Chiropractic Philosopher Morikubo

Shegetaro Morikubo was one of the early leaders of chiropractic. He is most famous for following in D.D. Palmer’s footsteps and getting arrested for practicing medicine, osteopathy, and surgery without a license.

Unlike D.D., who spent 23 days in jail, Morikubo’s case was won and set a precedent. Chiropractic was separate and distinct from osteopathy. (Check out my blog post about some of the mistakes in the literature on the topic.)

I have researched and written about his life.

I thought we knew all that we could about him. He grew up in Japan. Descended from an aristocratic Buddhist family in the province of Kanagawa. After his trial, he married and then taught and practiced in Minneapolis. I have read every article that I could find by him written between 1904 and 1922.

I was just completing a lecture series on his life for TIC (and for CE)* when I found out something new!**

Morikubo was a Novelist and Read Shakespeare

Last week I got a surprise email from John Wolfe. Dr. Wolfe is a chiropractic historian, the editor of Chiropractic History, and an associate professor at Northwestern College of Chiropractic. He is also one of the leading Morikubo historians in the world.

Wolfe just found this news article from 1895. It is the earliest known writing we have about Morikubo.

There are several interesting things here. The article refers to him as Shigal (I don’t know much about Kanji but it sounds pretty close to Shegetaro). It also supports some other documents such as his age, his ancestry, when he came to the U.S., and that he was a student in California. (I tried to find historical documents about his early schooling from the Berkeley archives to the Tokio Academy with no luck.)

Furthermore, we learn that he studied English with a tutor and read Shakespeare, Irving, Hawthorne, and Longfellow.

We also learn that he is a budding young novelist who aspired to write a history of Japan. This helps us to make sense of his future plays on Japanese Marriage as well as his several lectures and articles on religion and politics in Japan.

The guy was very interesting.

Chiropractic Philosopher

We know that Morikubo covered some of B.J. Palmer’s lectures in the fall of 1906.

B.J. Palmer did not record his lectures from that year. The first chiropractic green book solely authored by B.J. came out the following year and it was based on his winter 1907 lectures.

Morikubo’s first article on the philosophy, science, and art came out in January 1907. (This was a full 8 months before the infamous trial.) The article included many of the early concepts that would appear in B.J.’s Vol 2.

The Philosophy of Chiropractic

In my lecture series at The Institute Chiropractic, I delve into some of Morikubo’s writings on the philosophy of chiropractic. In this video, I capture some of his more interesting contributions. I recreated two of his drawings as animation from a 1915 article called Chiropractic Philosophy.

A History of Ideas

Many questions emerge when we reflect on the history of ideas in chiropractic. Who originated each of the core theories from the chiropractic paradigm? Which authors should be included in the chiropractic canon of theory, science, and practice? What is the difference between subluxation theory and philosophy in chiropractic? There are many questions still to be answered.

Historical information about the foundational paradigm of chiropractic is still being discovered. It is an exciting time for the profession.

*The lectures on the early leaders in chiropractic will be posted soon as part of the Chiropractic Principles online continuing education program.

**Members of The Institute Chiropractic get access to all of the lectures plus tons of content (over 50 hours) as well as discounts for the CE courses.

D.D. Palmer Birthday Gift

On his 61st birthday, on March 6, 1906, D.D. Palmer gifted Shegetaro Morikubo with chiropractic. He presented Morikubo with a bound edition of The Chiropractor’s first year of issues. As noted in our book, Palmer Chiropractic Green Books: The Definitive Guide, this included the only KNOWN inscribed book from the founder of chiropractic. But what D.D. truly gifted to Mori was the philosophy and practice of chiropractic.

*In 1910, D.D. Palmer wrote that March 7, was his birthday.

