic: When worldviews evolve and postmodern core. J Chiropr Humanit, 18(1);39-63.

22. Senzon, S., B.J. Palmer: An integral biography. Journal of Integral Theory and Practice, 2010. 5(3): p. 118-136.

23. Keating, J., et al. 2005. Subluxation: dogma or science. Chiropractic & Osteopathy, 13(17).

24. Simpson, J. 2011. The five eras of chiropractic & the future of chiropractic as seen through the eyes of a participant observer. Chiropractic & Manual Therapies. 20(1).

*Please click here to explore photos and quotes about the BJPCC Rehabilitation Lab.

**These themes are explored in greater detail in my online courses.

 

 

Chiropractic Clear Light Books

It has been an amazing year thus far! Nine new books reissued, republished, or coming soon! I have decided to call the volumes, The Chiropractic Clear Light Books. I wasn’t going to continue with the “volumes” theme but then something happened! The books just took on a life of their own.

At first I was planning to dedicate this blog post solely to the historic republishing of the 1965 text Segmental Neuropathy: The First Evidence of Developing Pathology (announced to my email list in February). The book is just amazing, especially when we consider that it was published 49 years ago. As incredible as it is however, it was part of a much larger project and inspiration.

Inspired by Drain, Valdivia Tor, & Ratledge

As many of you know, in 2013, I republished J.R. Drain’s 1927 text, Chiropractic Thoughts. I was inspired by Drain’s book. I decided to republish it as the first of the new chiropractic classics series. If you haven’t gotten a copy yet – you will love it. It is philosophically on par with The Green Books and much easier to read!

I was also inspired by Joaquin Valdivia Tor, DC. Joaquin not only translated D.D. Palmer’s 1914 text into Spanish, but also wrote an index to that book in Spanish and English. His new book will be released next month. It includes the translation as well as an early history of chiropractic in Spanish!

With these two projects underway, I decided to re-release three of my four books and also publish the first of the Ratledge books. Ratledge was one of the last students of D.D. Palmer, a chiropractic educator for fifty years, and one of the true leaders of non-therapeutic chiropractic. Ratledge Philosophy: Volume 1 was written by his student, Paul Smallie.

It is very important for all chiropractors to study Ratledge’s work. Please consider this sentence the official announcement that Ratledge Philosophy: Volume 1 is now available for the first time since 1979.

Chiropractic Classics

Segmental Neuropathy, Chiropractic Thoughts, Ratledge Philosophy, and Valdivia Tor’s translation of D.D. are part of the Chiropractic Classics series. We should also include the new edition of D.D. Palmer’s Traveling Library. This book is the second half of my book, Chiropractic Foundations (Volume 3). It is an abridgment of the books D.D. Palmer was studying about magnetic healing, Spiritualism, and the philosophy of disease prior to his discovery of chiropractic.

There are other major texts written by 1st and 2nd generation chiropractors. Most of these books are virtually unknown to the profession today. I have already made a few of these classics available as free downloads, such as Carver’s 1936 book, History of Chiropractic (retyped by Keating), Forster’s 1921 book, The White Mark (scanned by the National archives), and Stephenson’s other 1927 book, The Art of Chiropractic. The republished classics will be growing each month.

The Breakthrough

While doing the layout and design for these books, I got inspired to redo my first three books. This has been on my wish list for years. I wanted to make them bigger, more professional, improve the quality, edit some text, and convert the books into the print on demand format like my fourth book. I did.

The big breakthrough came after a visit with Ken Wilber, while I was in Boulder studying with Donny Epstein in January. I asked Wilber if I could use some of the diagrams from his books to enhance my book Chiropractic Foundations. He gave me permission. I expanded chapter three from that book with 30 new diagrams.

This addition of the AQAL diagrams so transformed Chiropractic Foundations that the book is no longer in production. I decided to split it up into two shorter books.

The first book is based on my lectures at the Academy of Chiropractic Philosophers in 2007. The topic was the history of philosophy from Socrates to D.D. Palmer from an Integral perspective. It is being totally rewritten and republished as Towards An Integral Philosophy: A History of Universal and Innate Intelligences. The second book is D.D. Palmer’s Traveling Library: The Essential Inspirations (mentioned above). It includes several of the original chapters (from Chiropractic Foundations) establishing an historical and philosophical context as well as 300 pages of D.D.’s favorite authors.

Even though I decided in 2010 (with the reorganization of B.J.’s Epigrams) to stop referring to my books as volumes, with the publication of these nine books, I realized it was time to embrace the inevitable. A new chiropractic canon has emerged.

Reggie, Thom, and the Greenbooks

When I published my first book with a white cover and a subtitle of Volume 1, I did so with intention. There is an amazing tradition in chiropractic to publish books according to volume in a series with a colored cover.

This tradition was started by B.J. Palmer with his 39 volumes of green books with gold writing. Many have copied this style and a few have even created their own colored volumes (Cleveland’s Red books, Strauss’ Blue books, and Barge’s volumes are the most well-known attempts). I remember my own philosophy teachers, Val Pennacchio and David Koch used to jest about the colors of their own future series (purple for Val I recall – David’s book is green with gold writing!).

