Chiropractic and proprioception have been intertwined for over one hundred years. In TIC VLOG Episode 3, I answer a question about this topic in relation to the book Segmental Neuropathy. Arthur Heintz, DC, linked chiropractic and proprioception in 1912. He also influenced Verner and R.J. Watkins. They were two of chiropractic’s most important theorists of the last century. Much of today’s subluxation theory can be traced to their research.


  • Arthur Heintz was not only the first person (besides D.D. Palmer) to integrate chiropractic and proprioception but he may have also been the only chiropractor to have met Speransky.
  • Heintz brought together chiropractic and proprioception and the concept of Innate Intelligence.
  • R.J. Watkins was inspired by Verner and Heintz to make sense of the “reflex technics.”
  • One of Watkins’ greatest achievements was to describe the neurophysiology of “light” adjustments (such as Logan Basic).
  • One central idea from Segmental Neuropathy was Local Sensorial Conversation Tone. The subluxated joint segment included a “buzz,” a “detuning,” and led to “neurological disintegration.”
  • Stephenson’s concept of the Normal Vertemere Cycle was congruent with these theories.

Resources for this Episode:



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

Speranskian Subluxation Theory

I published a paper last month on chiropractic and systems science. Please read it when you get chance. During my research I was amazed by the impact A.D. Speransky had on subluxation theory.

I coined the term Speranskian Subluxation Theory to capture a class of thinking about subluxation.

A.D. Speransky

A.D. Speransky wrote A Basis for the Theory of Medicine in 1936.

As the head of The Institute of General and Experimental Pathology at the All Union Institute of Experimental Medicine in Leningrad Speransky had a huge impact on Russian physiology and chiropractic.

Speransky’s concept “neurodystrophy” was developed based on years of empirical research with animal subjects. His hypothesis was elevated to theory. His theory was congruent with the chiropractic paradigm.

The Palmer School’s Early Integration of Speranksy

An article by O. Hamilton Wright was published in the The Chiropractor in 1937. It was the first mention of Speransky’s book in the chiropractic literature. The Chiropractor was a publication of the Palmer School of Chiropractic from 1904-1961. Hamilton wrote several articles in the late 1930s on everything from NCM to philosophy.

Hamilton’s pioneering article called “Take Your Choice” examined some of the scientific literature that supported the Life principle. He also described some of B.J. Palmer’s research in the clinic. Toward the end of the article he mentioned Speransky’s observation that the nervous system played an integrative role in disease processes.

In another article called “Unfinished Business” published in 1938, Wright wrote that Speransky’s book “substantiated the Chiropractic principle.” This was the real start of Speranskian Subluxation Theory.

In 1938, B.J. Palmer mentioned Speransky in Vol. 20, which was a text about his research in the clinic. He wrote that Speransky and Crile proved the following statement,

“Any agency, and by this is meant whether given, taken, or received internally, or taken or received externally, regardless of whether a chemical, manual, or physical means, whether a material substance or an abstract, which seemingly modifies, amends, abridges, or changes function, does so not because it actually changes function direct, but that it modifies, amends, abridges, or changes quantity energy flow by blocking either efferent or afferent sides of the cycle behind functional activity and thus indirectly affects function.”

Palmer thoroughly integrated Speransky’s work in Vol. 25 with about 200 pages of quotes from A Basis for the Theory of Medicine. (I have written about Palmer’s integration of Crile’s theories elsewhere.)

Bernard Lubka wrote the first chiropractic review of Speransky’s book. The review was published in The Chiropractor in 1939. Lubka suggested that chiropractic was the logical missing link in Speransky’s research. Several other chiropractors from R.J. Watkins to Clarence Weiant reviewed the book and later integrated it into chiropractic subluxation theory.

Speranskian Subluxation Theory

J.R. Verner was one of the leading chiropractic theorists from the last century. He first wrote about Speransky in 1939. After the publication of his influential book The Science and Logic of Chiropractic in 1941 the profession soon adopted Speranskian research to support and expand subluxation theory.

Verner wrote, “With Speransky, the chiropractor holds that an intact nervous system is a sine qua non to health, and infection is no exception. The basic principle of chiropractic is that structural faults may interfere with normal nerve function…Chiropractic restores normal innervation.” This leads to conditions of health.

