Chiropractic Comes of Age
( Originally Published 1957 )
It is obvious that the merit of a healing art is reflected in the number of its patients. We have already noted that chiropractic is the fastest growing of all the healing arts, with more than thirty-five million patients in the United States and many millions more in other nations. Perhaps even more important, however, than the total number of chiropractic patients is the proportion of that total who can afford what they consider to be the best, or at least what they consider to be of unique merit.
In this group of chiropractic patients we find some - of the world's most famous personalities, including the late John D. Rockefeller, Sr., who certainly could afford any sort of care he desired. During the final seven years of his long life, Mr. Rockefeller utilized the services of both medical doctors and a chiropractor, Dr. William Jensen. Following Mr. Rockefeller's death, one of his family sent Dr. Jensen two telegrams of appreciation for his services, the first referring to them as "splendid" and the second thanking the chiropractor "for past health for myself and many members of our household."
Among the long list of other chiropractic patients drawn from all walks of life have been presidents Coolidge and Eisenhower, for example, and such notables as Fred Allen, Belle Baker, Lucille Ball, Clara Bow, Attorney General Herbert Brownell, Eddie Can-tor, Tony Canzoneri, Enrico Caruso, Broderick Craw-ford, Joan Crawford, Clarence Darrow, Glenn Ford, Mahatma Gandhi, Averell Harriman, Louis Hayward, August Heckscher, William Holden, Elbert Hubbard, Jack Dempsey, Mme. Chiang Kai-shek, Cullen Landis, Lillian Leitzel, Ted Lewis, Frederic March, Patsy Ruth Miller, Irene Rich, Eddie Rickenbacker, U. S. Senator Glen Taylor, and Rudy Vallee.
It is apparent that many of the above are persons to whom the glow of perfect health is, or was, an invaluable professional attribute. These people turned to chiropractic not only to restore health which may have deteriorated, but to preserve continuous good health.
Therefore, it is not surprising that many motion picture companies, to whom even a few hours lost during the shooting of a picture may cost many thousands of dollars, employ chiropractors to keep their stars and other personnel in top physical condition. In a recent production starring Robert Cummings, chiropractic care was credited with saving the film company some $120,000.
In sports employing high-salaried players chiropractors are often utilized to keep the players in tiptop shape and restore them to duty in the shortest possible time following illness or injury. In baseball, for example, many major and minor league teams employ chiropractors. They are not utilized as trainers.
According to Dr. Erie Painter, who for twelve years was staff chiropractor with the New York Yankees, their job is purely and simply to "secure and maintain in each player a correctly aligned spine and a supple musculature." How these, particularly the former, are essential to health and how the chiropractor achieves them will become apparent later.
Hard-boiled accident and health insurance companies are not inclined to pay out money in the settlement of claims unless they feel that valid service has been rendered. It is significant that over the years an increasing number of companies—including many of the giants—have accepted chiropractic as an effective healing art and pay the fees of chiropractors. The number of insurance companies in the United States today that recognize chiropractic on an equal basis with medicine is probably close to six hundred as this is written. The list of their names begins with Aetna Life Insurance Company and ends with United States Casualty Company.
Lloyd Sanders, president of Atlas Mutual Life Insurance Company, wrote recently, "I can prove beyond any doubt that for blood pressure and heart disease (the nation's number one killer) chiropractors are so far ahead that medical men will never catch up." He added that with chiropractic "one to two weeks is often the limit of claims, while medical doctors run for weeks and months and repeat claims after patients have been up for a few weeks . .
Medical doctors should have to take two years of the chiropractors' course. Then they would be better qualified to practice healing."
And in a follow-up letter Mr. Sanders added, "We have always recommended chiropractors, especially for heart, hypertension, strains, sprains, lumbago, female diseases; also for many other diseases. We have had very satisfactory results when chiropractors were in attendance. In most cases the claims ran less time than those attended by medical doctors."
Executives in trade and industry are just as hard-boiled as insurance moguls. Yet, today, major industrial plants in at least twenty-one states employ chiropractors to look after the health of their employees. In Pennsylvania, Andrew J. Sordoni, former State Secretary of Commerce and president of Sordoni Enterprises, stated that chiropractic care returned disabled employees to their jobs "quicker and with less cost to the worker and the employer than any other mode of treatment." In Michigan, a large plant employing about three thousand workers sent its industrial accident cases to a chiropractor instead of a medical doctor. After a six months' trial of chiropractic, it found that the lost-time frequency rate had been cut from 60.25 to 20.88 per cent. In Kentucky, the huge Girdler Corporation switched from a medical doctor to a chiropractor as its health director after the company's president had utilized the services of a chiropractor personally for approximately fifteen years.
Many corporations that do not actually employ chiropractors give full recognition to chiropractic on the same basis as they do to medicine. Numerous associations and other groups have also at various times passed resolutions in favor of chiropractic. Among these are great industrial unions and the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Disabled American Veterans, and Catholic War Veterans. In forty-three states workmen's compensation laws recognize chiropractic. The Railroad Retirement Board gives it full acceptance. Rulings by the U. S. Treasury now allow federal income tax deductions for chiropractic as well as for medical expenses.
