DD Palmer’s Books Were Inspired by Conflict

DD Palmer’s books were primarily a response to his critics, students, and colleagues. His three books were published in 1906, 1910, and 1914. Each of DD Palmer’s books represent distinct sets of ideas and conflicts. In fact, all were inspired by conflict.

One of the reasons I haven’t blogged in a while is because my time has been filled with studying DD’s collected works and the ideas that grew from them.

I decided that instead of waiting until the new program is launched I would just start blogging about my latest findings. A few ideas at a time.

Volume 1 of DD Palmer’s Books

I knew that BJ Palmer published Volume 1 of the chiropractic greenbooks after he and DD split their partnership. BJ kept both of their names on it as coauthors. They announced the book in January 1906, so they obviously started it together. According to Faulkner and Foley the two foremost scholars on Volume 1, DD was fully behind the book until the trial and all that ensued thereafter. He announced that he was leaving chiropractic and so BJ went ahead with the book, which was what his father originally wanted.

How much of the book was actually written by DD Palmer? That was my question. (Or one of them!)

In order to figure out this puzzle I read everything DD Palmer wrote prior to May 1906 when he split with BJ and headed to Oklahoma. Then I read a first edition of Volume 1. Thankfully google books has one available.  The later editions were published in 1910 and 1917. Those do not have DD’s name listed as author! BJ edited those editions and added new content.

What I discovered was pretty amazing. They hired a college professor to arrange the book. He took most of DD’s writings from their journal The Chiropractor. DD wrote articles in every issue from December 1904 until April 1906 when he was jailed for 23 days. I determined that most of the content in the book was indeed written by DD. Some of it was written as far back as 1899. Articles from other authors were used as well.

Authors of Volume 1

  • Numbers of Chapters Written

Some of DD’s Main Chapters

  • Chiropractic Rays of Light
  • Chiropractic Versus Therapeutics
  • Innate Intelligence
  • Luxations of the Bones Cause Disease
  • The Body is Heat By Nerves
  • Chiropractic Versus Osteopathy

Inspired by Conflict

DD really started writing in 1905. We can attribute his burst of scholarship to conflict. That was the year AP Davis published his first book on a new method called Neuropathy. Davis, an 1898 graduate from Palmer’s school, combined osteopathy, chiropractic, and several other methods. Historian Gaucher-Peslherbe wrote, “It got Palmer back to work again.”

DD did not want Davis’ theories to be the published word on his child, chiropractic. All of DD Palmer’s books were inspired by similar events and conflicts.

As you can see from two of the chapters above, he also wrote about chiropractic versus therapeutics and osteopathy. Conflict.

A Preview

In 1909, DD was settled in Portland, Oregon. He started a new journal called The Chiropractor Adjuster. His goal was to adjust the misconceptions about chiropractic in the field.  Several of the issues are preserved in the Palmer archives. Like all of DD Palmer’s books, the 1910 book was a collection of writings.

What I found amazing was that even though the 1910 book goes on to criticize many of the chiropractors of the day, the main person DD attacked during 1909 was his son. There were many reasons for this conflict. The criticisms were aimed at BJ’s first two books: Volumes 2 and 3. The books were published in 1907 and 1908. Perhaps DD got them from BJ’s students who lived in Portland.

From my reading of these criticisms it seems that DD was angry. So angry in fact, that he obviously misunderstood several of BJ’s new theories including Intellectual Adaptation and recoil.

Both Palmers developed new ideas because of this conflict. DD developed his theory of impingement in 1909. BJ introduced his theory of cord pressures in 1910.

More to Come

I will follow up very soon with more blog posts on the conflicts that inspired DD Palmer’s books. Again, my plan is to share a bit of what I am learning as I go. I hope you find this useful and helpful. Please feel free to comment and share it.

I have heard people say that these historical events are not relevant anymore or don’t matter for various reasons. They are relevant because the foundation of the chiropractic paradigm was established in these writings. DD was forced to refine and develop his ideas in significant ways. And of course, the history of chiropractic has been shaped by conflict ever since. If we are ever to move forward as a profession we need to learn from history.

