Foreword to Palmer Chiropractic Green Books

The first shipments of Palmer Chiropractic Green Books: The Definitive Guide by Timothy Faulkner, Joseph Foley, and Simon Senzon are beginning to arrive worldwide. The first one was received by Donald McDowall, DC, DNBCE, DIBAK, MAppSc, author of the book’s Foreword. Here is a picture of the chiropractic historian himself with the newest textbook for his incredible collection.

The Foreword is posted below. We have also posted the Contents, the Introduction, and the review from Chiropractic History. The Definitive Guide is already reshaping the discourse in the chiropractic profession. 


Chiropractic Bohemian Conspiracy

The Bohemian Conspiracy started in chiropractic around 1903. It was a movement initiated by D.D. Palmer’s students who became his competitors to discredit him. Starting with Langworthy and Smith, it was suggested that D.D. Palmer took chiropractic from Iowan Bohemians, who practiced a form of spinal manipulation as a folk remedy. Not long after, this line of thinking shows up in the books of Davis, Gregory, and Forster, all leaders of rival schools.

This lecture was produced for the new online CE Chiropractic Program offered through The Institute Chiropractic (TIC). Members of TIC get big discounts for the CE courses offered through Sherman College. Other member benefits include access to over 160 clips, over 25 hours of content, a social network and an amazing archive.


  • The definitive article on the Bohemian Thrust and chiropractic was written by Gary Bovine.
  • The first chiropractic textbook to include Bohemian concepts was Modernized Chiropractic by Smith, Langworthy, and Paxson. The three ran The American School of Chiropractic and Nature Cure.
  • Alva Gregory included arguments about the Bohemians in his chiropractic text. Gregory ran the Palmer-Gregory School (even though Palmer was only involved with him for three months, Gregory kept his name on the corporate charter.)
  • Arthur Forster took up the Bohemian idea in his 1915 book, Principles and Practices of Chiropractic. Forster ran the National School of Chiropractic with Schultz.
  • Many chiropractic historians have included a history of spinal manipulation, which is an important aspect of history. However, without including the fact that such an approach was originated to discredit D.D. Palmer as the inventor of chiropractic, any history will be limited.
  • To view the other segments of this lecture please join The Institute Chiropractic.

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.

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.


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.



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.


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.



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.

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


References to Chiropractic’s History of Ideas: An Outline


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Barge, F. 1990. One Cause, One Cure: The Health & Life Philosophy of Chiropractic: La Crosse Graphics.

Beckman, J, C Fernandez, and I Coulter. 1996. “A systems model of health care: A proposal.J Man and Phys Ther no. 19 (3):208-215.

Beideman, R. 1996. “The role of the encyclopedic Howard System in the professionalization of Chiropractic National College, 1906-1981.Chiropr Hist no. 16 (2):29-41.

Bittner, H, WD Harper, AE Homewood, J Janse, and C Weiant. 1973. “Chiropractic of Today.” The ACA Journal of Chiropractic no. VII (S-82).

Boone, WR, and GJ Dobson. 1996a. “A proposed vertebral subluxation model reflecting traditional concepts and recent advances in health and science.J Vert Subl Res no. 1:19-36.

Boone, WR, and GJ Dobson. 1996b. “A proposed vertebral subluxation model reflecting traditional concepts and recent advances in health and science: Part II.” J Vert Subl Res no. 1:23-32.

Boone, WR, and GJ Dobson. 1997. “A proposed vertebral subluxation model reflecting traditional concepts and recent advances in health and science: Part III.J Vert Subl Res no. 1:25-34.

Burich, SL. 1920. Chiropractic Chemistry. Vol. 11: Palmer College of Chiropractic.

Carver, W. 1936/2002. History of chiropractic. Edited by J Keating: National Institute of Chiropractic Research.

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Coulter, I. 1993. “Metaphysics, rationality and science.” J Man and Phys Ther no. 5:319-26.

