Medical and Lay Opinions in Favor of Chiropractic
( Originally Published 1957 )
One of the great stores of the world is Bergdorf-Goodman's, in New York City. Much of the success of this store has been due to the immense energy and continuing good health of its president, Edwin Good-man, over many years. When Mr. Goodman reached his 75th birthday, naturally a first rate party was held in his honor. Among those present was the well known publisher Dorothy Schiff. Intrigued by Mr. Goodman's exuberant health, she asked him for his secret so that she might pass it along to younger people.
"Just get yourself a good chiropractor," advised Goodman.
That was brief and to the point. No equivocation, no hedging. Millions of persons feel the same way about chiropractic and are equally enthusiastic in its praise. They come from all walks of life and all stations in life. Some are of average education like most of us, but many are of the highest intellectual background, a fact which challenges the medical propagandists' claim that chiropractic patients are ignorant and gullible.
Scores of testimonials to chiropractic appear in Part Two in the form of quotations from enthusiastic patients, most of whom were cured by chiropractic after medical treatment had failed. They disprove the frequent medical assertion that "all that science can do is being done," and prove conclusively that "all that science can do is not being done unless chiropractic is provided." Most of the testimony cited in Part II came from the so-called "little people"—those who have made no great mark in the world and whose names are unknown outside their own communities and personal circles. But the same kind of enthusiastic praise of chiropractic comes also from men and women who stand above the crowd, ranging from governors to leaders of finance and industry and including not a few prominent medical doctors. Indeed, there is a great deal of pro-chiropractic testimony in the medical literature itself.
Regardless of his education and station in life, nobody knows better than the sick person himself that he is sick, when he starts to get well, and who is responsible for his improvement. On these points the testimony of the humblest common laborer has equal validity with the testimony of the world celebrity.
However, to refute the charge of certain medical doctors that chiropractic patients are ignorant non-entities, we should examine the statements of persons distinguished in our society.
Elbert Hubbard, who wrote "A Message to Garcia," was a very, famous American author, editor and publisher. Hubbard was one of the earliest chiropractic patients and became a crusader for this healing art. He wrote a book on good health measures, titled The Science of Keeping Well, in which he declared: "Chiropractic never brings an adverse result. The chiropractor does not pin his faith in any single panacea. He simply knows the physical fact that a pressure of bone on the nerve brings about a condition where the telegraph system fails to act properly. With skilled hands he brings about the right relationship and proper adjustment. He finds the cause and removes it. Chiropractors are not doctors of medicine. They are doctors of health. From them we get a new science which is adding greatly to the happiness and welfare of the world."
Many other writers have written favorably of chiropractic after personally experiencing its benefits. Typical is the Minneapolis Tribune columnist, Cedric Adams. He had come down with laryngitis and had undergone a variety of medical treatment. Yet, after three weeks, he was still a "whispering baritone."
At this point, a woman phoned him and told him how Senator Burton K. Wheeler of Montana had been cured of laryngitis by a St. Paul chiropractor. He decided to try chiropractic. "In exactly two treatments," he wrote in his column, "I am almost back to normal, voice, so today, heresy or no, I salute chiropractic with this personal testimonial."
In the field of politics, U. S. Senator Glen Taylor had a similar experience. He was introduced to chiropractic by his wife, who was already a chiropractic patient, after he suffered a subluxation which made it impossible for him to stand up. After a few chiropractic adjustments—he didn't recall the exact number but he did recall that there weren't many-he wrote his chiropractor, "My back has never bothered me since, and I have done many different kinds of work, including two years manual labor in an unheated war plant . I never miss an opportunity to tell my friends of the truly remarkable service chiropractic has rendered us."
Of the governors and other leading officials of the various states, the following are some who have written favorably of chiropractic :
ARKANSAS ". . . the law which has been passed in this State governing the practice of chiropractors is very satisfactory to the public in general, and which law places such practitioners upon a very high standing and much better than formerly." H. W. Appel-gate, Attorney General.
ARIZONA ". . . (chiropractic) practitioners of high standard." John W. Murphy, Attorney General.
