The History of Gonstead Chiropractic
The history of the Gonstead System of Chiropractic spans the career of its founder, Dr. Clarence S. Gonstead. He graduated from Palmer College of Chiropractic in 1921. Prior to becoming a chiropractor, Dr. Gonstead had a history of working as a mechanical engineer. He applied his knowledge of physics and mechanical engineering to his work as a chiropractor. He utilized basic principles in his detection and correction of the vertebral subluxation complex. Early in his career, he dissected over 200 cadavers at Lincoln Chiropractic College to further his understanding of the spine. It was this work, as well as his clinical experience, that changed the world’s understanding of the intervertebral disc and its role in producing nerve pressure within the spine. Dr. Gonstead was the developer of the ‘Level Foundation Principle’ and utilized it extensively in his work. He was the first person to theorize the sacroiliac joint is a moveable joint and that it can be properly adjusted to correct its function. Dr. Gonstead perfected the use of full spine x-ray and its application by chiropractors. He also invented and refined several chiropractic tables unseen before his time. These unmodified tables are utilized by chiropractors around the world to this day.
What Dr. Gonstead was known best for was his adjusting. He had a talent for finding a patient’s exact problem, especially in cases where many other doctors had failed. He also was known for getting maximum results in a short period of time. The methodology he used represents a different way of thinking, both then and now. The Gonstead System, as it became to be known, was developed over the course Dr. Gonstead’s 50 year career. It is a complete system of spinal adjusting and analysis that allows the doctor to target the patient’s exact location of spinal subluxation (the problem). It was designed by Dr. Gonstead to be very scientific and accurate in its approach. The system incorporates a multi-faceted approach found no-where else in chiropractic. Not only do Gonstead chiropractors “feel” for the spinal joint that needs to be adjusted, they also use an intricate x-ray analysis and a Nerve-scope to help determine the problem’s exact location. Once the problematic vertebra is located, the Gonstead system’s analysis allows the doctor to determine exactly how it needs to be ‘set’. The Gonstead chiropractor can then give the vertebra the exact adjustment it needs.
Dr. Gonstead was famous for the results he achieved with patients. He was so busy that chiropractors from three states away were closing their doors due to their patients traveling to see Dr. Gonstead. Upon hearing of Dr. Gonstead's history of success, chiropractors began approaching him to find out how he was able to get results where others had failed. This led to Dr. Gonstead holding seminars around the country, teaching chiropractors his methodology. In 1964, Dr. Gonstead built his final clinic. It measured 29,000 square feet and had 108 chairs in the waiting room! He saw patients from 8:00am until midnight 6 days a week and 5:00am – 10am Sunday. He eventually had to build an airfield behind the clinic to accommodate patients flying in for his care. He would also fly to see patients too sick to travel to him. Over the course of his career, Dr. Gonstead saw several million patients. He was a chiropractor through 3 polio epidemics and didn’t loose a single patient to the disease. It was because of this monumental career that Dr. Gonstead was nicknamed ‘the chiropractor’s chiropractor’. In 1978 at the age of 80, Dr. Clarence Gonstead passed away.
Today, Dr. Gonstead’s chiropractic methodology continues around the world. The Gonstead system is regarded as one of the most complete and efficient techniques in the chiropractic profession. Today’s Gonstead chiropractors continue to learn this methodology from doctors who worked alongside Dr. Gonstead. Our Fort Collins chiropractor, Dr. Steven Cook, is proud to be an exclusive provider of Gonstead Chiropractic.
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