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Donahue, J. 1990. “Philosophy of chiropractic: Lessons from the past – guidance for the future.” J Can Chiropr Assoc no. 34 (4):194-205.

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Drain, J.R. 1956. We walk again. In Spears Papers, edited by Cleveland College Archives.

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Ebrall, P. 2016. “Commentary: Is EBM damaging the social conscience of chiropractic?” Chiropractic Journal of Australia no. 44 (3):203-213.

Epstein, D. 1989. Palpation as a critical tool to detect, classify, and understand central nervous system pathological dominance and the correlation of these findings to various models of vertebral subluxation. In Academy for Research in the Chiropractic Sciences. Philadelphia.

Epstein, D. 1990. The human organism as a dissipating structure. Paper read at Network Chiropractic Seminar: Module F, April, at Monterey, CA.

Epstein, D. 1994. The Twelve Stages of Healing: A Network Approach to Wholeness. San Raphael, CA: Amber Allen.

Epstein, D. 1995/2005. Theoretical Basis and Clinical Application of Network Spinal Anaylsis (NSA) and Evidence based Document, rev. xi. Longmont, CO: Innate Intelligence.

Epstein, D. 1996. “Network spinal analysis: A system of health care delivery within the subluxation-based chiropractic model.J Vertebral Subluxation Res no. 1:1-9.

Epstein, D. 2004. “The transition of network spinal analysis care: Hallmarks of a client-centered wellness education multicomponent system of health care delivery.J Vertebral Subluxation Res no. 5:1-7.

Epstein, D, SA Senzon, and D Lemberger. 2009. “Reorganizational Healing: A Paradigm for the Advancement of Wellness, Behavior Change, Holistic Practice, and Healing.JACM no. 15 (5):475-487.

Faulkner, T, J Foley, and S Senzon. Forthcoming. The chiropractic green books: A definitive collector’s guide. Asheville, NC: The Institute Chiropractic.

Faulkner, T. 2017. The Chiropractor’s Protégé: The Untold Story of Oakley G. Smith’s Journey with D.D. Palmer in Chiropractic’s Founding Years. Rock Island, Ill: Association for the History of Chiropractic.

Firth, J. 1914/1925. Chiropractic symptomatology. Vol. 7. Davenport: Palmer College of Chiropractic.

Forster, A. 1915. Principles and practice of spinal adjustment. Chicago, IL: National School of Chiropractic.

Forster, A. 1921. The white mark: An editorial history of chiropractic. Chicago: National Publishing Association.

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

Gatterman, MI. 1982. “WA Budden: the transition through proprietary education, 1924-1954.” Chiropr Hist no. 2 (1):21.

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

Geilow, V. 1982. Old dad chiro: A biography of D.D. Palmer founder of chiropractic. La Crosse (WI): Fred Barge.

Gelardi, T. 1996. “The science of identifying professions as applied to chiropractic.” J Chiropr Hum no. 6:11-17.

Gibbons, R. 1980. “The rise of the chiropractic educational establishment: 1897-1980.” In Who’s who in chiropractic international, edited by F Lints-Dzaman, S Scheider and L Schwartz. Littleton, CO: Who’s Who in Chiropractic International Pub. Co.

Gibbons, R. 1985. “Chiropractic’s Abraham Flexner: the lonely journey of John J. Nugent, 1935-1963.” Chiropr Hist no. 5:44-51.

Gibbons, R. 1991. “Joy Loban and Andrew P. Davis: itinerant healers and “schoolmen,” 1910-1923.” Chiropr Hist no. 11 (1):23.

Goldstein, M. 1975. The research status of spinal manipulative therapy: A workshop held at the National Institutes of Health, February 2-4, 1975. Vol. 15. Bethesda: U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare.

Green, B, M Mostashari, and T Trafecanty. 1994. “Tom Morris: Chiropractic Advocate and Friend of Drugless Healers.” Chiropr Hist no. 14 (1):36.