Morikubo was one of D.D. Palmer’s last students who was taught at Davenport while he was head of the Palmer School of Chiropractic. This type of rare distinction was shared with a few of the early luminaries. For example:

D.D. Palmer’s Students

O.G. Smith was one of the first ten students. According to Faulkner’s excellent book, Smith was with D.D. for about six years in Davenport, Santa Barbara, and Chicago. A.P. Davis was one of the first students but he also spent time with D.D. years later in Portland, Oregon. C.S. Cooley was one of the only students enrolled under D.D. during his three months of teaching at the Palmer-Gregory School in Oklahoma. T.F. Ratledge, who also spent time with D.D. in Oklahoma went on to provide D.D. with his final teaching job at his Ratledge School in California. J.R. Drain attended D.D. Palmer’s final lecture tour through Davenport in 1913, just before he died. And then there was B.J. Palmer, who carried on his father’s paradigm well into the twentieth century, without whom the profession would not have fully emerged.

Morikubo’s Contributions

Unlike those other early pioneers who led schools and political organizations, Morikubo was unique.

While he was an early leader of the Universal Chiropractor’s Association and he did briefly advertise an Academy in Minnesota, he is best known as a political activist.

Soon after Morikubo received a life-changing chiropractic adjustment from D.D. Palmer, signed up as his student, and was presented with this text, D.D. Palmer was jailed for advertising to “cure” in The Chiropractor. The day after D.D. was sent to jail on March 29, 1906, Morikubo published a rebuke to the people of Iowa and America. He criticized a country that stood for ideals of liberty and freedom yet jailed an innocent healer for proclaiming his results.

One of D.D. Palmer’s friends, Samuel Weed, wrote to D.D. in jail,

“I saw later, Doctor, an article written by Shegetaro Morikubo, a student of Chiropractic under you from far off Japan. He was present at your trial and was surprised and disgusted that such injustice could be done under the stars and stripes.”

“His sensible words make me ashamed, while I honor him for his masterful rebuke of the wrong done to you; his words should make the people of Iowa so much ashamed that they would wipe out the evil law, or remedy the malicious interpretation of it that has imprisoned “for publicly professing to cure and heal without a license” one of her citizens who has discovered and teaches a science and art that leads the van of all that profess to cure and heal by adjusting the cause of disease, instead of curing and healing the disease themselves.”

After leaving jail, D.D. Palmer moved to Oklahoma. Morikubo continued to study with B.J. Palmer until his graduation on December 22, 1906. Soon after graduation, he moved to LaCrosse, Wisconsin, which was the legal hot spot in the battle to legalize chiropractic. Morikubo moved there to force the issue.

Morikubo opened his office in the Macmillan building, which was where A.U. Jorris, DO, practiced. This was a direct challenge to the state board. Jorris was on the board and was renown in osteopathic circles for his successful legal case against two psuedo-chiropractors in 1905 and 1906.

Morikubo defied the board by growing his practice. In March or April of 1907, Morikubo writes, “If the Wisconsin board of Osteopaths claim that chiropractic is a part of Osteopathy they would commit robbery… If my statements, of equal rights, can be construed to “denied the state board” then defy the “state board,” I will until they “arrest him” and prove that I am practicing Osteopathy.”

By May, he had successfully cared for 70 patients. The case reports that he sent back to B.J. Palmer were characteristic of the range of disease processes typically seen by chiropractors. Chiropractic was born from medical failures.

He reported on one young lady with early stages of “consumption.” Symptoms were, “deep coughing, slight headaches and dizziness, sore throat, vomiting, specks in the eyes, hiccough and little temperature.” The analysis he describes is consistent with D.D. Palmer’s method of “nerve tracing.” Morikubo writes,

“I discovered subluxations at 2 and 4 dorsal, also 11 dorsal. From the 4th, on both sides, the tender nerves led almost perpendicularly toward the 6th cervical, from there it divided, one running to throat and lost in the flesh of the neck; the other turned downward and outward along the clavicle, from where it took straight course over 2-3 ribs then deflected toward outside 6-7 ribs, right into the diaphragm. The nerves on both sides were lost at the same point–diaphragm.”