COLORADO "From what I know of the chiropractic profession in Colorado, I would say that its operations have been satisfactory." John C. Vivian, Governor.
CONNECTICUT "... there have been few complaints in regard to the operation of the chiropractic law in Connecticut." Stanley H. Osborn, Commissioner, Department of Health. (In Connecticut, the Health Commissioner is a medical doctor.)
DELAWARE "... many people believe in it and have assured me that they or some of their families have been benefited by this treatment." Richard C. Mc-Mullen, Governor.
GEORGIA ". . . the chiropractors have apparently become quite popular in Georgia." T. R. Gress, Asst. Attorney-General.
IDAHO (Letter to a chiropractor) "I wish to assure you of my appreciation for the work being carried on by the members of your profession." Barzilla W. Clark, Governor.
IOWA "The practice of chiropractic in this state is now a matter of pride, not only to those engaged in the practice, but also to the state as a state." Ben J. Gibson, Attorney-General.
KENTUCKY "Chiropractors are doing their work in every civilized country of the world and those who feel that they have been benefited through the science and philosophy of chiropractic are legion. Every healing agency should have the sympathetic interest and sup-port of us all." Albert D. Chandler, Governor.
MISSOURI "We feel, here in Missouri, that the Chiropractors have a distinct work to do and they are doing it, and we consider the bill giving them a license as one of the forward steps in legislation." Sam A. Baker, Governor.
NEVADA "The chiropractic profession has cooperated with the health authorities in the maintenance of sanitary and quarantine safeguards and in the control of epidemics. They have the same standing and fees paid to M.D.'s by the Industrial Commission." E. P. Carville, Governor.
NEW HAMPSHIRE "The great numbers of those who today practice the science and art of chiropractic may derive great satisfaction from a contemplation of the great progress that has been made . . . Chiropractic was introduced to the people of New Hampshire in 1915 by a single chiropractor in the City of Manchester . . . By this time chiropractic has spread to every city in the state and many of the smaller communities . . . Any art, science or service which is helpful to the suffering is a credit to itself and deserves public commendation. This I am glad to accord to chiropractic." Francis P. Murphy, Governor.
NEW JERSEY "We have many chiropractors in our state, and they must be rendering service to suffering humanity or they would not be able to continue." A. Harry Moore, Governor.
NEW MEXICO "Many of our most enlightened citizens avail themselves of the chiropractic form of healing ..." R. C. Dillon, Governor.
NORTH DAKOTA ". . . I do not believe the practice of chiropractic is in any way embarrassing to practitioners of the regular medical profession." A. G. Sorlie, Governor.
OKLAHOMA "This state has a Chiropractic Board, and it is functioning splendidly." H. E. Sullivan, Secretary to the Governor.
OREGON "I have reason to believe that the Oregon Law regulating the practice of chiropractic has the approbation of the general public and practitioners of all branches of therapeutics." Walter M. Pierce, Governor.
SOUTH DAKOTA ". . . The South Dakota Chiropractic Law has been beneficial to the citizens of the state and has also elevated the class of individual practitioners." Benjamin J. Mintener, Assistant Attorney-General.
UTAH "The operation of the chiropractic law in the State of Utah is very satisfactory due to the high standards of requirements fixed by the State Board of Chiropractic Examiners . . ." Rena B. Loomis, Assistant Director, Department of Business Regulation.
WASHINGTON ". . . the people in general are well pleased . . ." Charles R. Murphy, Director, Department of Licenses.
(Also available are many favorable comments from state boards of chiropractic examiners.)
Whenever chiropractic legislation has been pro-posed, both individual members of the laity and organized groups go on record as in its favor. As an example, when a bill to amend the Federal Employees' Compensation Act by the inclusion of chiropractors was introduced in the U. S. Congress, ten major organizations went on record as endorsing the bill. These were: American Federation of Government Employees, National Federation of Federal Employees, National Federation of Post Office Clerks, National Association of Letter Carriers, National Association of Rail-way Mail Clerks, Washington Branch Railway Mail Association, Baltimore Branch Railway Mail Association, Huntington (W. Va.) Railway Mail Association, The Community Councils of the City of New York, and Virginia State Federation of Labor. Several letters from medical doctors endorsing the bill were introduced into the record.