In the Army—which has no chiropractic corps—chiropractors are assigned to the Medical Corps. The Selective Service Act recognized chiropractic as "necessary to the maintenance of the national health . ." In forty-one states chiropractors are legally permitted to care for patients with infectious and contagious diseases; in thirty-six they are authorized to sign death certificates and other public health instruments; in seven they now have access to the facilities of tax-supported hospitals.
Considering the youthfulness of chiropractic and the above indications of its amazing acceptance by millions of patients and in many areas of business and government, chiropractic as a valid healing art appears to be established indeed.
However, the growth of chiropractic is only part of the story. To understand fully what it is accomplish ing with multitudes of patients, it is necessary to go to the patients themselves. Their personal accounts of what chiropractic did for them—often after medicine had failed—are far more dramatic than any statistics.
Among the thousands of cases let us take a typical experience of a prominent man, Mr. James G. Blaine of New York City, president of the Midland Trust Company. He appeared some time ago before a public hearing of a Joint Legislative Committee of New York State to give his personal experience with chiropractic: "I have been a trustee of Roosevelt Hospital for a great many years and I have the highest regard and respect for the medical and surgical professions. I was brought up by a stepfather who, from 1901 to 1903, was the head of the College of Physicians and Surgeons, and at one time was head of Roosevelt Hospital; so that my lay knowledge of and respect for the medical world is second to nobody's. That is, the respect, not the knowledge.
"The reason I am here can best be told in the story of my wife. Ten years ago my wife was in a severe automobile accident and had her neck broken. I was told that it was one case in 10,000 that survived. She was put in a plaster cast and stayed in Nassau Hospital, Mineola, for many months. When she finally got out, she had several years of reasonable health, and then she commenced to suffer a great deal of pain in her head, in her shoulders, and in her arms, and that pain did not get any better with the years; it got worse. I endeavored to get at the root of this, in the medical world in this country, but we never found any cure for it.
"I took my wife abroad to a man in Paris, who was supposed to be a great expert on such ailments. He did his best. He sent her for a cure at Aix les Bains and still nothing happened, except that the pains got much worse.
"Along about 1939, a friend of mine said, There is a man in New York, a chiropractor, who I believe could help your wife,' and I said, `I haven't any interest in chiropractic.' He said, `Well, I think she would be helped by him.' I said, `I will talk with Mrs. Blaine.' And I did, and she said no; she did not want anybody to touch her neck. Then just before Christmas in 1940, I was at luncheon downtown and I got a telephone message that my wife was desperately ill. I was terrified. I jumped in a taxi and had them call the doctor to meet me at the apartment. When we got there, we found Mrs. Blaine lying in bed. I thought she was dying. Her face was a sort of a green color, and she was partly unconscious. The doctor gave her adrenalin injections and she got around and stayed in bed from the week before Christmas until approximately the latter part of January. She still suffered these pains and she came to me one day and said, `I would prefer to die rather than to continue with this terrible agony, particularly these pains in my head. The only other source I know of is this man your friend says is a chiropractor.' And I said that was all right by me, `If that is what you want to do, that is what I want you to do.'
"So, I recall this very definitely, it was on Lincoln's Birthday. She went to this man first a few days before and had X rays taken by him. At that time he said, `I don't know whether I can help you or not, but I think I can if you are willing to trust me.' And she told me that she liked the man and was perfectly willing to trust him.
"So on Lincoln's Birthday she had an appointment to get what the chiropractors call an adjustment. She did not want me to go with her, so I stayed home.
"She came back about two hours later and when she walked into the room there was an expression on her face that was highly indicative that something had happened, and had happened for the good. As she came into the room, she held her arm up and said, `Here, for the first time in years I can read my wrist watch without glasses, and I just do not understand it, in two hours . . and what is more the pressure in my head has been relieved.'
"Up to that time Mrs. Blaine could never be up for more than three or four hours in the day, because she got so tired and suffered so much she had to take to her bed and rest. Now, that was in 1941. She has never had any serious trouble since then. She has never been in any real, severe pain. Occasionally, she does not feel quite up to par and she gets an adjustment. When she gets that adjustment, she feels ten years younger, immediately. We are just like a lot of other people; we have been re-adjusting our lives. We have a farm up in northern Connecticut. She ran that farm last year without assistance—we could not find any help up there. She ran that farm all by herself. She not only did all the work around the house—cooking, making beds, and so forth, but she spent the rest of the day working in her vegetable garden and doing a lot of work unheard of two years ago or three years ago.
"Now, when I heard of this meeting today I told my wife that I felt such a great obligation to chiropractic because of what it had done for her, that I wanted the privilege and opportunity to show my appreciation by coming here and testifying in favor of chiropractic."
Thousands of chiropractic patients are firmly convinced, through personal experience, that chiropractic achieves a high percentage of outright cures or impressive degrees of improvement. They assert that the period of convalescence under chiropractic is shorter than under medical care. Finally, they stress that chiropractic usually costs far less than medical treatment. Some medical doctors like to observe that, of all persons, the patient knows least of all what is the matter with him or what is good for him. But from a common sense point of view, it would seem that the patient at least knows how he feels and whether he is getting better or worse. If the patient's own feelings are any criterion of the validity of a healing art, then chiropractic is a highly—often dramatically—successful method of curing the sick and keeping the healthy well.