“I adjusted 2-4 dorsal, and the distressing symptoms ceased almost instantly. Since then, four days ago, she did not cough. She is practically well now. She took three adjustments.”

Cases ranged from 1 visit to four months. Some other cases he took note of included a 49-year-old male with pulmonary tuberculosis, a 50-year-old female with “suspicious sputum,” and a 20-year-old male with “rheumatism,” with a paralyzed left arm, left facial paralysis, and full body convulsions. Examination of that last case “found a big axis sub-luxation.” Morikubo writes, “The patient drew up as straight as a pine tree: whirled around the left arm like a windmill and walked out of my office, like a hurricane.” The patient returned the next day “angry” because his cure was too quick.

Landmark Morikubo Case

In July 1907, the board filed a complaint against Morikubo. The landmark trial took place in August. The case demonstrated that chiropractic was a distinct profession with a science, art, and philosophy.

On January 1, 1908, Morikubo sent in several more cases to B.J. Palmer. He said the success of his cases was teaching him a great deal about the science of chiropractic. Also, that there were too many cases to include in one letter. And that he was growing so accustomed to successes that he was starting to take them for granted. He wanted to continue to document cases to push back against ignorance. Then he writes, “The future greatness of Chiropractic is simply immeasurable. In the meantime, I will live and die fighting against the medical trust and pseudo osteopaths.”

Take Action Today

Morikubo’s story is just one example of the many pioneers that D.D. Palmer inspired with his magnetic personality, his mastery of chiropractic, and ability to teach others what he knew. The ripples of his gifts are still with us today and yet the significance of their contributions is fading from the collective memory of the profession. This is contributing to the many challenges the profession faces.

To learn more please take the following actions:

  1. Join The Institute Chiropractic and master the three chiropractic paradigms.
  2. Get the new book Palmer Chiropractic Green Books: The Definitive Guide. (This book is transforming the knowledge-base of the profession.)

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.

 

Shegetaro Morikubo

Shegetaro Morikubo, D.C.

Shegataro Morikubo was born in 1871 in Tokyo, Japan. He came from an aristocratic family. He moved to the United States in 1889 and converted to Christianity. He was schooled in a Buddhist monastary as a child and later completed a degree in philosophy. His early years in America included several lectures on and published articles on Japanese culture.

After trying osteopathy to help with an injury from practicing martial arts, Morikubo corresponded with D.D. Palmer about studying chiropractic in 1906. While D.D. Palmer was jailed for practicing medicine without a license, during the spring of 1906, Morikubo published an article in the local paper titled “Are American People Free?” He protested the system that incarcerated his teacher.

Morikubo continued to study under B.J. Palmer after D.D. left Davenport. In the fall of 1906, Morikubo even taught some of B.J. Palmer’s philosophy courses while B.J. was traveling.

Upon Morikubo’s graduation, he and B.J. plotted to test the Wisconsin legal system. Shegataro opened his office in LaCrosse, Wisconsin in the same building as the osteopath who brought charges against two chiropractors in 1905. On January 24, Morikubo wrote to B.J. to from LaCrosse, “A Chiropractor must have a large heart and vision worthy of this great science he represents… Should (MDs or DOs) molest us … (a) coward would lose the victory before the battle begins.”

After the August trial, Morikubo maintained that he and B.J. planned the defense for six months. Morikubo’s writings from January 1907 attest to that. He explained chiropractic is a distinct science, art, and philosophy.

Morikubo’s Philosophical Writings in January 1907

Morikubo confronted the issues head on by taking out a full page ad in the local newspaper. The ad was in the form of a lengthy article on the philosophy of chiropractic.

The Philosophy of Chiropractic

It has a rather unattractive name, Chiro-practic, and is not least melodious to those who know nothing about it. Yet, a careful investigation and examination of its theory and practice would astound even a great intellect, with a revelation of profound depth and colossal proportion. No other science can grapple with a problem of three-fold aspect: philosophical, scientific and artistic. For its completeness and comprehensiveness, Chiropractic may be called philosophic science. let us see the reason whereby this science pales all other sciences into insignificance. We must review briefly, in order to appreciate its greatness, the structure and functions of the living human body.

