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Clarence Gonstead
Born July 23, 1898(1898-07-23)
Willow Lake, South Dakota
Died October 2, 1978 (aged 80)
Mt. Horeb, Wisconsin
Resting place Mt. Horeb, Wisconsin
Nationality American
Education Chiropractic
Alma mater Palmer School of Chiropractic
Occupation Chiropractor Teacher
Years active 1923-1978
Home town Primrose, Wisconsin
Known for chiropractic
Title Doctor
Spouse(s) Elvira (Meister) Gonstead

Clarence Selmer Gonstead (July 23, 1898 - October 2, 1978) was a Doctor of Chiropractic and creator of the Gonstead Technique.

Contents

Early life

Gonstead was born in Willow Lake, South Dakota on July 23, 1898, the son of Carl and Sarah Gonstead. A few years later, his family moved to a dairy farm in Primrose, Wisconsin. As a boy, Clarence was interested in repairing tractors and early automobiles, something that would come in handy later in life.

At the age of 19, Gonstead was bedridden with rheumatoid arthritis in his left knee so severe he could not even stand to have the bedsheets touch his knee[1]. After exhausting all other methods, his aunt sought help for Clarence from a chiropractor named Dr. J. B. Olson in Madison, WI. After some adjustments, young Gonstead could walk again. Gonstead decided to become a chiropractor. He would later enroll in the Palmer School of Chiropractic in Davenport, Iowa headed by the iconoclastic B.J. Palmer.

Meanwhile Gonstead continued work as an automotive engineer in Madison, WI and later Racine, WI. The job allowed him to save enough money to pay for chiropractic school but more importantly, it taught him basic mechanical engineering concepts that he would later apply to the practice of chiropractic.

Gonstead earned a doctor of chiropractic degree in 1923 and returned to his native Wisconsin. He would first practice with Dr. Olson, the man who inspired him to become a chiropractor, before establishing a practice in Mt. Horeb, Wisconsin. His younger brother Merton would join his practice in 1929 for a few years before starting his own practice in Monroe, Wisconsin and later Beloit, Wisconsin. He would remain a sole-practitioner for the next twenty years.

Advancements

Dr. Gonstead's method of chiropractic practice was a natural extension of his training from B.J. Palmer at the Palmer School of Chiropractic. While in school, B.J. began promoting the Neurocalometer (NCM), a chiropractic invention of Dossa Evins, DC [2] to find a subluxation in addition to using an x-ray machine to determine the vertebral misalignment. In practice, Dr. Gonstead assisted in various efforts to improve the quality of these two instruments. For the NCM, it started in 1940s when he became a consultant for Electronic Development Laboratories, Inc. who made the Nervoscope, a competitor device to the Palmer endorsed NCM. Over the years, he helped the company define the device's sensitivity parameters. He also worked with various x-ray companies to optimize full-spine 14x36 x-ray exposure, primarily the use of split screens to account for varying patient density for the lateral film.[3]

Dr. Gonstead is recognized for applying basic mechanical principles to analyzing the spine by using weight-bearing x-ray films. The early chiropractic profession, along with the medical profession, marvelled over the x-ray invention. Chiropractors were particularly interested in using the machine to find the subluxation but without a definite answer, chiropractors became split on its value and clinical application. That was not the case for Dr. Gonstead. He soon recognized that a number of pains and maladies displayed consistent spinal patterns that violated basic mechanical engineering principles. As these ideas matured, they became known as the Level Foundation principle and the Gonstead Disc Concept.

The Level Foundation principle states that any deviation of the spine by a particular segment away from vertical straight is an area of potential misalignment; any deviation of the spine by a particular segment that returns the spine to vertical straight is an area of compensation. The Gonstead Disc Concept attempted to redefine the chiropractic term subluxation. The prevailing hypothesis presented by D.D and B. J. Palmer was that the subluxation was the result of a vertebral bone causing nerve pressure. Accoding to the Gonstead Disc Concept the vertebral disc was the primary culprit of nerve pressure.[4]