While president of Sherman College, Koch issued two small volumes in hardcover, Reggie Gold’s Triune of Life, and Thom Gelardi’s Inspirations. Thus, I continued, with Volume 2, The Secret History of Chiropractic: D.D. Palmer’s Spiritual Writings and Volume 3, Chiropractic Foundations: D.D. Palmer’s Traveling Library.

The Clear Light Books

I decided to refer to the volumes as The Clear Light Books. One of the main reasons for this comes from Wilber’s model of consciousness, referred to in his books as Altitude. An Altitude of Consciousness (think climbing higher on a mountain) is the space into which consciousness emerges. Each new level leads to new views of reality for the individual. Wilber refers to this as ladder (levels/structures), climber (individual), view (the perspective the individual views the world through at the new level). The philosophy of chiropractic emerged from a view of reality gravitating at a highly complex level of consciousness. Books on the philosophy should reflect this.

As you can see from Wilber’s diagram, the color spectrum is used as a way to unify several lines of development. “Clear Light” is the highest of the levels in the diagram. So the books, especially mine, point toward ever higher levels of growth and development. (This is also why my publishing company is called Integral Altitude.)

Clear Light has many other meanings as well. This is important, especially for my friends in the Sandbox (if you have read this far). One meaning relates to Gebser, one of the great cultural historians of the last century. He explained that as each new level of consciousness emerges, a greater transparency becomes evident. He called this diaphaneity. I have written about Gebser’s work in this context elsewhere.

We should be able to use the philosophy to see through the stuff that has kept the profession from developing, the shadow stuff, the un-integrated stuff, the junk that no one ever seems to talk about. Clear Light dispels shadows.

Agreement and Disagreement

The idea behind these books is not agreement although we will probably find much in common throughout The Clear Light Books. By bringing together lost classics, as one series, we capture our history and bring it forth into the future. It is time we learn from the men and women that led the first and second generations. Unfortunately their ideas have been lost to the current generation. For example, there should be a national board question that asks the aspiring chiropractor to distinguish philosophical differences between D.D. Palmer, B.J. Palmer, T.F. Ratledge, and J.R. Drain. Chiropractors should not just understand the basic facts of history. They should be taught to integrate the development of the ideas and the underlying principles of the chiropractic paradigm into daily practice.

I have already been “warned” that some groups in chiropractic might not recommend me because of the content in Segmental Neuropathy (it may go against their views on vertebral subluxation). I only posted it two weeks ago and have already gotten flack! (Please be sure to get on the email list as there are some big announcements coming up – just click the drop-down arrow above)! Why should a 1960s text critiquing a 1930s view of the nervous system stir controversy in 2014?

Controversy may also get stirred up by some of the content from Ratledge, Drain, and certainly from some of the future books. As my friends in Mexico say, “history is history.” Do we learn from the greats? From those who spent decades pondering all things chiropractic? Or do we continue to blindly fight our way into the future? I think we can widen our foundation just a bit. Don’t you?

The First Ten Volumes of Chiropractic Clear Light Books

Volume 1: The Spiritual Writings of B.J. Palmer: Anniversary Edition

The tenth anniversary edition is filled with over three dozen high resolution pictures as well as some excellent edits and additional content. This book has taken on a life of its own. Many chiropractors have told me it sits on their desk for daily inspiration. That was my hope. The new edition rocks!

Volume 2: The Secret History of Chiropractic: Second Edition

This expanded edition of Secret History has some important editorial changes. As new historical facts come to light, we need to change the way we understand what happened. The core of the text is the same although it too has expanded and has much nicer pictures. Many of the changes are focused on Solon Langworthy as his contributions to the profession, while important, were not as profound as I once thought. Other important changes relate to the landmark Morikubo trial. The book is a great introduction to the early history without losing the depth of the philosophy developed by D.D. Palmer. 

Volume 3: Chiropractic Foundations (retired)

As noted above, this book is no longer in print. 

Volume 4: Success, Health, and Happiness: The Epigrams of B.J. Palmer

 Interestingly, I wrote the title of this book without realizing that James Parker used that phrase as well.as B.J.’s writings on success, chiropractic, health, medicine, women, and food. Other topics are organized by chapter with excerpts of his later writings as context. The book is a real treasure. 

Volume 5: Chiropractic Thoughts by J.R. Drain

 Drain’s book was written in 1927 after over a decade of practice and about seven years of teaching. He was one of the leaders of chiropractic education in the first of the twentieth century. His philosophical insights around everything from the normal complete cycle to retracing are invaluable to the modern chiropractor. To read my preface to the 2013 edition, please click here: Chiropractic Thoughts Preface

Volume 6: Los Origenes de la Quiropractica by Joaquin Valdivia Tor

 It is a great honor to help bring this translation of D.D. Palmer’s 1914 book into the world. Please share it with students and chiropractors. 