Amid manifold wonders with which we come daily in contact, the most marvelous and beautiful piece of divine handiwork, is the human body. Its billions of cells, each being microcosm perform their functions harmoniously to maintain a perfect health. The bones, the arteries, the veins, the lymphatic glands, the thoracic and abdominal organs, lung, liver, heart, stomach, and all other organs of the body work in perfect harmony, when not interrupted, to maintain life, health, and beauty in man.

When the bony structure and all organs are in order and work harmoniously, the individual is healthy. When, however, there exists any disorder or any disturbance in the body, the result is disease and death.

These phenomena, health and disease, have baffled philosophers of all ages. The problem has never been solved. To say it NATURAL to be healthy, expresses nothing; to say it is UNNATURAL to be sick, is begging the question. medicine, ever since the days of Hypocrites, the physician, has been endeavoring to discover the cause of disease, but all in vain. It has been universally believed both by physicians and laymen however, that disease is due to some chemical change in one way or in the other, in the animal economy. But what produces a disorganization and its subsequent chemical change in the constitution, has never been told… The wisest of physicians during the last thirty

The wisest of physicians during the last thirty centuries, have not told one thing that sounds logical with regard to the cause of human disease. Is their failure in discovering the cause of disease in man due to their negligence in the study of man as a unity? Has their materialistic view of life so far deceived them that man is not a trine? – physical, mental and spiritual. Such seems to have been the case when we consider the fact that physicians have used only one method in an attempt to relieve human suffering. That method has been to do altogether with the functions of the body. It is comparatively of recent date when they began to pay some attention to psychological phenomena in disease, but they know nothing of how the mind affects the body. Without this important knowledge, medical science, so-called, will never reach that stage of development called science.

The Mind Controls Organic Functions

The task of solving this problem has fallen into the hands of Chiropractic. IT HAS SOLVED THE PROBLEM. The Chiropractor has discovered, through careful study and experiment and reasoning, that the mind controls absolutely all organic functions in the animal economy. the medium through which the mind expresses itself, is the brain and the nerve center. The nerves transmit the brain energy generated within the brain cells to every tissue in the body, carrying with it power, and intelligence which prompts the cells to life on and to function in harmony with every tissue in the body.

Innate and Educated

The mental organism, according to Chiropractic, is dual, the Innate and the Educated. The Innate is inborn. It is that spiritual being endowed with the knowledge of the physical and mental laws and possesses, to a limited extent, a creative power. The Innate at birth is intelligent as it is after fifty years of experience with life. The Innate has power to control, even at birth, all of the functions of the organs, digestion, assimilation, respiration, and all other necessary functions of the living body. The Innate is immortal. The Educated mind, on the other hand, is that which is acquired after birth and perishable at death. Let us study the function of the Innate in its relation to the body.

Chiropractic, through careful reasoning and experience, has reached the conclusion that every individual cell which composes the organs, is connected to the Innate brain by a nerve fiber and it is under a direct control of the Innate mind. The so-called sympathetic nerve system, according to the old school of medicine, is the nerves which connect the body with the Innate brain. The functions of the Innate brain is popularly called “involuntary” and is understood as a function performed independent of the will and sometimes in spite of it. When such a function is performed, it is called “reflex,” indicating absolutely nothing intelligible. The Innate is perfectly conscious of what it is doing no matter whether or not we are aware of it. Observe how Innate governs and directs the organic functions in case of emergency. Observe a drunken man. His respiration is quicker and his heart beats faster. Why? The Innate recognizes at once the presence of foreign matter in the body, over which he presides. He at once gives a command to the brain to send a larger quantity of its energy to the lungs and the heart, which immediately increase their activity in order to get rid of the foreign matter. The heart begins to pump harder and faster so as to replace waste matter and the lung breathes deeper and faster than usual in order that it may absorb larger quantity of oxygen to burn the alcohol. The kidney and liver, too, become more active to eliminate the waste matter.

