Monday, June 20, 2011

Chiropractic and the American Medical Association

Sorry I've been so slow with my posting here. These days, when I put in the amount of work it takes to write things, I'm trying to get them published, so I can't post a lot of the things I'm working on.

Anyway, here is a link to an article published June 2011 in Virtual Mentor, the ethics journal of the American Medical Association. I think you'll enjoy it!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Correspondence Courses and Chiropractic

Correspondence courses were at one time fairly common in chiropractic. I'm not sure when the powers-that-be decided to get rid of them, but certainly prior to WWII they were in existence. Interestingly, some of the educators in chiropractic who were most outspoken against correspondence programs were also selling them through their own colleges!

One important fact to understand is that correspondence courses were the only way to earn a chiropractic diploma by black students. Most of the chiropractic colleges discriminated against black students, so for many early black chiropractors, correspondence courses were the only way to earn an education.

Of course, learning to be a chiropractor via books and charts is virtually impossible, particularly considering the lack of being able to see videos of adjustments, even, so how these doctors learned the actual adjusting process would be interesting to see. I would love to see a full set of books and notes from such a course, but as of now, I have just a recruitment letter sent out by American University in Illinois. To put things in perspective, the $92 cash for the entire course paid up front is equal to about $1131 by today's standards, and the installment plan of $105 is $1291. A bargain by any calculation! Enjoy the photos!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Electroencephaloneuromentimpograph - Try Saying That 3 Times Fast!

Dr. Norris Erickson has part 1 of a series on the Electroencephaloneuromentimpograph published in the November issue of the Palmer Beacon newspaper. The article appears on page 18. This is a fascinating piece of chiropractic history and the machine can still be seen on the Palmer campus today. Check it out!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

I haven't forgotten you!

Dear Fearless Readers, I know I haven't posted anything since July, and I was hardly setting world records prior to that, but I haven't given up on the Chiropractic History Blog. I've been incredibly busy with my career and the blog takes a major back seat, unfortunately. I have lots of things to show and tell about, so I will post more, it's just a matter of when I'll have the time to make something of the quality you expect. Thanks for your patience!

Monday, July 12, 2010

The BJ Palmer Research Clinic

I found a great slide presentation about the BJ Palmer Research Clinic from the 1940's-1950's on Slideshare. Gary Golembiewski, D.C. went to a lot of effort to make this presentation, great for any history geek!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

2010 Association for the History of Chiropractic Conference

I was in St. Louis last weekend to present a paper, "An Abridged History of Chiropractic Extremity Care." My co-authors were Drs. Steve Troyanovich and K. Jeffrey Miller and the paper was well-received. It should be published in the journal of the AHC this year sometime.

The AHC is a great group of scholars and I really enjoyed my time with a fun bunch. Membership in the association has been down the past few years, so with an energetic new board and executive director, this is sure to be an exciting year for the AHC! I really encourage you to join and contribute. It's only $100 for doctors and $50 for students, so it couldn't be more affordable and the cause is a great one. Just make sure you don't use the membership link on the website at this time, as it doesn't seem to work. Check or calling on the phone to use a CC are better options.

The Association for the History of Chiropractic is also on Facebook, so join their page there, too.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Some New Photos of BJ

I love photography, particularly old photos, and I'm always amazed when I see new photos of BJ Palmer I've never seen before. There must be thousands of photographs of this man! I recently spotted some I'd never seen that show a playful, more relaxed BJ. Enjoy!

I have no idea who the Catlady is in the first photo, but due to BJ's penchant for performers I would guess she was an actress or stage performer, possibly in the circus? The second photo shows BJ in an unusually relaxed pose, sporting a Hawaiian shirt, presumably down in Florida, where his winter home was. The final picture is a rare photo of BJ without his trademark Vandyke beard. I cannot verify that this is even him, but I found it on a site with many other BJ photos, so I'm not sure why it would have been there if this wasn't him. Evidently, he was working as a pimp when this photo was taken! LOL (and, no, BJ was never a pimp. I'm kidding).

