D.D. Palmer Birthday Gift

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

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

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

D.D. Palmer’s Students

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

Morikubo’s Contributions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Landmark Morikubo Case

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

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

Take Action Today

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

To learn more please take the following actions:

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

Chiropractic Philosopher Morikubo

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

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

I have researched and written about his life.

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

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

Morikubo was a Novelist and Read Shakespeare

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

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

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

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

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

The guy was very interesting.

Chiropractic Philosopher

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

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

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

The Philosophy of Chiropractic

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

A History of Ideas

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

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

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

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

Subluxation in Chiropractic: TIC VLOG Episode 5

The chiropractic literature periodically has problems with bias and incorrect facts about history. The profession needs to correct the mistakes. I will be dedicating several TIC VLOGS and blog posts in the coming months to the literature. Please let me know if this is useful to you.

This week’s question comes from Steve Tullius about a paper published in 2014 on professional attitudes in chiropractic. It is based on a survey conducted in Canada on more than 700 chiropractors. That survey is based on an older survey used in McGregor-Triano’s dissertation. The paper itself has several problems apart from the survey.

I applaud their efforts to try to understand chiropractor’s attitudes. I offer this critique with the best intentions. We need to improve the quality of our literature and stop citing old references that have been debunked.

BIG IDEAS FROM THIS EPISODE

  • It is time for the literature to start reflecting a more accurate history of subluxation in chiropractic. The literature on subluxation was developed at every school. There are a few papers that reflect this such as Kent, Faye, Good, and Vernon.
  • It would be great if papers in the literature would stop repeating the idea that subluxation and philosophy first showed up at the Morikubo trial in 1907. Also, that subluxation and philosophy were based on the work of Solon Langworthy. These myths started in Lerner’s report in 1952, and are based on Lerner’s conjectures from incomplete facts. He wrote his report as though it was true but when you look at his meager sources, his assertions on the topic DO NOT PAN OUT.
  • Philosophy and subluxation were certainly used in court to demonstrate that chiropractic was separate and distinct from medicine and osteopathy. However, they were already developed by D.D. Palmer and his students prior to 1907.
  • Unfortunately, Lerner’s report is the main source of Rehm’s influential article on the topic. This led to more articles and textbooks that can all be traced to the unsubstantiated claims by Lerner. For those in the profession who care about facts and scientific rigor, this fact should be included in the future literature.
  • In 2003, McDonald’s study was published. It demonstrated that 88.1% of chiropractors in the United States felt vertebral subluxation should be retained by the profession. It was also published as a book and later expanded upon with three essays in Chiropractic Peace.
  • In 2006, a paper was published based on a planning conference on chiropractic. It was held by academics. They found that only 30% of academic chiropractors wanted to retain subluxation. They compared this to the 90% of chiropractors who want to keep the term.

The 64 Chiropractors at the Heart of the McGregor Study

  • One element of the McGregor/Puhl paper that I did not address in the video blog is the original survey. They based the validity of the survey instrument on a previous study conducted in November of 2000. That study examined 64 individuals.
  • The survey was handed out at the WFC conference on philosophy in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. (Download WFC’s report here: ChiroReport.)
  • The conference itself was a bit surreal. I was there. Perhaps I will dedicate another blog post to it in the future. I got to meet my friend Joe Keating for the first time in person as well as Nell Williams and many other legends.
  • A big consensus was forced upon the attendees. It was embraced by the WFC and ACC, which included every school in the United States. The consensus was based on the Coulter paradigm of chiropractic philosophy. It was developed at LACC/SCUHS in the 1990’s and the basis of Coulter’s 1999 text. Every school embraced the tenets that chiropractic is based on “holism, vitalism, naturalism, humanism, and therapeutic conservatism.”
  • McGregor even gave a talk on the philosophical basis for condition-centered chiropractic.
  • The highlight of the conference for me was John Astin’s paper integrating Ken Wilber’s Integral Theory into a chiropractic framework.
  • The McGregor survey was handed out at the conference and was described in her dissertation. The 64 chiropractors included 10 college presidents, 16 practicing chiropractors, 1 student, 23 lecturers or deans at colleges, 7 from various chiropractic organizations, and 7 who were not chiropractors. It is difficult to fathom how this could be considered an accurate picture of what chiropractors think about subluxation!

SEND ME YOUR QUESTIONS FOR FUTURE EPISODES

 

* Music written, arranged, and performed by Dan Mills, Mark Goodell, Adam Podd

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 Secrets

I wrote a little book a few years ago called, The Secret History of Chiropractic.[1] The intent of the book was to bring forth some of chiropractic’s historical facts from an Integral perspective. The story created a context for a categorized collection of some of D.D. Palmer’s most philosophical and spiritual quotes. Much of the history was unknown to the majority of chiropractors I have spoken to. Hence, I used the term “secret” in the title.

Some in the profession were well versed in the history. In fact, one of the more famous chiropractic historians criticized my use of the word “secret,” mostly because he and his colleagues were aware of the stories.[2] And yet, as we continue to research and also peel away the veil of bias from our historical writings, we find new gems even today.

Instead of criticizing bad history or pointing out misleading facts, I would like to use this month’s blog post to share a few delightful gems and some really good historical accounting.