The incredible impact of Speransky on the chiropractic paradigm was pervasive. In the 1950s and 1960s subluxation theorists from several schools adopted Speransky. The consensus was that the chiropractic adjustment dissociates or disrupts the neurodystrophy or the neuro-pathic-syndrome or the neuropathy (as it was described in Segmental Neuropathy).

The Future of Speranskian Subluxation Theory

In the 1970s and 1980s, Speransky and the chiropractic references integrating his ideas were commonly cited in the literature. And yet, in the last two decades such references were cited less and less. This may have been related to some incorrect descriptions of the term neurodystrophy. For example, in Janse’s 1975 address at the National Institute of Neurological and Communicative Disorders and Stroke at the National Institutes of Health, he described it in terms of trophic disturbances rather than a systemic neurological syndrome. It may have also been due to a shift in the profession away from subluxation’s influence on somatic and visceral pathophsyiology. That shift was described by Masarsky in his book Somatovisercal Aspects of Chiropractic.

It is time we reintegrate Speranskian Subluxation Theory into the chiropractic discourse. Every student and every chiropractor might learn a great deal from studying Palmer, Verner, Weiant, Watkins, Homewood, Harper, and the many others who described similar ideas.

Speranskian Subluxation Theory is not a new subluxation theory but a class of theories. It brings together all of the approaches throughout chiropractic’s history from EVERY SCHOOL. They viewed the subluxation as a disruptive process in the nervous system. It was viewed as a patho-genic process that led to adverse neurological consequences. The chiropractic adjustment was viewed as one way to disrupt this pathophysiological cascade and restore the neurological integrity.

This type of common ground is one way for the profession to join together and forge ahead.

Kent Gentempo Senzon 2014

I really enjoy my quarterly discussions with Kent and Gentempo. Since 2011, we have recorded a segment called “Chiropractic History with Simon Senzon (aka Simon Says Segment)” as part of On Purpose. As I continue to research, publish, and teach throughout the year, I get this wonderful opportunity to discuss my latest passion with them. Many of these discussions are posted as blog posts on this site.

Below are our three talks from this year (turned into video/slides with some animation).

Nine Books Published in 2014

The latest discussion was recorded over the summer and published in October. This talk was a great recap of the books I published this year. Since the talk, I published three more: Peters’ An Early History of Chiropractic, Drain’s Mind and My Pencil, and Smallie’s Ratledge Philosophy: Volume 2.

Segmental Neuropathy

One of the most incredible books I published this year was Segmental Neuropathy. It is published online for free. The talk we did back in February, which was published in April goes into the details of the book.

Amazingly, both Kent and Gentempo were familiar with the book. Kent taught from it in the past. He met Himes several times. The synchrotherme technology helped to inspire the thermography instrument Kent and Gentempo developed.

The Gen/Wave Model

In the last year I created the Gen/Wave model as a simple way to teach the history of the philosophy of chiropractic. I started developing the model in 2013 and refined it as part of my writing and teaching. This discussion took place while I was teaching on the West Coast. I created the animation as a way to help you understand it better.

I am looking forward to 2015 with great anticipation. My plan is to continue to publish the book series and develop 36 hours of online courses. Kent, Gentempo and I have already scheduled our talks for the year.

Himes on Chiropractic

I am pleased to share this audio of Dr. Marshall Himes on Chiropractic. This speech was given around 1960 and relates directly to the philosophy, science, and art of chiropractic. Himes was director of the technique department at Palmer College from 1953-1961. By 1955, he helped to transform the program and gave the classic “green light speech” in 1956. The speech described the change in PSC policy – students were now allowed to practice full spine in the clinic. In this audio, he reads excerpts of the speech and develops a context. Part two of the talk will be posted one day soon (please click the arrow above to join the email list and receive updates).

Himes accompanied this lecture with three articles in the ICA Review. The articles were published in 1960:

To learn more about the context of the speech, please read the article on the history of technique at Palmer by Roger Hynes and Alana Callendar.

Himes has been featured on this site for some time as one of the thought-leaders of chiropractic’s first generation. His work after he left Palmer and became a dean at CMCC involved his co-authorship of the classic book, Segmental Neuropathy (published exclusively on this website as part of the Chiropractic Clear Light Books series).

I recently found two other writings by Dr. Himes from 1968. These classic works are still inspiring 46 years later!

* Thanks to ICA, Journal of Chiropractic Humanities, and Chiropractic Economics for allowing posting of the articles.

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