The functions performed by the Educated mind are comparatively few. It controls a few muscular movements, reasons inductively, and gathers data for the Innate mind. The educated mind has no part either in health or disease, and it is subservient to the Innate. In fact, the educated mind is the medium through which the Innate comes in contact with the physical universe. Under certain conditions, the Innate sees and hears without the organs of sight and hearing. Thus, the Innate manifests its power, demonstrating that it can perform functions independent of the laws that govern the physical universe.

Health

When the communication between the Innate and the Innate brain, and the Innate brain and the organs is normal, that condition, according to Chiropractic is called health. When the communication between either the Innate and the Innate brain or the Innate brain and other organs, is partly interrupted, that condition is called Disease. When the communication is totally interrupted at one point or another, the result is Death.

In health the Innate communicates with the Innate brain, which sends energy (called by the Chiropractor “brain impulse”) through the Innate nerve fibers, which reaches every individual cell in the body, carrying it a power to act and an order how to act. The countless millions of cells, which at least possess intelligence to interpret the order and to respond to it, utilize the power sent out from the brain, and act in harmony with all other cells. When the brain impulse is interrupted, however, it becomes abnormal, in one way or another, and the cells are either partially paralyzed for the lack of power, or they become abnormally active, due to excessive power. In either case, the cells cannot work harmoniously with other cells, composing organs. The result is Disease.

Morikubo’s Impact

The landmark Morikubo case set the first precedent for chiropractic philosophy. The judge ruled that chiropractic was separate and distinct. It had a distinct philosophy, science, and art.

Historians have incorrectly reported that the defense used Smith and Langworthy’s text Modernized Chiropractic. While there is one newspaper account, which states that Morikubo supplied all known chiropractic texts for the prosecution, there is no evidence the defense used the book. An examination of Morikubo’s

Furthermore, an examination of Morikubo’s philospohical writings months before the trial (see above) demonstrates that he integrated the ideas of D.D. Palmer and B.J. Palmer. There is no evidence that Smith’s theories were included in his explanation of chiropractic.

This is an important point because for some reason, historians fell in love with the conjecture put forward by Lerner in 1952, that Langworthy saved the day and that the profession rests on his ideas. The facts do not support that conjecture and history books should be revised.

Morikubo contributed to the philosophy of chiropractic again in 1915 a fascinating article on chiropractic’s philosophical completeness. He included several original diagrams to explain his thesis.

Historical Context Morikubo and Langworthy

The latest lecture series posted for TIC Members includes an historical context for the landmark Morikubo trial. The lecture titled The Impact of the Rehm Paper builds upon the first TIC Wiki entry. The talk expands the methodologies utilized through which to critique the Rehm paper and study its extraordinary impact on the profession. 

A preliminary examination of the impact has begun. It suggests that the Rehm paper falsely claimed that the Morikubo trial was true start of philosophy in chiropractic. This untrue claim has been magnified through discourse chains in the literature over the course of thirty years. The headlines from The Chronicle of Chiropractic are one way to monitor the impact this has had on the discourse.

*TIC Members may access Part 1 here: Impact of the Rehm Paper

One important factual error from the Rehm paper is his discussion of Solon Langworthy. This short clip captures the problem:

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.

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.

Tom Morris

Tom Morris

Tom Morris was the lead council in the landmark Morikubo case. He planned the strategy along with B.J. Palmer and Morikubo. The case established chiropractic as a separate and unique profession based on its philosophy, science, and art. The strategy worked so well that Morris’ firm won 85% of the 3,500 cases for the next 20 years. He was the chief legal counsel to B.J. Palmer’s Universal Chiropractor’s Association.

According to Turner’s Rise of Chiropractic, the strategy worked so well that Morris’ firm won 85% of the 3,500 cases for the next 20 years.