Chiropractic Clear Light Books

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

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

Inspired by Drain, Valdivia Tor, & Ratledge

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

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

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

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

Chiropractic Classics

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

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

The Breakthrough

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

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

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

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

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

Reggie, Thom, and the Greenbooks

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

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

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

The Clear Light Books

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

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

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

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

Agreement and Disagreement

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

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

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

The First Ten Volumes of Chiropractic Clear Light Books

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

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

Volume 2: The Secret History of Chiropractic: Second Edition

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

Volume 3: Chiropractic Foundations (retired)

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

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

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

Volume 5: Chiropractic Thoughts by J.R. Drain

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

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

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

Volume 7: Ratledge Philosophy 1 by Paul Smallie

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

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

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

Volume 8: Segmental Neuropathy: Online Edition

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

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

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

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

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

Chiropractic Philosophy and Art

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

Early Integration of Chiropractic Philosophy and Art

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

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

The Impact of Jui Jitsu on Early Chiropractic Philosophy and Art

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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


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

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


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


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


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


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

 

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

 

DD Palmer and the Fourth Generation

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chiropractic’s Fourth Generation

After listening to this lecture, Dr. Gregg Rubinstein, philosophy chair of the NYCC wrote,

“Green Books, Blue books I have read a lot of them… but no one gives you the historical perspective of our profession’s rich philosophical development like Simon does! It was like walking through history with his awesome collection of photos and stories I never heard before!”

If you enjoyed this short segment, please check out the previous blog post called Chiropractic Lineage. Please check back often as new courses and articles will be posted in the near future.

This lecture was the beginning of a talk given by Dr. Senzon on September 28, 2013 at the New Yorker Hotel for the New York Chiropractic Council’s Saturday Night Live in conjunction with the League of Chiropractic Women’s Art of Brilliance Seminar. The rest of Dr. Senzon’s talk will be available soon.

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 Lineage

When most people think about chiropractic lineages, chiropractic families come to mind. Chiropractic history is characterized by families like the Palmers,[1] the five generations of Clevelands and Austins,[2, 3] the Montaño-Luna family,[4] as well as other famous families like the Parkers, the Gelardis, the Clums, and the Logans. The list goes on and on.

The Palmer Philosophy Lineage

The lineage I am most excited about lately is what I am referring to as The D.D. Palmer Philosophy Lineage. It is a way to explore the philosophy of chiropractic more completely.

As one of my philosophy professors once asked, how can you develop a philosophy if you don’t know what came before you? By exploring the developments in the philosophy from each of these individuals (and more), we may evolve the philosophy further than it has gone before.

D.D. Palmer’s Sojourn in Oklahoma

After inventing chiropractic and opening his school in the late 1890s, D.D. Palmer traveled extensively between 1902 and his death in 1913. He opened schools all over the United States from Davenport to Los Angeles, Oklahoma City to Portland, Oregon. He encouraged his students to “practice and teach,” the new science, art, and philosophy of chiropractic. And they did.

By exploring the writings of his actual students, we may begin to explore the impact he had on the philosophy of chiropractic in some interesting ways. We may even better understand Palmer himself, as seen through the eyes of his disciples.

Three of his students I am currently fascinated by are Tullius de Florence Ratledge, C. Sterling Cooley, and A.T. Godzway. Each of these students met Palmer during his time in Oklahoma and studied with him in 1907.

This was just after Palmer spent 23 days in jail for practicing medicine without a license. He moved to Medford, Oklahoma, with his new wife (his fifth) and went into the grocery business for a short time. He also maintained a small clinic and school out of his home.

