Kent Gentempo and Senzon on BJ Palmer

This On Purpose Interview with Kent, Gentempo, and Senzon explores some new ideas about B.J. Palmer’s early theory. Between 1907 and 1909, B.J. Palmer developed the basics of his philosophy and subluxation theories. Several of his ideas were translated into articles and books by his students John Craven and Ralph Stephenson. Some of their interpretations were incorrect.

Diving into B.J. Palmer’s original theory opens up the philosophy of chiropractic in new and interesting ways. The depth of how B.J. Palmer viewed the organism in the context of the environment shines through. The energy and information are transformed in the organism. The transformation is the process through which mind and matter are enacted.

BIG IDEAS FROM THIS EPISODE

  • B.J. Palmer’s theory of the “forun” was developed based on his readings on Electricity from the Encyclopedia Britannica.
  • B.J. Palmer’s most distinct theories were written down as Vol. 2, Vol. 3, and Vol. 5.
  • John Craven collaborated with B.J. on the second edition of Vol. 5 and the third edition of Vol. 2.
  • Some of the mistakes Craven made were so subtle that they obviously got missed by B.J. and other.
  • Craven’s student R.W. Stephenson used Vol. 5 as one of his main sources for his Chiropractic Textbook.
  • Stephenson made some of the same errors as Craven and thus the original theories have been passed down to us as incorrect.

Resources for this Episode:

  • Please join On Purpose and get the monthly Audio Magazine from Kent and Gentempo.
  • Please join The Institute Chiropractic today to access over 50 hours of content and special member pricing for online Continuing Ed.

Chiropractic Thoughts

Chiropractic Thoughts by J.R. Drain is the first book in our new Chiropractic Classics series. I am very excited about this! Drain was one of the most prominent chiropractors in the first half of the twentieth century. He was a voice for chiropractic and shared his views prominently. The book itself is a treasure, which you can read about in the preface to the 2013 edition below. My hope is to republish several more classics in 2014. In this way we might begin to understand much more about the history of the philosophy of chiropractic. We may even start to develop an academic discipline of philosophy in the chiropractic profession. Below is a photo of Drain studying at Palmer School of Chiropractic in 1911 or 1912. The photo along with his books were shared with me by his granddaughter, Gayle Kauffman Drain. Thank you Gayle for all of your help to make this project a reality.

Philosophy of Chiropractic

J.R. Drain studying the philosophy of chiropractic in 1911 or 1912.

 

Preface to the 2013 Edition of Chiropractic Thoughts by J.R. Drain

Chiropractic Thoughts by J.R. Drain is an important book for the history and philosophy of chiropractic. The first edition of the book was published in 1927. It was mainly comprised of Drain’s lectures and other thoughts for his students. In the early days of the Texas Chiropractic College, which Drain and his two associates purchased in 1919, students read the Palmer “Green Books,” which were texts from the Palmer School of Chiropractic, Drain’s alma mater. The only chiropractic references in Chiropractic Thoughts are Green Book volumes II, III, and V. In later years, the TCC, like most proprietary schools of that era only used ‘in-house’ texts. According to Jim Russell, a 1948 graduate of TCC, you could not find a Green Book on campus because the schools were competitors. Thus Chiropractic Thoughts served as the main text on philosophy for decades of TCC graduates.

The book itself is an excellent example of the first generation of chiropractic concepts. The first generation of chiropractic is delineated by the 33 year period after D.D. Palmer’s death in 1913. Drain graduated from the Palmer school in 1911. Even though D.D. Palmer was not affiliated with the school at that point, Drain took 13 lessons directly from the founder, presumably between the years 1911 and 1913 during Palmer’s visits to Davenport. Drain wrote that D.D. Palmer, “taught me to find ‘it,’ any joint of the body, adjust ‘it’ and then leave it alone. To him I am grateful.”(11)

 