Volume 7: Ratledge Philosophy 1 by Paul Smallie

What if I told you there were some excellent short writings about the philosophy of one of D.D. Palmer’s final students? And, what if you also knew that the student owned and operated his own school for fifty years, pioneered objective straight chiropractic, kept spiritual terminology out of his teachings, made very clear distinctions between chiropractic and medicine, and wrote down most of his thoughts after 70 years as a chiropractor? What if I also told you that you may have never heard of him and probably have not read anything about him? Would you be curious?

Ratledge taught us that symptoms are manifestations of bodily adaptations to internal or external stimulations (mechanical, chemical, or thermal) and not the result of magical disease entities. Ratledge wrote down much of these ideas after selling his school in 1955 to Carl Cleveland, dealing with science boards for thirty years, legal battles, and then in the 1960s, the AMA’s newest offenses.

For 70 years, Ratledge emphasized the law-like approach to health that chiropractic utilizes. His MCT (mechanical, chemical, thermal) principles are consistent with D.D. Palmer’s teachings. Ratledge considers them to be the three primary attributes of matter. He writes, “The human body and the environment each have these qualities and are, therefore, similarly responsive to their influence, singularly and/or in combination.” His work is essential reading for anyone seeking to understand the philosophy of chiropractic and the chiropractic paradigm.

Volume 8: Segmental Neuropathy: Online Edition

 Only 2000 copies of this book were printed in 1965. Instead of dissecting the text for you in a wordy and eloquent blog post (I’ll save the lecture for another format), I spent my time laying it out as a hyper-linked pdf and as a webpage. I know you will enjoy it. The book was coauthored by several leading chiropractors of its day. Himes (PSC ’31), Peterson (PSC ’47), and Watkins (Lincoln ’42), were the guiding lights. (The profession owes gratitude to Steve Walton, DC, FICC, for inspiring this release, doing all of the initial layout, writing a preface, and adding EIGHT appendices!).

Volume 9: D.D. Palmer’s Traveling Library: The Essential Inspirations

 When I completed the layout of the new edition of Chiropractic Foundations, I realized it was now way too long and it truly was two distinct books. If you are curious about the roots of D.D. Palmer’s philosophy, this is the book for you to study. 

Volume 10: Towards an Integral Philosophy: A History of Universal & Innate Intelligences by Simon Senzon

 This book is a real joy to complete. I was able to expand on the Integral chapters and also add dozens of paintings and photos to the history of philosophy sections. I am currently writing three new chapters so that the book is relevant to many of the philosophical discussions and confusions in the profession today. Stay tuned and get on the email list for announcements. 

DD Palmer

D.D. PALMER
FOUNDER OF CHIROPRACTIC

DD Palmer was the founder of chiropractic. His legacy is the chiropractic paradigm:

The organism intelligently responds to stressors from the environment through self-organization, self-healing, and optimal function. Function may be interfered with when nerves get impinged upon especially at the spinal joints. When this happens the nervous system functions abnormally due to too much activity or decreased activity. This change in biomechanical structure leading to neural dysfunction was termed subluxation by Palmer and his early students. Vertebral subluxation leads to changes of tonicity and pathophysiology. The chiropractic adjustment normalizes the structure and the nervous system.

This chiropractic paradigm established the foundation of the chiropractic profession.

D.D. Palmer’s Early Inspiration

According to a letter he published in 1872, D.D. Palmer studied Spiritualism in the late 1860s. In 1886, he opened a practice as a magnetic healer in Burlington, Iowa, and called himself Dr. Palmer. In 1889, he claimed to have possessed the gift of Magnetic Healing for eighteen years.

One of the most misunderstood elements of chiropractic’s history of ideas is the influence of the alternative consciousness paradigm (Spiritualism) and the alternative healing paradigm (magnetic healing) on D.D. Palmer. The chiropractic literature on his early studies and practices often dismisses those paradigms. Also, few articles addressing this question utilize adequate frameworks to analyze these complex underpinnings.

It is important to use appropriate frameworks and academic disciplines to situate Palmer within the history of Western thought. 

D.D. Palmer’s letter to the editor of the Religio-Philosophical Journal from July 1872, is his earliest known published writing.  It was autobiographical. It was also a testimonial to his wife, Dr. Abba Lord Palmer, medium.

His embrace of such practices started when he witnessed Abba Lord’s abilities to correctly diagnosis diseases. This led him to believe that it wasn’t all phony.

In the letter, Palmer explains that he was originally planning to become a minister. However, after much study, deep thought, and “after spending many hours twisting my reason and the Bible and failing to make them harmonize,” he left his faith. Palmer wrote, “I then felt free and enjoyed a liberty which I never knew while fettered by the prejudices of the church and the Bible’s narrow concocted plan of the future.” To harmonize reason and spirituality would become his legacy.

After attending Spiritualist meetings for five years D.D. Palmer developed a first person experience of trance states, healing phenomenon, and the ability to help others with what we might refer to today as energy medicine.

Also in this letter, he used the term “intelligence” to refer to one’s spirit. Thirty years later, Innate Intelligence became central to his philosophy.

