Yearly Archives: 2014

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.


Chiropractic Philosophers Ratledge and Drain

I love republishing chiropractic classics for a few reasons. The top two are that some of the the writings of chiropractic’s first generation are just awesome and few people have read them!

The two new books describe the philosophical perspectives of T.F. Ratledge and J.R. Drain. Not only did both of these guys study with D.D. Palmer, but they each taught chiropractic for decades, pioneered chiropractic across the country, and led the early efforts for chiropractic scope of practice, educational standards, legalization, and accreditation. Both men focused on defining chiropractic based on its science, art, and philosophy.

The Ratledge book is volume two of a two volume set originally written by Paul Smallie. Smallie graduated from Ratledge Chiropractic College in 1935. He published Ratledge Philosophy Volume 1 and Volume 2 in 1979. Smallie seems to have developed these books from Ratledge’s Manuscript (which I plan to publish next year along with Smallie’s The Guiding Light of Ratledge).

Ratledge Philosophy Volume 2 describes Ratledge’s depth of understanding of the chiropractic principles. Ratledge emphasized several important elements of the philosophy of chiropractic: the way the organism responds to the environment, the expression of universal energy through the nervous system, and the innateness of matter. He felt that the best way to assist the organism to adapt to the unneutralities of the environment was the chiropractic adjustment, which restores function.

Environmental unneutralities may arise from within or outside the body due to the body’s response to the three primary qualities of matter: density, chemistry, and temperature. The influence from the environment may lead to chemical changes, temperature changes, or mechanical stresses. Any of these could disrupt the functional balance of the organism, which may result in vertebral subluxation.

When you study Ratledge, you will gain an insight into the chiropractic point of view like no other.

The Drain book was created by me as a compilation of his writings. Last year, I published Drain’s Chiropractic Thoughts (1927). I did not include the final section that he added to the second edition (1946). I wanted to publish that separately because it is special.

Mind and My Pencil: Why Majors Change and Other Chiropractic Writings is a tribute to Drain. I was able to include more than the final section of Chiropractic Thoughts (second edition), which includes his many weekly letters and essays designed to inspire chiropractors in the field. I also included several pamphlets and essays written between 1926 and 1956.

The book is one of a kind. It inspires, philosophizes, and teaches adjusting, palpation, and even includes some 1930s business advice. Drain’s brief adjusting manual, his tract on Nerve Tracing, and also his detailed explanation of Majors are also incorporated into the book.

Mind and My Pencil has everything, science, art, philosophy, and practice advice from one of the best chiropractic thinkers of the 20th century.

As Drain would say, I am

Chiropractically yours,

Simon Senzon


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.


An Early History of Chiropractic by Rolf Peters

Rolf Peters, DC, MCSc, FACC, FPAC, FICC, is one of the leading historians in the chiropractic profession. His new book, An Early History of Chiropractic: The Palmers and Australia, is one of a kind. The book was developed from Dr. Peters’ 500 page Masters Thesis at RMIT, which relied on at least 300 hours of research in the Palmer Archives. The book is filled with facts about the early history of chiropractic published nowhere else!

Dr. Peters’ credentials are impressive. As a chiropractic historian, he was honored in 2011 with the prestigious Lee-Homewood Award by the Association for the History of Chiropractic. Rolf was nominated by long-time Palmer archivist, Glenda Wiese. To get a real sense of Rolf’s work and the depth of his connection to the history of chiropractic, please check out his acceptance speech.*

Rolf’s teammate, co-author, editor, and soul-mate was his late wife, Mary Ann Chance, granddaughter of HC Chance, Palmer faculty (1925-1958) and close friend of B.J. Palmer. Both Mary Ann and Rolf were awarded Life Membership of the Chiropractors’ Association of Australia and Palmer College’s highest Award of Fellow in the Palmer Academy of Chiropractic. Russ Gibbons, editor emeritus of the journal Chiropractic History wrote in response to one of their many articles,

Once again, Doctors Chance-Peters have demonstrated that they are among the most knowledgeable of historians of their profession, as well as astute editorialists who many times show the relevance of that history to contemporary issues… Thank you, Drs. Chance-Peters for your many contributions to chiropractic history and literature.