Origins of the Philosophy of Chiropractic

Chiropractic Thoughts is also significant because it captures the early philosophical concepts of B.J. Palmer and to a lesser degree, John Craven, who graduated from PSC in 1912. Craven’s contributions to B.J. Palmer’s 1909 text, The Philosophy of Chiropractic: Volume V is one of the least understood and most significant additions to the philosophy of chiropractic in the decade after D.D. Palmer’s death. The second edition of “Vol. 5” was coauthored by Craven and published in 1916. Craven’s chapters on Innate Intelligence, Universal Intelligence, and the Normal Complete Cycle contributed to the philosophy in significant ways. Chiropractic Thoughts includes a chapter on retracing, a concept from the second edition of Vol. 5, and also uses Craven’s terminology defining Innate Intelligence as the “semi-source,” and Universal Intelligence as the “source” of life. Drain attended every Lyceum from 1911 to 1926, so he would certainly have been aware of B.J. Palmer’s and Craven’s writings.

Craven taught R.W. Stephenson, author of the Chiropractic Textbook published in 1927 and required reading at the PSC. Republished in 1948, Stephenson’s text is one of the most popular works on the philosophy of chiropractic. The text is often referenced because Stephenson summed up the philosophy to that point in his axiomatic thirty-three principles. During the first 75 years of chiropractic history, seventy-five percent of the chiropractic profession graduated from the PSC. This may be another reason why Stephenson’s book is more well-known than Drain’s.

 

Drain and Stephenson

Chiropractic Thoughts was published the same year as Stephenson’s text and contains many of the same ideas. There are however, significant differences between the texts. First and foremost is perspective. Not only did Drain write from the first-person perspective, but he intentionally wrote the book in plain language as an attempt to make the philosophy easier to comprehend for the average reader. Stephenson wrote from the third-person perspective, a more objective style, and relied on what he called “deductive geometry.” Also, in contrast to Stephenson, who graduated in 1921 and immediately started teaching, Drain’s text comes after eleven years of practicing chiropractic and seven years of teaching students. It is a book filled with real world examples, heartfelt compassion, and practical application.

While Drain’s book breaks from Stephenson and from B.J. Palmer in a few instances, the primary ideas are virtually identical. The book is thus an erudite and concise explanation of the philosophy of chiropractic’s earliest theories. For example, like other authors of the period such as Carver and Loban, Drain suggests that all diseases are associated with vertebral subluxations. He also viewed vertebral subluxation as the “physical representative of the cause of disease.” And, going back to B.J. Palmer’s lost concept of acute mild subluxations from 1909 in the first edition of Vol. 5, Drain considered it Innate’s job to correct subluxations, especially during sleep. This concept did not make it into the 1916 edition of Vol. 5 and does not exist in Stephenson’s text.

Drain’s writings on the Normal Complete Cycle, Innate Contraction of Forces, Intellectual Adaptation, Innate Intelligence, and Adjusting are just a few of the core concepts. According to Drain, chiropractors study life. Innate Intelligence uses the body’s natural resistive force to adapt to the environment. When the natural resistive force is lowered, the body is susceptible to disease, or, “the absence of life being expressed in the tissue cells.” When concussions of forces are awkwardly adapted to or awkwardly applied, abnormal vibrations are produced, which center on the spine and cause vertebral subluxations. Drain recommends adjusting the vertebral subluxations in one or two areas (no more than three). Adjusting in a limited area concentrates the force; too many areas scatters the force.

Drain was a pioneer in the chiropractic care of acute cases. He took the sickest cases and grew his practice, which got up to 100 patients per day at one point, primarily on house-calls. In the book he offers guidelines for care of acute and chronic cases, child adjusting, pregnancy, palpation, as well as ways to practice “touch.” Much of his adjusting instructions were written in the context of his 1926 adjusting manual, Why Majors Change? I hope to make his other books available in the near future as part of this series in Chiropractic Classics. Drain’s approach to all cases was to find the cause of the life not being expressed and adjust it.

