Chiropractic Thoughts by J.R. Drain is the first book in our new Chiropractic Classics series. I am very excited about this! Drain was one of the most prominent chiropractors in the first half of the twentieth century. He was a voice for chiropractic and shared his views prominently. The book itself is a treasure, which you can read about in the preface to the 2013 edition below. My hope is to republish several more classics in 2014. In this way we might begin to understand much more about the history of the philosophy of chiropractic. We may even start to develop an academic discipline of philosophy in the chiropractic profession. Below is a photo of Drain studying at Palmer School of Chiropractic in 1911 or 1912. The photo along with his books were shared with me by his granddaughter, Gayle Kauffman Drain. Thank you Gayle for all of your help to make this project a reality.
Preface to the 2013 Edition of Chiropractic Thoughts by J.R. Drain
Chiropractic Thoughts by J.R. Drain is an important book for the history and philosophy of chiropractic. The first edition of the book was published in 1927. It was mainly comprised of Drain’s lectures and other thoughts for his students. In the early days of the Texas Chiropractic College, which Drain and his two associates purchased in 1919, students read the Palmer “Green Books,” which were texts from the Palmer School of Chiropractic, Drain’s alma mater. The only chiropractic references in Chiropractic Thoughts are Green Book volumes II, III, and V. In later years, the TCC, like most proprietary schools of that era only used ‘in-house’ texts. According to Jim Russell, a 1948 graduate of TCC, you could not find a Green Book on campus because the schools were competitors. Thus Chiropractic Thoughts served as the main text on philosophy for decades of TCC graduates.
The book itself is an excellent example of the first generation of chiropractic concepts. The first generation of chiropractic is delineated by the 33 year period after D.D. Palmer’s death in 1913. Drain graduated from the Palmer school in 1911. Even though D.D. Palmer was not affiliated with the school at that point, Drain took 13 lessons directly from the founder, presumably between the years 1911 and 1913 during Palmer’s visits to Davenport. Drain wrote that D.D. Palmer, “taught me to find ‘it,’ any joint of the body, adjust ‘it’ and then leave it alone. To him I am grateful.”(11)
Origins of the Philosophy of Chiropractic
Chiropractic Thoughts is also significant because it captures the early philosophical concepts of B.J. Palmer and to a lesser degree, John Craven, who graduated from PSC in 1912. Craven’s contributions to B.J. Palmer’s 1909 text, The Philosophy of Chiropractic: Volume V is one of the least understood and most significant additions to the philosophy of chiropractic in the decade after D.D. Palmer’s death. The second edition of “Vol. 5” was coauthored by Craven and published in 1916. Craven’s chapters on Innate Intelligence, Universal Intelligence, and the Normal Complete Cycle contributed to the philosophy in significant ways. Chiropractic Thoughts includes a chapter on retracing, a concept from the second edition of Vol. 5, and also uses Craven’s terminology defining Innate Intelligence as the “semi-source,” and Universal Intelligence as the “source” of life. Drain attended every Lyceum from 1911 to 1926, so he would certainly have been aware of B.J. Palmer’s and Craven’s writings.
Craven taught R.W. Stephenson, author of the Chiropractic Textbook published in 1927 and required reading at the PSC. Republished in 1948, Stephenson’s text is one of the most popular works on the philosophy of chiropractic. The text is often referenced because Stephenson summed up the philosophy to that point in his axiomatic thirty-three principles. During the first 75 years of chiropractic history, seventy-five percent of the chiropractic profession graduated from the PSC. This may be another reason why Stephenson’s book is more well-known than Drain’s.
Drain and Stephenson
Chiropractic Thoughts was published the same year as Stephenson’s text and contains many of the same ideas. There are however, significant differences between the texts. First and foremost is perspective. Not only did Drain write from the first-person perspective, but he intentionally wrote the book in plain language as an attempt to make the philosophy easier to comprehend for the average reader. Stephenson wrote from the third-person perspective, a more objective style, and relied on what he called “deductive geometry.” Also, in contrast to Stephenson, who graduated in 1921 and immediately started teaching, Drain’s text comes after eleven years of practicing chiropractic and seven years of teaching students. It is a book filled with real world examples, heartfelt compassion, and practical application.
While Drain’s book breaks from Stephenson and from B.J. Palmer in a few instances, the primary ideas are virtually identical. The book is thus an erudite and concise explanation of the philosophy of chiropractic’s earliest theories. For example, like other authors of the period such as Carver and Loban, Drain suggests that all diseases are associated with vertebral subluxations. He also viewed vertebral subluxation as the “physical representative of the cause of disease.” And, going back to B.J. Palmer’s lost concept of acute mild subluxations from 1909 in the first edition of Vol. 5, Drain considered it Innate’s job to correct subluxations, especially during sleep. This concept did not make it into the 1916 edition of Vol. 5 and does not exist in Stephenson’s text.