Rolf is a 1957 graduate of Palmer College of Chiropractic. (Rolf’s roommate at Palmer was Reggie Gold – click here to read Rolf’s tribute to Reggie.)

As early as 1959, Rolf’s excellence was recognized by the International Chiropractor’s Association. His first office in Beverly Hills was named office of the month. After a brief two-year practice in California, Rolf moved to Australia, where he practiced for fifty years.

Rolf Peter's Office 1959

Rolf Peter's Office 1959

I have been following Rolf’s writings for many years. He and Mary Ann were editors of the Chiropractic Journal of Australia (since 1983) and founders of the Association for Chiropractic History – Australia (in 1991). Their writings on the early years of the Palmer school and faculty are a resource for the profession.

Rolf granted me permission to post several of his articles here. My favorites include the lost years of 1902-1904, the article about D.D. Palmer’s death, and their wonderful yearly series looking back 100 years. One of the most important impacts on my recent research developed from their article on the year 1907 and details about the landmark Morikubo case.**

An Early History of Chiropractic: The Palmers and Australia, is a summation of all of the Peters-Chance articles and more! Rolf started with a quest to understand how chiropractic developed in Australia. That simple question led to the most detailed and significant book on the early history of chiropractic and the Palmers to date. This book will dispel many chiropractic myths, from what chiropractors treated to what really happened in the “lost years.”

Best of all, the book describes fascinating and parallel paths of chiropractic history. Chiropractic in Australia, unlike in the United States, was dominated by Palmer graduates and thus chiropractic was defined according to the detection and correction of vertebral subluxation using instrumentation, x-rays, and hands. Another Australian chiropractic historian, Bolton referred to this as “Mainstream chiropractic” and chiropractors who included other modalities as “second-stream.” We have a great deal to learn from this book.

I consider this book volume 11 in the Chiropractic Clear Light Books series. I am honored to publish it.

Book orders may be placed through:

SenzonOnline or Amazon.


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

**Reprinted by permission of Dr. Peters.


Chiropractic Philosophical Renaissance

They say the Renaissance was spread by about 1,000 people who were transformed by a new view of reality. One of the key components of that new view was the ability to see physical space from a vantage point. This was evident in painting, architecture, astronomy (telescopes), and chemistry (microscopes). This new perspective spread across the culture by just looking at a building created by Brunelleschi or a painting by Leonardo da Vinci or Raphael.

Raphael's School of Athens (1509-1510)

Chiropractic helped to usher the next significant shift in human consciousness, one that includes time (as in principle #6). At the turn of the twentieth century, the seeds of systems thinking were just emerging. D.D. Palmer broke from the norm of his era. He invented chiropractic as an embodiment of a new way of understanding life itself, as dynamic and interconnected. According to Palmer, the chiropractic adjustment of vertebral subluxation led to holistic and global transformational changes in the individual’s body, life, mind, and spirit and also had the potential to transform the society. Palmer’s type of thinking was shared by other luminaries of his day such as Einstein, Freud, Kandinsky, Bergson, and many others. Collectively they brought a new perspective into the culture by bringing forth new practices into the world in chiropractic, physics, psychology, art, and philosophy.

Even more complex ways of thinking are emerging in the world. In many of my recent writings, I have attempted to bridge the chiropractic philosophical paradigm with the latest perspectives in philosophy and science. I challenge you to study those articles and bring the new knowledge back into the profession, especially since there is so much vibrant scholastic activity in philosophy today.

Philosophical Growth

We are on the verge of a new flourishing for the philosophy of chiropractic. The signs are everywhere.

Just look around at the publications of the last few years. There have been new books by Sinnott, Koch, Strauss, and Kent, important works like Haavik’s The Reality Check, Coulter’s now dated sociological approach to the philosophy of chiropractic, the recently republished classics like B.J.’s The Great Undertow, Drain’s Chiropractic Thoughts, Ratledge Philosophy Volume 1, and also the historical gems from Todd Waters and the latest gift from the AHC. (One of the keys of the Renaissance, was to draw from the past to develop new ways of viewing the world.)