Harper, WD. 1997. Anything Can Cause Anything: A Correlation of Dr. Daniel David Palmer’s Priniciples of Chiropractic: Texas Chiropractic College.

Hart, JF. 1996. “Remembering Dr. Lyle Wheeler Sherman.” Chiropr Hist no. 16 (2):67-75.

Howard, J. 1908. Encyclopedia of chiropractic (The Howard System): National School of Chiropractic.

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, edited by M Goldstein, 25-42. Bethesda: U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare.

Keating, J. 1988. “C.O. Watkins, D.C.: Grandfather of the Council on Chiropractic Education.Journal of Chiropractic Education no. 2 (3):1-9.

Keating, J. 1992a. “The evolution of Palmer’s metaphors and hypotheses.” Philosophical Constructs for the Chiropractic Profession no. 2 (1):9-19.

Keating, J. 1992b. Toward a philosophy of the science of chiropractic: A primer for clinicians. Stockton (CA): Stockton Foundation for Chiropractic Research.

Keating, J. 1998. “Chronology of Alva Gregory, M.D., D.C.“.

Keating, J. 2000a. “Clarence W. Weiant, D.C., PH.C., PH.D.: An early chiropractic Scholar.” Chiropr Hist no. 20 (2):49-79.

Keating, J. 2000b. “The search for a science of straight chiropractic: Herbert Marshall Himes.Dynamic Chiropractic no. 18 (26):30-2.

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Keating, J. 2008. “William D. Harper, Jr, MS, DC: Anything Can Cause Anything.” J Can Chiropr Assoc no. 52 (1):38.

Keating, J, R Brown, and P Smallie. 1991. “T.F. Ratledge, the missionary of straight chiropractic in California.Chiropr Hist no. 11 (2):27-38.

Keating, J, R Brown, and P Smallie. 1992. “One of the roots of straight chiropractic: Tullius de Florence Ratledge.” In Chiropractic family practice: A clinical manual, edited by J Sweere. Gaithersburg, MD: Aspen Publishers, Inc.

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Keating, J, K Charlton, J Grod, S Perle, D Sikorski, and J Winterstein. 2005. “Subluxation: dogma or science.” Chiropractic & Osteopathy no. 13 (17).

Keating, J, and W Rehm. 1995. “William C. Schulze, MD, DC (1870-1936): From mail-order mechano-therapists to scholarship and professionalism among drugless physicians.” Chiropractic Journal of Australia no. 25:122-128.

Keating, J, and S Troyanovich. 2005. “Wisconsin versus chiropractic: the trials at LaCrosse and the bilth of a chiropractic champion.” Chiropr Hist no. 25 (1):37-45.

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McAulay, B. 2005. “Rigor in the philosophy of chiropractic: Beyond the dismissivism/authoritarian polemic.” J Chiropr Humanit no. 12:16-32.

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Moore, S. 1993. Chiropractic in America: The history of a medical alternative: Johns Hopkins University Press.

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Palmer, D.D. 1902a. “Is chiropractic an experiment? .” The Davenport Times no. June 14.

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Russell, E. 2009. “Process versus outcome: challenges of the chiropractic wellness paradigm.” J Chiropr Hum no. 16 (1):50-53.

Senzon, S. 2010a. “B.J. Palmer: An integral biography.Journal of Integral Theory and Practice no. 5 (3):118-136.

Senzon, S. 2010b. “Constructing a philosophy of chiropractic I: an Integral map of the territory.J Chiropr Human no. 17 (17):6-21.

Senzon, S. 2011a. “Constructing a philosophy of chiropractic: When worldviews evolve and modern foundation.J Chiropr Humanit no. 18 (1):24-38.

Senzon, S. 2011b. “Constructing a philosophy of chiropractic: When worldviews evolve and postmodern core.J Chiropr Humanit no. 18 (1):39-63.

