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Chiropractic Technique

What is Gonstead Chiropractic?

Clarence S. Gonstead 1898-1978

Clarence S. Gonstead 1898-1978

Gonstead chiropractic is the system of chiropractic developed by Clarence S. Gonstead (1898-1978). He developed his system over a 50 year period from his clinic in Mt Horeb, WI. Although he never advertised, several million people came for treatment at the Gonstead Chiropractic Clinic. He and his staff would see between 300 and 400 patients a day. His system became so popular with other chiropractors that he started conducting training seminars in the early 50’s. Now his system is one of the core chiropractic techniques taught in the chiropractic colleges and is required learning in order to pass national board exams.

His success rate was legendary. He became known as the chiropractor’s chiropractor. I have personally met chiropractors who were patients of Dr Gonstead’s who, because of his healing abilities, became chiropractors themselves. As Dr Gonstead put it: “Find it, accept it where you find it, fix it, and leave it alone”.

Chiropractic adjusting techique.

Think of an adjustment as “tuning” a piano, adjusting each string so it produces the perfect tone.

The Gonstead system of chiropractic is characterized by its specific hands-on adjusting of only the offending segments of the spine and extremities. Accuracy is all important to the Gonstead chiropractor. Gonsteaders take enough time with each patient on each visit to find the specific problem and correct it with the most biomechanically sound system available. We find the problem on the patient, we accept it where we find it, we adjust it using as little force as necessary, and finally, we leave it alone to heal.

Learning the Gonstead system is a challenge that, like an athletic discipline, can take several years to master. The Gonstead chiropractor not only has the training offered at their chiropractic college, but, will attend multiple hands-on training seminars to develop their skills under the supervision of those who actually learned from Dr Gonstead. The motto of the Gonstead chiropractor is “You gotta wanna”. It takes decision, dedication, determination, and discipline to become proficient in the Gonstead system.

Like myself, many Gonsteaders have taken on this challenge after being helped by the Gonstead system. I can attest to the success of the Gonstead system of chiropractic in my own life. I want you to “discover the Gonstead Difference”.

Click here for more information about the Gonstead System of Chiropractic.

Frequently Asked Question about Gonstead Chiropractic:

Click on the question you are interested in below to reveal the answer.

What is chiropractic?

Chiropractic is the science, philosophy, and art of wellness that corrects the dis-eases of the body by releasing its God-given defenses through the use of the doctor’s skilled hands in a non-invasive, drug-free, highly safe manner. Chiropractors correct the nerve interference created by spinal joints that lose their proper alignment and range of motion. This misalignment, called a subluxation, causes incorrect nerve impulses both to and from the brain. Since every cell in your body receives nerve information, any disruption in those signals creates improper function. The doctor of chiropractic is the ONLY health care professional trained to find and fix these subluxations by adjusting the offending bones back to their proper relationship using high velocity, low force, very specific thrusts.

What training does the chiropractor have?

The doctor of chiropractic must undertake a rigorous training program starting with 2 years of undergraduate work followed by 4 1/2 years of chiropractic college. By comparison, MD’s, DO’s, and DC’s receive approximately the same number of hours in college. The chiropractor must also pass both state and national board tests to be licensed. Doctors of chiropractic are considered primary care physicians with special emphasis on the spine and nervous system. Doctors of chiropractic are the ONLY doctors trained to find and remove subluxations.

What extra training does a Gonstead doctor receive?

The Gonstead doctor first receives the Gonstead courses taught in most chiropractic colleges as part of the “core” curriculum. He/she will then attend hundreds of hours of additional training at Gonstead seminars held each month in cities throughout the US and the world. These seminars are “hands-on” and are taught by those who have successful Gonstead practices. These instructors have spent many years learning all the specifics in the Gonstead system. The leaders of the Gonstead Seminars, Inc. actually worked with Dr Gonstead and were personally trained by him. You can read about the Gonstead Seminars, Inc, by clicking here.

What is different about the Gonstead system of chiropractic?

The Gonstead system of chiropractic is considered the “Gold standard” of chiropractic. The Gonstead system uses the most bio mechanically sound approach available. Nothing is left to chance or guesswork. The Gonstead doctor will find the problem using at least 6 criteria. First, the doctor will take a detailed patient history. Second, the doctor will use a heat sensing instrument to very accurately measure minute temperature differences in the vertebral segments of the spine. Third, the doctor will use his/her skilled hands to touch or “Palpate” the skin feeling for signs of the problem. Fourth, the doctor will, again with his/her hands, move the joints in question to determine improper motion. Fifth, the doctor will look at the spine as he/she moves the patient in different ranges of motion to see what the spine is doing. Finally, the doctor will consult with the x-ray of the full spine to see exactly how to move the bone back to its proper position. With this information the doctor will use his/her knowledge base to determine the best way to correct the problem using very specific contacts on the spine with just the right amount of speed and force to allow the bone to return to its proper place. No other technique in chiropractic is as true to the science, philosophy, and art of chiropractic as is Gonstead.