JCH Archives

There are several compelling journals in the field like Chiropractic History, Chiropractic Dialogues, and Journal of Chiropractic Humanities.

The newest flourishing of literature on the philosophy of chiropractic is the online publication of the Journal of Chiropractic Humanities archives from the 1990s. This group of articles represents an entire decade of philosophical discussion. It was really another time, when leaders in the profession, many of whom disagreed with each other actually wrote peer-reviewed papers citing each other, criticizing each other, and even writing letters to the editor making points about articles. Check out the articles by Koch, Gelardi, McAulay, Phillips, and Winterstein to get you started. Then check out some of the classics in the literature from Wardwell, Coulter, and Donahue. Hopefully JCH will publish the original issues of Philosophical Constructs in the near future. Here is an article by Barge critiquing the first of those issues (just to whet your appetite!). This type of scholarly collegiality is needed again for a true Renaissance to emerge..

In one of the articles, Gelardi called for the Camelot Resolution, where the warring factions in the profession might come together and mutually respect each other’s missions. Imagine if it were that simple. If we took that advice in 1996, what would the last 18 years of chiropractic have been like?

Philosophy Teaching Programs

And yet the real flourishing ahead will come from those committed to learning. Several new programs are on the move. The Wave this weekend and Mile High, August 22nd, will both be very interesting. The AHC conference in Atlanta on September 13, 2014, is not to be missed (I will present my new Gen/Wave model and a paper with Brian T. Lumb on chiropractic instrumentation and elements of the legacy of Dale Lumb).

IRAPS (International Research and Philosophy Symposium), on October 17-19, is rapidly becoming the premiere subluxation centered academic conference of the chiropractic profession! The theme of the conference is The Future of Vertebral Subluxation Research. Keynote speakers this year are Bill Decken and Christopher Kent. (I will present a workshop on Friday night and also deliver a paper during the conference, co-authored with Donny Epstein and Dan Lemberger.)

Other philosophy programs include in-depth training. The Center for Chiropractic Progress offers a three-year Philosophy Diplomate Program. Their upcoming Adaptability Research Symposium will be just amazing! Sherman’s Academy of Chiropractic Philosophers program is another powerful learning option. The start of their new US program is this weekend in Chicago! Check it out!

I am personally working on a new series of online courses. If all goes as planned we will launch the new Institute this fall. Stay tuned. The future looks bright!


Chiropractic First Generation

This short video on Chiropractic’s First Generation of philosophers, is taken from my talk at the Seattle Chiropractic Philosophy Forum on June 2, 2014. The Forum has had regular monthly meetings since 1991! What an amazing group. Thank you all so much for having me there.

The video explores a few of the main philosophers from the first generation of chiropractic. I hope you enjoy it.


Chiropractic Generations and Waves

It has been quite some time since I have taken the show on the road. Next week will definitely make up for it.
Sunday, June 1st, I will teach an eight hour course at Life West! The topic is the new Gen/Wave model I developed. The model has really been in development for about 15 years. I am excited to share how the pieces have come together so that participants can gain new insights about the philosophy and have new tools in practice and life.

Below is one of the animations I am working on for the presentation.

The days before my eight hour course, I gather at CIIS for the first annual Society for Consciousness Studies conference. I am excited to spend time with scholars who focus on the exploration of consciousness as an interior. What a blessing to be a part of that!

Monday, June 2nd, I am off to Seattle to talk with some wonderful chiropractors. The Chiropractic Philosophy Forum meets at the SeaTac Double Tree. For info please call: 425-251-5715.

Wednesday, June 4th, off to Los Angeles with Billy D and the Dead Chiropractor’s Society. That will be a night to remember. Come early and stay late!
Thursday, I may have the historic privilege to teach some students on the LACC campus. Stay tuned.


Chiropractic Clear Light Books

It has been an amazing year thus far! Nine new books reissued, republished, or coming soon! I have decided to call the volumes, The Chiropractic Clear Light Books. I wasn’t going to continue with the “volumes” theme but then something happened! The books just took on a life of their own.

