Researching Innate

D.D. Palmer and B.J. Palmer established several complex definitions of Innate Intelligence. Some of the terms they used to describe Innate were very different from the ways most chiropractors do today. 

B.J. Palmer researched Innate. His Innate research included physiological function, moral guidance (conscience), exceptional human function (greatness), and illumination (finding oneself). 

The first two modules of TIC Masterclass 2 focus on B.J.’s Innate research and his theory of Innate Radar. Other modules will explore elements of the Innate Philosophy and subluxation theory from the early Green Books.

Unifying The Profession

After filming this lecture, I produced this short DailyTIC. It focuses on a realization; that to help the profession move forward, a comprehensive understanding of the history of ideas is needed. 

In the past, I wrote about B.J. Palmer’s model of consciousness and an Integral approach to the philosophy of chiropractic

Today, I recognize there is no shared foundation in the profession around the history of ideas. Hence, the mission of The Institute Chiropractic.

TIC Masterclass 2 – Subluxation and Innate, how confident are you?

Have you ever found that you lack confidence when someone challenges your idea of the vertebral subluxation?

Have you ever seen chiropractors branded as B.J.-followers, disciples, or called dogmatic?

Have you ever heard the claim that B.J. believed it had to be HIO and nothing else?

Have you ever been told that the vertebral subluxation is an outdated model, that has not evolved since D.D.?

Do you think you would struggle at all in clarifying your position on any of these, or discussing where you stand on vertebral subluxation in general?

TIC Masterclass 2 was developed to help you build your confidence in vertebral subluxation foundations and Innate philosophy. Also, the class is designed to grow your own level of consciousness so that you may enact the richness of the chiropractic paradigm from a greater perspective.

Here’s some examples of where our understanding has been derailed and where your self-esteem and self-confidence as a chiropractor may have been hit:

Navigating the Bias Against B.J. Palmer

The history of ideas in chiropractic cannot be understood without confronting the legacy of B.J. Palmer. He was a brilliant and polarizing figure. During his lifetime he feuded with many chiropractic leaders. Those feuds led to a charged, complex, and sometimes biased literature.

It has been very difficult for chiropractors to maintain certainty about central moments in chiropractic history in part because of this problem with the literature. 

Chiropractors who have never read B.J. Palmer or studied his theories have opinions about him. And those that have studied him are often maligned as “followers,” “disciples,” and dogmatic believers.

It is time for the profession to recover from this misuse of historical writing.

TIC Masterclass 2 is designed to give you the tools to lead this recovery by learning the facts.

  • You will learn how to navigate the bias against B.J. Palmer.
  • The lectures do this by teaching you basic historical facts about his life and the development of his ideas.
  • These facts are then used to demonstrate errors and bias in the literature.

Vertebral Subluxation Certainty

Another goal of TIC Masterclass 2 is to help chiropractors build certainty about the vertebral subluxation. 

Learn to distinguish between subluxation theories and historical models of subluxation in three ways:

  • The empirical research underpinning the evolution of subluxation models at the Palmer School.
  • How vertebral subluxation models evolved in the Green Books from 1906 to 1956.
  • Develop a solid foundation for understanding contemporary subluxation theory.

You will develop the skills to successfully refute statements like, “If D.D. could change his theory three times then why on earth would the chiropractic profession want to pick one of D.D.’s or his son’s theories and etch them in stone? That is dogma that has no place in modern health care or modern chiropractic.”

In TIC Masterclass 2 you will learn that the history of ideas in chiropractic is fascinating and rich.

The Innate Philosophy

B.J. Palmer’s Innate philosophy is another area of the literature that is often confusing and difficult to navigate.

This is true because Innate Intelligence was used to describe at least two different types of activity:

  • The body’s ability to self-organize through the expression of function and health.
  • As a source of inherent wisdom with an “Innate radar,” like intuition, inspiration, and soul.

The chiropractic Innate philosophy is very complex. It begins with D.D. Palmer’s original ideas and was developed over the decades by B.J. Palmer and many other chiropractors. It embodied several levels of meaning.

TIC Masterclass 2 is designed to teach you a basic history of Innate theory and how to apply it:

  • Explore Innate Intelligence using new models in philosophy, consciousness studies, and dynamical biology.
  • Deepen your chiropractic foundation by distinguishing between Innate, Homeostasis, and Allostasis.
  • Apply B.J. Palmer’s methodology on how to “find yourself,” become more in-tune, and enter regular flow states.