D.D. Palmer bound together several of his favorite books and pamphlets from this period. Many of them were advertised in the journal along with Abba Lord’s ads.

D.D. Palmer’s Traveling Library has since been abridged and published. The book captures the ideas that inspired D.D. Palmer’s principles and practices.

Some of the books are available online for free such as: Wrights’ The Moral Aphorisms and Terseological Teachings of Confucius (1870), Severance’s A Lecture on the Evolution of Life in Earth and Spirit conditions (1882), Denton’s The Deluge In The Light Of Modern Science (1882), and N.C.’s Thought-Transference with Practical Hints for Experiments (1887).

Common throughout these books were similar attempts to harmonize reason and spiritual phenomena. Miracles of the Bible such as the flood, were explained with science. Healing phenomena and altered states were described in terms of nature and energies. Also, meditative practices were described.

D.D. Palmer’s Magnetic Practice

D.D. Palmer moved to Davenport, Iowa, in 1888 and opened a magnetic healing practice. His offices were in four rooms. He took out ads and and his business grew by word of mouth. He eventually rented an entire floor. His broadsides included The Educator (no known copies) and The Magnetic Cure (1896). These short newspapers included many testimonials and several short essays on his philosophy and practices.

His earliest known ad dates to 1887. In the ad he writes, “Dis-ease is a condition of not-ease, lack of ease.” This became one of the central defining aspects of the chiropractic paradigm.

D.D. Palmer advanced the practice of magnetic healing by focusing on the affected organ, palpating for a tender spot, charging up his own energy, and then breaking up the “congestion.” The testimonials and the largeness of his practice indicate that he helped many people.

Testimonials dating from 1887 to 1896 include: Cancer, paralysis, tumor, goiter, lupus, scrofula, nose polyps, rheumatism, dyspepsia, heart disease, facial paralysis, neuralgia, lame back, weak eyes, congested liver, consumption, La Grippe, lung fever, poor digestion, dropsy, diphtheria, malaria, toothache, and neuralgia.

Early Chiropractic

D.D. Palmer hypothesized that the actual “congestion” at the organ system had a cause that could be traced to the spine. He expanded his original approach. His new method was to palpate the sensory distortion from the tender spot over the organ to the spine. He then manually adjusted the spine. The results were incredible based on the early testimonials and accounts of early students.

By 1897, D.D. Palmer changed the title of his advertiser to The Chiropractic and opened a school to teach his methods. He taught the first students in 1898. Some were former patients like O.G. Smith. Others like A.P. Davis were trained as medical doctors and osteopaths. Palmer’s method of teaching was mostly clinical.

By 1902, the core tenets of the chiropractic paradigm were in place. Subluxation caused impinged nerves, which caused dysfunction. The adjustment of subluxation led to normal function, improved tone, and health. Thus he reasoned that chiropractic was a cure for many diseases because it went directly to the cause.

Innate Intelligence

By 1903, D.D. Palmer developed his theory of Innate Intelligence and Educated Intelligence. Innate governed the vital systems and Educated was in charge of the motor systems. Innate guided the interior processes and Educated looked out for the exterior threats. Adaptation was central. The initial examples of Innate Intelligence included bony changes to stressors such as osteophytes.

In 1905, he expanded on his theory to include Universal Intelligence and other aspects of his philosophy.

 

 

These ideas had obvious roots in his Spiritualism. However, he built upon those earlier perspectives to include his empirical observations of patients getting cured of myriad disease processes.

The Science of Chiropractic

The Palmers announced the publication of their first book in February 1906. The book was to be based mostly on D.D. Palmer’s essays. Unfortunately, D.D. Palmer went to jail in April 1906 for practicing medicine without a license. Upon his release, he and his son B.J. Palmer dissolved their partnership. D.D. Palmer then moved to Oklahoma and B.J. published the book later that fall.

The Science of Chiropractic (Vol. 1) was much bigger than D.D. had imagined. Instead of just his essays, the book included some of B.J.’s writings along with articles from other authors. In the fall of 1907, D.D. lamented in a letter to B.J., “A fine thot came to me today to add to my book, but I do not know that I shall ever see its manuscript again.”

The book expanded on D.D. Palmer’s prior theory and emphasized his subluxation model. He defined subluxation as the loss of juxtaposition of the articulating processes of two vertebrae. Thus, it was not about a bone out of place so much as it was about a joint displaced, which impinged upon a nerve.

D.D. Palmer’s Final Years

From 1908 to 1913, D.D. Palmer wrote extensively. His 1910 tome, The Science, Art, and Philosophy of Chiropractic details his latest thoughts. The book was mostly a collection of articles that he wrote over the course of two years. In the articles he challenged the chiropractic theories of his son and his other students. Many of them had opened their own schools, published textbooks, and propounded new models of chiropractic.

The subtitle was printed on the spine of the book. It read, The Chiropractor’s Adjustor. This was similar to the title of his journal at the time, The Chiropractor Adjustor. He found so many problems with the chiropractic theories of his colleagues such as Carver, Langworthy, Smith, Davis, and B.J. Palmer, that he sought to “adjust” their mistakes.