Senzon, S. 2011c. “Constructing a philosophy of chiropractic: When worldviews evolve and Premodern roots.J Chiropr Humanit no. 18 (1):10-23.

Senzon, S. 2014. “Chiropractic professionalism and accreditation: An exploration of conflicting worldviews through the lens of developmental structuralism.J Chiropr Hum no. 21 (1):25-48.

Senzon, S. 2015. “Chiropractic and systems science.Chiropractic Dialogues no. December 25:9-20.

Senzon, S. In Press. “The Chiropractic Subluxation Part 8: Terminology, Definitions, and Historicity from 1966-1980.” J Chiropr Hum.

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OG Smith

O.G. Smith, DC

O.G. Smith was D.D. Palmer’s 10th student.

He started as a patient when he was in high school. D.D. Palmer treated him 5 or 6 times per week for six months. Smith kept an account of his health progress in his journal. He also wrote down many of the events that happened between him and the Palmers in those early years.

After becoming D.D.’s student, Smith gradually became his protégé. He covered D.D. Palmer’s practice and school when the Palmers went traveling. He also became friends with B.J. Palmer, who was two years younger than himself.

The Chiropractor’s Protégé

In Timothy J. Faulkner’s new book on Smith, he concluded that Smith was D.D. Palmer’s protégé because he studied with the founder of chiropractic for a longer period than any other early student. He even wrote in a letter to Smith in 1902, that he consider BJ and Oakley his successors.

After graduating from D.D. Palmer’s program, Smith went back to Davenport to continue his studies. When he opened his practice in early 1902, he used the term “sub-luxation” in an advertisement. According to Faulkner, this is the first known chiropractic publication using the term.

When D.D. Palmer moved to California in 1902 and planned to open a school, he asked Oakley to move there. Oakley left his new chiropractic office in Clarinda, Iowa and followed his mentor to Santa Barbara. While there, the two joined with Minora Paxson, a graduate of the Palmer Chiropractic College Santa Barbara, and planned out the curriculum.

The California sojourn did not last long due to D.D. Palmer’s legal troubles (practicing medicine without a license). So, the three moved to Chicago to open a school there. The Chicago school never got off the ground.

Smith and Paxson then joined with D.D. Palmer’s rival, Sol Langworthy. They helped Langworthy to reinvigorate his American School and Cure in Cedar Rapids. D.D. Palmer went back to Davenport and the first real divisions in the chiropractic school wars began.

The falling out between Smith and Palmer is detailed in Faulkner’s book although the true reasons of Smith’s turn against his teacher may remain a mystery.

Smith stayed with Langworthy’s school for a couple of years. He taught classes, conducted subluxation research, and published his book.

Smith’s Subluxation Research

Smith started researching the vertebral subluxation in the late 1890s. He took college classes on anatomy and physiology with an emphasis on dissection. By 1905, he was doing microscopic studies of the ligamentous tissues of the intervertebral foramen and the intervertebral disc. He found that ligamentous scarring pulled on nerves and blood vessels. Thus he developed a synonym for the vertebral subluxation: ligatight.

Smith wrote up his findings in a two volume textbook, which was edited by Paxson and published by Langworthy. The title of the book was Modernized Chiropractic. It was published in 1906 and used the term “subluxation” over 1,100 times.

Smith continued his subluxation research as he launched his new profession, Naprapathy. Faulkner’s book describes these developments in detail with rare photos of D.D. Palmer, letters, as well as some early publications.

Smith’s Writings on Philosophy from Modernized Chiropractic

General Philosophy and Pathology

Chiropractic is founded with due regard for the known facts  in  Anatomy,  Physiology,  and Pathology.

  1. Anatomically, man is a machine.
  2. Physiologically, every organ and tissue will preserve normal function (health) when every part of the machine is in its proper position.
  3. Pathologically, disease is the result of anatomical displacement interfering with normal physiological action.