 

Drain and Harper

Another important reason to study Drain’s book in the context of the history of the philosophy of chiropractic is that he was mentor to William Harper. Harper’s, Anything Can Cause Anything is a significant work from the 2nd generation of chiropractic. Harper’s book was written as an update and summation of D.D. Palmer’s core principles. It might also be viewed as a response and reaction to the work of Drain. For example, Drain wrote that, “the normal amount of force going through the normal amount of matter in the normal amount of time gives us health.” Harper, wrote that disease was “function out of time with need.”

Besides the core concepts of cycles, health, and disease, which Harper builds upon from Drain, his theory of irritation is significant. Drain’s chapter critiquing the concept of “irritation” of the nervous system as the cause of disease seems like a direct attack on Harper’s text, which was written forty years later! Their use of the term “irritation” is not identical, and Harper’s book relies on Speransky and several contemporary texts for the time, and yet, contrasting the two offers us new insight. Harper decided that normal irritation comes from Innate or the organismic consciousness, which gives rise to what D.D. Palmer referred to as “tone.” Disease is when something besides Innate (mechanical, chemical, or psychic) is irritating the nervous system, resulting in abnormal function. For Drain, this line of thinking deviates too far from chiropractic because anything might cause irritation. He writes, “We are only interested in what is wrong with the transmission of life force from the brain to the tissue cell, which is causing the tissue cell to be abnormal.” By understanding Drain, we might better understand Harper and how his work evolved from the earlier era. We may even find within the writings of these philosophers keys to unlock the conflicts in chiropractic today.

One thing that is evident upon studying Chiropractic Thoughts; the philosophy of chiropractic was originally viewed as a completely new way of looking at the world, life, health, and disease. Drain’s vision for a healthier world without suffering, pain, infirmity, mental illness, and one where children will be healthier with each new generation is compelling. He did not think the world was ready in 1927 for the philosophy and yet, the more he studied it, the more he felt it was the most important thing in the world. He wrote, “I want every one of you to enlighten people on the Philosophy of Chiropractic—talk to your one patient or your twenty patients or your hundred patients as your ambition goes today. Every one of you have the ambition to adjust 100 patients a day. I had the same ambition but now I am interested in having people hear the Philosophy of Chiropractic and then live it.” Chiropractic is now in its 4th generation, perhaps it is a good time for us to try very hard to understand what Drain meant by those words. Read this book and you will know.

 

A Must Read/Rare Gem

I have tried to diligently reproduce this text based on the original. The second edition of Chiropractic Thoughts was published in 1946, with very few changes. I opted to reproduce the first edition with a few side notes from the second edition included. The only significant update in the second edition was Part III titled, Mind and My Pencil, a series of incredible letters written to chiropractors. I have decided to reproduce Mind and My Pencil as a separate book altogether. Also, the second edition contained a table of contents rather than an index labeled “contents” like the first edition. I included the table of contents at the front of the book. I will post the indexed terms online along with the references from this preface and other supporting materials. The index was too difficult to reproduce in book form based upon the changes in page numbers for this edition as well as Drain’s unique indexing style. I have kept Drain’s use of the em dash as his way of capturing “language of the street,” and I also kept his use of terminology such as “co-ordination” and “re-establish.” The sentence lectures at the end of the book are in the same format he originally used.

Writings on philosophy from the first generation of chiropractors are extremely rare. This book was almost lost to the current generation. I would like to thank Gayle Drain Kauffman, granddaughter of J.R. Drain for her incredible support. I would also like to thank Steve Walton, D.C.,for assisting in the editing process. Please enjoy the book as a window into another time, a doorway to chiropractic’s earliest and most seminal concepts.