Drain’s writings on the Normal Complete Cycle, Innate Contraction of Forces, Intellectual Adaptation, Innate Intelligence, and Adjusting are just a few of the core concepts. According to Drain, chiropractors study life. Innate Intelligence uses the body’s natural resistive force to adapt to the environment. When the natural resistive force is lowered, the body is susceptible to disease, or, “the absence of life being expressed in the tissue cells.” When concussions of forces are awkwardly adapted to or awkwardly applied, abnormal vibrations are produced, which center on the spine and cause vertebral subluxations. Drain recommends adjusting the vertebral subluxations in one or two areas (no more than three). Adjusting in a limited area concentrates the force; too many areas scatters the force.
Drain was a pioneer in the chiropractic care of acute cases. He took the sickest cases and grew his practice, which got up to 100 patients per day at one point, primarily on house-calls. In the book he offers guidelines for care of acute and chronic cases, child adjusting, pregnancy, palpation, as well as ways to practice “touch.” Much of his adjusting instructions were written in the context of his 1926 adjusting manual, Why Majors Change? I hope to make his other books available in the near future as part of this series in Chiropractic Classics. Drain’s approach to all cases was to find the cause of the life not being expressed and adjust it.
Drain and Harper
Another important reason to study Drain’s book in the context of the history of the philosophy of chiropractic is that he was mentor to William Harper. Harper’s, Anything Can Cause Anything is a significant work from the 2nd generation of chiropractic. Harper’s book was written as an update and summation of D.D. Palmer’s core principles. It might also be viewed as a response and reaction to the work of Drain. For example, Drain wrote that, “the normal amount of force going through the normal amount of matter in the normal amount of time gives us health.” Harper, wrote that disease was “function out of time with need.”
Besides the core concepts of cycles, health, and disease, which Harper builds upon from Drain, his theory of irritation is significant. Drain’s chapter critiquing the concept of “irritation” of the nervous system as the cause of disease seems like a direct attack on Harper’s text, which was written forty years later! Their use of the term “irritation” is not identical, and Harper’s book relies on Speransky and several contemporary texts for the time, and yet, contrasting the two offers us new insight. Harper decided that normal irritation comes from Innate or the organismic consciousness, which gives rise to what D.D. Palmer referred to as “tone.” Disease is when something besides Innate (mechanical, chemical, or psychic) is irritating the nervous system, resulting in abnormal function. For Drain, this line of thinking deviates too far from chiropractic because anything might cause irritation. He writes, “We are only interested in what is wrong with the transmission of life force from the brain to the tissue cell, which is causing the tissue cell to be abnormal.” By understanding Drain, we might better understand Harper and how his work evolved from the earlier era. We may even find within the writings of these philosophers keys to unlock the conflicts in chiropractic today.
One thing that is evident upon studying Chiropractic Thoughts; the philosophy of chiropractic was originally viewed as a completely new way of looking at the world, life, health, and disease. Drain’s vision for a healthier world without suffering, pain, infirmity, mental illness, and one where children will be healthier with each new generation is compelling. He did not think the world was ready in 1927 for the philosophy and yet, the more he studied it, the more he felt it was the most important thing in the world. He wrote, “I want every one of you to enlighten people on the Philosophy of Chiropractic—talk to your one patient or your twenty patients or your hundred patients as your ambition goes today. Every one of you have the ambition to adjust 100 patients a day. I had the same ambition but now I am interested in having people hear the Philosophy of Chiropractic and then live it.” Chiropractic is now in its 4th generation, perhaps it is a good time for us to try very hard to understand what Drain meant by those words. Read this book and you will know.
A Must Read/Rare Gem
I have tried to diligently reproduce this text based on the original. The second edition of Chiropractic Thoughts was published in 1946, with very few changes. I opted to reproduce the first edition with a few side notes from the second edition included. The only significant update in the second edition was Part III titled, Mind and My Pencil, a series of incredible letters written to chiropractors. I have decided to reproduce Mind and My Pencil as a separate book altogether. Also, the second edition contained a table of contents rather than an index labeled “contents” like the first edition. I included the table of contents at the front of the book. I will post the indexed terms online along with the references from this preface and other supporting materials. The index was too difficult to reproduce in book form based upon the changes in page numbers for this edition as well as Drain’s unique indexing style. I have kept Drain’s use of the em dash as his way of capturing “language of the street,” and I also kept his use of terminology such as “co-ordination” and “re-establish.” The sentence lectures at the end of the book are in the same format he originally used.
