Gonstead Chiropractic

A key diagnostic and treatment tool that is structurally based to help identify issues in one's body, within the entire spirit-soul-body framework

History of Chiropractic

The 1st Chiropractic Miracle

The modern history of chiropractic began, on September 18, 1895. It took place in the small office of Dr. Daniel David Palmer a teacher, magnetic healer, and the founder of modern chiropractic.

It was September 18, 1895 and at the time Dr. Palmer was trying to understand the cause and effect of disease. His patient, Harvey Lillard, was a black janitor working in the same building as Dr. Palmer in Davenport, Iowa.

17 years before, while working in a cramped, stooped position, Mr. Lillard felt something give way in his spine. The immediate result was not only pain… but he also found he had lost his hearing. He allowed Dr. Palmer to examine his spine to see if anything could be done. Dr. Palmer discovered a “lump” on Mr. Lillard’s back and suspected that a vertebra might be out of “alignment” and “pinching” a nerve affecting Mr. Lillard’s ears.

With an admittedly unrefined chiropractic technique, Dr. Palmer adjusted the vertebra with a gentle thrust. Lillard was excited to hear noises from the street below. After a couple treatments, much of Mr. Lillard’s hearing was completely restored. Chiropractic was born.

Adapted from https://www.doctorsten.com/about/history-of-chiropractic/

DD Palmer’s first adjustments to Harvey Lillard, which cured him of his deafness, was reportedly performed on Harvey’s upper cervical spine, specifically C2 (the second uppermost bone in the neck).

DD Palmer, Founder of Chiropractic
Harvey Lillard, First Chiropratic Patient
Dr. Ben with DD Palmer

Dr. Benjamin Tan

Dr. Benjamin was trained in the Gonstead methodology right from the beginning of Chiropractic school. As a student doctor, he utilized the Gonstead system of treatment and management of the most common painful conditions.

Gonstead chiropractic has been the foundation of structural-based care for all his patients. 

Dr. Benjamin regards the Gonstead system as the main structural arm of treatment for ALL patients.

You were not created to be sick.

When we look at how your body was divinely designed to function, you were most certainly not created to be sick.

God created you to be healthy. God created you to be free.

Triad of Health

DD Palmer, when trying to make scientific sense of the first-ever Chiropractic miracle articulated that, “There is a gigantic, exhaustless and intelligent power house resident in living man’s brain."

This intelligent power is sufficient unto every need IF it gets from where it is, to where it is needed.” (Volume XXXVI: Palmer’s Law of Life, Chapter XXIX, pages 138-139), 1958 

DD Palmer then went on to say that “sickness or dis-ease can exist anywhere , in any organ, in any manner, when this free flow is interfered with between brain and body.” (Volume XXXVI: Palmer’s Law of Life, Chapter XXIX, pages 138-139), 1958

What could interfere, block and obstruct this unlimited supply of Intelligent Power?

DD Palmer’s answer was this: “A twisted, distorted, abnormally positioned vertebra of the spine, producing pressure upon the power-transmitting core of nerves.”

This is what Toggle Recoil technique aka HIO (hole-in-one) upper cervical chiropractic can do for any patient.

Case Studies - Looking at Spinal (& other Joints) Causes using Gonstead System of X-RAY Analysis

Severe scoliosis in 20 year-old female patient

Due to the extreme amounts of pain and dysfunction in her entire body, she could not move comfortably. 

After 3 months of consistent treatment of her spine, she is not in much pain anymore and is now able to exercise and attend classes without any pain.

She is now on regular maintenance Chiropractic care once every 2 months to keep her health in check.

Chronic elbow pain of a 35-year old male

There was limited range of motion in his elbow, and a distinct loss in grip strength.

Just within 2-3 adjustments to the elbow joints, he had regained 50-60% function and had a 70% reduction in pain.

With just another 3 weeks of treatment, he has sinced regained the full function of his elbow.

Chronic ankle instability of a 35-year old male, avid jogger

He experienced a bad ankle sprain 2 months ago, as well as multiple “minor” sprains over the last couple of years playing sports.

The X-rays above revealed that the ‘heel bone’ and the ‘shin bone’ were not aligned.

After 1 adjustment, the patient was able to put more weight on the ankle and felt like he could do squats again. After 2 more treatments, he was able to run again without pain.

“Frozen Shoulder” in a 56-year old male

He came in with a severely immobile and painful shoulder.

The shoulder x-rays revealed that he had rotator cuff insufficiency i.e. his “shoulder muscles weren’t doing their job to keep the joint stable”. 