Monday, April 5, 2010

Lazy Updates

Sorry about the lack of content lately... we're in the last 1/4 of the trimester (busy busy busy) and I've started traveling more lately to teach seminars, so hopefully I'll have some interesting things to post soon. Stay posted and don't get fed up yet... I haven't forgotten about the blog!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Palmer-Toggle Recoil Adjustment

In the earliest days of chiropractic, adjustments were, well, a little on the rough side. They were generally done with the doctor's arms completely straight and locked out, on an unpadded bench, and with a slow, but forceful, body drop. The doctor wasn't relaxed, nor was the patient, and the end result got the job done, but it was hard on the doctor and patient alike. In some cases, doctor's would even put a bag full of lead shot or sand over their shoulders to give the adjustment even more OOMPH!
Anyone can see this was not a comfortable proposition for any parties involved! The year 1910 was a big year for chiropractic innovation, as it was the year BJ Palmer introduced x-ray technology to the profession, as well as a year of big changes in the way chiropractic technique was performed.
BJ and one of his collaborators, James Wishart, had developed the technique of "nerve tracing" by this time, as well as a new type of adjustment called the Palmer Toggle-Recoil Adjustment.
The Toggle-Recoil method is often synonymous with upper cervical specific adjusting techniques today, but  it was originally applied as a full-spine adjusting method until the early 1930's when the Palmer School converted to teaching only upper cervical technique.
This new method was a thrust, rather than a body drop, utilizing a fast contraction of the triceps and anconeus muscles, with the depth of the adjustment coming from the pectoralis muscles, and followed by a speedy recoil off of the contact point on the patient's body.
The Toggle-Recoil adjustment really employed the physics equation of F=MA or force being a product of mass times acceleration. In other words, by employing greater speed in the adjustment, the force would be the same, but use less mass, for perceived improvements in comfort from the patient. Furthermore, the doctor and patient need to be relaxed in order for this adjustment to be effective, so it was much more comfortable and easy on both parties from that perspective, too.
There is a wonderful video (I'm not sure about the commentary, but the video is great!) showing BJ adjusting around 1924 using this type of adjustment, in slow motion. Chiropractic has still come a long way since this tape was made, but it illustrates the adjustment better than you could possibly ask for!

BJ illustrated these concepts beautifully, in my opinion, in his 1911 textbook on chiropractic adjusting. In the following series of photos, we see BJ first showing the concept applied to cracking a walnut with a hammer, then to replacing a board in a stack of boards. Initially, he cannot crack the nut simply by pushing hard, but he can when he uses the principle of acceleration applied to the hammer. Similarly, by pushing the "misaligned" board in the stack of boards, to try to align it, one can see how poorly it works out, but when the hammer is accelerated, that board drops right in line!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Some Random Photos

Sorry it has been so long since I posted anything substantial. My speaking schedule has geared up, we're in the second half of the trimester at the college and I have had sick dogs to take care of. I've also come to realize just how completely disorganized my history stuff is, so I have some bookkeeping to do in order to get it in some semblance of shape! In the meantime, here are some interesting photos that are chiropractic related (some of them are low-res, sorry):

I think this might be the barber shop on Palmer's campus in the old days, but I could be wrong. I love the epigrams!

This is a photo of BJ and Mabel on their honeymoon. It is one of those things with cutouts for your face, that they have at fairs and carnivals! 

Saturday, February 20, 2010

A New Twist on the Neurocalometer Story

Spotted an interesting article on the ChiroUnity blog about the history of the Neurocalometer instrument, focusing largely on the behind-the-scenes interaction between Frank Elliot (then Registrar of the PSC), BJ Palmer and Dossa Evins (inventor of the NCM). A new twist on an old story!

Find the article in its entirety here.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Architecture and Chiropractic - The C.S. Gonstead Home & Clinic

Two of my favorite subjects in one post! In addition to having the world's largest chiropractic clinic for many years and a true chiropractic champion, Dr. Clarence Gonstead of Mt. Horeb, WI was a supporter of modern architecture through his home and the building of his clinics.

Dr. Gonstead established his first practice over the bank building on Main Street in Mt. Horeb in 1923. In 1939, he built his first standalone office building, also in Mt. Horeb. You can see in the photos below that the building was modern for the times, almost in a Bauhaus style:

Dr. Gonstead had a rather amazing house for a little farming community in Wisconsin, too. It is unclear to me when the home was built, but Dr. Gonstead hired Herb Fritz, Jr., an apprentice of Frank Lloyd Wright, to build his home sometime in the late 1940's or early 1950's, by my guess. The original grounds for the home was 55 acres and included the main home, pool house and an attached guest house that was added to the property in 1952. The home burned down in 1992, but the guest cottage remained and has been restored and is available for guests to stay in today. The main residence was also restored and is lived in by the folks who rent out the guest cottage. According to many online sources, it is a crown jewel of "Prairie Modern" architecture and has an incredible, organic feel that must be experienced to believe. The home is pictured below, circa 1954:
Some current photos of the guest cottage as it appears today are below:

Some photos of the main residence are below (I am unsure if the home was restored in the same style as the original Gonstead home, or if modifications were made, but it is still in Wright's Prairie Style:

It was in 1964 that Dr. Gonstead opened his gigantic 19,000 square feet practice on the outskirts of Mt. Horeb. This practice had capacity for 108 patients in the reception room, and the chairs were full most of the time. An aerial view of the Gonstead Clinic shows the clinic itself, in the foreground, as well as the Karakhal Inn, which was also owned by Dr. Gonstead, along the upper part of the photo:
Another aerial view of the Gonstead Clinic:
This clinic was designed by Wisconsin architect, John Steinmann. While not in the Prairie Style of the Gonstead residence and guest home, the clinic and inn were certainly of a modern style indicative of the "midcentury modern" architecture of the 1950's and 1960's. 