Tom Morris was the chief legal counsel for the United Chiropractors Association until his death in 1928. He also orchestrated the “go to jail” for chiropractic campaign that was initially successful in states like Ohio and California.

Tom Morris Histories

Historians have published several articles about Morris. Rehm published a paper in 1998. You can read it here: Remembering Tom Morris. Keating wrote a two-part biography of Morris. You can read it here: Tom Morris, Defender of Chiropractic: Part 1 & Part 2. Keating also published a chronology of Tom Morris.

Since the histories by Rehm and Keating were published the facts of the Morikubo trial have been updated and revised. The traditional viewpoint, which started with Lerner’s flawed report, was that Morris was the savior who came in and devised the miraculous legal strategy by relying on “Langworthy’s” book. We now know several additional facts such as: Morikubo and B.J. Palmer helped to plan the defense, Morikubo went to LaCrosse in order to test the law, there is no evidence that the defense used the book Modernized Chiropractic IMorikubo even states that they did not use it), and the science and philosophy of chiropractic were well established for at least five years or more prior to the case.

So, B.J. did not jump at Morikubo’s plight and fortuitously locate Morris. It was all staged and planned.

We also now know that the there at least one other important legal case, of which OG Smith was the expert witness. The Brunning case is described in the book The Chiropractor’s Protege.

Bias in the Literature

What is also clear in the histories of Rehm and Keating is an unfounded bias against philosophy in chiropractic. For example, Rehm writes, “In 1907, the chiropractic profession entered the ‘esoteric realm of philosophy; but for the first time it had a successful legal argument. Some in teh profession undoubtedly winced at the notion (and still do).”

Firstly, D.D. Palmer used the term “intelligence” as early as 1872 and the term “dis-ease” in 1887. He wrote of Innate and Educated in 1902 and of Universal Intelligence in 1905. Furthermore, both B.J. Palmer and Morikubo had arleady published on these topics. Not only did Morikubo cover B.J.’s philospohy courses in 1906 while BJ was traveling, but he published a full page aritcle on The Science of Chiropractic in January 1907 in LaCrosse.

Some of these specific errors are being used to prop up arguments against philosophy and subluxation in chiropractic. Some examples from recent literature include articles by Perle (pdf), McGregor et al, and Kimura et al.  It is time that the profession fixes these mistakes and that peer-reviewers reject papers that include them.

Tom Morris’ Thoughts

Cleaning the House (1922)

Ladies and Gentlemen: It is surely gratifying to have this opportunity to speak a few words to this splendid group of people. I didn’t suppose that I would be asked to say anything, because I have always felt and still feel that when Dr. Palmer, our great leader, is to speak, no one else should be permitted to take any part of his time on the program. But he has asked me to say a few words, and I shall endeavor to do so. And as the hour is late, I shall come, or endeavor to come, at once to the point I have in mind.

I have listened very carefully to what the Doctor has had to say, and I believe I know just what he has in mind. I wonder, however, if you all realize that he is not joking-that he means what he says and that he has outlined accurately what the position of the UCA will be in the future in regard to “cleaning house” professionally. (Applause.)

The situation professionally today, as you must know, is deplorable–and it is a culmination-the result of a series of blunders-some made in good faith, some intentionally, which have resulted in a condition professionally that is not only disgraceful but surely means the destruction of Chiropractic, at least as a distinct science, in the very near future, unless checked.

And the task of checking this deplorable trend of affairs must be the work of the UCA from now on until the profession has cleaned house. The work must be done by the UCA, not only because the profession seems oblivious to the situation, but also because if the UCA does not do it, the public will.

As Dr. Palmer has said, during the early years, the ~·s work consisted almost wholly in defending members against prosecutions for practicing medicine without a license and in malpractice cases. But its field is now broadened and it is now entering upon a .new era. That its work in the past has been successful, there can be no doubt, nor has there ever been. And that it may meet with success in the larger field is devoutly to be wished.

