The Man That Changed the World in Owatonna
A special thanks to Josh Burnham, D.C., an Owatonna, MN Chiropractor, for providing this article.
His name is Clarence Gonstead and he pioneered the world-renowned Gonstead Chiropractic Technique. It cannot be overstated how much of an impact this single man had upon the lives of thousands of people. He practiced in the small Wisconsin town of Mt. Horeb. Gonstead was not a skilled orator or a slick marketing guru. Instead, he let his clinical skills speak for him. His results earned him worldwide renown and respect.
Few chiropractors can boast of achieving the same level of success as Clarence Gonstead. Uniquely, it was what he did rather than what he said that convinced people that he was one of the best healers that ever walked the Earth. His apt skills as a healer were so well known that he had to build a hotel and a private airfield next to his clinic to house the volume of patients that would travel from far and near to receive care by the hands of this excellent doctor. Patients were not the only people that sought out Clarence Gonstead. Word quickly spread to other chiropractors that what Dr. Gonstead was doing was producing results for his patients. The demand to learn his skills quickly escalated.
Dr. Gonstead had to begin teaching a series of seminars to keep up with the growing demand from chiropractors to learn his technique. This later resulted in a completed book entitled “The Chiropractic Methodology of Clarence S. Gonstead,” by Roger Herbst, as well as at least five different teaching associations. His technique even found its way into virtually every single chiropractic institution in the world, and he has been credited by some historians as being the reason the chiropractic profession returned to full spine adjusting. Regardless of the historical accolades, the man’s technique produced results that motivated patients to fly from all six continents to receive care at his hands. A map of the various locations on the globe where his patients lived can still be found in the basement of the Gonstead Clinic in Mt. Horeb, Wisconsin, which is now a national historic site.
I have had the privilege of learning the Gonstead Technique from the most gifted instructors in the world. The premise of the Gonstead Technique is simple—remove nerve pressure wherever it is found by using the most precise and gentle approach possible. The way nerve pressure is removed is by adjusting the bone in such a way that its disc is restored to a normal position. When the spinal bones are shifted out of their proper position and become misaligned, due to traumatic forces, the discs of the spine become injured which can produce pressure on the nervous system. Pressure on the nervous system is what causes the aches and pains so many patients are afflicted with. Common conditions that are produced from nerve pressure include headache, neck pain, migraine, low back pain, sciatica, shoulder pain, knee pain, weakness, and numbness. Moving the disc back into its proper position is what can alleviate the pressure on the nerves quickly and is the mechanism that is responsible for Dr. Gonstead’s world-famous results.
The Gonstead Technique is a simple concept, but it is difficult to learn. That is why most chiropractors do not pursue mastery of this technique. It takes years of dedicated study and practice to become competent at the various concepts and techniques required to satisfactorily reduce malposition of the disc. The technique itself is made up of at least five components. The components include observation, motion palpation, static palpation, imaging, and instrumentation. Gonstead chiropractors use observation to notice how the patient is holding their body. Finding how the patient is positioned can give vital clues into which areas of the body are the cause of their complaint. Observing the skin above the spine can reveal when there is bulging muscle, tissue swelling, scars, or other clues. Motion palpation is where your chiropractor determines how the joints of the spine are moving, if there is a joint that is moving less than it should, and if the joint is moving better after an adjustment has been given. Stattic palpation is where your chiropractic feels for painful areas, general misalignments, and swelling of ligaments. Imaging typically includes digital x-rays and magnetic resonance images (MRI). Instrumentation is commonly performed with the nervoscope which is a piece of equipment that detects differences in heat and nerve conductance side to side along the surface of the spine.
All these components of the Gonstead Technique are great in and of themselves and can be used separately to perform chiropractic; however, the true strength of the Gonstead Technique lies in its ability to pull the information together from all these separate tests to arrive at a proper chiropractic diagnosis and understanding of where adjustments need to be delivered. By using these components together your Gonstead chiropractor can adjust the areas that need help the most while leaving areas that are not injured alone. Giving adjustments only where they are needed is what allows patients to heal quickly. Give your body a great chance at healing by trusting your Owatonna Gonstead chiropractor with your chiropractic needs!
By Dr. Josh Burnham, D.C.