who was dr. gonstead?

In the early 1960's word was spreading throughout the world that there was a healer in a small farming community in Wisconsin to whom people of all ages, and walks of life, were flocking. Who was this man and what was his method?



In the early 1960's word was spreading throughout the world that there was a healer in a small farming community in Wisconsin to whom people of all ages, and walks of life, were flocking. Who was this man and what was his method?



The man was Clarence S. Gonstead. He became a chiropractor in 1923 following a personal experience with chiropractic that had helped his body heal from a painful, crippling episode of rheumatoid arthritis. With a background in mechanical engineering, he would come to apply the principles of this discipline to the evaluation of the spine. As part of a life long study of the spine, he would often fly his private plane to Indianapolis to dissect, study, stain, photograph and then reconstruct cadaver spines at Lincoln Chiropractic College.



Based on his studies, he developed the "foundation principle" to explain how a fixation in one area of the spine created compensatory biomechanical changes and symptoms in another. He was a pioneer in the chiropractic profession, developing equipment and a method of analysis that used more than one criterion to verify the precise location of vertebral subluxation (A subluxation is a spinal bone that is fixated or "stuck" resulting in nerve pressure and interfering with the innate ability of the body to maintain health).

Considering his system, in light of current knowledge, it is surprising that the concept of adjusting the spine only if and when there is a fixation has not been universally accepted. Gonstead started in the 1940's, "Therein lies the uniqueness of my work - The Gonstead Technique has a specific application on the affected segment or segments only." His approach is often summarized by the phrase he coined, “Find the subluxation, accept it where you find it, correct it and leave it alone”. The common sense, evident in his work, is further summarized in another phrase that he often used: "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."