The goal of the Gonstead doctor is to get you to a better place as quickly as possible with as few adjustments as necessary. The results speak for themselves. Many people are amazed by the results obtained by Gonstead doctors from all over the world.

Can I adjust myself?

Many people “crack” their necks, fingers, and back by twisting, pulling, or otherwise doing something that causes the noise associated with joint movement. That “popping” sound is not an adjustment. It is the sound of gas rapidly escaping the joint. In the case of the back, the joint that made the sound and may have moved is usually the joint that is the compensation joint or “hyper mobile” joint. That joint is already moving too much because it is helping the spine adjust to a lower (or higher) joint that is not moving properly (the subluxation). The compensation joint can become a true subluxation if moved too many times.

Chiropractors don’t adjust themselves, they go to fellow chiropractors to get adjusted.

“Popping your knuckles” in itself is not a problem. Some studies have shown that doing so lowers the incidence of arthritis of the knuckles in later life.

You should let your chiropractor evaluate your spine and adjust it appropriately.

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When the brain receives a large amount of input caused by several joints moving within a short period of time, the brain releases substances called “endorphins” which block pain and produce a pleasurable experience. These chemicals are masking the problem rather than fixing it. You should visit your chiropractor for a proper evaluation and adjustment. Gonstead doctors are only interested in the subluxated segments of the spine and rarely adjust more than 2 or 3 areas at a time.

Do adjustments hurt?

Does it hurt when you pop your knuckles? The adjustment is similar to that. Although there can be some discomfort if the segment is already sore, the adjustment produces little or no pain. It is certainly less painful (and far less dangerous) than surgery! Gonstead doctors strive to set the bone back to its proper position with as little force as possible. Often even before the doctor thrusts, the bone moves back to its proper position. Our job is to relieve pain and nerve irritation, not to cause pain.

Contrary to popular belief caused by misinformation, true chiropractic adjustments are extremely safe. You are many times more likely to be hurt driving to your chiropractor than to be hurt by the chiropractor!

Is chiropractic safe?

Chiropractic is the safest form of health care known to man. Each year over 198,000 people in the U.S. will die due to adverse reactions to properly prescribed drugs. In all of chiropractic history of over 100 years only a few hundred cases of death as a result of a “manipulation” have been reported. And in many of those cases, the person performing the manipulation wasn’t a licensed chiropractor. In the Gonstead system of chiropractic, the cervical spine is NOT rotated as in other techniques, making it the safest form of chiropractic available.

Can chiropractic cure my disease?

Chiropractors do not “cure” any disease. As a matter of fact-NO one can cure a disease! It is your own body’s immune system that cures the disease. The doctor can only assist in that process. That is why someone may get sick from a disease when another with the same exposure will not. The Gonstead chiropractor finds the nerve interference and corrects it-your own body does the rest. Many chiropractic patients have been “cured” of almost any disease that plagues man. But, in reality it is the patients own immune system controlled by the innate power of the body that does the healing. The Gonstead chiropractor is able to release the nerve involvement allowing the nerve to freely function. Nerve interference caused by a subluxation is a serious thing and only your chiropractor is trained to find and fix it.

How long will I have to go the my chiropractor?

In the Gonstead system of chiropractic, the goal is to get the patient to their optimum health level with as few adjustments as possible. There is no need to keep adjusting a patient once their subluxations are reduced. It is a misconception that once you are adjusted, you must keep getting adjusted. There is nothing about the adjustment that makes your body need more adjustments. The Gonstead doctor is trained to find and reduce subluxations as quickly as possible. Each patient is different. To say that everyone must get adjusted at least 10, 20, or even 30 times is inconsistent with what we know about the human body. Each patient will be evaluated on each visit to determine progress and when to stop and let the body heal. Some will respond quickly with as few as 2 or 3 adjustments, others with more serious problems may take longer, even up to a year. It is imperative that you allow your Gonstead doctor to determine how many times you must be adjusted so that you will achieve maximum results.

After your initial phase of treatment is completed, you will want to visit your chiropractor regularly to make sure you are subluxation free. Many choose to get checkups once a month to every six weeks. Unless there is a recent trauma (either physical, chemical, or emotional) there is no need to come in any sooner.

Can children and infants benefit from chiropractic care?

Yes, infants and children can benefit from Gonstead chiropractic. The first subluxation a person may receive is during the birth process, especially if forceps, suction, or a C-section was used during delivery. The adjustments on infants and children are extremely safe with no more force used then that used to test whether a tomato is ripe or not. Finding nerve interference and correcting it as early as possible is paramount to the child’s health. Some amazing results on infants and children are well documented.

Can I be adjusted if I am pregnant?

Yes you can! Gonstead practitioners have a special table just for pregnant women. Research has shown that getting regular adjustments prior to delivery will shorten labor time significantly. Because Gonsteaders use no spinal rotation, the adjustments are quite easy and painless. There is no need to have back pain during pregnancy. Other symptoms of pregnancy can be addressed also. Give us a try.


Gonstead Chiropractic at Hill Chiropractic Office | (563) 659-8155