TIC Masterclass 2 is designed to help you better understand the richness of our chiropractic ideas as a meaningful foundation for the great work that you do.

Sign Up Today!

The first module goes live June 18, 2018

TIC Masterclass 2 is available to all members of The Institute Chiropractic.

There are two ways to sign up:

  1. Become a regular member @ $50 per month.
  2. Purchase the four-month course for $150. (Regular membership will begin auto billing on month five.)

DD Palmer References

D.D. Palmer references are a vital source of information about early chiropractic theory. The chiropractic profession developed from his chiropractic paradigm.

The science behind D.D. Palmer’s theories was advanced for his time. This is important because some chiropractors are still unclear about D.D. Palmer’s knowledge of anatomy, physiology, pathology, and surgery.*

This post focuses on D.D. Palmer references rather than the articles, interviews, and public presentations that misrepresent the history of ideas in chiropractic.

DD Palmer’s Medical Library

Twenty-three years ago, a landmark paper was published on D.D. Palmer references. The article was subtitled, “The Founder was Into the Literature.”

The authors document D.D. Palmer references in an amazing way. They were able to demonstrate that the founder of chiropractic was current on the latest textbooks in his field.

D.D. Palmer references were compared to the books that medical schools required during that time. In his 1910 book, D.D. Palmer referenced the latest texts alongside previous editions. He even gave some historical citations going back almost 100 years in the literature. 

D.D. Palmer was a self-taught expert on anatomy, physiology, and pathology. 

No More Excuses

Leaders of the chiropractic profession should demonstrate a mastery of chiropractic’s history of ideas. In the past, there simply wasn’t a great deal of information. Most authors did the best they could with the resources they had. Today we know much more about D.D. Palmer and we have access to virtually all of his writings.

Also, we now have access to most of his references!

Chiropractic educators should demonstrate a solid understanding of chiropractic’s history of ideas. This goes for speakers at conferences, authors, faculty, and administrators. Mastery of chiropractic’s history of ideas should be a professional standard.

Here are two example of how D.D. Palmer used the literature to develop his theory of vertebral subluxation.**

D.D. Palmer on Subluxation as a Partial Displacement of Articular Surfaces

One of the best examples of D.D. Palmer’s integration of the literature comes from his article Chiropractic Rays of Light. It was first published in The Chiropractor, in the June 1905 issue. The article was then republished as a chapter in The Science of Chiropractic (1906) and again as a chapter in The Science, Art, and Philosophy of Chiropractic (1910).

In the article, he provides 27 quotations to support the following statement,

“It is interesting and instructive to notice the various opinions of medical writers, in regard to luxations of the vertebral column, and how near they were onto that which is now known as Chiropractic. Below are given extracts from standard anatomies and orthopedical books.

A Chiropractic luxation is where the articular surfaces of any of the 51 spinal joints have been partially displaced, and not usually accompanied with fracture. The replacing of these sub-luxated vertebrae are readily accomplished by a Chiropractor. When we refer to Chiropractic luxations of the spinal column, we speak of those which have been only partially displaced in the articular processes.”

Most D.D. Palmer references are now digitized and available online. It is very easy for us to check his references.

Here are a few:

Regional Anatomy in its Relations to Medicine and Surgery Vol. 2

George McClellan (1894)

A Text-Book of Anatomy by American Authors

Edited by Frederic Henry Gerrish (1902)

The Science and Art of Surgery

John Eric Erichsen (1884)

D.D. Palmer on Nerve Tension and Nerve Stretching

D.D. Palmer referred to the stretching of nerves in relation to displaced vertebra as early as 1899. By 1910, D.D. cited Landois to support the latest development of his theories. He quotes Landois description of nerve stretching and then says,

“Nerve tension, nerve stretching, acts as an irritant, causes too much functionating, too much action, a waste of energy. Extreme tension causes paralysis. Bones of the body framework give to nerves a proper and normal tension, known as tone. If they are displaced, they will cause either more tension or relaxation. If so, why not replace the displaced bone which is causing tension or relaxation?”***

He also referenced Landois, Gould, and Lippincott to support his theories on the effects of nerve irritation. He proposed that the irritation of the nerve is related to the atomic activity of the nerve. He referred to this as his “thermal-nerve theory.” Life processes were viewed as vibratory. Subluxation causes too much or not enough function due to increased vibration or decreased vibration. This leads to increased or decreased tonicity of the organs or tissues. Thus, chiropractic is based on tone.

