Our Finest Hour
by Myron Brown, DC, ACP, FCSC (Hon.)
Rock Hill, South Carolina
Published by the Garden State Chiropractic Society 2016
In an historic message delivered by Winston Churchill to the British Parliament on June 18, 1940, the newly seated Prime Minister sought to rally his people as the country braced itself to go it alone against the full fury of Hitler’s Nazi war machine. The Germans, gleeful over their defeat of France had already over-run Belgium and the Netherlands after acquiring Poland in the blitzkrieg invasion several months before, were focused squarely on the British Isles. It was Churchill’s charge to lead the country against Hitler and the first step was to inspire and encourage. The message delivered to Parliament that day included Churchill’s famous summary statement, “Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves that, if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, "This was their finest hour."
Similarly, a National Public Radio interview with Andrei Cherny, author of The Candy Bombers revealed a fascinating true story that unfolded in post-World War II... Click to Read More: http://gardenstatechiropractic.org/flipbook/winter2016#book5/page6-page7
Old Dad Chiro: His Thoughts, Words, and Deeds
by Myron Brown, DC, ACP, FCSC (Hon.)
Rock Hill, South Carolina
Published in the Journal of Chiropractic Humanities
“Little deeds are like little seeds—they grow to flowers, and weeds.” Daniel David Palmer, the founder of the chiropractic profession, prophetically encapsulated the essence of his life. The thoughts, words, and deeds of this intriguing individual took root and blossomed into a profession. His words and deeds were diverse enough to provide a broad range of possible interpretations and were sometimes exploited or misrepresented by others to proffer meanings that are clearly inconsistent with the central theme of his values...
Click here to read "Old Dad Chiro: His Thoughts, Words and Deeds"
D.D. Palmer was individualistic and enigmatic. This publication provides a look at the whole in an attempt to reveal the character and spirit of the founder of the chiropractic profession.
Mastoid Fossa Study (scientific research)
Dr. Myron Brown, Dr. Arianna Coe, Tom DeBoard, MS
This scholarly article reports on thermographic research. It appeared in a peer-reviewed journal and was originally published in July 2010. The study involves skin temperature measurements as a determinant of vertebral subluxation.
Mastoid Fossa Temperature Imbalances in the Presence of Interference Patterns: A Retrospective Analysis of 253 Cases
Click here to go to the article, (Originally published in The Journal of Vertebral Subluxation Research July 15, 2010)
Visit Titronics for information on the equipment used in this study.
Diamonds and Violins
by Myron Brown, DC, ACP, FCSC (Hon.)
Rock Hill, South Carolina
Originally published in The Chiropractic Journal
As the dark ages were giving way to the age of enlightenment, the unassuming violin was emerging as the brightest jewel in the crown of musical instruments. It’s origins remain shrouded, but what is certain is that by the early 1500’s the instrument matured from a number of crude predecessors to a three, and then finally the four -stringed creation so familiar to us today.
Brilliance in the arts was a distinctive feature of the Renaissance and this was true about the art of violin making, perhaps more than in any other art. In fact, modern violin makers revere and today’s virtuoso performers pursue the works of certain great makers who worked in a small geographic region during a relatively short span of time...
Note: Dr. Brown wrote this article while serving as Executive Vice President/Provost of a chiropractic college. A 1974 graduate of Palmer College of Chiropractic in Davenport, Iowa, he is a Fellow of the College of Straight Chiropractic (1999), has extensive experience in chiropractic college accreditation and has served as a member of the boards of trustees of two chiropractic colleges, one in the U.S. and another in New Zealand. He lectures on chiropractic internationally and has played an important role in the development of modern chiropractic instrumentation.
The Paradigm of the Cat
by Myron Brown, DC, ACP, FCSC (Hon.)
Rock Hill, South Carolina
Originally published in Straight from Sherman
The article below is philosophical. It relates educational paradigms, advances and illusions to analogies relevant to the perception of the chiropractic profession.