Many of his earlier theories were developed in the text. He emphasized the role of the nervous system and what he referred to as the neuroskeleton. He hypothesized that this system was a regulator of tension in the body. Too much tension or not enough tension was an indication of disease processes. Today we would refer to this as pathophysiology.

Palmer proposed that nerves, which were impinged upon had a change in their ability to vibrate. This shift in vibration led to changes in tone. Tone could be palpated for in the muscles and it could be inferred by the indications of organ function. Hyperfunction and hypo function were equally abnormal to Palmer. He pioneered the 20th-century perspectives on normal and abnormal physiology.

His writings during these years also included philosophy and morality. His final lectures on all things chiropractic were captured in a set of lecture notes preserved in the Palmer archives. The notes were probably developed for his courses delivered at the Ratledge Chiropractic College in Los Angeles in 1912. He also took them on the road and gave a series of lectures in Davenport in 1913. After his death in October 1913, his widow took the notes and published them as a book titled The Chiropractor.

More to Read on D.D. Palmer

D.D. Palmer Translated into Spanish

Some Recent Articles on D.D. Palmer

Joseph Foley, Timothy Faulkner, and Stephen Zins. Abba Lord: D.D. Palmer’s First Wife and Powerful Influence on his Future. ChiroHist (2017)

Joseph Foley. D.D. Palmer’s Second Book: The Chiropractor 1914 – Revealed. ChiroHist (2016)

Joaquin Valdivia Tor and Joseph Foley. T4 vs. C2: Examining the conflicting Statements of D.D. Palmer and B.J. Palmer Regarding the Harvey Lillard Adjustment. ChiroHist (2015)

Joseph Foley. The Science, Art & Philosophy of Chiropractic by D.D. Palmer: Identification and Rarity of Editions in Print with a Survey of Original Copies. ChiroHist (2015)

Simon Senzon. Chiropractic and Systems Science. Chiropractic Dialogues (2015)

Gary Bovine. D.D. Palmer’s Adjustive Technique for the Posterior Apical Prominence: “Hit the High Places.” ChiroHist (2014)

Simon Senzon. Constructing a philosophy of chiropractic: premodern roots. J Chiro Hum (2011)

Simon Senzon. Constructing a philosophy of chiropractic: modern foundation. J Chiro Hum (2011)

Simon Senzon. Constructing a philosophy of chiropractic: modern foundation. J Chiro Hum (2011)

Simon Senzon. Chiropractic and energy medicine. J Chiro Hum (2008)

Some Classic Articles on D.D. Palmer

Pierre-Louis Gaucher-Peslherbe, Glenda Wiese, and Joseph Donahue. Daniel David Palmer’s medical library: The founder was “Into the literature.” ChiroHist (1995)

John F. Hart. Did D.D. Palmer visit A.T.Still in Kirksville? ChiroHist (1997)

Joseph Donahue. D.D. Palmer and the metaphysical movement of the 19th Century. ChiroHist (1987)

Zarbuck, M. A profession for ‘Bohemian Chiropractic’: Oakley Smith and the Evolution of Naprapathy.
Chiropractic History, 1986. 6: p. 77-82.*

Zarbuck, MV. Chiropractic Parallax: Part 1.
Illinois Prairie State Chiropractors Association Journal of Chiropractic, 1988. January.

Zarbuck, MV. Chiropractic Parallax: Part 2.
Illinois Prairie State Chiropractors Association Journal of Chiropractic, 1988.

Zarbuck, MV. Chiropractic Parallax: Part 3.
Illinois Prairie State Chiropractors Association Journal of Chiropractic, 1988. July.

Zarbuck, MV. Chiropractic Parallax: Part 4.
Illinois Prairie State Chiropractors Association Journal of Chiropractic, 1988. October.

Zarbuck, MV. Chiropractic Parallax: Part 5.
Illinois Prairie State Chiropractors Association Journal of Chiropractic, 1989. January.

Zarbuck, MV. Chiropractic Parallax: Part 6.
Illinois Prairie State Chiropractors Association Journal of Chiropractic, 1989. October.

Zarbuck, M. and M. Hayes. Following D.D. Palmer to the West Coast: The Pasadena Connection, 1902. Chiropractic History, 1990. 10(2): p. 17-19.*

Zarbuck MV. Innate Intelligence (Part 1).
Illinois Prairie State Chiropractic Association Journal of Chiropractic
1987 (Oct): 8(4):12-3

Zarbuck MV. Innate Intelligence (Part 2).
Illinois Prairie State Chiropractic Association Journal of Chiropractic
1988a (Jan): 9(1):11, 16

Chiropractic Revisions

It has been 99 years since D.D. Palmer’s death. We are still establishing his legacy in the face of decades of lies, half-truths, and outright distortions. Revising the historical record is a painstaking and vital role for the professional literature. This is especially true when new facts shed light on “spurious claims” accepted as fact. For example, there is an important line of historical scholarship that discredits D.D. Palmer’s role in establishing chiropractic’s philosophy. And, this reasoning has been distorted to the point of dismissing philosophy and subluxation altogether. I would like to help set the record straight.