D.D.’s brother T.J. Palmer (publisher of the Medford Patriot), loaned D.D. $300 so that he could move to Oklahoma City and open a school. He opened the Palmer-Gregory School of Chiropractic in 1907, with Alva Gregory (a Carver-Denny grad). D.D. remained as part of that school for nine weeks due to Gregory’s teaching of medical concepts. (I wonder what D.D. would have thought when Gregory’s wife changed the name of the school in 1939 to the Palmer Gregory Chiropractic College and School of Physiotherapy?)[5]

In the spring of 1908, D.D. formed his own Palmer Fountain Head School also in Oklahoma City. By November of 1908, D.D. and his wife moved to Portland, Oregon and opened the D.D. Palmer College of Chiropractic. It was in Portland that D.D. penned his magnum opus, The Chiropractor’s Adjustor, where he sought to “adjust” the misconceptions of other chiropractors as to what chiropractic science, art, and philosophy really were.[5, 6]

T.F. Ratledge

Ratledge was an amazing individual. He received his chiropractic degree from Willard Carver. Carver opened the Carver-Denny School of Chiropractic in 1906 in Oklahoma City.[7]

Ratledge also attended D.D.’s lectures in 1907. He had Palmer and his wife, Mary, over for dinner often. They discussed all things chiropractic far into the night. D.D.’s final teaching appointment was at Ratledge’s school in Los Angeles from 1912-1913.[8]

I recently discussed aspects of Ratledge’s legacy with Drs. Kent and Gentempo.[9] Here is the conversation turned into a short video:

C.S. Cooley

Cooley was another fascinating individual. He and his father both studied chiropractic under D.D.’s tutelage in 1907. Cooley’s father was a non-practicing medical doctor. Both were so amazed by Cooley’s recovery and healing at the hands of D.D. that they became chiropractors. In 1943, Cooley wrote,

“The interest of my Father and myself was due, in part to the promptness with which the strange exponent of Innate Healing Intelligence freed me from an affliction which had defied the best of orthodox methods. Daniel David Palmer rescued me from invalidism and helped me to health. The chances are that, except for the ministrations of his gifted hands, guided by a mind which seemed never to err or falter in expressing Chiropractic principle, my voyage on “Life’s tempestuous sea” would have ended years ago.”[5]

Cooley was instrumental in leading the early NCA (the 1930s merger between the UCA and the ACA), which became the current ACA in 1963. So it is important for us to understand his philosophy of chiropractic, especially since he was a lifelong disciple of D.D., whom he referred to as “The Old Master.” I have posted several of Cooley’s articles on D.D. Palmer as well as a few other pieces he wrote.[10-14] My hope is that such a first-hand account may help us to better understand D.D. and his impact on the full spectrum of philosophy in chiropractic. (Cooley also wrote six essays on D.D.’s life in James Drain’s 1949 book Man Tomorrow.)

Only by learning all that we can about D.D. Palmer and the writings of his students can we begin to make sense of the challenges facing the profession today. They planted the seeds we now sow.

A.T. Godzway

This Oklahoma lineage of D.D.’s students would not be complete without a glimpse at A.T. Godzway, formerly EL Cooley, classmate and father of CS Cooley. According to Godzway, he bore the brunt of D.D.’s famous temperament. D.D. referred to A.T. as the “old medical fool.” This helps us to better understand D.D. as a man, with faults and challenges, like any of us. It also helps us to see how Palmer dealt with the medical paradigm. Most importantly, it gives us yet another glimpse into the first hand teaching from D.D. to one of his students.[15]

The Lineage

By exploring the writings of each of D.D.’s students and subsequently, their students, we may begin to piece together the puzzle that is the philosophy of chiropractic. While the most familiar and widely taught components of the philosophy came directly from the Palmer school, the seeds that D.D. Palmer planted were many. Which of those early students grew those seeds into important philosophical approaches to Innate, healing, subluxation, and life itself? Which ones took D.D.’s philosophy in a completely different direction, a direction he may not have approved of?

The only way to truly find out the answers to these questions is to go back and reconstruct the lineage. Only then may we move forward. Knowing what came before and knowing the pioneers of each chiropractic idea helps us to move forward into the future.