In reality things are not always what they appear to be. We learned this lesson very well in Dr. Seuss’s landmark book, The Cat in the Hat, as taught by the dodgy “things.” “Thing One” was not really the character we believed he, she (or it) was, not to mention the other devious and disorderly, “Thing Two.” The elusive “things” can serve as a useful microcosmic mirror on reality when one considers that neither “Thing One” nor “Thing Two” were real, outside of the confines of the story book. Or were they?
Is it not arguable however, that at least in the context of this discussion, their immaterial existence has been exhibited?
In the story Thing One and Thing Two trashed the house while the incredulous children looked on and although it was truly convenient when all of their damages were miraculous reversed by the inimitable cat; the sudden turnaround sheds doubt on the validity of the scenario. How could a shattered glass vase instantly be rendered intact? Yet in the paradigm of the “toon” Roger Rabbit can be flattened by a truck and survive without a scratch and Wily Coyote can fall off the edge of a cliff, plummet a thousand feet, splat into a small cloud of dust, then walk away unscathed. However, in reality our confidence is often shaken when what we see, hear, touch, taste and smell turns out to be fallacious. Naïve realism is the term that describes the belief that we can trust our senses, yet we know that Harry Houdini built his impressive career on the knowledge of just how unreliable perceptions like “seeing is believing” can be...
Sex Appeal or Substance: Where is the Greater Vision?
Myron D. Brown, DC, FCSC (Hon.)
Rock Hill, South Carolina
I’ll always remember that silly slogan burned into a rustic wooden sign at camp. Although it wasn’t particularly funny, it was one of many little quips found here and there in that vast wooded setting known as summer camp. “Clean mind, clean body…take your pick” was a witticism whose understood purpose was to produce a chuckle. It made light of some of the virtues that the camp organizers aimed to strengthen in the youths. Just below the surface was the certainty that the youths should learn both clean mind and clean body. Choice was never the intent, yet the idea of choice shifted the focus cleverly enough to echo the message differently. Its light hearted slant just somehow got noticed and in the mind of at least one camper, was remembered.
It’s fascinating to note what things catch the imagination and resonates with people. The top 40 musical songs lack the timelessness and exquisite artistry of the classical, but are certainly more popular; just as dessert seems more attractive than healthier nourishment. Sometimes that which resonates with the people will quickly lose its appeal as well. For example the most popular American toy ever made became a fad with over 100 million sold in 1958. The Hula Hoop® wasn’t even original; it had existed for thousands of years and circular hoops made of grape vines are known to have been a children’s toy in ancient Egypt1. Clever marketing tying them to the Hawaiian dance, the hula and a unique promotional scheme resulted in the hoop mania of the 1950’s. The bright colored plastic used to manufacture only those produced in 1958, if straightened out end to end, could have circled the globe five times. Although there are still a few hula hoops sold today, the fad seemed to fade as suddenly as it appeared. It appears as though we live in a time when the marketing itself often emerges as the objective, regardless of the substance. The old advertising slogan, “sell the sizzle, not the steak” just might have been supplanted by “sell the sizzle and worry about the steak later.”
More than 200 years ago Johann Wolfgang von Goethe made this statement about the principle embodied in taking action, “…that moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too...Whatever you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now. Nike made the idea glitzy with only three words, “Just Do It.” Yes, there is magic in marketing, yet we also know that much more is actually done by those that take action than is suggested by all the hype of the promoters. Let’s see how all this relates to chiropractic. Chiropractic is an idea, more genuine than provocative, with a lofty vision of more substance than a great marketing scheme or a popular fad. Restoration of a persons hearing, sight, cure of a crippling disorder, or other miraculous events are relatively easy to get excited about and chiropractors see miracles often enough that such events seem to lose their thrill. Chiropractors have been known to say
that “we see miracles so often in chiropractic, that we are disappointed when we don’t see one.” But the greater vision of chiropractic holds credence even without the spectacular incident.