The Keynote of Chiropractic

The keynote, which rings all through Chiropractic principles and practice is the Chiropractic Thrust which produces localized Spontaneity so essential to retain the in the position in which it was placed by the same identical Thrust. Thrust, then, is the Gibraltar upon which Chiropractic adjustment is founded.

The Replacement of Structure

The replacement of structure by means of this Thrust implies:

  1. That the structural parts of which the body is posed have a mechanical relation to each other.
  2. That displacements occur else there would be necessity for replacements.
  3. That these displacements are the cause of disease the replacement of structure would not be a logical treatment for disease.
  4. That the Thrust is followed by Spontaneity and other recuperative changes in the ligaments and cartilages, else a slight change in position of the vertebra secured by the mechanical force of the Thrust would be no more per­manent or beneficial than mere rotation, separation, or approximation of the vertebrae due to the mere voluntary turning or bending of the back.
  5. That the replacement so gained, is followed by nor­mal physiological action (health), which fact would also mean that every organ and tissue would preserve normal function if every part of the body retained its mechanical range of movement.

The word Chiropractic does not imply some dead prin­ciple. It indicates action as is not only shown by the meaning of the word Chiropractic, but is also shown by the meaning of the word “Napravit”  or “Napravovani”,  the name of the old Bohemian practice from which Chiropractic sprang. “Napravit” means to fix-and Chiropractic means to do by the hands.

Skeletal Adjustment Old

The replacement of displaced structures is by no means a new idea. Its exact age we do not know and at this time we cannot predict, but facts at hand conclusively prove that the principles underlying this system were recognized and its characteristic unique movements used more than sixty years ago in Bohemia. While it may have been practiced a much longer time, sixty years is sufficient to place Chiropractic as the first of all systems now in the field to practice skeletal adjustment. From this it will be noted that we not only claim that the philosophy which underlies the Chiropractic adjustment of subluxations is distinct and different from that known or practiced by any other system, but we further claim for Chiropractic PRIORITY in the FIELD OF SKELETAL ADJUSTMENT. Demonstration is rapidly proving that replacement of structure, scientifically applied is the most powerful of all remedial agencies. Upon this principle is being builded a system which by its merits is commanding profound attention in all parts of the world.

Man is A Machine: An Old Idea

The “outer machine” as we designate it is the mechanical part of the individual and was so looked upon in Europe nearly a century ago.

In the following pages we divide man into an outer machine and an inner machine. The former -the outer machine- is of a truly mechanical nature, while the latter is more of a vital nature.

We do not claim that this is a new  idea with us nor in fact is it an idea new in recent years. On the contrary, man has been regarded as a mechanical structure for nearly a century that we know of.

From a practical standpoint the Bohemians regarded man as a machine as is shown by the fact that they employed mechanical correction for ills of the human body. Actions always speak louder than words, but aside from this there are words on the subject.

In an old French work Maygrier’s Anatomists Manual” we find a statement that leaves no room for doubt that the idea that the part that we have designated as the outer machine was looked upon a great many years ago as being only mechanical in nature. On page four, Vol. II of this old work we note the statement that the “skeletology and myology form as it were only the mechanical part of the individual”. In another place in the same work, page three Vol. I it shows what skeletology comprised at this early day.

We quote Skeletology comprehends the history of the bones, cartilages, ligaments, periosteum, and pretended synovial glands.”

This work from which we have taken these extracts was translated into English as early as 1832.

Regarding man as a machine we find the structures belong to two divisions:-The outer machine.

  1. The outer machine.
  2. The inner or vital machine,

Outer Machine

  1. Osseous structures:-
    (a) Long bones,
    (b) Short bones,
    (c) Flat bones,
    (d) Irregular bones,

2.       Ligaments:–·

(a)    Capsular,

(b)    Lateral,

(c)    Interarticular,

(d)    Irregular,

3.      Cartilages:-­

(a)    Articular,

(b)    Interarticular,

(c)   Costal,
(d)    Fibro-cartilage,

4.      Skeletal muscles:-

The skeletal muscles with their tendons and the sesamoid bones developed in them including the patellae. The hyoid should also be here included as it is tendinous in action.