The problem I am referring to in this blog post began with an investigative Lawyer in the early 1950s, Cyrus Lerner. Lerner argued that chiropractic’s legal standing as a separate and distinct profession and its very philosophy should be attributed to the work of one of D.D.’s students, Solon Langworthy.[1] This has become an accepted fact of chiropractic history. Recent research suggests that Lerner was wrong.[2, 3]

It is time to revise our history and give D.D. Palmer and his son B.J. Palmer their proper accolades.

The landmark Morikubo case of 1907 established chiropractic as a separate and distinct profession, with its’ own philosophy, science, and art. Lerner reasoned Tom Morris’ legal defense relied on the textbook Modernized Chiropractic, written by three of D.D. Palmer’s students, Langworthy, Oakley Smith, and Minora Paxson.[4] The book does introduce important concepts such as subluxation, IVF encroachment, and the dynamic thrust. It does NOT discuss philosophy in any detail. The main problem is that Lerner offers NO PROOF for his assertion that the defense relied on the text.

Perhaps other historians were duped like I was. After all, I wrote an entire chapter on Langworthy and much of it was based on Lerner’s account.[5]* Lerner did seem to have transcripts of the case but on a closer reading of his manuscript, he just relied on his own bias and logic. He offers no references. Others have relied on his account as well. Most notably William Rehm’s classic paper on the subject,[6] followed by Joe Keating’s many articles and chapters.[3, 7, 8] Historians and scholars often cite Lerner, Rehm, or Keating as their sources for this chiropractic myth, even in our most respected textbooks.[9-14]

You might be wondering why this is such a big deal. If you have been following my blog posts this year, you might even wonder why I am bringing up a similar topic as two previous posts.[15, 16] Well, I’ll tell you; IT IS A BIG DEAL. We need to turn the cynical tide away from mistaken criticisms of the philosophy of chiropractic and shine light on important and neglected facts. If we don’t, the story gets passed on to the next generation of chiropractors and  philosophical and historical accuracy continues to get distorted. Thus, this myth  should no longer make it through peer-review (although that does not seem to be the case thus far).[17]**

I have addressed this specific issue before but I have never so plainly written that Lerner’s account is without any merit (as far as I can tell). In the original report, Lerner, who was paid by a NY group of chiropractors to research the early history (in order to get chiropractic legislation passed in NY), displays a strong bias against BJ Palmer. Also, he claims that certain philosophical concepts such as an unseen power in the brain come from Langworthy. They don’t. D.D. Palmer had been studying such ideas for decades. Lerner did not have access to the books that D.D. was studying as they were not available for researchers in the 1950s.[18]

Another problem stemming from Lerner’s portrayal of events has led to the argument that the philosophy of chiropractic was merely a legal ploy. There is no doubt that philosophy after the Morikubo trial was very important to ensuring chiropractic was separate and distinct. However, that is only one small portion of the forces that shaped the ongoing development of the philosophy of chiropractic and the chiropractic paradigm.[19] Any accounts that make the legal issue the sole reason for chiropractic’s philosophy are not being honest or are just ignorant.

Let’s put this in real perspective. The main article referenced to support this myth of Langworthy is an article from 1986 by Rehm, a noted chiropractic historian.[6] Rehm uses SEVEN references. The only reference that Rehm relies on in regards to the landmark case and the Langworthy myth is Lerner’s unsubstantiated and very biased report. With such little historical evidence, it is surprising that Rehm could make such strong conclusions. Rehm writes,

“The salvation of this case would not be the “expert testimony” of Dr. B.J. Palmer, who had never before testified in a court trial. B.J. must have quietly seethed when Tom Morris found all of his help in the scholarly writings of none other than his personal enemy, Dr. Solon Massey Langworthy.” (p.53)

Neither Rehm nor Lerner had the information that was to be published in the last few years; information that makes it clear – the philosophical geniuses behind the defense were B.J. Palmer, Shegato Morikubo, and Tom Morris. Not Solon Langworthy. Lerner and Rehm were unaware of the systematic and planned operation that lasted at least six months and probably longer to prepare for the trial  (not the two-week rush to pull the case together that Rehm alleges).

In 2005, a landmark paper by Troyanovich and Keating explored the case against Johnson and Whipple, two chiropractors in LaCrosse, Wisconsin, the year before Morikubo was tried there.[3] The chiropractors lost and they even had D.D. Palmer as an expert witness! This article makes a compelling case that Morikubo and B.J. forced the legal issue and sent Morikubo to open up shop in the SAME building as the osteopath that brought charges against Whipple, the year before!

Morikubo played an important role in the history of the philosophy of chiropractic. He was not only taught by B.J., but also by D.D. Palmer before the founder left Davenport in 1906. Morikubo lectured on philosophy at the college when B.J. was traveling. Additionally, Morikubo held a correspondence degree in osteopathy and a Ph.D. in philosophy. He was raised in a Buddhist monastery in Japan. And, he was due to return to Japan the year after he graduated. He had nothing to lose by going to Wisconsin to be arrested for the chiropractic cause.