The greater vision of chiropractic could be described as crucial, yet non-invigorating; grand but not glitzy. Like the “golden rule,” the vision provides an invaluable framework and value of noble worth, but does not typically arouse excitement. The vertebral subluxation centered vision would appear to have less pizzazz, spice, curb appeal or how ever one might wish to label those things of drama that are easily marketable.
By contrast, when Harvey Lillard got his hearing back it must have been easy to pique the interest of all who knew him. When Col. Allen’s terminal cancer disappeared the drama must have been overwhelming and amazed those who knew his story2. Pastor James Tomasi tells how he, “cancelled my plans to commit suicide in 1997.” That was a moment of extraordinary drama because his plan had been lucidly established to finally bring an end to years of debilitating pain from which there was no hope of recovery. He had chosen the hour, which was to be late on Tuesday. When he learned that his wife had made an appointment with a new chiropractor, he mentally noted that it would fit in his schedule, because the appointment was for a few hours before James’ infamous scheduled moment3. Little did James know that his chiropractic appointment was destined to be a life changing, no, a life saving event. When Tiger Woods, Emmitt Smith, Arnold Schwartzennegger, Evander Holyfield, Tony Robbins, Jane Seymour, Joe Montana and scores of authors, politicians, superstars and actors say chiropractic gives them their edge in life people tend to sit up and listen, perhaps because the sex appeal and pizzazz is already there in their names.
John (name changed) drove approximately 4 hours from his eastern Missouri home to West Liberty, Iowa to get checked because he valued chiropractic care. This seems peculiar considering that so many licensed chiropractors practice in and around St. Louis, less than an hour from his home. John explained that he tried several times to find a chiropractor in his home area, but finding one who would carefully analyze and adjust his spine seemed to be a hopeless aim. So he gave up on trying and just determined that he would make the trip at regular intervals to get checked and adjusted.
Later when widowed senior citizen John remarried, his new bride began to come along on his regular visits to Iowa. After many months of skeptical hesitation she began chiropractic care in West Liberty, too. In Mary’s (name changed) case the skepticism came from an experience in which chiropractic had failed to meet her expectations and her opinion of the profession was adverse, to put it mildly. While John appreciated the benefits of living a life free of vertebral subluxations, Mary had sought care from a chiropractor 20 years before because a stubborn shoulder problem prevented her from lifting her right arm. She saw a Missouri chiropractor and received manipulations and therapy, which only made her condition much worse. She learned to live with the problem using pain drugs and became resigned to being able to lift her arm less than half way up.
Mary would watch carefully whenever John got checked. She remarked that it all looked much different than her previous experience in a chiropractic office. When asked what was so different about it she replied that it seemed to be done purposefully. She further stated that when she got manipulated in the past, “he didn’t check anything; he just took my head in his hands and twisted one way, then the other.” That was long before she met John and she had decided to never let a chiropractor twist her neck again. John told her that she needed to get adjusted the right way. After watching, and stewing about it all those months Mary finally decided that this was so different, that it might be worth a try. This writer was an experienced chiropractor when Mary got her first adjustment after all those years, but what happened next scared me anyway.
We analyzed her spine, established patterns, determined that she had an atlas subluxation and x-rayed her. What was for us a customary toggle-recoil adjustment was a completely bewildering experience to her. Mary, normally gregarious and certainly not a quiet sort got completely silent for what seemed like a very long time. Then her eyes filled with tears and this elderly woman began to cry. As she regained her composure she told me that this was the first time in all those years that she wasn’t in constant pain. She then began to raise and lower her arm with what seemed like reckless abandon.
Now to portray this event seems to be a curious thing because the greater vision is not about curing painful shoulders; in fact it’s not about curing anything at all. Why should a vertebral subluxation centered chiropractor be moved by or retell such a story? In crafting this article and thinking back on some of the dramatic things we have seen in practice, it is fitting to share the color and enthusiasm that are so frequently present in our practices. The emotions of these circumstances stir the imagination and something uniquely human is felt. But emotions aside, we know that a precise adjustment made a profound difference in Mary’s experience.