1. Palmer, D. Three generations: A history of chiropractic. 1967, Davenport, IA: Palmer College of Chiropractic. [Palmer family]

2. 5th Generation Chiropractor Graduates Palmer West. 2011.

3. Five Generations of Chiropractic. 1995. Dynamic Chiropractic.

4. Benet-Canut, E. Chiropractic in Mexico. Chiropr Hist, 2004. 24(1): p. 17-28. [Keating’s Mexico-Chiropractic-Chronology]

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

6. Palmer, D.D. The science, art, and philosophy of chiropractic. 1910, Portland, OR: Portland Printing House.

7. Carver, W. History of Chiropractic, ed. J. Keating 1936/2002: National Institute of Chiropractic Research.

8. Keating, J., R. Brown, and P. Smallie. T.F. Ratledge, the Missionary of Straight Chiropractic in California. Chiropr Hist, 1991. 11(2): p. 27-38.*

9. Kent, C. and P. Gentempo. On Purpose: Chiropractic History with Dr. Simon Senzon (quarterly segment). 2012.

10. Cooley, C. The guiding principle for success is ”To Thine Own Self Be True.” National Chiropractic Journal, 1940. 9(11): p. 11-2.**

11.  Cooley, C. One important “extra” every chiropractor should employ in his practiceNational Chiropractic Journal, 1941. 10(2): p. 11-2,44-5.**

12. Cooley, C. Daniel David Palmer: a tribute to the founder of chiropractic. The Chiropractic Journal (NCA), 1936. 5(4): p. 5-10,36.**

13.  Cooley, C. Daniel David Palmer was the first true “basic scientist.” The Chiropractic Journal (NCA), 1938. 7(3): p. 9-13.**

14. Cooley, C. Daniel David Palmer: an immortal among the great names in history. The Chiropractic Journal (NCA), 1937. 6(3): p. 7-8,50-1.**

15.  Godzway, A. “That old medical fool!” said the Old Master with great disdain! The Chiropractic Journal (NCA), 1934. 3(4): p. 5,30.**

* Republished with permission of the Association for the History of Chiropractic.

** Republished with permission of the ACA.

***Ratledge school list was quoted from: Wiese, G., and Callender, A. How Many Chiropractic Schools? An Update. 2007. Chiro Hist.*

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.

 

 

Chiropractic Honesty

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

References

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Chiropractic Evolution

In the last century, chiropractic pulled itself up by its bootstraps and BECAME a profession. This unique occurrence had NEVER happened before. An apprentice-style school of healing evolved to become the largest drugless health profession in the world. In the process of this rapid evolution, a culture war of epic proportions was fought.

First, there was D.D. Palmer offering an apprenticeship for $500. Several medical doctors, osteopaths, homeopaths, midwives, and patients studied with D.D. in those early years. The training lasted between two to six months. Palmer issued diplomas, which read, “practice and teach.” His students would soon branch off and open schools, publish texts, and compete with Old Dad Chiro for students and dominance. Challenged by legal statutes, his own son, and the competition, D.D. Palmer developed a philosophy along with the art and science. He hoped to SOLIDIFY his LEGACY.

One of the facts of life, WELL UNDERSTOOD today, but NOT yet established in 1899 (when the first class graduated under D.D.’s tutelage), is that individuals view the world through PERSPECTIVES. This is important because the culture war at the heart of chiropractic’s professionalization is a reflection of these perspectives clashing in various ways.

Before D.D. died of broken dreams, he helped to pioneer NOT ONLY chiropractic, but an ENTIRELY NEW perspective through which to view the world!

To be perfectly clear, I am not writing some RAH RAH, bumper-sticker styled pseudo-philosophy post. I am referring SPECIFICALLY to the fact that D.D. Palmer evolved, in his own consciousness, to view the world through 4th person perspectives. This is sometimes referred to as an “early systems-worldview” or a “pluralistic worldview.” It is also an evolution from a 3rd person perspective.

The western scientific worldview is based on the 3rd person perspective, which includes the ability to see the world through someone else’s eyes. Objective empirical facts are its main purview. A 4th person perspective goes the next step. It takes a wider stance.