Legislators favoring chiropractic laws have frequently made powerful and highly logical pleas on chiropractic's behalf. Typical is the presentation de-livered before the New York State Assembly on the last day of its 1942 session by Assemblyman Orlo M. Brees of Broome County:
"Merely to make it clear to this House once and for all the difference between the chiropractors and the medical fraternity, and I have the highest respect for the great majority of them, let me illustrate it from the field of mechanics. Gentlemen, if you are driving your automobile and the front wheels are out of alignment, you may have the finest chemists in the world who can give you the octane rating of gasoline, but they cannot correct the misalignment by prescribing a change of fuel. That is a mechanical job requiring a mechanic. In the healing field the chiropractors are the mechanics, and the medical practitioners are the chemists, and there is plenty of room for both of them; but the administration of drugs will not correct a structural misalignment or distortion ..."
This is one of the simplest yet clearest presentations of the difference between medicine and chiropractic ever made by anybody. The medical doctor is indeed the chemist and the chiropractor the mechanic, but in both instances superlative training and skill are taken for granted, for the human body is the most complex assemblage of chemical compounds and the most intricate array of interworking mechanisms that we know of.
In cases where chiropractors have been brought into court on charges of practicing medicine without a license (See Chapter Fifteen, Organized Medicine's Private War against Chiropractic), the court has gone out of its way to praise chiropractic. As far back as 1920, judge Lansden of the Supreme Court of Tennessee said :
"The Court thinks that Chiropractors cannot be classed along with charlatans and fakirs. It is a well-developed system of healing, recognized in many jurisdictions, and many believe in its efficacy ..."
Similarly in Illinois, the case of People vs. Love, 298 Illinois, 304, the Illinois Supreme Court observed:
"It is not the province of the courts to extol or be little chiropractic, osteopathy or medicine and surgery. They are all now established as useful professions, and as time has progressed it has been thoroughly demonstrated that all of them have accomplished, and. all are daily accomplishing, the relief and cure of human ailments.
"Constantly comes proof before the courts that chiropractic does enable the chiropractor to relieve and cure many of the ailments of human beings, and that the practice of this science is in no way deleterious to the human body. That is the proof in this record." In this decision, incidentally, the Illinois Medical Act was declared unconstitutional.
Numerous medical doctors who have become chiropractors have added their praise, which is of great value since these M.D.'s have had the unusual experience of comparing the two healing arts with well-trained and scientific exactitude. For example, Dr. A. Walton, after studying chiropractic, wrote, "For the first time in the history of the world we have chiropractic, a system which is dignified and scientific in principle; therefore, if one must be conservative, do not be paleozoic and persist in clinging to obsolete methods."
Similarly, after studying chiropractic, Dr. M. E. King wrote in Therapeutic Review: "There was a time when I looked at chiropractic through a pair of bifocal lenses, the upper plus prejudice, the lower plus lack of investigation . . . I went . . . to a school of chiropractic and, to my surprise, they were actually getting results on cases that were hopelessly incurable from the standpoint of medicine. I soon saw that the theory that they were working on was plausible and had the approval of common sense. All this opened up a new field of thought to me which had never been presented through the study of medicine. The sooner the medical profession recognizes the work of the chiropractor, the better. He is doing a work that medicine cannot do, he belongs exclusively to the class of specialists and should be recognized."
The New York City orthopedist Dr. La Forest Potter declared, "After practicing medicine fifteen years and spinal adjustment nearly ten, I am daily astonished at the power of spinal adjustments as a cure for disease."
The British team of Osgood and Morrison referred frankly to `brilliant and rapid . chiropractic cures." Dr. R. F. Allendy admitted the chiropractic thesis that "considerable organic effects" result from subluxations. Dr. H. B. Gotten considered it better that the chiropractor treat low-back pain cases than "the physician who thinks only in terms of surgery." One reason for the popularity of chiropractors, in the opinion of Dr. H. T. Hyman, was the "failure of the medical profession to provide this type of service."