References

1. J.R. Drain. 1927/2013. Chiropractic Thoughts. Integral Altitude: Asheville, NC. (quotes from pages: 24, 124, 64, & 243).****
2. Keaing, J. 1998. Chronology of the Texas Chiropractic College (pre-1949).
3. Keating, J., Davison, R. 1997. That “Down in Dixie” School: Texas Chiropractic College Between the Wars. Chiropractic History. 17(1).***
4. Palmer, B.J. 1907. The Science of Chiropractic: Eleven physiological lectures. Volume 2. Palmer School of Chiropractic: Davenport, IA.
5. Palmer, B.J. 1908. The Philosophy and Principles of Chiropractic Adjustments; A series of Twenty-four lectures. Volume 3. Palmer School of Chiropractic: Davenport, IA.
6. Palmer, B.J. 1909. The Philosophy of Chiropractic. Volume 5. Palmer School of Chiropractic: Davenport, IA.
7. Senzon, S. 2013. Chiropractic’s Fourth Generation. Dr. Senzon’s Blog: Chiropraction. September 30.
8. Dye, A. 1939. The evolution of chiropractic: Its discovery and development. Philadelphia: A.E. Dye.
9.  Rehm, W. 1980. Who was who in chiropractic: a necrology. Who’s who in chiropractic International: History-Education. Littleton, CO.
10. Maynard, J. 1982. Healing hands: The story of the Palmer family discoverers and developers of chiropractic. Revised edition. MS: Jonorm Publishers
11. Drain, JR. 1956. Introduction. We walk again. Unpublished. (Spears papers, Cleveland Chiropractic College of Kansas City). (3)
12. Craven, J. 1919. Universal Intelligence. In Palmer, B. and Craven, J. 1916. Philosophy of Chiropractic. Davenport, Palmer College of Chiropractic.*
13. Craven, J. 1919. Innate Intelligence. In Palmer, B. and Craven, J. 1916. Philosophy of Chiropractic: Volume 5. Davenport, Palmer School of Chiropractic.*
14.  Craven, J. 1919. Mental. In Palmer, B. and Craven, J. 1916. Philosophy of Chiropractic: Volume 5. Davenport, Palmer School of Chiropractic.*
15.    Craven, J. 1919. Innate Mind – Educated Mind. In Palmer, B. and Craven, J. 1916. Philosophy of Chiropractic: Volume 5. Davenport, Palmer School of Chiropractic.*
16, Senzon, S. 2013.  Chiropractic History. Dr. Senzon’s Blog: Chiropraction. March 13.
17. Palmer, B.J. and Craven, J. 1916. The philosophy of chiropractic. Palmer College of Chiropractic: Davenport, IA.
18. Stephenson, R., Chiropractic textbook. 1927, Palmer School of Chiropractic: Davenport.
19. Ralph W. Stephenson. 1927. Thirty Three Principles. In Chiropractic textbook: Volume 14. Davenport: Palmer School of Chiropractic.
20. Carver, W. 1936/2002. History of Chiropractic, ed. J. Keating. National Institute of Chiropractic Research.
21. Loban, J. 1916 Technic and practice of chiropractic. Loban Publishing Company.
22. Drain, J.R. 1926. Why Majors Change. Indianapolis, IN: Chiropractic Research and Review Service.
23. Drain, J.R. 1933. The Jim Drain System of Adjusting.
24. Drain, J. 1949. Man tomorrow. San Antonio, TX: Standard Print Company.
25. Keating, J. 2007. Chronology of William D. Harper, Jr., M.S., D.C. (1908-1990). National Institute of Chiropractic Research.
26. Harper, W., Anything Can Cause Anything: A Correlation of Dr. Daniel David Palmer’s Principles of Chiropractic. 1997: Texas Chiropractic College.
27. Speransky, A., A basis for the theory of medicine. 1943, USA: International Publishers Co, Inc. Available!
28. Drain, J.R. Chiropractic Thoughts, second edition. 1946.
29. Wikipedia: Em Dash definition.