For Example:

From the 3rd person, the individual might include the perspectives of his children and parents. From the 4th however, the person may also include consideration of his children’s future and his parent’s past. This perspective includes context, time, as well as whole systems in a holistic way.

Today we take this type of perspective for granted. Since the 1960s, it has become a common worldview (political correctness, civil rights, holistic thinking, etc…). Just a few years ago, research indicated that about 20 million Americans view the world through this perspective. D.D. Palmer was one of the first. He was decades ahead of his time.

I would even argue that chiropractic played an IMPORTANT role in ushering this perspective into the world. (But that is the topic of another post!)

D.D. Palmer understood the body as one hierarchical system, controlled by the nervous system and DEEPLY INFORMED by an organizing intelligence. The expression of this intelligence through matter defined life. Interference to this expression was tantamount to a cosmic disconnect of the life system, resulting in disorganization and dis-ease on many levels: body, mind, and spirit in society and culture.

The medical paradigm has dominated one side of the culture war. The systems and holistic paradigms characterize the other side. Somewhere in between there have always been dogmatic believers on both sides (more fuel for the warfare). On top of that, both sides consider their professional lineage in a direct line to D.D. Palmer, no matter how remote philosophically they may be from his teachings.

Chiropractic EVOLVED into a profession but has not yet embodied the perspectives of its founder. In fact, there are still factions in the profession (some of the most powerful ones) seeking to keep chiropractic limited to the medical-rational perspective rather than evolve. Do we go backwards or do we find a way to include as many perspectives as possible and evolve as D.D. did, as the profession did, and as the future of the profession demands. The gift of being a member of a profession is this; the choice is ours.

 

Chiropractic Games & Distortions of Truth

Do you remember a game from your
childhood called, “telephone operator?”

You know the game; everyone sits in a circle, the first person then whispers in the ear of the person next to them. The whisper makes its way around the circle until the originator of the message receives the final word. The funny part of the game is that the message usually gets morphed as it travels often into an unrecognizable shadow of its original meaning.

When you were a child, this game was probably fun. When it gets played at the professional level, real CONSEQUENCES ensue. This is often the case in the chiropractic peer-reviewed journals.

Let me explain what I mean…

There are at least three messages that have been “whispered” in the chiropractic literature (and I write whispered because most chiropractors DON’T read the literature – unfortunately).

1. The Philosophy of Chiropractic was developed by lawyer Tom Morris.

2. The Subluxation is an untestable entity.

3. Anyone who uses philosophy or subluxation in chiropractic are “Dogmatists.”

The more you tell a message, the more it seems like TRUTH even if it is distorted. The more you pass on a DISTORTED TRUTH, the less truthful it becomes even if there was a kernel of truth in the original message. In a profession, when a distorted truth gets passed on through the literature, it gains in credibility with each new publication! It seems to be TRUER. And this influences accrediting agencies (CCE), boards (FCLB), examiners (NBCE), trade organizations, and eventually legislation.

I plan to discuss these “truths” in more detail in future blogs, and, I have written about them already (most of my articles are posted on this website), and I have developed a series of online courses exploring these issues (SHAMELESS PLUG). But for now, let’s just explore the latest assault on the foundations of chiropractic in the literature…

In a recent article by Keith Simpson in the journal, Chiropractic and Manual Therapies, he describes the five eras of chiropractic, yet he relies on whispered and distorted truths from the literature and he even invents some new ones.

Simpson, who decides to tell us about his credentials in the article (Doctor of Chiropractic and Doctorate of Sociology), takes on all three of the messages above and embraces them whole-heartedly. Not only does he pass on the tired and very distorted interpretation of the philosophy of chiropractic, but he makes up a new distorted truth (which is an obvious mistake, but you might think a Ph.D. and a journal editor would catch it…)

The first tired distorted truth:
“Tom Morris was the architect of the philosophy of chiropractic.”

The new distorted truth:
“Solon Langworthy started the 1922 ACA.”