In his book Eugenics, Dr. H. H. Rubin declared that a considerable variety of symptoms "may be due to nothing more serious than a displaced vertebra, which any competent . . . chiropractor can restore to normal position in ten seconds . . ." Dr. Hartwell, a president of the New York Academy of Medicine, speaking in his official capacity before the Board of Regents of the State of New York, frankly admitted that chiropractic has a real value in the treatment of disease.
Dr. Adolph Lorenz, son of the world famous Viennese surgeon, described chiropractic as "a blessed substitute for the usual reparatory methods" in bone misplacements. "What is the matter? Why have we failed when the chiropractors have succeeded?" wrote Dr. B. V. Watts. Dr. J. A. Fischer admitted that " the results obtained with spinal adjustment are phenomenal." In Medical Economics appeared this devastating (to the orthodox M.D.) paragraph: "In treating backache the general practitioner may do a pelvic examination, find a cervical erosion and perhaps send the patient to a surgeon for cauterization. When this fails to bring relief, the surgeon does an operation of hysterectomy. Eventually the patient goes to a chiropractor. In five minutes the chiropractor may find that the patient has a postural backache and in fifteen minutes may have succeeded in cutting the ground from under the G.P. and the surgeon. Thus a chiropractic convert is born."
Dr. J. Mennell admitted in his book The Science and Art of joint Manipulation that ". . . so long as the medical profession withholds this method of treatment, so long will patients seek the advice of manipulators outside the profession . . ." And Dr. H. W. Scott, after writing that he examined the spines of all patients, admitted that he obtained his knowledge of vertebral abnormalities and their correction "from a chiropractic college."
Dr. B. Gomroe, of the University of Pennsylvania Medical School, declared concerning low-back symptoms in his book Arthritis and Allied Conditions, "They respond well to manipulative measures. It is this type of patient who may be `miraculously cured' by certain mechanical maneuvers of Chiropractors which are frowned upon and looked askance at by the medical profession."
Finally, Dr. George S. Weger wrote that he was personally acquainted with many very excellent medical doctors who patronize chiropractors. This strikingly parallels the experience at "German Therapy Week" in 1953 when, as described in Chapter Two, Dr. Karl Sell was besieged by medical doctors who wanted chiropractic adjustments following a lecture on chiropractic.
A sound evaluation of chiropractic has been made in the Canton of Geneva, Switzerland, where chiropractic has been regulated for some time. Mr. Claude Ketterer of the House of Deputies recently made the following observations:
"Now the domain of static troubles of the vertebral column and of diseases of vertebral origin is specifically that of chiropractic. Chiropractors have studied these questions for several decades and their researches have been directed in this direction. Since the end of the last century, they have been taking care of these affections by specific manipulative treatments, and they were among the first to occupy themselves therewith. Dr. J. Terrier, medical specialist in rheumatology at Baden, Switzerland, has expressly recognized this. (Bulletin des medecins suisses, No. 9, 1959.)
"It would be truly incomprehensible and unjustifiable to continue to exclude chiropractors, who are the real specialists in this domain, from commissions concerned with public health. On the contrary, they will be able to bring thereto their competent contribution to a domain which does nothing but grow.
"For a number of years, the publications in the chiropractic domain of affections of vertebral origin have been multiplying at an extraordinary rate. To this alone, the collection of Professor Junghans, who is trying to gather together all the works and publications bearing on the domain of the vertebral column and its affections, had reached by 1960 the impressive figure of 203 titles. This domain is becoming more and more a scientific specialty. Neither the general medical practitioner nor the medical specialist of another medical domain today has the possibility of knowing well enough the special do-main of chiropractic. It is a question of a specialty which has remained outside medicine, but of capital importance for public health, in which the only experts are the chiropractors."
It is obvious from all the above that the supporters of chiropractic are now legion indeed. The growing recognition of chiropractic in many walks of life including the medical profession—and the praise freely accorded chiropractic by a highly diversified cross-section of the American public, undoubtedly explains in considerable degree why chiropractic is expanding at the rate of two million new patients a year. "Let a man build a better mousetrap, and the world will beat a path to his door, even though he live in the depths of the forest."