****Chiropractic Thoughts is now available in pre-sale. Expected ship dates begin January 2, 2014.

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

*Quoted from Sinnott, R. (1997). The Greenbooks: A collection of timeless Chiropractic works – by those who lived it! Mokena, IL, Chiropractic books.

Chiropractic History

We just celebrated D.D. Palmer’s 168th birthday. One hundred and sixty-eight years have passed since that fateful day on March 7, 1845. There is so much chiropractic history in such a short time one hardly knows where to begin. Without knowing our history, it is impossible to practice our philosophy. It is also impossible to move forward as a profession. Here’s a bit of history to whet your appetite…

Some Early History

D.D. Palmer became a magnetic healer in 1886, when he moved from Burlington, Iowa, to Davenport, Iowa. It was in Davenport that he gave the first chiropractic adjustment to Harvey Lillard at 4:00 pm on a Wednesday afternoon. The date was September 18, 1895. After christening his new practice “Chiropractic” in June, 1896 (a term suggested by his friend Rev. Samuel H. Weed), Palmer soon decided to teach it. This of course came after a near fatal train accident in 1897 in Fulton, Missouri.

D.D. started teaching palpation in 1898, with the enrollment of his first student on January 15th, Leroy Baker. Baker did not complete the course (which took from two weeks to three months). The first two graduates were William A. Seeley, a homeopath, and A.P. Davis, M.D., D.O. In those early classes, D.D. only taught adjusting of the 4th to 12th dorsal vertebra.[1]

By 1899, the Palmer Infirmary and Chiropractic Institute (PICI) had three more students and the new profession was on its way to changing the world. In 1901, there were five more students. In 1902, there were four (including B.J. Palmer – son of the founder). [1, 2]

In 1902, D.D. moved to Pasadena, California for a short time, where, he was arrested for practicing medicine without a license.[3, 4] In 1904, he went back to southern California and also to Portland, Oregon. He started schools in both locations.[5]

More History

By 1907, there were at least thirty-nine schools started in Iowa, Oklahoma, Texas, Minnesota, Oregon, California, Michigan, Washington, Indiana, and Illinois.[6]

1907 was also the year coccyx was adjusted for the first time.[1] Years later in 1932, B.J. Palmer explained why they stopped adjusting coccyx. While enlarging on the 33 principles,[7] B.J. wrote,

“Cord tension was an explanation of what could happen at other end of cauda equina or tail end of spinal cord when placed under pulling action, because of a possible subluxation of sacrum or coccyx. While a great deal of work was done in adjusting possible subluxations of sacrum and coccyx, it was eventually proved what we were doing was to so strain spinal column that we were ACCIDENTALLY adjusting MAJOR subluxation at a superior place in cervical region. A simple illustration will suffice: Draw a string taut, fastening both ends…”[8]

In 1908, the first side-posture adjusting was used by Carver. There were now between 400-600 practicing chiropractors. By 1910, there were 2,000 chiropractors and atlas was adjusted for the first time.[1]

In 1912, the first “stretching device” is used by chiropractors as well as the first adjusting table with springs. The Zenith Hylo table received its first patent on June 8th of that year. Also in 1912, the National College was the first chiropractic college to introduce dissection.

John Craven – Pioneer of Chiropractic Philosophy

1912 was also the year that John Craven graduated from the PSC. Craven was one of the pioneers of chiropractic philosophy. His contributions to the core tenets of the philosophy of chiropractic should never be forgotten.[9-20] He coauthored “The Philosophy of Chiropractic: Volume 5,” with B.J. Palmer. In the preface to the 3rd edition (1919), Craven wrote, “the expressions “Chiropractic Philosophy” and “Vol. 5” have practically become synonymous.”