Pedestals, Authority, and Paradigms

Chiropractors who criticize the use of D.D. Palmer’s theories in modern practice should be wary of their argument style. A critical approach is essential especially when taking a dismissive stance.  An academic discussion about the history of ideas in chiropractic should include historical facts and evidence using appropriate references. Otherwise it is just rhetoric.

For example, it is too easy to assume various things like; just because the term “subluxation” is being used that it is the same definition that was used a century ago. A simple look at the literature and textbooks on subluxation will demonstrate the fallacy of that position.

Then there is the mistaken assumption that those who invoke D.D. Palmer’s ideas or B.J. Palmer’s are automatically putting them up on pedestals, appealing to authority, or the strangest claim; making chiropractic into a religion. It is true that chiropractors in the past have exalted the Palmers. And some chiropractors may still do that today. And yet, most do not. That is an important distinction that gets glossed over or perhaps is just not commonly understood.

There is a big difference between appealing to authority and learning from the past. The fact of the matter is that D.D. Palmer developed a new paradigm, the chiropractic paradigm. In the Kuhnian definition of the term, a paradigm must include a new radical viewpoint with a practice that enacts it. D.D. Palmer’s paradigm was that irritation of the nervous system due to impinged or stretched nerves (usually of the spine) led to abnormal function of the nerves. This could be a primary or secondary contributor to pathophysiology. The practice of chiropractic is to adjust the spine to release the irritation and normalize intelligent function.

Critics should examine D.D. Palmer references along with his clinical observations and then re-frame the critiques so that they are evidence-based. Are D.D. Palmer’s ideas being correctly described? How EXACTLY has his paradigm been debunked in the literature? Has it? The task for a critic is to determine how his work is being applied in relation to today’s practice, which should include objective assessment not assumptions.


*The surgery literature of the time included detailed explanations of the spine and nervous system.

**According to Faulkner’s book, he first used the term a few months after O.G. Smith, in 1902.

***His term “functionating” was in use at the time.

Straight and Mixer

In this recent interview for ChiroSushi with Tristan Schaub, we talk about the old Straight vs. Mixer controversy in chiropractic. You can read a bit more about this topic in the blog post on D.D. Palmer’s quote to John Howard and also in the article on chiropractic professionalization.

In this interview, Simon and Tristan discuss the history of the debate, the three paradigms of chiropractic, and some important philosophical distinctions.

Learn More

In the interview, we mention a few important books, lectures, and dialogues. Here are a few of those resources:

In 2017, Dr. Senzon traveled to Gaffney, South Carolina, and interviewed Dr. Thom Gelardi, founder of Sherman College. A preview of their two-hour dialogue is posted here:

TIC Dialogue with Thom Gelardi and Simon Senzon (preview)

In the talk, we also discuss some pivotal events from the days of Sherman College’s founding such as Reggie Gold and the book Chiropractic and Politics, which was written by faculty at Sherman College in 1978. The book lays out grounds for conspiracy charges against the CCE and the NBCE.

Another important source of new facts on the early history of chiropractic is Tim Faulkner’s book The Chiropractor’s Protégé. The book is filled with incredible documentation from O.G. Smith, D.D. Palmer’s 10th student, and information about several of the early students like Langworthy, B.J. Palmer, and A.P. Davis. The book also includes new photos of D.D. Palmer, details about the controversies between the early leaders, as well the many “firsts” of Smith.

We also mentioned Simon’s two hour lecture on R.J. Watkins. The talk is available for TIC Members here. It is based on Steve Walton’s book The Complete Chiropractor.

The three chiropractic paradigms of chiropractic are described in the article Chiropractic and Systems Science and also described in some of the Online CE courses at TIC

Stephenson Facts

Almost every year I learn more Stephenson facts. R.W. Stephenson was the author of one of the most well-known books from chiropractic’s history of ideas. And yet, most of the references to his work in the literature point to his 33 principles of chiropractic and ignore many of the other contributions in the text. I thought it might be useful to point out some of the other areas I have taken note of in his life and work.

Learning new Stephenson facts adds to our understanding of the discipline of chiropractic.