At first I was planning to dedicate this blog post solely to the historic republishing of the 1965 text Segmental Neuropathy: The First Evidence of Developing Pathology (announced to my email list in February). The book is just amazing, especially when we consider that it was published 49 years ago. As incredible as it is however, it was part of a much larger project and inspiration.

Inspired by Drain, Valdivia Tor, & Ratledge

As many of you know, in 2013, I republished J.R. Drain’s 1927 text, Chiropractic Thoughts. I was inspired by Drain’s book. I decided to republish it as the first of the new chiropractic classics series. If you haven’t gotten a copy yet – you will love it. It is philosophically on par with The Green Books and much easier to read!

I was also inspired by Joaquin Valdivia Tor, DC. Joaquin not only translated D.D. Palmer’s 1914 text into Spanish, but also wrote an index to that book in Spanish and English. His new book will be released next month. It includes the translation as well as an early history of chiropractic in Spanish!

With these two projects underway, I decided to re-release three of my four books and also publish the first of the Ratledge books. Ratledge was one of the last students of D.D. Palmer, a chiropractic educator for fifty years, and one of the true leaders of non-therapeutic chiropractic. Ratledge Philosophy: Volume 1 was written by his student, Paul Smallie.

It is very important for all chiropractors to study Ratledge’s work. Please consider this sentence the official announcement that Ratledge Philosophy: Volume 1 is now available for the first time since 1979.

Chiropractic Classics

Segmental Neuropathy, Chiropractic Thoughts, Ratledge Philosophy, and Valdivia Tor’s translation of D.D. are part of the Chiropractic Classics series. We should also include the new edition of D.D. Palmer’s Traveling Library. This book is the second half of my book, Chiropractic Foundations (Volume 3). It is an abridgment of the books D.D. Palmer was studying about magnetic healing, Spiritualism, and the philosophy of disease prior to his discovery of chiropractic.

There are other major texts written by 1st and 2nd generation chiropractors. Most of these books are virtually unknown to the profession today. I have already made a few of these classics available as free downloads, such as Carver’s 1936 book, History of Chiropractic (retyped by Keating), Forster’s 1921 book, The White Mark (scanned by the National archives), and Stephenson’s other 1927 book, The Art of Chiropractic. The republished classics will be growing each month.

The Breakthrough

While doing the layout and design for these books, I got inspired to redo my first three books. This has been on my wish list for years. I wanted to make them bigger, more professional, improve the quality, edit some text, and convert the books into the print on demand format like my fourth book. I did.

The big breakthrough came after a visit with Ken Wilber, while I was in Boulder studying with Donny Epstein in January. I asked Wilber if I could use some of the diagrams from his books to enhance my book Chiropractic Foundations. He gave me permission. I expanded chapter three from that book with 30 new diagrams.

This addition of the AQAL diagrams so transformed Chiropractic Foundations that the book is no longer in production. I decided to split it up into two shorter books.

Success, Health, and Happiness (2010)

The first book is based on my lectures at the Academy of Chiropractic Philosophers in 2007. The topic was the history of philosophy from Socrates to D.D. Palmer from an Integral perspective. It is being totally rewritten and republished as Towards An Integral Philosophy: A History of Universal and Innate Intelligences. The second book is D.D. Palmer’s Traveling Library: The Essential Inspirations (mentioned above). It includes several of the original chapters (from Chiropractic Foundations) establishing an historical and philosophical context as well as 300 pages of D.D.’s favorite authors.

Even though I decided in 2010 (with the reorganization of B.J.’s Epigrams) to stop referring to my books as volumes, with the publication of these nine books, I realized it was time to embrace the inevitable. A new chiropractic canon has emerged.

Reggie, Thom, and the Greenbooks

When I published my first book with a white cover and a subtitle of Volume 1, I did so with intention. There is an amazing tradition in chiropractic to publish books according to volume in a series with a colored cover.

This tradition was started by B.J. Palmer with his 39 volumes of green books with gold writing. Many have copied this style and a few have even created their own colored volumes (Cleveland’s Red books, Strauss’ Blue books, and Barge’s volumes are the most well-known attempts). I remember my own philosophy teachers, Val Pennacchio and David Koch used to jest about the colors of their own future series (purple for Val I recall – David’s book is green with gold writing!).

