Brief History of Chiropractic and Dr. Clarence Gonstead, DC
Chiropractic is a healing art discovered in 1895 by DD Palmer. Dr. Palmer recognized the body’s innate potential to heal. For instance, if you cut yourself with a knife, innately, your body will clot the wound, bring white and red blood cells to the site of the wound, and begin creating new skin cells . . .without any help from your consciousness, any doctor, or any medication. Palmer recognized this and wondered, why some people would heal from some diseases, or never get them at all, and why others couldn’t recover.
Using his wisdom and laws of anatomy and physiology, he deduced that the ‘Innate Intelligence’ of the body was transmitted from the brain stem thru the spinal cord and to the nerves. And if there was any interference with this transmission, the body couldn’t function up to its potential. Palmer understood that the vertebra of the spine protects the nerves, and it was possible for them to misalign and interfere with the body’s normal supply of ‘Innate Intelligence’ traveling thru the nerves.
Palmer referred to this condition as a ‘subluxation’. He put his theory to the test and his ﬁrst patient, who had been deaf for 17 years, had his hearing completely restored from two spinal adjustments to the subluxated vertebra. Since then, millions of people have used chiropractic for a better life.
Dr. Clarence Gonstead, DC graduated from the Palmer School of Chiropractic in 1923 after having recovered from rheumatoid arthritis as a teenager under chiropractic care. With Gonstead’s knowledge of engineering, he developed his analysis and technique to correcting vertebral subluxation. Gonstead deﬁned a subluxation as a condition when the vertebra misaligns, damages the disc, creates inﬂammation which compresses the nerve, and interferes with the ‘Innate Intelligence’ traveling over the nerve impulse.
When most chiropractors were conﬁning their work to the Atlas (C1-the top vertebra in the neck), Gonstead examined and worked on the entire spine from the atlas to the pelvis. This was his Level Foundation concept. He was one of the ﬁrst people to recognize that the sacro-iliac joints moved. Up till that time, virtually all anatomists thought it was fused.
Gonstead also developed a very eﬀective way of analyzing a full spine x-ray. With his understanding of biomechanics, he also developed the most eﬀective way of adjusting the spine. At a time with minimal media, Gonstead’s growing practice in Mt. Horeb, WI in the 1960s necessitated new construction of a chiropractic clinic, including a 100 patient waiting room, a 19,000 sq. ft. clinic, an inn, and a private airport on clinic grounds to accommodate people from around the world (purely word of mouth referrals). People with all sorts of conditions were getting well with this technique.
Gonstead Chiropractic Five Criteria Analysis
Instrumentation: Gonstead used the Delta-T or Nervo-Scope, which showed the exact location of the subluxation.
Static Palpation: Gonstead’s conceptualized that the inﬂammation from the damaged disc was compressing the spinal nerves. That inﬂammation is felt by the chiropractor at the disc level. Also, any spastic muscles were the body’s attempt to adapt to the subluxation. Those are rather easily felt by many other health professionals. However, Gonstead chiropractors look at muscle spasms as an eﬀect of subluxation and not the cause.
Motion Palpation: Gonstead’s criteria also noted that a subluxation was ﬁxed into position, where as a vertebra that moved excessively was compensating. Typically on an x-ray, a compensation will be more out of alignment because it’s moving more than it should.
Visualization: Just looking at a patient could reveal some telling criteria, including overall posture, spastic muscles, increase blood ﬂow, and more.
Full Spine X-Rays (Spinograph): Gonstead’s sophisticated x-ray analysis located misaligned vertebra. The full-spine x-ray is used to determine how the vertebrae above were adapting to any subluxation below and vice versa. Dr. Gohl added post-x-rays to determine how the posture changed and muscles adapted after correcting subluxation over a short period of time.
Gonstead Chiropractic Adjustments: Gonstead chiropractors use the above criteria to accurately locate subluxation. Many other chiropractic techniques and systems require every misaligned bone, including compensations, to be adjusted. However, Gonstead chiropractors only focus on the very few causative bones that were subluxated. This specificity and precision of the adjustment is less forceful to the patient and allows them to get better quicker.
With Gonstead’s understanding of biomechanics, he developed speciﬁc adjusting equipment to properly stabilize patients when adjusting. His adjustments were speciﬁc to one segment at a time. To protect the discs, Gonstead adjustments were done without any twisting or rotatory forces.
Dr. Richard A. Gohl, DC
Dr. Richard Gohl, DC simpliﬁed Gonstead’s biomechanics of adjusting and added post x-rays to determine how the body was changing structurally when applying the Gonstead system. Gohl determined that if an instrument reading shows where the subluxation is, the instrument reading should zero out after a proper adjustment. Both Gohl and Gonstead had clinical results that other healing professions would aspire to attain.
Dr. Joseph P. Kametz, DC
With Gonstead’s death in 1978 and Gohl’s death in 2012, Dr. Kametz has embraced Gohl’s understanding of Gonstead’s system. Dr. Kametz is the only chiropractor who worked closely with Dr. Gohl for 8 years and mastered his technique over time. Dr. Kametz’ most significant contribution to Gohl’s methodology has been his use of before and after XRays and full symptom before and after comparisons, including pain and other mental and organ conditions. For over 10 years, Dr. Kametz has helped patients with severe conditions fully recover under chiropractic care. Dr. Kametz also teaches Dr. Gohl’s work and legacy in a series of seminars at the repeated request of students and doctors around the world.
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