Since 1996, I have read his book every few years. That year is when I began my studies under David Koch, Val Pennachio, and Bill Decken. Each reading of the book offers new insights.

The Biological Principles

In 1999, I published an article, edited by Ralph Boone, which was based on an integration of Stephenson’s text with 20th-century theoretical biology. The article was in part, a response to a challenge from Boone to study the primary texts of leading biological thinkers. It was also the result of bi-weekly conferences with Koch.

In the article, I pointed out the four essential principles that dealt with the biological organization of living systems (21, 23, 26, & 28). The viewpoint in those principles was congruent with organismic biologists from the 1920s and subsequent systems theorists.

Mental Impulse and Signs of Life

In 2001, I included Stephenson’s contribution to the history of the mental impulse. He concluded that a current within the efferent nerve carried the “thought” to the tissue cell. Mental impulse was viewed as a thought in motion. The tissue, which also enacts intelligence, receives the mental impulse to express action.

In 2003, I noted that Stephenson’s use of Webster’s dictionary to define the five signs of life was antiquated. Newer definitions have emerged from systems science, complexity theory, and autopoietic theory. All of those definitions are congruent with the chiropractic paradigm and the comprehensive view of living systems put forth in the text.

Unique Contributions

Starting in 2007, I delivered ten hours of lectures at Sherman’s ACP. Topics included the history of philosophy for chiropractors, chiropractic and systems science, and chiropractic and energy medicine. These talks laid the foundation for many of my writings and courses

In 2008, I included several of Stephenson’s contributions to the literature. These included his triune of matter, force, and intelligence, and also his phrase “universal forces.” These ideas were developed from B.J. Palmer’s models but were unique contributions.

An Integral View

In 2011, I presented my new series of papers on constructing a philosophy of chiropractic. Those talks are available for CE credit and also exclusively for TIC Members. In the talks, I used Stephenson ideas to explore some important distinctions of Innate Theory in chiropractic.

Innate was described as the inherent self-organizing deep structure of the organism. The term was also used by B.J. Palmer and D.D. Palmer to describe Spirit, soul, and various states of consciousness. An Integral approach allows us to sort through these seemingly contradictory definitions of the same term. For example, differentiating the biological organization as the interior of the organism is one aspect of the broader definition used by the Palmers.

Increasing Levels of Complexity

In 2012, I taught a two-hour lecture in Mexico City on Stephenson’s text. I deliberately left out his 33 principles in order to highlight other aspects of the text. For example, he captured an early systems perspective. His view of living systems and specifically the human nervous system was described in terms of increasing levels of complexity. He correlated the complexity of the human nervous system with our increasing ability to adapt to the environment, become more and more sensitive, and develop higher levels of consciousness. 

He also wrote of the transformation process in the brain cell in terms of a magnetic field, whereby intelligence gets a “grip on matter.” (I have since recorded lectures on all of these Stephenson facts, which are available for TIC Members.)

Stephenson’s Life

In 2014, I was pleased to publish Rolf Peters’ book An Early History of Chiropractic.** The book includes several new biographical facts about Stephenson that I was unaware of. For example, after he left Palmer in 1929, he moved to Boulder, Colorado. Then he returned to PSC in 1935 to study HIO and revise his book. In 1936, he was tragically hit by a bus and died two weeks later on April 5, at the age of 56.

I also learned about his other book, The Art of Chiropractic, which he also published in 1927. The book was written for his students in the Technique Department. He headed that department from 1926 to 1929. 

Subluxation Theories

In 2015, I taught about the history of subluxation theory and the relationship between chiropractic and systems science. In both talks, I included Stephenson’s vertemere cycle and his contribution to Cord Pressure Theory. (TIC Member access.)

I recently learned that the Vertemere Cycle could be traced to Craven’s Chiropractic Orthopedy. Craven must have taught Stephenson his theories, which were precursors to proprioceptive and degenerative models of subluxation.

The Forun and Creation

In 2016, I lectured at MileHigh about Stephenson’s and Craven’s incorrect use of the term “forun.” This was based on my reading of B.J. Palmer’s first edition of Vol. 5 or The Philosophy of Chiropractic. In Vol 5, B.J. introduced the term. It was defined quite differently in 1909. (TIC Member’s access: HERE.)