Here is a brief discussion turned into a short movie about Craven between Drs. Kent, Gentempo and myself.[21]

In the preface to the 2nd edition, Craven wrote,

“There is no question but this book stands alone, it is in a class by itself so far as Chiropractic Philosophy is concerned. It contains the very latest and most recent conclusions, and will be found invaluable to every Chiropractor, as well as interesting and instructive reading for the laity. The science of Chiropractic is in its formative period, and the past few years have seen great progress along every line of Chiropractic. As nothing is permanent except change, we must expect men’s minds to keep abreast the times. Dr. Palmer has more than kept pace with his contemporaries, he has lived and is living many years in advance of his time. In the years to come this work will be more appreciated than it is now.”

History of Chiropractic

D.D. Palmer died in 1913. His ashes were placed at the Palmer School of Chiropractic on August 21st, 1921.

There are many wonderful books, chronologies, and articles exploring the history in detail. There are however too few scholarly papers on the philosophy of chiropractic. In many ways, the discipline of philosophy has been a casualty of the history of chiropractic. That is the topic of another blog post.

The Association for the History of Chiropractic is very active. Please become a member of the AHC and then be sure to join the facebook page where ongoing discussions happen daily. Also, if you are feeling adventurous you should head to Colorado this July for the 33rd annual conference: HistCon 33.[22]

Philosophy of Chiropractic Library

In honor of D.D.’s 168th birthday, we just launched the Philosophy of Chiropractic Library. The library emphasizes books and articles on the philosophy and history of chiropractic, which are accessible online and mostly free. There are also a few interesting reads on science, art, and Integral Theory. We hope you enjoy! The library will grow so check back often.[23]

It is only by mastering your knowledge of the history, philosophy, and science of chiropractic that you become a true master of your art.

References

1.    Evans, H. (1979). Chiropractic Historical Data. Stockton, CA: World-Wide Books.

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

3.    Keating, J. (1998). D.D. Palmer’s Lifeline.

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

5.    Zarbuck, M. and M. Hayes, (1990). Following D.D. Palmer to the West Coast: The Pasadena Connection, 1902. Chiropractic History. 10(2): p. 17-19.  (Reprinted by permission of the Association for the History of Chiropractic.)

6.    Chiropractic Colleges started between 1896-1907. Adapted from Glenda Wiese. Alana  Callender (2007). How many chiropractic schools? An update. Chiropr Hist 27(2): 89-119.  (Reprinted by permission of the Association for the History of Chiropractic.)

7.    Ralph W. Stephenson. (1927). Thirty Three Principles. In Chiropractic textbook: Volume 14. Davenport: Palmer School of Chiropractic.

8.    Palmer, B.J. (1932). The Story of Crowding the Hour. In Clinical controlled chiropractic research; vol. 25. (1951). Davenport, IA: Palmer College. (page 510, principle 63).

9.    Craven, J. (1919). Universal Intelligence. In B.J. Palmer and John Craven’s Philosophy of Chiropractic. Davenport, Palmer College of Chiropractic.*

10.    Craven, J. (1919). Innate Intelligence. In B.J. Palmer and John Craven’s Philosophy of Chiropractic: Volume 5. Davenport, Palmer School of Chiropractic.*

11.    Craven, J. (1919). Mental. In B.J. Palmer and John Craven’s Philosophy of Chiropractic: Volume 5. Davenport, Palmer School of Chiropractic.*

12.    Craven, J. (1919). Innate Mind – Educated Mind. In B.J. Palmer and John Craven’s Philosophy of Chiropractic: Volume 5. Davenport, Palmer School of Chiropractic.*

13.    Craven, J. (1919). Creation. In B.J. Palmer and John Craven’s Philosophy of Chiropractic: Volume 5. Davenport, Palmer School of Chiropractic.*

14.    Craven, J. (1919). Brain Cell. In B.J. Palmer and John Craven’s Philosophy of Chiropractic: Volume 5. Davenport, Palmer School of Chiropractic.*