By now, you might be asking…”What does this have to do with me or my practice?” Or more directly, “Why should I keep reading?
KEEP READING…it relates directly to you and the future of chiropractic!

Remember, these whispers continue through the chiropractic generations precisely because most chiropractors are NOT paying attention to the peer-review literature!

The idea that Tom Morris was the architect of the philosophy of chiropractic is rooted in facts, first espoused in the 1950s by Cyrus Lerner in his unpublished Report. In order to win the first landmark case for chiropractic, philosophy was used as part of the defense; “Chiropractic has a separate and distinct philosophy.” Soon after, B.J. Palmer and even D.D. Palmer wrote and taught about the philosophy as central to chiropractic, one of its three pillars. They also codified philosophical terminology to distinguish the differences between chiropractic and medicine such as adjustment and analysis.

The defense was used thereafter to win 90% of 3,300 cases against chiropractors in the next twenty years. This aspect of the facts has been whispered through the literature by Rehm, Keating, Seaman and several others in the last thirty years. THIS is how it goes from partial fact to distorted truth.

None of these arguments including Simpson take into consideration the FACT that D.D. Palmer had been studying the philosophy of healing for thirty years prior to the Morkibubo case. (I explore these issues in more detail with the actual texts D.D. was studying in two of my books (ANOTHER PLUG)!) Nor do they account for the FACT that the philosophy of chiropractic has many similarities to the 20th century philosophies of biology, philosophies that led to the current trends in systems theory, complexity theory, chaos theory, and other more interesting approaches such as Non Equilibrium Thermodynamics and Subtle Energy Systems. Basically, there were many factors that led to the importance of the philosophy in chiropractic and these dismissivist approaches merely point to ONE and suggest it is EVERYTHING.

You ask, “Why is this important?” Well, by dismissing the philosophy of chiropractic as a relic of an earlier time, when there were not many licensing laws, it gets erroneously argued that we no longer need philosophy because we don’t need that “phony” defense anymore! This of course leads to licensing boards (GCC) and accrediting agencies (CCE) to diminish the need for philosophy and subluxation, which leads to changes of scope and education.

Before I get to the subluxation part, let’s address the new distorted truth

Simpson, WRONGLY asserts that Solon Langworthy (the man credited with writing the first chiropractic textbook and coining the term vertebral subluxation), started the ACA in 1922. This is a mistake and hopefully the journal will publish a retraction. In 1903, Langworthy started The American School of Chiropractic in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The association he started in 1905 was called the American Chiropractic Association, and was probably an alumni group. It had no relationship to the ACA, which formed in 1922, which later became the NCA, which in 1963 became the ACA of today.

And so you ask, “Who cares about all this history Simon?” Let’s look at the problem and the new whispers that will start from this very scholarly article of Simpson’s. It goes something like this… Since Tom Morris used Langworthy’s textbook to establish chiropractic as separate and distinct, and Morris was the architect of the philosophy, and since Langworthy started the ACA…well…that organization and their beliefs must hold the real flame of chiropractic legitimacy… and the whispers go on.

I will just end this rant by noting that Simpson’s assumption that evidence based practice and subluxation are mutually exclusive does not have any foundation except what is whispered in his carefully chosen references. He misses the important study called How Chiropractors Think and Practice (2003), which shows 88% in North America prefer to keep the term subluxation. He also misses much of the current literature on subluxation and history.

Finally, Simpson uses this tired group of distorted facts to dredge up yet another and another, that somehow philosophical chiropractors and subluxation chiropractors must ALL be following a “dogma” that believes the idea of ONE-CAUSE ONE-CURE and whatever goes with it. For the one cure issue, I refer you to the 2003 study mentioned above, for the worn out use of the term “dogma” in discussing chiropractic and its philosophers, you may just have to take my 12 hour online course, where I go into it in detail. (LAST SHAMELESS PLUG!)

With sincerity,

Dr. Simon Senzon

© 2020 The Institute Chiropractic - Senzon Learning, Inc.