Recently, I tracked the two places where B.J. Palmer actually referenced Stephenson. In one of those, he seems to concur with the new usage of “forun.” I will revisit my critique one day soon.

Stephenson Facts

In 2017, my understanding of Stephenson’s life and writings took a quantum leap. I taught several hours about Stephenson facts and theories. In my preparation for those talks, I learned several new facts about his life such as his love of violin making, the many technique courses he taught, and that students and faculty referred to him as “Daddy” Stephenson. He was a beloved instructor in the 1920s and also during his brief return in the 1930s.

I was also able to understand the development of his ideas leading up to his 1927 book. Stephenson published several articles in the journal The Chiropractor, published by PSC in the early 1920s. The articles give us a more nuanced understanding of his early thoughts and how they became the core elements of his text.

Also in 2017, I had the honor to publish a chapter in Dave Serio’s 33

The Stephenson Poster

The most incredible Stephenson facts I discovered in 2017, was that he illustrated his books, Craven’s book, and also The Chiropractic Chart. I found this poster as a tiny advertisement in a 1926 issue of The Chiropractor. I recognized its value for today’s chiropractors and hired a graphic artist to redraw it exactly. This Stephenson Poster now hangs in chiropractic offices all over the world. It is finally getting used the way Daddy Stephenson hoped that it would.

The Chiropractic Chart demonstrates the chiropractic principle in a simple way.  The nervous system is essential to all body functions. Interference in the nervous system is detrimental. The spine structurally protects the spinal cord and the nervous system. These simple facts can be understood by everyone.

The Newest Stephenson Facts

In 2018, I have already learned a few new Stephenson facts!

I just completed the Stephenson chapter for the upcoming book with Faulkner and Foley Palmer Chiropractic Green Books. The chapter goes through his articles, his books, and also his PhC thesis. That document is filled with gems.

We were able to track down where he taught school before matriculating at Palmer. It was likely a one-room schoolhouse. This would mean that he taught several grades at once, including Geometry. In the PhC thesis, he noted that teachers were upgrading the way they were teaching Euclid’s geometry. This is interesting because it helps us understand why he chose to write his book as a geometric proof or what he called a “deductive geometry.” The book will be ready soon.

Finally, I just learned that my history of the chiropractic subluxation was accepted for publication. The articles include lengthy sections on Stephenson’s contributions to subluxation theory. It adds some essential Stephenson facts into the literature. 

**Also that year, I republished Drain’s Chiropractic Thoughts, which might be viewed as the “sister book” to Stephenson’s text. It contains many of the same ideas but written in “street language.”

Chiropractic Retracing

Retracing is a physiological model of the healing process that was developed by D.D. Palmer based on his clinical observations with the first chiropractic patients. The retracing theory was developed over many decades by practicing chiropractors, subluxation theorists, and chiropractic authors.

As early as 1931, B.J. Palmer noted the theory was sometimes misused. Here is an example:

Rules of Chiropractic

In 1950, B.J. Palmer laid out several rules:

  1. If patient is feeling better but growing weaker, he is over adjusted.
  2. If patient is feeling worse, but growing stronger, he is retracing.
  3. Adjust chronic case only when there is interference and not always then.
  4. Adjust acute case as for a chronic.
  5. Rule of acute or chronic is determined by interference checks.
  6. Rule of degree of effect is determined by degree of interference.

Chiropractic Retracing – a Core Element Subluxation Theory

Many chiropractors taught retracing and developed the theory in their writings.

In 1909, Joy Loban counseled that patients should be instructed about retracing from the outset. He also noted that is was misused back then as well. He wrote,

“This theory of retracing has been much abused. Chiropractors have used it to cover a multitude of errors in practice. With some it becomes a habit to call all unfavorable events which occur during adjustments “retracing,” thus shifting the blame from their own shoulders to Nature’s. This is a pernicious practice because it deceives the patient and also because too frequent repetition of this explanation finally deludes the practitioner into the belief that all such events really are retracing. This view withdraws his attention from his own technic and he ceases to discover his own mistakes by ceasing to look for them.”


Others who have written about retracing include; R.J. Watkins, Ralph Stephenson, Joe Janse, Napolitano, Lowell Ward, Joe Strauss, Donny Epstein, Marc Filippi, and Rob Sinnott.