Within 1 adjustment, the patient was able to lift up his arm to above 90 degrees from the side of his body. With our diagnosis, he is now receiving clinical pilates care in order to work on his shoulder muscles.

Toggle Recoil Upper Cervical Chiropractic

The Terminology

Original definitions from BJ Palmer’s ‘Majors and Minors’ (1918):

Toggle: refers to the lines of motions thru which forces act, either fast or slow; it has to do with the direction of the lines to the end of concentrating little force to a definite point to accomplish much.

Recoil: refers to the speed of return motion, which motion as a return motion could not be except as the original motion went to the object with the same or even greater speed. The word indicates motion with speed, both coming and going.

Toggled-Recoil: refers to the concentration of forces with such speed going that they spontaneously recoil from the object to which the forces are toggled.

The Technique

The Toggle Recoil adjustment utilizes the mechanical advantage obtained from the toggle mechanism. The use of this mechanical advantage sets the subluxated vertebra in motion. The direction of this motion is dictated by the listing and follows the proper line of correction. This calculated line of correction is obtained from the x-ray line drawing analysis.

The amount of thrust should be only enough to release the headpiece from its cocked position thus allowing the Laws of Motion to deliver the adjustment.

After attaining motion, the vertebra recoils² and continues in motion and oscillates until it rests in its appropriate position. The appropriate position is pre-determined by the patient’s own Innate Intelligence.

It is this Innate Intelligence that designed and formed the upper cervical articulations and, thereby, is the only entity that knows exactly where the subluxated vertebra should be placed. The proper time to make the adjustment is determined by evaluating chiropractic instrumentation, leg checks, palpation, and assessing any symptomatology.

The Theory

The upper cervical approach to health differs from that of a full spine practitioner in as much as the upper cervical chiropractor is concerned with interferences to the cord and is not focused on spinal nerve root irritation (see Figure 3). The upper cervical chiropractor believes that due to cord distortions, a subluxation at the atlas/axis area will alter the mental impulses to all the tissues and organs of the body. He or she believes that if the cord is free of distortions, the Introduction to Upper Cervical body’s innate ability will correct any spinal misalignment below the area of the axis vertebra by its own means. This may be accomplished by the relaxation or contractions of surrounding musculature and/or alteration of the ligamentous attachments.

A popular theory of cord distortion is acknowledged by the work done by the late Dr. John Grostic and the dentate ligament theory. This theory was described in an article which appeared in the International Review of Chiropractic October/December 1980 entitled, “A Discussion of the Dentate Ligament Neural Traction Mechanism,” by Dr. James McAlpine. He states that the theory is based on the anatomical fact that 21 projections of the dentate ligament attach the pia mater of the brain stem and spinal cord to the dura mater, from the foramen magnum to the first lumbar vertebra, thereby protecting the neural tissue by suspending it in the center of the neural canal.

This neural canal insult has not yet been defined, probably because another anatomical fact is that the dura mater is fixed to the circumference of the foramen magnum, causing a fixed attachment between the brain stem and the periosteum of the rim of the foramen magnum. Therefore, any occipital – atlantal axial misalignment, which causes an exertion of the brain stem from the center of the foramen magnum, will result in brain stem traction if the dentate ligaments are intact.

(Excerpt taken from “The essentials of toggle recoil (HIO) – 8th edition” textbook authored by Strazewski, J. W., & Palmer, B. J., 2018)


Most insurance providers that cover Chiropractic require a doctor’s letter to substantiate the need for treatment. Some just require a simple invoice after every treatment session.

The last thing we want is for someone’s care to be dictated by the amount of insurance coverage. Whatever your insurance requires, we will do our best to accommodate to your needs.

We use the Gonstead system of full-spine and extremity treatment and management. Every joint in question, if X-rayed, a sound Chiropractic adjustment can be derived by thorough line-drawing analysis.

Depending on the root cause of the issue, the pain you may experience post-adjustments would vary.

Before performing any adjustments, we will check with you on two to three things that you cannot do, or if you’d prefer minimised pain. 

Pain is such a highly variable parameter because it’s influenced by so many factors. Instead of using pain as an indicator of healing, we help you identify functional goals i.e. what can you not do now that you wish to be able to do with treatment here.

We have various tools for adjustment that we can use to tailor the pain level, or try other alternatives that may be less painful.

Our first consultation + adjustment costs $250.

Concession rates for students and low-income individuals are available upon proof of income status.

Please contact us directly for more information.

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