In 2007, as part of their wonderful yearly series on chiropractic’s history, Peters and Chance dug into the Palmer archives and made a straight-forward case that Lerner’s account is “a spurious claim.” (p.154) They even quote Morikubo and another witness named Linniker. Both men explicitly state, they did not use Langworthy’s text! As preface to the quotes, Peters and Chance write,

“Lerner also claimed – and it was repeated by another writer (Rehm) – that the writings of Langworthy and the book Modernized Chiropractic were the foundation for Tom Morris’ defense, but we have not been able to find any evidence of this. What we did find is that Langworthy tried to lay claim for the defense of the case, but Morikubo strongly refuted this by pointing out that Langworthy neither attended the trial nor sent a representative, and since press reports did not disclose the tactics used by the defense, Langworthy could not be in a position to make such an assertion.” (p.155)

I wonder why Lerner didn’t mention the quotes by Morikubo and Linniker? (I will post those quotes in a special gallery on the site in the near future.) In fact, Lerner quotes The Chiropractor from December 1907. Morikubo’s article denouncing the Langworthy claim was in the November 1907 issue! Perhaps Lerner missed it? Doubtful.

Is it too late to restore D.D. Palmer’s rightful place as progenitor not only of the chiropractic adjustment but its unique philosophy and science as well? Is it too late to grant B.J. Palmer and Shegatora Morikubo their rightful status as well?

I know, some of you may still be wondering, why this is so important. After all, we all know today that D.D. was the founder and that his textbook established the foundation of the philosophy, but that hasn’t always been the case. In fact, when D.D.’s 1910 book was published it was bought up by his competitors and few people read it. It wasn’t until 1950s that the original edition had been reprinted.[20] The seeds are deep!

And more importantly, this line of historical reasoning started by Lerner is currently being used not only to discredit the Palmers but philosophy in chiropractic itself. This spurious approach to the philosophy and history has led to the current trends that throw all foundations to the wind and embrace the backwards notions that drugs and surgery will somehow fit within the philosophy of chiropractic.

The future of the profession hinges on an accurate and honest portrayal of our history and a visionary, dynamic, and evolving approach to our philosophy.

References

1. Lerner, C. The Lerner report. 1952, Davenport, IA: Palmer College Archives.

2. Peters, R. and M. Chance, Disasters, Discoveries, Developments, and Distinction: The Year That Was 1907. Chiropr J Aust, 2007. 37: p. 145-156. [ABSTRACT]

3. Troyanovich and Keating, Wisconsin versus chiropractic: the trials at LaCrosse and the birth of a chiropractic champion. Chiropractic History, 2005. 25(1): p. 37-45.***

4. Paxson, M., O. Smith, and S. Langworthy, A textbook of modernized chiropractic. 1906, Cedar Rapids (IA): American School of Chiropractic.

5. Senzon, S. The secret history of chiropractic. 2006, Asheville, NC: Self Published.

6. Rehm, W. Legally defensible: Chiropractic in the courtroom and after, 1907. Chiropractic History, 1986. 6: p. 51.***

7. Keating, J., A brief history of the chiropractic profession, in In Principles and practice of chiropractic, S. Haldeman, Editor 2005, McGraw Hill Companies, Inc.: New York.

8. Keating, J., B.J. of Davenport: The early years of chiropractic, Davenport, Iowa: Association for the History of Chiropractic.

9. Folk, H., Vertbral vitalism: American metaphysics and the birth of chiropractic, 2006, Indiana University.

10. Moore, S., Chiropractic in America: The history of a medical alternative1993: Johns Hopkins University Press.

11. Wardwell, W., Chiropractic: History and evolution of a new profession1992, St. Louis(MO): Mosby.

12. Donahue, J., Metaphysics, rationality and science. J Manipulative Phys Ther, 1994. 17(1): p. 54-55.

13. Leach, R., The Chiropractic Theories: A Textbook of Scientific Research: 4th ed2004, Philadelphia (PA): Lippincott.

14. Haldeman, S., Principles and Practice of Chiropractic2004, New York: McGraw-Hill.

15. Senzon, S., Chiropractic games & distortions of truth, in Chiropraction. 2012.

16. Senzon, S., Chiropractic Honesty, in Chiropraction, August 27, 2012.

17. Simpson, J., The five eras of chiropractic & the future of chiropractic as seen through the eyes of a participant observer. Chiropractic & Manual Therapies, 2011. 20(1).

18. Senzon, S., Chiropractic and energy medicine: A shared history. J Chiropr Humanit, 2008. 15: p. 27-54.

19. Senzon, S., Constructing a philosophy of chiropractic: When worldviews evolve and postmodern core. J Chiropr Humanit, 2011.

20. Donahue, J. The man, the book, the lessons: The Chiropractor’s Adjustor, 1910. Chiropractic History, 1990. 10(2):p.35-42.

*I should note that some of Lerner’s other observations are intriguing and merit further research.