Jim Drain wrote a chapter on retracing in his 1927 book, Chiropractic Thoughts. He writes, “I have for your consideration the subject of retracing. This subject is used by almost every practicing chiropractor, both to explain the actual retracing process, and as a good excuse for the bad feeling the patient complains of. It is my intention to clear up this subject so you will not have to offer the retracting argument for a crutch for chiropractic.”

He goes on to explain that retracing is not always unpleasant. In the chapter, Drain lays out 16 things to consider in relation to the retracing process.

Researchers and practitioners might gain a great deal by exploring history of retracing theory in chiropractic. There are certainly dozens of testable hypotheses that emerge when considering the theory.

Pelvic Subluxation Research

On this day in TIC History in 1963, R.J. Watkins presented an overview of Normal and Abnormal Pelvic Kinesiology to the leading experts on X-ray analysis in the chiropractic profession. The talk is included in the 830-page book, The Complete Chiropractor (2017). You may read it here: R.J. Watkins on Pelvic Subluxation Research.

Watkins presented an overview of the pelvic subluxation research in the chiropractic profession including the works of Illi and Janse, Gillet, as well as the pioneering studies at Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College.

Please read the 6-page article to better understand the pelvic subluxation research Watkins was referring to.

Aside from the interesting research conducted at CMCC on subluxation in the 1960s, R.J. Watkins provides some excellent insight about complex and chronic subluxation patterns. For example, he writes, 

“As a reminder of “tissue memory,” we can see that old subluxations, which were not completely corrected, seem to have partially reduced as symptoms subsided. But a residual distortion persists. Since most patients have had multiple traumata, the physical distortion represents scars of old injuries pyramided into a rubble heap with the latest symptomatic problem laid on top like a capstone. Is it not apparent, then, that we cannot depend upon films made in a single position for infallible listings of a subluxation? Certainly we have a picture of the top stone on the pyramid, but the position and contour of its base of previous trauma will mislead, and even apparently reverse, the true problem.”

The complexity of vertebral subluxation patterns are an important element of research, theory, and practice. It would be interesting for the profession to take up some of this research again, explore it in greater depth, and build upon these foundations.

B.J. Palmer’s Research Pamphlets

Writing about the Green Books has led to several new insights. In this clip of my latest WeeklyTIC for Members of The Institute Chiropractic, I talk about one of those insights. 

By studying the B.J. Palmer’s pamphlets from the 1920s and 1930s, it is possible to learn about how he and his staff developed the upper cervical method of chiropractic. These pamphlets were the references for his Vol. 18, The Subluxation Specific – Adjustment Specific.

At Lyceum every year, B.J. Palmer explained the latest research findings. This included the survey from 1918, where they determined that only 35% of patients in the field were “getting well.” It also included the first spinal thermography research with the Neurocalometer. Later talks, included the introduction of the Hole In One approach, the Specific approach, the upper cervical approach, and the introduction of Torque. 

The upcoming book Palmer Chiropractic Green Books: A Definitive Collector’s Guide, includes chapters on ALL of the Green Books as well as a special chapter on B.J. Palmer’s research pamphlets. The book is amazing. The publication date will be announced soon.

The Palmer College Archives

Many of the pamphlets published by B.J. Palmer are now available thanks to the Palmer archives. Here are a few:

The Neurocalometer – An Address, 1924

The Hour Has Struck, 1924

The Neurocalometer Manual, 1926

The Hour Has Arrived, 1930

Reasons For My Faith, 1931

The Torqued Subluxation, The Torque Adjustment, 1933


Weekly TICs are one of the many features available for TIC Members. To watch the full video and get access to ALL of the TIC content please become a member: WeeklyTIC 27

First Chiropractic Movie

On January 31, 1914, The Pale of Prejudice was released by the Lubin Company. It was a chiropractic silent film including drama, love, a revolver, as well as adjustments being give at the bedside and in a clinic. The plot involved a disgruntled physician who gave up on drugs to adopt the drugless method so that he could help his young love, the governor’s daughter.

Chiropractors Helped Produce and Promote the First Chiropractic Movie

Dr. A.W. Marchand was involved in the production. He tried to have the word “chiropractic” used in the movie and the advertising but the company wanted to avoid advertising in the movie.

Chiropractors asked local theaters to play the film and many advertised it in their newsletters.