Besides redefining the alogrithm for patient evaluation, he is recognized for a new treatment style with one key dogmatic dictum: "Find the subluxation, accept it where you find it, correct it, then leave it alone." Following the Gonstead Disc Concept, the adjustment's line-of-drive follows the disc plane line. The result is a distinctive cavitation that characterizes Gonstead style adjustments from more rotational vectored adjustments common with osteopathic manipulation and chiropractic's Diversified technique. To optimize disc plane line adjusting vectors, Dr. Gonstead had local cabinet makers make his own adjusting tables, later called the Gonstead Set. He also worked with chiropractic table manufacturer Zenith in designing other pieces.[5]. In summary, his method consist of five evaluative critera (visualization, instrumentation, static palpation, motion palpation, and x-ray analysis[6][7]

Finally, Dr. Gonstead's post-graduate program was popular among chiropractors, but it took on greater significance when it helped reorient the failing Palmer School School of Chiropractic. Starting in the early 1930s after Gonstead's graduation, the school narrowed its scope of adjustment by teaching Upper Cervical Specific, also known as Hole-In-One (HIO) which focused on C1-C2. For nearly thirty years, graduates of PSC were taught only the upper cervical adjustment, with little education in full-spine adjusting. Hence Dr. Gonstead's post-graduate seminar program filled a void. When B.J. Palmer died in 1961, BJ's son and successor at PSC David D. Palmer invoked a number of educational changes. One of them included changing the school's curriculum to full-spine chiropractic. To assist in the change, the school worked with Dr. Gonstead and his staff to begin teaching the material at PSC in 1963.[8]

Reputation

Word of Dr. Gonstead's talent spread quickly in Wisconsin. His first office was modest and located above the bank building in downtown Mount Horeb.[9] In 1939, he built his first clinic in downtown Mount Horeb. It become common for him to work six and half days a week, adjusting up to 250 patients a day.[1] Later in 1964, he opened the Gonstead Clinic of Chiropractic just outside of Mt. Horeb. The modern facility with Norwegian motifs was 29,000 square feet, a reception area for 100 patients, had 11 adjusting/treatment rooms, a complete chemistry laboratory, research facilities, and seminar rooms. By then, the clinic was caring for 300 and 400 patients per day.The next year, 1965, a full-service motel was constructed next to the clinic to accommodate patients. Limousine service was established to shuttle patients from nearby Madison's airport to the motel.

Colleagues began visiting Dr. Gonstead to observe his methods beginning in the late 1940s. In 1954, a formal program started that led to an organized seminar series. Over the next few years, a group of professional teachers helped to organize a formal teaching system leading to an ongoing seminar program that offers classes across the country. [8]

Later life

During his career, Dr. Gonstead worked 6.5 days per week for 54 years of his professional life and is estimated to have treated two million patients.[10] In 1974, Dr. Gonstead sold the clinic and Gonstead Seminars to Drs. Alex and Doug Cox. On October 2, 1978, at the age of 80 he died. His clinic continues operation under the ownership of the non-profit C.S. Gonstead Chiropractic Foundation. [11]

References

  1. ^ a b http://www.gonstead.com/index.php?content_type=general_content&content=3
  2. ^ Moore J (1995). "The neurocalometer: watershed in the evolution of a new profession.". Chiropr Hist 15 (2): 51–4
  3. ^ Amman, M (2007) "The Machines and Tools of Clarence Gonstead, DC." Chiropr Hist 27 (2): 55-58.
  4. ^ Herbst, RW. Gonstead Chiropractic Science and Art. Sci-Chi Publications. 1980
  5. ^ Amman, M (2007) "The Machines and Tools of Clarence Gonstead, DC." Chiropr Hist 27 (2):55-58.
  6. ^ R.Cooperstein and B.Gleberzon. Technique Systems in Chiropractic. Elvesier. pp. 164-165
  7. ^ The Gonstead System
  8. ^ a b Amman, M (2008) "A Profession Seeking Clinical Competency." Chiropr Hist 28 (2): 81-91
  9. ^ C.S. Gonstead and the Gonstead Clinic
  10. ^ Chiropractic is a science so long as it is specific
  11. ^ C.S. Gonstead Chiropractic Foundation

Other Sources

Related reading

  • Herbst, RW. Gonstead Chiropractic Science and Art. Sci-Chi Publications. 1980
  • Plaugher G (ed). Textbook of Clinical Chiropractic. Baltimore: Williams & Wilkins. 1993
  • Anrig C, Plaugher G (eds). Pediatric Chiropractic. Baltimore: Williams & Wilkins. 1997

External links

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