In further conversation with Mary it was learned that on every visit to the Missouri chiropractor she was placed on machines to relax her first and then given a “general adjustment.” She explained that the general adjustment was always the same. In the face down position he popped a couple vertebra between her shoulder blades, then had her turn on her side and twisted her hip until it popped, then had her turn on the other side and did the same. She would then be placed on her back for the dreaded neck manipulation. He would twist her head one way until it popped and then the other way until it popped. That phrase, “general adjustment” sounded like fingernails making that horrible high pitched sound on a chalkboard.
At very best the phrase “general adjustment” is an oxymoron since a chiropractic spinal adjustment is a precisely contrived force designed for a very specific corrective purpose –
there’s nothing “general” about it! In these times when it is popular for chiropractors to declare that the profession has an identity problem, the use of careless terminology like this reveals much. What might have been the outcome had Mary received a precise chiropractic spinal adjustment all those years ago? One is left to wonder whether, if instead of treating her shoulder pain, what if she had had her subluxation adjusted?
B.J. Palmer, the developer of the profession, has often been quoted for his powerful statement, “chiropractic is specific or it is nothing.” But specificity was a core value in chiropractic even before B.J. led the profession’s development. Since the discovery of the principles of chiropractic, specificity has been a core value. D.D. Palmer described the first adjustment in exactly that way: “…There was nothing “accidental” about this, as it was accomplished with an object in view, and the result expected was obtained. There was nothing “crude” about this adjustment; it was specific…” This excerpt can be found on page 18 of Palmer’s 1910 text, The Science, Art and Philosophy of Chiropractic, “The Chiropractors Adjustor” (TCA). A review of D.D. Palmer’s work reveals an astonishing number of references to specificity as a prerequisite to the scientific practice of chiropractic. The following are but a few of them.
D.D. Palmer often admonished early chiropractors about the need to be specific: “…remember that you cannot adjust, replace a vertebra that is not displaced. I desire that every Chiropractor to understand and comprehend this statement. They will then be on the road toward special, specific, scientific adjusting, creating a science...” (TCA page 42).
D.D. Palmer drew distinctions between his chiropractic and other arts:
“Chiropractors should be specific, making one “simple movement in the spine at a particular spot” and in the right direction.” (TCA page 260). Similarly, “…I adjust only one vertebra, making the adjustment direct and specific, the difference being that one move adjusts, while the other manipulates… (page 15 TCA)
D.D. Palmer also stressed the relationship between specificity and scientific practice: “Very few realize what is meant by being specific, scientific in either teaching the science or practicing the art of Chiropractic.” (TCA page 310).
D.D. Palmer demanded specific precision in the art, as well as the science of chiropractic: “I prefer being specific, definite and precise in locating causes and just as explicit and exact in adjusting.” (TCA page 404).
To D.D. Palmer the concept of specificity was the basis of chiropractic practice as a science and an art: “The Chiropractor locates the impingement (to be specific, means one location and one adjustment; otherwise it is not scientific), which disturbs functions, mental or physical, relieves the pressure and restores normal innervation…Chiropractic is a science just so far as it is specific. The ability to discriminate, to be precise, makes Chiropractic a science and an art.” (TCA page 622).
D.D. Palmer again emphatically states that chiropractic is not a science without specificity: “Is the science of Chiropractic specific? If it is not specific, it is not a science.” (TCA page 784)
D.D. Palmer even defined the art, science and philosophy of chiropractic in terms of the knowledge of the adjustment of vertebrae: “Chiropractic is a name I originated to designate the science and art of adjusting vertebrae. It does not relate to the study of
etiology, or any branch of medicine. Chiropractic includes the science and art of adjusting vertebrae — the know how and the doing” (TCA page 225).
