The principles of Chiropractic are the clear expression of life and how the spirit expresses itself within the body. Chiropractic defines health and disease, life and death. Chiropractic is very simple; it is so simple that we often do not believe it; thus, we try to complicate an uncomplicated principle. When the Chiropractor delivers a specific manual adjustment a dis-ease (that is, anything that is not at 'ease') can be taken away and health can be welcomed in. A Chiropractic manual adjustment is like a dance. A dance where one of the dancers has lost motion and the other intercedes to restore motion, harmony, vibration, health, and life. No other thing is so simple and beautiful at the same time. Oscar Bacino DC
“It is amazing what one adjustment can do if applied right.” Dr. Clarence S. Gonstead DC
Keeping the above quote on my mind; I travelled to the City of Paraná, Argentina last April where I had the privilege and honor to be invited by the Argentinian Chiropractors Association to present a Gonstead System seminar. Paraná is a city located beside the Paraná River and it is one of the largest cities in the Entre Ríos Province, Argentina.
The seminar was held on a fantastic venue where 49 hungry delegates came together to listen, learn and "polish" their skills on the Gonstead System of Chiropractic.
For two and half days I shared with the attendees vital information related to every philosophical aspects of the Gonstead System, biomechanics principles, the correct application of the protocol to analyse the spine in order to specifically find a vertebral subluxation and successfully deliver a specific manual adjustment. Lastly, the colleagues were taught the greatest art of all.. when to leave the spine alone giving the body time to heal itself.
The seminar marked the launch of the first ever Gonstead Club, Argentina. I had the honor to be asked to be the "Godfather" of the Club. This lead to local media group wanting to document the event. I had the great privilege of being interviewed and was able to share about the great benefits of the Gonstead System of Chiropractic.
My time in Argentina ended with great celebration where local comedians hosted a wonderful night filled with music, jokes, dancing and food. Overall, a fantastic seminar! Five out of five!
The history and journey of Dr. Gonstead can easily be considered as very important events for the Chiropractic profession. Since early age Gonstead mind was filled with “engineer thoughts and views” and this kind of thoughts and views had a great impact when Gonstead graduated as a Chiropractor in 1923.
Clarence S. Gonstead was born in Willow Lake, South Dakota on July 23, 1898. Soon after Gonstead’s father decided to relocate the family to a rural farm in Wisconsin where Gonstead had plenty of opportunities to explore the mechanical- “engineer” world and grow his passion for repairing tractors and cars.
While he was in trade school Gonstead acute rheumatoid arthritis struck him. Suddenly, he was unable to walk as his feet then knees were affected. The pain was so great that he needed to stay on bed and not able to assist school for about four weeks.
Gonstead was staying at his aunt home where “The University doctors” were taking care of him. But, after the second week without getting better Gonstead’s aunt said, “Now you’ve fooled around with those University doctors long enough. Now I’m going to call in my doctor.” Her doctor happened to be J. B. Olson, a Chiropractor. Dr. Olson came to the house to care for Gonstead and after a series of adjustments and rest, he could walk again. Gonstead’s chiropractic experience was a life change for him.
Gonstead graduated from Palmer School of Chiropractic in 1923 and then started practice with Dr. Olson but after a while Gonstead bought his own practice in Mount Horeb, Wisconsin.
Mechanics always guided Gonstead’s thought process, which was constantly refined during his fifty years of practice. His results as Chiropractor quickly expand outside of his own town and it did not take long time when Gonstead needed to move to a bigger and a modern practice.
His commitment to serve people and his method took him to a greater level and his ever-expanding practice and the growth of the seminar business, made Gonstead to realize for the needs or a larger facility. In 1964, the new Gonstead Clinic of Chiropractic was completed east of town. The two level facility boasted 29,000 square feet, 11 adjusting rooms, a complete chemistry laboratory, research facilities, and various seminar rooms and a waiting room with capacity of 108 patients seated.
In 1965, a full-service motel was constructed adjacent to the new clinic. Prior to the motel, out of town patients stayed at local boarding houses. At this time, Gonstead’s reputation as a remarkable chiropractor had expanded beyond the United States and patients were flying in from all over the globe. To assist patients with their own private planes could fly in and land at Gonstead’s clinic also offered an airport located next to his home on the outskirts of Mt Horeb.
Gonstead used to work seven days a week and very long hours. He used to se an average of 2500 patients a week. He also had time to develop not only the Chiropractic technique that we try to duplicate today but also his legacy includes news ways to take, analyse and mark X-rays; redefine and to make more precise a thermograph instruments (Nervoscope); first of demonstrate the movement on the sacrum- ilium joints; first to develop the cervical adjustment on seating position plus many other developments that Chiropractors use all over the world even today.
After fifty-one years of practice, Dr. Gonstead sold the clinic and Gonstead Seminars to Dr. Alex and Dr. Doug Cox whose had joined Gonstead clinic in 1964 and 1967 respectively.
Dr. Clarence S. Gonstead died in 1978 at the age of 80.
Today the non-profit C.S. Gonstead Chiropractic Foundation owns the clinic and the Gonstead seminars continue in their original format under the leadership of Dr. Alex Cox’s son, Dr. John Cox.