15.    Craven, J. (1919). Transformation. In B.J. Palmer and John Craven’s Philosophy of Chiropractic: Volume 5. Davenport, Palmer School of Chiropractic.*

16.    Craven, J. (1919). Mental Impulse. In B.J. Palmer and John Craven’s Philosophy of Chiropractic: Volume 5. Davenport, Palmer School of Chiropractic.*

17.    Craven, J. (1919). Propulsion. In B.J. Palmer and John Craven’s Philosophy of Chiropractic: Volume 5. Davenport, Palmer School of Chiropractic.*

18.    Craven, J. (1919). Vibration. In B.J. Palmer and John Craven’s Philosophy of Chiropractic: Volume 5. Davenport, Palmer School of Chiropractic.*

19.    Craven, J. (1919). Sensation-Ideation. In B.J. Palmer and John Craven’s Philosophy of Chiropractic: Volume 5. Davenport, Palmer School of Chiropractic.*

20.    Craven, J. (1919). Restoration Cycle. In B.J. Palmer and John Craven’s Philosophy of Chiropractic: Volume 5. Davenport, Palmer School of Chiropractic.*

21.    Senzon, S., C. Kent, and P. Gentempo. (2011). Chiropractic History with Simon Senzon: “Simon Says Segment”. On Purpose.

22.    Association for the History of Chiropractic. [AHC on Facebook]

*Quoted from Sinnott, R. (1997). The Greenbooks: A collection of timeless Chiropractic works – by those who lived it! Mokena, IL, Chiropractic books.

Chiropractic Philosophy at the Edge

Let’s go back to the Greenbooks from the 1920s and the role they may have played in 20th century biological and systems thinking. I know, I know, you wonder, “Why should we even bother with those old books?” Well, WE SHOULD…and I’ll tell you why.

I made a small point in my last blog post about those books and how they represented an early attempt at an integrated curriculum. A curriculum, mind you, that sought to integrate a systems worldview into biology, while also including links between mind, body, and spirit. An approach like that is not even included in “the mainstream” today. The approach in those early days offered a MORE INTEGRATED educational system than the CCE/NBCE dominated curricula of the 21st century! By reconnecting to that philosophical lineage, we may just help chiropractic to continue to be at the edge of biological and philosophical thought.

The book that really set the tone for the outpouring of texts at the Palmer school in the 1920s was called Philosophy of Chiropractic. This particular Greenbook (volume V), is virtually UNKNOWN to most chiropractic philosophers because of a typo. The first edition of the book was authored by B.J. Palmer in 1909.[1] On the binding of that book was the proper title. The second edition brought in a co-author, John H. Craven. That revised edition came out in 1916. The binder of that book, incorrectly read, “The Science of Chiropractic.” It was reprinted yearly as the book was impossible to keep in stock.[2] (After all, those were the boom years at Palmer College. By 1921, the incoming class was something like 1,200.**)

I wonder how many generations of students of chiropractic philosophy, did not buy the book or did not REALIZE it was actually a philosophy text…but that is another story. In fact, I recently acquired what seems to have been Craven’s copy of the 1st edition. Hopefully scholars with some time on their hands can compare and contrast the differences between editions. To accurately understand the early and seminal ideas from the philosophy, we should be able to DISTINGUISH Craven’s ideas from B.J. Palmer’s.

Another important influence on the early Greenbooks, was the republication of D.D. Palmer’s two books. B.J. edited and published them in 1921 as a second Volume IV.[3] D.D.’s books were generally not available at that point. We can only surmise that access to this version (edited by B.J.) was an inspiration to many.