Triune of Life (1998)

While president of Sherman College, Koch issued two small volumes in hardcover, Reggie Gold’s Triune of Life, and Thom Gelardi’s Inspirations. Thus, I continued, with Volume 2, The Secret History of Chiropractic: D.D. Palmer’s Spiritual Writings and Volume 3, Chiropractic Foundations: D.D. Palmer’s Traveling Library.

Inspirations (1999)

The Clear Light Books

I decided to refer to the volumes as The Clear Light Books. One of the main reasons for this comes from Wilber’s model of consciousness, referred to in his books as Altitude. An Altitude of Consciousness (think climbing higher on a mountain) is the space into which consciousness emerges. Each new level leads to new views of reality for the individual. Wilber refers to this as ladder (levels/structures), climber (individual), view (the perspective the individual views the world through at the new level). The philosophy of chiropractic emerged from a view of reality gravitating at a highly complex level of consciousness. Books on the philosophy should reflect this.

Altitudes of Consciousness from Wilber (Integral Vision, 2007)

As you can see from Wilber’s diagram, the color spectrum is used as a way to unify several lines of development. “Clear Light” is the highest of the levels in the diagram. So the books, especially mine, point toward ever higher levels of growth and development. (This is also why my publishing company is called Integral Altitude.)

Clear Light has many other meanings as well. This is important, especially for my friends in the Sandbox (if you have read this far). One meaning relates to Gebser, one of the great cultural historians of the last century. He explained that as each new level of consciousness emerges, a greater transparency becomes evident. He called this diaphaneity. I have written about Gebser’s work in this context elsewhere.

We should be able to use the philosophy to see through the stuff that has kept the profession from developing, the shadow stuff, the un-integrated stuff, the junk that no one ever seems to talk about. Clear Light dispels shadows.

Agreement and Disagreement

The idea behind these books is not agreement although we will probably find much in common throughout The Clear Light Books. By bringing together lost classics, as one series, we capture our history and bring it forth into the future. It is time we learn from the men and women that led the first and second generations. Unfortunately their ideas have been lost to the current generation. For example, there should be a national board question that asks the aspiring chiropractor to distinguish philosophical differences between D.D. Palmer, B.J. Palmer, T.F. Ratledge, and J.R. Drain. Chiropractors should not just understand the basic facts of history. They should be taught to integrate the development of the ideas and the underlying principles of the chiropractic paradigm into daily practice.

 I have already been “warned” that some groups in chiropractic might not recommend me because of the content in Segmental Neuropathy (it may go against their views on vertebral subluxation). I only posted it two weeks ago and have already gotten flack! (Please be sure to get on the email list as there are some big announcements coming up – just click the drop-down arrow above)! Why should a 1960s text critiquing a 1930s view of the nervous system stir controversy in 2014?

Controversy may also get stirred up by some of the content from Ratledge, Drain, and certainly from some of the future books. As my friends in Mexico say, “history is history.” Do we learn from the greats? From those who spent decades pondering all things chiropractic? Or do we continue to blindly fight our way into the future? I think we can widen our foundation just a bit. Don’t you?

The First Ten Volumes of Chiropractic Clear Light Books

Volume 1: The Spiritual Writings of B.J. Palmer: 10th Anniversary Edition

The tenth anniversary edition is filled with over three dozen high resolution pictures as well as some excellent edits and additional content. This book has taken on a life of its own. Many chiropractors have told me it sits on their desk for daily inspiration. That was my hope. The new edition rocks!

Volume 2: The Secret History of Chiropractic: Second Edition

This expanded edition of Secret History has some important editorial changes. As new historical facts come to light, we need to change the way we understand what happened. The core of the text is the same although it too has expanded and has much nicer pictures. Many of the changes are focused on Solon Langworthy as his contributions to the profession, while important, were not as profound as I once thought. Other important changes relate to the landmark Morikubo trial. The book is a great introduction to the early history without losing the depth of the philosophy developed by D.D. Palmer.