On February 20, 1914, B.J. Palmer published a note about the movie from a chiropractor named Charleville, who was also trying to get chiropractic in a motion picture. It is interesting to note he felt it not advisable to show adjusting in the film (imagine what he might think of YouTube?). Charleville writes,

“Realizing what the stage has done toward influencing public sentiment as we look back thru the recent years and the motion pictures as we review the recent months, the writer has nursed the hope that the science of Chiropractic would soon rise to such a commanding position that the state and Fiction would recognize its place in the thoughts of the people.

“An opportunity has been sought for many months to have a “Chiropractic Drama” done in motion pictures. A scenaric writer in sympathy with Chiropractic has been at hand for some time. A few weeks ago a gentleman knowing the needs of the science and a patient of the writer, came forward with the information that soon he was to engage in the motion picture film business, and that he would make for us a film.

“Friday night Feb. 6th., sixty five of the Federation went in mass to visit a Broadway theatre, and saw for the first time a Chiropractic Motion Picture. Somebody has ‘beat the Federated Chiropractors to it.’ But LONG LIVE the enterprising ones who inspired this production.

“The film is by the LUBIN people and was released Jan. 31st. The TITLE –‘THE PALE OF PREJUDICE’. We have not had time to consider full scope of this matter, but everybody is very much enthused over the present production.”

“The writer stood by the theatre door and heard remarks made by medical sympathizers, and it would be no surprise to learn of the A.M.A. thru the local Medical Associations, causing a suppression of the picture. It might occur and the writer has heard such comment, that the Medical Associations thru the Board of Motion Picture Censorship might cause the suppression if not the confiscation of all films extant.

“The film is nothing more nor less than pure and unadulterated Chiropractic, but for reasons as yet unknown to us, the practice shown is called Drugless Healing. This may be a good thing as a ‘feeler’ of public opinion, or it may not. Personally the writer would prefer to have it out and out Chiropractic and place the credit where credit belongs.

“Then too, the picture shows the adjusting, which in the light of the prejudice against Chiropractic may be unadvisable. We presume out here that this picture is being shown all over the country and we are anxious to know how it is being accepted by the people generally over the country. Our patients and friends who have gone, and we are sending all of them, are greatly pleased with it.

Yours very truly, Joseph Charlesville, D.C., Hamburger Bldg., Los Angles Cali”

From Ira Blocher, D.C.: 

Dear Doctor B.J.,
I had the man that manages the moving picture show, to get that film “The Pale of Prejudice”. It was shown here last night (Mar 19) the people liked it well. Over 300 people to see it, the population is about 1200 or 1500.

From Little and Joslin, Rapids City, So. Dakota:

“Pale of Prejudice” shown here this afternoon and evening two packed houses. Couldn’t all get in and many turned away. Every chiropractor should get this film for it sure is some booster. Expressions of approval from all.

B.J. Palmer received from 1 to 20 ads and hand-bills about the film in the mail daily. He writes, “KEEP ‘ER UP BOYS. That’s the stuff that puts Chiropractic directly in the fore-ground of human thot.”

Key to the Philosophy Call

I just had a great conversation with Dr. Dean DePice. It was the monthly TLC philosophy call. I was the guest philosopher/historian. We covered so much ground in an hour that we didn’t even have time for questions.

Here is a key to the philosophy call. Links for TIC MEMBERS are posted below. Links for non-members are posted in the text. Hopefully, everyone will explore this vital territory.

Dr. DePice opened with some interesting quotes about principles and methods and also the relationship between philosophy and science. He even brought up some of the implications of the Uncertainty Principle. (We didn’t go down that road, but please check out my recent review of Chopra and Kafatos’ book. There are many interesting parallels between quantum theory and chiropractic theory.)

We discussed my own history and some early research, which you can read here: Philosophy of Chiropractic and the New Biology.

Principles in Practice

Dr. DePice shared some wisdom about bringing the chiropractic principles into daily practice from patient care to answering phones. Principle 17 does say it all!

I love this approach. But how do you teach your office staff to embody the Major Premise?

This line of reasoning was congruent with the lecture of the week at TIC, last week. We talked about at least four ways that individuals could arrive at the Major Premise using Wilber’s four-quadrant approach.

Universal Intelligence from the First-person perspective

The approach that is most fascinating to me is viewing Universal Intelligence from the first-person perspective. This was how D.D. Palmer and later B.J. Palmer probably got there. They did not initially use the third-person-perspective methods taught by Stephenson and by most contemporary schools.