In the last three months, I have had the great honor to lecture on the history of the philosophy of chiropractic in California, Virginia, Mexico City, and South Carolina. In my preparation for these talks, I have encountered many new insights and facts (secrets if you will). I am excited to share these with the profession.

The first gems come from my research into the life of Shegataro Morikubo (1871-1933). He was of noble Japanese birth. His father was a governor of a prefecture and his brother served in Parliament. Morikubo came to the United States in 1889 from Japan. While in the states, he converted to Christianity from Buddhism, engaged in graduate studies in philosophy, earned his chiropractic degree in 1906 at PSC, got married, had a child, and eventually settled in Minneapolis, where he practiced, offered summer night classes in his seemingly brief “Academy of Chiropractic,” and eventually formed the Yamato Corporation. I have not been able to uncover much else about his life.

I have found several of his writings from before he became a chiropractor. Most of his non-chiropractic writings are on Japanese culture and politics.[3-5] The articles are fascinating especially because it shows us how erudite and educated Morikubo was.

Shegataro Morikubo played an important role in the development of the philosophy of chiropractic because he helped to shape the landmark defense in the Wisconsin vs. Morikubo trial of 1907.[6] After reading three of Morikubo’s articles on the philosophy of chiropractic, as well as his writings about the trial, I am more convinced than ever that he played a significant role in the shaping of the defense and the philosophy. I have posted two of his articles below.[7, 8] I will post more in the coming months as I develop an article on Morikubo.

Another gem or series of gems I stumbled upon include three articles by the late Bud Crowder (1920-2002), graduate of PSC class of 1947.[9-11] Crowder taught and inspired generations of chiropractic students and interns. These articles were written in 1986 and 1987, a time in chiropractic’s history similar to today in many ways. It is my hope that Crowder’s words will inspire a new generation to go forth and serve humanity through the gift of chiropractic.

Finally, I am very happy to share the Chiropractic Parallax series by the chiropractic historian Merwyn Zarbuck (1931-2009), graduate of PSC class of 1951. Zarbuck practiced for 50 years. I received permission to post this very important series on D.D. Palmer and his students.[12-17] (This series is an excellent example of the kind of secrets I mean. Unless you were a member of the Illinois Prairie State Chiropractors Association in the 1980s, you probably have never heard of Chiropractic Parallax!) I know you will enjoy these articles as I have.

As more secrets from chiropractic’s past get revealed, we can move forward without bias and embrace the amazing history that is chiropractic’s story.

 

1.  Senzon, S. The secret history of chiropractic: D.D. Palmer’s spiritual writings. 2005. Asheville, NC: Self published.

2.  Senzon, S. Concerning Mr. Gibbons’ review of The Secret History of Chiropractic. Chiropractic History, 2007. 27(1): p. 5-6.

3.  Morikubo, S. Yamato-Damashu. St. Paul Globe, 1904. July 4.

4.  Morikubo, S. Sailing of the Atlantic Fleet: Dr. Shegetaro Morikubo gives Tribune his ideas. LaCrosse Tribune, 1907. December 21.

5.  Morikubo, S. Who are the Japanese: Not cousins to the Chinese. St. Paul Globe, 1904. September 4.

6.   Senzon, S. Chiropractic Revisions, in Chiropraction. 2012.

7.   Morikubo, S. Chiropractic. LaCross Leader, 1907.

8.   Morikubo, S. Chiropractic Philosophy. The Chiropractor, 1915. 11(5): p. 13-17.

9.    Crowder, E. Stand for Something. Straight from Sherman, 1986. Fall: p. 7,12.

10.  Crowder, E. Where is Chiropractic Headed? Straight from Sherman, 1987. Spring: p. 9,12.

11.  Crowder, E. Accommodating Without Compromise. Straight from Sherman, 1987. Summer: p. 6,13.

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

13.  Zarbuck, M. Chiropractic Parallax: Part 2. Illinois Prairie State Chiropractors Association Journal of Chiropractic, 1988.

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

15.  Zarbuck, M. Chiropractic Parallax: Part 4. Illinois Prairie State Chiropractors Association Journal of Chiropractic, 1988. October.

16.  Zarbuck, M. Chiropractic Parallax: Part 5. Illinois Prairie State Chiropractors Association Journal of Chiropractic, 1989. January.

17.  Zarbuck, M. Chiropractic Parallax: Part 6. Illinois Prairie State Chiropractors Association Journal of Chiropractic, 1989. October.

*Crowder articles are republished with permission from Sherman College of Chiropractic.

**Merwyn Zarbuck (1931-2009) was one of the great chiropractic historians. Zarbuck graduated from Palmer School of Chiropractic in 1951. He practiced chiropractic for 50 years in Urbana, Illinois. Below are a selection of his writings as well as one of his classic historical finds. Merwyn Zarbuck’s Chiropractic Parallax series are reproduced with permission from his family.

Zarbuck, M. A profession for ‘Bohemian Chiropractic’: Oakley Smith and the Evolution of Naprapathy.
Chiropractic History, 1986. 6: p. 77-82.*

 

Zarbuck, M. and M. Hayes. Following D.D. Palmer to the West Coast: The Pasadena Connection, 1902. Chiropractic History, 1990. 10(2): p. 17-19.*

 

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

 

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 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

© 2019 The Institute Chiropractic - Senzon Learning, Inc.