Volume 3: Chiropractic Foundations (retired)

As noted above, this book is no longer in print.

Volume 4: Success, Health, and Happiness: The Epigrams of B.J. Palmer

Interestingly, I wrote the title of this book without realizing that James Parker used that phrase as B.J.’s writings on success, chiropractic, health, medicine, women, and food. Other topics are organized by chapter with excerpts of his later writings as context. The book is a real treasure.

Volume 5: Chiropractic Thoughts by J.R. Drain

Drain’s book was written in 1927 after over a decade of practice and about seven years of teaching. He was one of the leaders of chiropractic education in the first of the twentieth century. His philosophical insights around everything from the normal complete cycle to retracing are invaluable to the modern chiropractor. To read my preface to the 2013 edition, please click here: Chiropractic Thoughts Preface.

Volume 6: Los Origenes de la Quiropractica by Joaquin Valdivia Tor

It is a great honor to help bring this translation of D.D. Palmer’s 1914 book into the world. Please share it with students and chiropractors.

Volume 7: Ratledge Philosophy 1 by Paul Smallie

What if I told you there were some excellent short writings about the philosophy of one of D.D. Palmer’s final students? And, what if you also knew that the student owned and operated his own school for fifty years, pioneered objective straight chiropractic, kept spiritual terminology out of his teachings, made very clear distinctions between chiropractic and medicine, and wrote down most of his thoughts after 70 years as a chiropractor? What if I also told you that you may have never heard of him and probably have not read anything about him? Would you be curious?

Ratledge taught us that symptoms are manifestations of bodily adaptations to internal or external stimulations (mechanical, chemical, or thermal) and not the result of magical disease entities. Ratledge wrote down much of these ideas after selling his school in 1955 to Carl Cleveland, dealing with science boards for thirty years, legal battles, and then in the 1960s, the AMA’s newest offenses.

For 70 years, Ratledge emphasized the law-like approach to health that chiropractic utilizes. His MCT (mechanical, chemical, thermal) principles are consistent with D.D. Palmer’s teachings. Ratledge considers them to be the three primary attributes of matter. He writes, “The human body and the environment each have these qualities and are, therefore, similarly responsive to their influence, singularly and/or in combination.” His work is essential reading for anyone seeking to understand the philosophy of chiropractic and the chiropractic paradigm.

Volume 8: Segmental Neuropathy: Online Edition

Only 2000 copies of this book were printed in 1965. Instead of dissecting the text for you in a wordy and eloquent blog post (I’ll save the lecture for another format), I spent my time laying it out as a hyper-linked pdf and as a webpage right here on I know you will enjoy it. The book was coauthored by several leading chiropractors of its day. Himes (PSC ’31), Peterson (PSC ’47), and Watkins (Lincoln ’42), were the guiding lights. (The profession owes gratitude to Steve Walton, DC, FICC, for inspiring this release, doing all of the initial layout, writing a preface, and adding EIGHT appendices!).

Volume 9: D.D. Palmer’s Traveling Library: The Essential Inspirations

When I completed the layout of the new edition of Chiropractic Foundations, I realized it was now way too long and it truly was two distinct books. If you are curious about the roots of D.D. Palmer’s philosophy, this is the book for you to study.

Volume 10: Towards an Integral Philosophy: A History of Universal & Innate Intelligences by Simon Senzon

This book is a real joy to complete. I was able to expand on the Integral chapters and also add dozens of paintings and photos to the history of philosophy sections. I am currently writing three new chapters so that the book is relevant to many of the philosophical discussions and confusions in the profession today. Stay tuned and get on the email list for announcements.

My projected volume numbers for upcoming books include include the following:

Volume 11: Ratledge Philosophy Volume 2 by Paul Smallie

Volume 12: Mind and My Pen by J.R. Drain

Volume 13: The Guiding Light of Ratledge

Volume 14: Modernized Chiropractic part 1 by Smith, Langworthy, & Paxson

Volume 15: Modernized Chiropractic part 2

Volume 16: The Ratledge Manuscript

Volume 17: Man Tomorrow (abridged) by J.R. Drain

The list goes on…

Chiropractic Clear Light Books

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.