The problem originally was to educate the public. And now that the public is reasonably well informed, strange as it may seem, the work of the future will be to educate the profession itself. This may seem to be an overstatement of the situation, but the fact is that a very large proportion of the profession has wandered from the fold-the Chiropractic fold. Many are practicing systems foreign to Chiropractic, under the name of Chiropractic. This condition of affairs is deadly to Chiropractic as a distinct science. Hence the necessity for cleaning house within the profession. It is astounding to me that at the close of the second Chiropractic decade, that there still exists in the · minds of its practitioners, two theories as to what Chiropractic is-that there should be mixers.

There never was any doubt in my mind but that we would succeed in the fight with the medical men. But there is some doubt whether we shall be able to succeed completely in the fight against the mixers-to keep the profession clean. To begin with I fear that we–;-the straights-are out- numbered, and m the second place all the mixers seem to care about is money grabbing – having little or no regard for the science itself. And yet I am hopeful and try to view the situation from an optimistic standpoint.

But I want to say to you, friends, that the UCA is going into this fight regardless of what the issue may be. And it is doing that without hesitancy. And it is in dead earnest. And believing as we do that it is right, we say to you now that it doesn’t make any difference whether we win or lose, the opposition will know when the fight is over, if it ever is, that they have been in a real fight. (Applause.)

And the sooner everyone realizes that this move on the part of the UCA is in earnest, the better. And the sooner everyone realizes that and accepts it as a fact, the sooner the fight will be over. The Chiropractic house must be cleaned. And the UCA will do it. (Applause.) The things that are harmful must be stopped, not because a practitioner hasn’t the right to make his own contracts .and conduct his business in his own way, but because he must no longer be permitted to make a dishonest and fraudulent contract under the name of Chiropractic. (Applause.)

The hour is late. I couldn’t say much more if I talked an hour. And so I will close by saying that the issue of today, the fight of the future, will not only be along the lines of our differences with the medical men-against the medical men-but against the mixers, the compromisers, the men who would “sell their souls for a mess of pottage.” (Applause.)

*Wilcox’s Pier Restaurant, Savin Rock, West Haven, Connecticut, Sunday Evening, July 16, 1922

Conflicts Clarify (1921)

As above, so say we all – who knew the facts. There is a friction in progress and progress only comes from friction, so give it to us; hand us the mittful and put a horseshoe in the mitt. The more of California, Utah and some other states we get the stronger we grow.

Up in Vermont is a newspaper which has been handing us a page ad against us every week. It is written by meds. It does say some nasty things in nasty language; there being little truth in any of it, it doesn’t hurt but boosts us. When any man says the truth, strikes square on facts, and then says them in a nasty way about some other people, that’s another thing again. Facts are always permissible. However, that paper has none.

Now comes a paper from Michigan which has a half page which has been written and printed by the meds of that county. They claim they are going to make it a regular thing. We hope they do. So long as they continue TO LIE about us, they do us good. But if anything they said against us WAS TURE, I would worry about our future. So, rave on M.D.’s.

Recently the meds of Michigan held a state meeting. Dr. McLean, president, urged upon them a statewide publicity campaign to overcome the “widespread cooperative national publicity campaign” conducted by the fakirs – meaning you and I. I am for’em. I hope they do get into that campaign. They’ll either have to lie or tell the truth. If they LIE they help us and, if they tell the truth, they don’t hurt us. Lay on!

The Iowa meds recently passed a resolution endorsing a statewide campaign for education to build up a statewide political movement to elect nothing but doctors in the next legislature to overcome the effect of the thing which landslide them this last winter. We’re for ‘em. The more money they spend, the more it forces us to come out of our shell; and that forces us to build strong. I’m for publicity, either side, both stories. I am glad to see the meds getting into the limelight. The more they have to say and the quicker they say it, the less they’ll have to say and the quicker they will have said it – because it isn’t much at best.

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.

 

 

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