**In a contentious article by Simpson, he cites the Peters and Chance article but stays with the dogma that Morris used the text. This is part of his argument to make the case that subluxation should be banned.

 

 

Philosophy and History Lectures

It is time to take the show on the road. In the coming weeks The Institute Chiropractic will be sponsoring Simon Senzon’s lectures in Barcelona, Paris, Spartanburg, Wisconsin, and Seattle. The lectures will cover a wide range of topics on the history, theory, and philosophy of chiropractic. Each set of lectures will be unique.

BCC September 27 – 29

The first group of lectures will be at Barcelona Chiropractic College’s Lyceum.

The BCC Lyceum lectures will include two talks and a workshop. The Friday night talk includes an overview of the research to date at The Institute Chiropractic and a report on the PhD dissertation underway at Southern Cross University.

The PhD is being supported by the Foundation for Vertebral Subluxation, which has granted a tuition scholarship to Simon Senzon. All ongoing research at TIC is supported by TIC members and other contributors.

Lyceum Talks

The workshop at Lyceum will cover the gaps in the literature based on the 10 papers recently published in the Journal of Chiropractic Humanities. If you have not read the papers yet, please see this brief overview: The Senzon Papers.

The Saturday talk will be about the Morikubo Trial. This talk is based on the latest paper on the topic. The paper is the first project towards Dr. Senzon’s dissertation. It was recently published in Chiropractic History as The Morikubo Trial: A Content Analysis of a Landmark Chiropractic Case. The talk will go into detail about the context of the case, the impact, and the way it has been distorted in the literature for the last 50 years.

The Future of Chiropractic in Paris October 4-5

The 12 hours of talks in Paris will be hosted by L’Association Française pour l’Histoire de la Chiropratique. These talks will be comprehensive and cover:

Birth of the Chiropractic Paradigm: The Work of Gaucher-Peslherbe, D.D. Palmer’s Paradigm.

The Subluxation Denier Movement: Trouble in the Chiropractic Literature, The State of the References.

D.D. Palmer Renaissance: The Chiropractic Literature of the 1960s, The Paradigm and Research in the 1970s.

Bias in the Chiropractic History Literature: History and Philosophy in the 1980s and 1990s, The impact of Keating, Gibbons, and Rehm.

The Importance of Worldviews in Chiropractic: Five levels of thinking, Perspectives on Chiropractic.

The Life of B.J. Palmer: B.J. Palmer’s major contributions, Consciousness, Research, and Practice.

The Four Quadrant Viewpoint: Four perspectives, Four domains of chiropractic.

Social Power and Chiropractic: Dominance of Worldviews, Schools, Journals, and Laws.

The Paradox of Chiropractic Science: Systems Science in the 20th century, Chiropractic Models.

Citation Networks: Quantitative views of the literature, Mapping the Intellectual Field of Chiropractic.

Discourse Analysis: 3 levels of discourse, Dominance in the Discourse.

The Future of Chiropractic: An Integral Approach to Chiropractic.

IRAPS – October 12-13

Dr. Senzon will present the research findings of his newest paper at IRAPS on October 12th. This talk emphasize the research methodologies and the data collection. The new paper on the Morikubo Trial includes 190 primary sources and more than 50 secondary sources. The paper documented a new timeline for this landmark trial with many new details. It was demonstrated that 52 documents in the literature include incorrect facts about Morikubo’s trial. These included books, papers, and dissertation.

It was also demonstrated that there is no evidence that Langworthy or the book Modernized Chiropractic had any impact on the defense’s case. Nor did it impact early chiropractic theory and philosophy in any significant way.

CSW – October 17-18

The Chiropractic Society of Wisconsin’s Health and Wellness Summit will include four hours of lectures by Dr. Senzon. The conference will be at the Glacier Canyon Lodge – Wilderness Resort, Wisconsin Dells.

Dr. Senzon’s talks will include an overview of essential chiropractic theories from chiropractic’s first 100 years. This will include the three chiropractic paradigms, the impact of the literature, and the recent challenges to the chiropractic paradigm. Important chiropractic theorists will be highlighted. The talks will also explore the role of science and theory in the chiropractic discourse. The importance of the Morikubo trial on the current literature will be highlighted as well.

The Philosophy Forum – November 4

Dr. Senzon will be returning to The Chiropractic Philosophy Forum in Seattle on November 4. This two hour talk will explore The Chiropractic Green Books. The talk will be based on the first several chapters of the recent book Chiropractic Green Books: The Definitive Guide.

The talk will emphasize new facts and insights about The Chiropractic Green Books that emerged during research for the book. Few chiropractors realize several unique elements to the books. For example, empirical research impacted theory development at least from 1911 through the 1950s. Many chapters published in the 1950s were actually written decades earlier. B.J. Palmer’s philosophy of Innate Intelligence evolved in his later books as did his vertebral subluxation theories.

If you want to prepare for these talks sign up to TIC today. And do stop by and say hello.

If you want to prepare for these talks sign up to TIC today. And do stop by and say hello.

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