For example, Stephenson writes, “There are many self-evident truths in Chiropractic; so many and such common evidences of the expression of Universal Intelligence everywhere about us, that they are overlooked because of their simplicity and frequency.”

And yet, D.D. Palmer first used the term “Intelligence” in 1872 in relation to hypnotic states. He practiced immersing himself in such states for more than two decades before he invented chiropractic and developed the chiropractic paradigm.

States of consciousness related to hypnosis could bring the individual into a rapport with the universe and immerse one in a cosmic field of oneness.

B.J. Palmer started accessing hypnotic states around age 18. Years later he wrote, “This man, at the age of eighteen, “found himself” in relation to this fundamental principle.”

From this perspective, staff training would include personal development and state training.

The Development of the Principles

From that point, we discussed how Stephenson’s text was an attempt to simplify and codify the ideas that came before it. That element of the history is extremely interesting.

In 1906, D.D. Palmer was jailed for practicing medicine without a license. After 23 days, he was released, split the Palmer School assets with his son B.J., and moved to Oklahoma. While D.D. was in Oklahoma and trying to stay in the school business, B.J. continued with the publication of their first book, The Science of Chiropractic.

By 1908, D.D. Palmer moved to Portland, Oregon, to open another school. In Portland, he became acquainted with several of B.J. Palmer’s students, some of whom had copies of B.J.’s first two books, Vols. 2 & 3 of the new Green Book series. 

D.D. spent most of 1909 teaching, writing articles, and critiquing B.J.’s lectures found in those books. The tension between father and son erupted into a doctrinal dispute over the chiropractic ideas.

D.D. Palmer’s writings during this time were meant to “adjust” the misconceptions of chiropractic by B.J. and other chiropractors in the field like A.P. Davis, Willard Carver, and Joy Loban. The articles became the core of D.D. Palmer 1910 book.

Stephenson’s text was mainly an evolution from B.J. Palmer’s first five books, which developed from his father’s original ideas. Also, while Stephenson was on faculty at the Palmer School in the 1920s, B.J. published selected writings of D.D. Palmer’s two books. So we know that R.W. Stephenson was at least aware of D.D. Palmer’s theories.

Three Paradigms

By the time of the publication of Stephenson’s text, there were already three chiropractic paradigms in full swing. This was also addressed in our philosophy call and initially published in a paper in 2015

D.D. Palmer’s chiropractic paradigm emphasized the chiropractic adjustment of the vertebral subluxation so that normal Innate functions mediated through the nervous system could be expressed as health.

Many of his first students were naturopaths, osteopaths, medical doctors, and homeopaths. Some of them integrated his paradigm into their own approaches. Howard pioneered the Middle Chiropractic Paradigm, which included all natural methods as adjuncts to the adjustment. Gregory pioneered the Medical Chiropractic paradigm, which sought to integrate chiropractic as a therapy in medical practice.

Epistemology and Metaphysics

Our conversation grew in depth as Dr. DePice discussed the importance of Epistemology and Metaphysics in relation to how chiropractors view their own practice, chiropractic in general, and in terms of their personal worldviews.

At TIC, we utilize the Integral Framework as a guide to these types of questions. It is incredibly useful because there is so much excellent research on worldviews and how adults develop in the complexity of their thinking. The topic is beyond the scope of this blog post.

I have published about it in relation to the foundation of chiropractic’s philosophical perspectives and professionalization. There are also several core lectures available for TIC MEMBERS to learn more.

Vertebral Subluxation and TIC’s Mission

As we wrapped up the call, Dr. DePice was very curious about TIC and how we might build relationships between our groups. I really love this because it was not about business, coaching, or signing people up, it was really about connections and moving forward as a community and a profession.

The key is all about the facts. Our mission at TIC is to assist as many chiropractors as possible to have the SAME set of facts about the history of ideas in chiropractic. And at the center of this should be a shared understanding of the history of the chiropractic subluxation. The more chiropractors that understand the richness of subluxation history, theory, research, assessment methods, and models, the more we can combat the misunderstandings that are prevalent in the chiropractic literature, chiropractic colleges, and chiropractic politics.

We did offer an introduction to TIC, which is currently open. Please try out your first month for one dollar! We know you will love it: Introductory Offer.

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