But what of the other authors who were influenced by Craven and B.J.? Of course, the most well-known is Stephenson, who published volume 14, in 1927,[4] but what of his teachers (like Craven) and their books? And that is at the HEART of the importance of this particular ERA of chiropractic’s philosophy. Recently, I designated it the 3rd Wave of Philosophy in Chiropractic.[5] Several years ago, I just called it the “Collaborative Phase.”[6]

The other main authors from PSC included, James Leroy Nixon,[7] S.L. Burich,[8] Henry Vedder,[9] Mabel Heath Palmer,[10] James Firth,[11] & Arthur Holmes.[12] There is hardly room in this short post to expand on their writing, which is okay, because I have created some EXCERPTS for your enjoyment on this site (just click on the reference links below). Each excerpt explores how these authors incorporated Innate Intelligence in their writings on topics like pathology, chemistry, physiology, anatomy, and law. IMAGINE if we can revisit this idea and develop NEW core curricula that incorporated the perspective of Innate Intelligence into every course?

Even more important in my view, these texts demonstrate how the philosophy of chiropractic was at the leading edge of biological thinking ninety-years ago! Just a glimpse through the applications of systems theory, chaos theory, and complexity theory for medical practices today will demonstrate that fact. The references would take too long. Just go to google scholar and search terms like, “systems theory and medicine,” “chaos theory and heart,” or “complexity theory and illness,” or anything like those terms and you will be inundated with lots of great research.

Is it possible that the philosophy of chiropractic had an impact on the current trends in biological thinking? Just think about it, during those years of the 1920s, B.J.’s radio stations were HEARD all the way to Alaska,[13] there were over a hundred schools over the years,[14] thousands of chiropractors, and even more patients. How might this philosophical approach have impacted American thought? Better still, how might the profession today take ownership of its own philosophical approach and use it to further human knowledge and deepen human experience?

What if the chiropractic adjustment of the vertebral subluxation could be used as a way to demonstrate the physiological implications of some of the latest approaches in theoretical biology? What if we were able to make the appropriate linkages between the leading theories in neurophysiology and heart-rate variability to the philosophy of chiropractic and bring that into the classroom? Or even the boards? The future is bright if we stay at the leading edge, where chiropractic belongs.

Chiropractically yours,

Dr. Simon Senzon…

1. Palmer, B. Philosophy of Chiropractic. 1st ed. Vol. 5. 1909, Davenport: Palmer College of Chiropractic

2. Craven, J. Universal Intelligence, in Philosophy of Chiropractic1920, Palmer College of Chiropractic: Davenport.

3. Palmer, B. ed. The Chiropractic Adjuster; A compilation of the writings of D.D. Palmer. Vol. 4. 1921, Palmer School of Chiropractic: Davenport, IA. *Available as pdf from Chiropracticbooks.

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

5. First Generation Chiropractors.

6. Senzon, S. A history of the mental impulse: theoretical construct or scientific reality? Chiropr Hist, 2001. 21(2): p. 63-76.

7. Nixon, J. The spirit of the P.S.C.: A story based on facts gleaned at the chiropractic fountain head. Vol. 14. 1920, Davenport: Palmer  School of Chiropractic.

8. Burich, S. Chiropractic Chemistry. Vol. 11. 1920: Palmer  School of Chiropractic.

9. Vedder, H. Chiropractic Physiology. Vol. 8. 1922, Davenport: Palmer School of Chiropractic.

10. Heath Palmer, M. Chiropractic Anatomy. Vol 9. 1923, Davenport: Palmer  School of Chiropractic.

11. Firth, J. Chiropractic Symptomatology. Vol. 7. 1925, Davenport: Palmer  School of Chiropractic.

12. Holmes, A. Malpractice as Applied to Chiropractors. Vol. 17. 1924, Davenport: Palmer  School of Chiropractic.

13. Keating, J. Chronology of radiophone station WOC: 1922-1932, N.I.O.C. Research, Editor 2008: Phoenix.

14. Fergusan, A. and G. Wiese. How many chiropractic schools? An analysis of institutions that offered the D.C. degree. Chiropr Hist, 1988. 8(1): p. 27-36. (Reprinted by permission of the Association for the History of Chiropractic.)

 

 

 

 

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