Writings on philosophy from the first generation of chiropractors are extremely rare. This book was almost lost to the current generation. I would like to thank Gayle Drain Kauffman, granddaughter of J.R. Drain for her incredible support. I would also like to thank Steve Walton, D.C.,for assisting in the editing process. Please enjoy the book as a window into another time, a doorway to chiropractic’s earliest and most seminal concepts.
1. J.R. Drain. 1927/2013. Chiropractic Thoughts. Integral Altitude: Asheville, NC. (quotes from pages: 24, 124, 64, & 243).****
2. Keaing, J. 1998. Chronology of the Texas Chiropractic College (pre-1949).
3. Keating, J., Davison, R. 1997. That “Down in Dixie” School: Texas Chiropractic College Between the Wars. Chiropractic History. 17(1).***
4. Palmer, B.J. 1907. The Science of Chiropractic: Eleven physiological lectures. Volume 2. Palmer School of Chiropractic: Davenport, IA.
5. Palmer, B.J. 1908. The Philosophy and Principles of Chiropractic Adjustments; A series of Twenty-four lectures. Volume 3. Palmer School of Chiropractic: Davenport, IA.
6. Palmer, B.J. 1909. The Philosophy of Chiropractic. Volume 5. Palmer School of Chiropractic: Davenport, IA.
7. Senzon, S. 2013. Chiropractic’s Fourth Generation. Dr. Senzon’s Blog: Chiropraction. September 30.
8. Dye, A. 1939. The evolution of chiropractic: Its discovery and development. Philadelphia: A.E. Dye.
9. Rehm, W. 1980. Who was who in chiropractic: a necrology. Who’s who in chiropractic International: History-Education. Littleton, CO.
10. Maynard, J. 1982. Healing hands: The story of the Palmer family discoverers and developers of chiropractic. Revised edition. MS: Jonorm Publishers
11. Drain, JR. 1956. Introduction. We walk again. Unpublished. (Spears papers, Cleveland Chiropractic College of Kansas City). (3)
12. Craven, J. 1919. Universal Intelligence. In Palmer, B. and Craven, J. 1916. Philosophy of Chiropractic. Davenport, Palmer College of Chiropractic.*
13. Craven, J. 1919. Innate Intelligence. In Palmer, B. and Craven, J. 1916. Philosophy of Chiropractic: Volume 5. Davenport, Palmer School of Chiropractic.*
14. Craven, J. 1919. Mental. In Palmer, B. and Craven, J. 1916. Philosophy of Chiropractic: Volume 5. Davenport, Palmer School of Chiropractic.*
15. Craven, J. 1919. Innate Mind – Educated Mind. In Palmer, B. and Craven, J. 1916. Philosophy of Chiropractic: Volume 5. Davenport, Palmer School of Chiropractic.*
16, Senzon, S. 2013. Chiropractic History. Dr. Senzon’s Blog: Chiropraction. March 13.
17. Palmer, B.J. and Craven, J. 1916. The philosophy of chiropractic. Palmer College of Chiropractic: Davenport, IA.
18. Stephenson, R., Chiropractic textbook. 1927, Palmer School of Chiropractic: Davenport.
19. Ralph W. Stephenson. 1927. Thirty Three Principles. In Chiropractic textbook: Volume 14. Davenport: Palmer School of Chiropractic.
20. Carver, W. 1936/2002. History of Chiropractic, ed. J. Keating. National Institute of Chiropractic Research.
21. Loban, J. 1916 Technic and practice of chiropractic. Loban Publishing Company.
22. Drain, J.R. 1926. Why Majors Change. Indianapolis, IN: Chiropractic Research and Review Service.
23. Drain, J.R. 1933. The Jim Drain System of Adjusting.
24. Drain, J. 1949. Man tomorrow. San Antonio, TX: Standard Print Company.
25. Keating, J. 2007. Chronology of William D. Harper, Jr., M.S., D.C. (1908-1990). National Institute of Chiropractic Research.
26. Harper, W., Anything Can Cause Anything: A Correlation of Dr. Daniel David Palmer’s Principles of Chiropractic. 1997: Texas Chiropractic College.
27. Speransky, A., A basis for the theory of medicine. 1943, USA: International Publishers Co, Inc. Available!
28. Drain, J.R. Chiropractic Thoughts, second edition. 1946.
29. Wikipedia: Em Dash definition.
****Chiropractic Thoughts is now available in pre-sale. Expected ship dates begin January 2, 2014.
***Reprinted by permission of the Association for the History of Chiropractic.
*Quoted from Sinnott, R. (1997). The Greenbooks: A collection of timeless Chiropractic works – by those who lived it! Mokena, IL, Chiropractic books.