Gonstead was an incredible chiropractor, but the overlap of cutting edge architecture and his career were fascinating to me, and I hope to you, too!

Monday, February 8, 2010

What Not To Do

In the mid-1910's (sorry, the exact date escapes me), BJ Palmer published a book called An Exposition of Old Moves which was a guide of sorts containing photos and descriptions of a lot of popular "adjustments" that, in BJ's opinion, should no longer be used. Some of them are clearly borrowed from an old-school bonesetting tradition. In the 1910's, Palmer had developed the Palmer Toggle Recoil adjustment, which was more specific, as well as more precise means of finding subluxations, so BJ felt these "old moves" were too lacking in specificity or even downright dangerous. Here are a few of my favorite photos from the book:

In the last photo, BJ is demonstrating an old way of performing a straight-arm adjustment and adding "oomph" to the adjustment by placing a bag full of lead shot on his neck/shoulders! Boy, things have come a looooong way since then!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

1922 - Isn't It Funny?

I recently obtained a PDF copy of the 1922 Palmer School of Chiropractic's supply catalog and it is a wealth of interesting things for the history buff! I found a bunch of stuff in there that is in my own collection, which I will be photographing and sharing soon. For now, here is something neat from the back cover (click on the picture to make it bigger!). I especially love the last line, which reads, "If your business isn't good enough to advertise, advertise it for sale." LOL

Monday, February 1, 2010

The Origins of Sacro-Occipital Technic (SOT)

Sacro-Occipital Technic, or SOT, is one of the oldest chiropractic techniques still being used today and has a fascinating historical record thanks to the copious amounts of publishing its founder, Dr. M. B. DeJarnette, did.

At a time when chiropractic was largely based on the concept of a bone that has misaligned and is putting pressure on a nerve, DeJarnette stood out like a sore thumb because he was looking at the nervous system and its effects on the human body quite independently of the vertebral system. On a constant ongoing basis Dr. DeJarnette added to, subtracted from, and altered his technique based on his research findings from his very unusual practice (more on this story another time).

The overarching theme to SOT is the idea that doing different things to the body will result in stimulation and inhibition of various functions via the nervous system. As such, he and BJ had no love lost between them, but DeJarnette was nothing if not focused in his attempt to improve chiropractic and take it beyond the idea of a bone squishing a nerve! SOT encompasses a variety of procedures including vertebral adjusting, reflex manipulation, soft tissue and extremity work, cranial adjusting and even visceral manipulation, all in a systematized approach to correct subluxations and normalize function in the body.

How "The Major" set off down this path is an interesting story in and of itself. While DeJarnette was a student at the Nebraska Chiropractic College (now defunct) in Lincoln, NE, he had a classmate who had to drop out because of a debilitating heart condition. As a senior student, DeJarnette was sent to this man's home to adjust him and see if he could be enrolled back in classes. One of the symptoms affecting this student was extreme pain in the left arm and shoulder (probably referred from the heart), and DeJarnette said that as a student, he hardly knew what to do for this guy, so he put a hot compress on his shoulder in an attempt to relieve some of his discomfort.

According to DeJarnette's story, this caused the man to pass out! Thinking he'd killed his former classmate, DeJarnette filled a pail with cold water and doused the man, which revived him immediately. Later, the man said his shoulder felt a little better! Over the course of several weeks, DeJarnette went to his rooms and alternated warm and cold compresses, and steadily over time his shoulder pain disappeared and his heart condition improved!

Eventually the man was able to come back to the college and graduated, practicing chiropractic for several decades in Nebraska. As DeJarnette related the story, he was congratulated heartily by the students and faculty at the college, and was "big man on campus" for some time, so he never had the heart to tell anyone there he had never, in fact, adjusted the student, simply used hot and cold in a specific way and somehow this stimulated or inhibited the right functions and helped his classmate!

In his 1958 book on the history of SOT, DeJarnette said, “I became obsessed with the idea that what we did to the spine in adjusting did not produce results because we moved a vertebra and removed nerve pressure, but because we either applied stimuli or inhibition.”

Sunday, January 31, 2010

1912 - The First Chiropractic-related Patent?

Was this chiropractic table, granted a patent on Aug. 6, 1910, the first patent for something related to chiropractic? It's the earliest I've been able to find.