Although specific location, analysis and correction of vertebral subluxation has been the essential core value of chiropractic since its inception, Mary’s story is sadly not unusual. One of the most difficult experiences we had in our practice was to find chiropractors in distant locations when members of our practice would move or find themselves in extended travel situations. Few events were more frustrating and many times people would give up due to the discouraging results when they sought vertebral subluxation centered care in their new locations. As the profession matures it needs to remember the specific thinking that led D.D. Palmer to the discovery of the principles of chiropractic and the profession needs to remember that there is vast difference between manipulation and a specific chiropractic spinal adjustment. The distinctions were well identified by the founder and expounded upon by the developer of the profession. Putting aside the amnesia about specificity would serve the profession very well in its quest to know its identity and would also go far to defend chiropractic’s unique contribution to health from external encroachment.
Chiropractic practitioners and students may tend to think that this article is moving toward the endorsement of a particular type of chiropractic adjusting technique, however, that is not the case. The article is actually focused at the objective of chiropractic care itself. Once the objective is clear the methods will always tend to clarify with time. If the objective is the specific location, analysis and correction of vertebral subluxation, then more precise methods of achieving that goal will always be sought and improved upon. However, the problem that has become apparent in the profession is that many practitioners have forgotten, or worse yet, never learned about the essential objective. As a result we see deviation, centered on treating pain and conditions. This is evidenced by the many non-specific, manipulative, condition focused procedures commonly in use that are ineffective and completely unpredictable insofar as their effect on vertebral subluxations. Good reasons to center our focus on the vertebral subluxation include the fact that it is non-duplicative, therefore cost-effective; professional integrity is uncompromised when chiropractors locate, analyze and correct vertebral subluxations; and the best reason of all is that people everywhere need to live a life free of vertebral subluxations. Far too little attention has been focused by the chiropractic profession on researching and improving our skills in that which is most relevant, the vertebral subluxation.
The effects of chiropractic care may be easier to see or more obvious in persons with great maladies or high profile celebrities, but that should not distract us from the greater vision of all people living a life free of vertebral subluxation. No child should have to grow up subluxated just because they have not developed symptoms yet. This idea has grown within many of us to the level of a sustained passion and commitment to this greater vision of chiropractic. Supporting the things we believe is certainly not a burden, it is actually a privilege. It is reminiscent of a recent article about the founder of the ecologically conscious and highly successful clothing company, Patagonia. In his inspirational book, Let My People Go Surfing, Yvon Chouinard said of the benefits of a
greater vision, “Despite the challenges involved, we've found that every time we've elected to do the right thing, even when it costs twice as much, it's turned out to be more profitable.”4 Keeping Chouinard’s experience in mind there are great benefits in supporting the things that we believe in. Putting our time and energy into the core focus of our profession enhances our ability as chiropractors. This focus on our center, the vertebral subluxation, expands ones greater vision of all things chiropractic both central and peripheral. The message of von Goethe is just as true today, take action, and then providence moves. Financially supporting our chiropractic educational institutions is not a burden, it’s a personal reward. Sending prospective students to visit great institutions like Sherman College doesn’t just open the door for them; it enriches the chiropractor, his or her practice and the families of the student, too. As Nike said, just do it and the more things we do that are consistent with our own core values the more coherent our lives become and providence moves for us and within us.
This article was published in two parts, appearing in The Chiropractic Journal, January and February 2008 http://www.worldchiropracticalliance.org/tcj/2008/feb/k.htm
1 Source: The Great Idea Finder, http://www.ideafinder.com/history/inventions/hulahoop.htm (The trademark, Hula-Hoop ® is the property of Wham-O Manufacturing, 1958)
2 Chiropractic Clinical Controlled Research, Palmer School of Chiropractic, B.J. Palmer, 1951, page 362
3 What Time Tuesday?, James Tomasi, International Christian Servants, Inc. Harrisburg, PA, 2005
4 Let My People Go Surfing: : The Education of a Reluctant Businessman, Penguin Press HC, 2005