The other main class consists of structures which, taken collectively, we term the inner machine.

Inner Machine

  1.  Nervous system:–

(a) Central nervous system:-

­ Brain,

Spinal cord, Peripheral nervous system:-, Cranial nerves,

(b) Peripheral nervous system:-

Cranial nerves,

Spinal nerves,

Sympathetic nerves,


  1. Blood vascular system:—
    (a) Heart,

(b) Arteries,

(c) Veins,

(d) Capillaries,

  1. Lymphatics:­-
    (a) Lacteals,
    (b) Lymphatic vessels,
    (c) Right lymphatic duct,
    (d) Thoracic duct with  receptaculum chyli,
  2. Organs of manufacture and special sense:-
    (a) manufacture:­

Alimentary canal, Glands, Ductless glands including lymphatics, Bone marrow, Lungs,
(b) Special sense;-
Eye, Ear, Nerve end organs for taste, touch, sight, and smell.

The Chiropractor’s Protégé Hardcover

The Chiropractor’s Protégé: The Untold Story of Oakley Smith’s Journey with D.D. Palmer in Chiropractic’s Founding Years, is an introduction to chiropractic history for students and doctors of chiropractic. It may also serve as a text for other disciplines that seek to understand the historical emergence of chiropractic. The book is organized chronologically and grouped into five main parts; Starting the Journey, The Protégé Emerges, Student and Teacher as Partners, Professional Conflicts, and The First Napravit. Each chapter contains primary source materials including journal entries, letters, newspaper accounts, and photos. Excerpts from Smith’s journals and several additional letters are included as appendices. Many of the photos in this book are not found elsewhere. This book not only updates the chiropractic literature by establishing new facts but it sets a new standard for chiropractic historical scholarship. This text offers an objective view of the early history rooted in primary source material.


Part I Starting the Journey

Chapter 1 Smith Family History
Chapter 2 The Apprentice
Chapter 3 More Education

Part II The Protégé Emerges

Chapter 4 The First Chiropractic Convention
Chapter 5 On His Own and Defining Sub-luxation
Chapter 6 Plagiarizing D.D. Palmer and Sub-luxation
Chapter 7 Oakley’s Testimonials
Chapter 8 The First Chiropractic Illustrator
Chapter 9 The Other Literature: Langworthy and B.J
Chapter 10 Letters, Tables, and Hepburn
Chapter 11 The Storey Story
Chapter 12 Letters, Friends, and Paxson
Chapter 13 Brother Kiros

Part III Student & Teacher as Partners

Chapter 14 Going West and Testimonials in 1903
Chapter 15 The Palmer Chiropractic School: Santa Barbara
Chpater 16 Santa Barbara Students and Letters
Chapter 17 Leaving California
Chapter 18 Chicago

Part IV Chiropractic Conflicts

Chapter 19 Leaving Palmer for the ASC
Chapter 20 Smith’s Locometer and Langworthy’s Tables
Chapter 21 School Announcements
Chapter 22 Politics
Chapter 23 Expert Witness
Chapter 24 Professional Turmoil

Part V The First Naprapath

Chapter 25 Modernized Chiropractic
Chapter 26 Subluxation and IVF Research
Chapter 27 A New Profession Emerges
Chapter 28 A Life Well Lived


Appendix 1 Journal Entries: December 1896 to June 1897
Appendix 2 Journal Entries: July 1898 to July 1899
Appendix 3 Journal Entries: July 1899 to January 1902
Appendix 4 Letters to Smith from 1900 & 1901

© 2020 The Institute Chiropractic - Senzon Learning, Inc.