The patent was filed on Dec. 3, 1910 by John H. Schenck of Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Presumably, Schenck was a doctor of chiropractic, but that remains unknown at this time. I was under the impression that Williams (founder of the current Williams Healthcare Manufacturing company) was the original producer of a Hylo style table (a table that raises up like this one), but maybe Schenck's design was first and never went into production. According to my patent search, William G. Williams' patent for a Hylo style table didn't come about until 1924, and was granted in 1929.

According to the patent, Schenck's purpose for this table was so that the table "may be elevated into vertical position so that the patient may be properly positioned upon the table while erect and lowered into a horizontal position for treatment and again raised into upright position so as to leave the table without producing any ill effects of an undoing of the good effects produced by the treatment."

In the picture from the patent, note that there is no split cushion or space for the face, necessitating that the patient always have their head rotated during an adjustment. I always find it fascinating that it took so long to figure out that they could use a split cushion or put a hole in the table for the face for patient comfort! Gee...

Saturday, January 30, 2010

1924 Chiropractic Invoice

Spotted this envelope and invoice recently, from 1924. I had high interest in it because of the "Keep Smiling" logo on the envelope (more on the story of Keep Smiling in a future post), but someone else was a lot more interested in it than me! At least I grabbed a couple photos. Several things strike me about this piece of history... I'm always amazed by the handwriting of people from times past. That address is a work of calligraphic art in and of itself, beautifully written with a fountain pen or possibly even a pen dipped in ink. The pre-printed envelope is great, too, of course. Sheldon and Sanborn are two towns in northwest Iowa, not very far from each other. I wonder if Dr. Scanlon had a little office in each, or if he just served that area from one office. (You can always see the full-size images by clicking on the photos themselves!)
The invoice inside the envelope is neat, too. Same handwriting, just as beautiful, and it looks to be dated from 5/1/24. The invoice is for 33 adjustments at, get this, $1.25 each! According to an inflation calculator, in today's dollars, that's still only about $15.61/adjustment, for a total equivalent of $515 for the entire course of care. Still pretty reasonable, but for those new docs who may be reading this, don't want for your patient to owe you that much money before you send a bill! It's unfair to you AND them!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

1940's On-Set Chiropractic

I'm always combing the web for interesting history stuff, and I spotted this recently, a photo of actor
Robert (Bob) Cummings getting an adjustment on the set of one of his films, Tell it to the Judge. Also in the photo are Rosalind Russell and director Herman Foster. Who the doctor is remains unknown.
With BJ's strong involvement in the entertainment industries, I wonder if on-set chiropractic was common back in those days? Learn more about Bob Cummings' life and career here.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Flyer from the 28th Annual Iowa Chiropractic Society Convention

A friend recently sent a copy of this flyer to me from the 28th Annual convention of the Iowa Chiropractic Society. The dates were April 18-20, 1959. What I find interesting is that fact that Dr. Weldon Derifield taught several hours on Pelvic Sacral Technic while Dr. Clay Thompson did one hour of a film and talk about his trip to Europe, presumably to 1958's World's Fair in Brussels! BJ showed up on Sunday for an hour and a half, too. One of the exhibitors was Vitamin Products Co., which was the name of Royal Lee's supplement company before it became Standard Process, Inc. Enjoy!

Some New Material Coming In

Just got some interesting new stuff to comb through, hopefully to find some good historical tidbits. Hopefully I'll find some time to start working through it all, but here are some of the highlights:

  • Panel discussion from the Palmer School. Date unknown, 45 minutes long. I believe it's pre-1961 (although they refer to it as Palmer College of Chiropractic, which was post-1961, I think...). Audio isn't the best, but it sounds like an introduction by Dr. Ron Frogley (was he there that long ago??) with Dr. Galen Price (at this time, Dean of Faculty) as moderator. Wait until you see the list of people on the panel: Clarence Gonstead (founder of Gonstead Technique), Ralph Gregory (founder of NUCCA), Major Bertrand DeJarnette (founder of SOT), William Blair (founder of Blair upper cervical technique). Wow! I think this is from Homecoming/Lyceum. Can't wait to listen to this and put up some choice quotes or even soundbites, if I can figure out that part of it!
  • 46-minute audio with Clarence Gonstead. Sometime after 1964. Speaking at Palmer College of Chiropractic. I'm not sure if this is from an assembly, graduation, or what. This should also be GREAT!
  • 40-minute audio with J. Clay Thompson. Anyone who knows me knows this will be the first thing I really dive into. Not sure of the date, or what the topic is. Lots of laughter, may be an assembly or possibly a seminar. Starts off with very strong philosophy, so we'll see once I listen to it. This would be awesome as a transcription...