The Gonstead Difference

To the Family and Friends of our Patients

Have you ever experienced “The Gonstead Difference”? Have you ever heard of Gonstead Chiropractic? Did you know that there are hundreds of chiropractic techniques and systems? Let me take the opportunity to help you understand a bit more about the truth of chiropractic. Most people do not realize that there are over 500 chiropractic techniques, but only few of them focus on specifically correcting the spinal bones to release the nerve interference. Many of my patients know that I choose to practice the Gonstead Chiropractic System as my chiropractic technique, but many do not know why. So with that said, let me share with you why I chose this technique over the hundreds of other techniques available.
Over 90% of chiropractors use the Diversified technique, which was created by selecting certain adjusting moves from other established technique systems; hence the name “Diversified”. It is also the first technique taught in most chiropractic schools as a basic and general full spine technique, because it is the easiest and simplest technique to teach. The type of care that can be provided with this technique is primarily pain relief and to increase general range of motion of the spine. This does not address corrective care, which is the continued care after the initial pain relief care. Every body and spine respond uniquely; therefore, corrective care can take anywhere from few months or years. During this phase of the care, the spine is aligned for stabilization and proper alignment in order to restore function.
So, what is the “The Gonstead Difference?” The Gonstead System is unique and very different from all other chiropractic techniques. The Gonstead System is taught at most Chiropractic schools, but it is taught as an advanced elective course. It is also one of the most difficult techniques to learn and master. Gonstead students, also nicknamed Gondroids, must take extra time out of their regular class time to practice this technique, including weekend drill workshops, seminars and club meetings. As students, we dedicated our time and resources to exposing ourselves to learn from experienced Gonstead doctors, even on weekends and traveling across states. This commitment to learn is called “The Gold Standard.” This standard in chiropractic is not an easy one, and can be very discouraging, which is why very few chiropractors practice this technique. With determination to provide the best chiropractic technique possible to my patients, I completed the Gonstead training through a post-doctorate internship in Indiana to learn from one of the best in the country.

How the Gonstead Method came to be “The Gold Standard”

Dr. Clarence S. Gonstead was a mechanical engineer suffering with Rheumatoid Arthritis. As his disease continued to progress and became more and more crippling, he was recommended to go see a chiropractor. In the early 1900s, chiropractors were not the first choice in health care providers, as it was a very new profession. Nothing had seemed to help his condition, so Dr. Gonstead decided to give chiropractic a try. Not only did he get relief from his pain, but also gained a great deal of overall health improvements. This planted a new passion in his heart. He was so enthusiastic that he immediately enrolled at Palmer Chiropractic College in 1928. Using his engineering principles, he saw that the spine had a functional and mechanistic model. He took what already existed in the chiropractic technique and developed a comprehensive system to biomechanically analyze the spine. This included examining the spine as a weight bearing biomechanical structure, calculating the full-spine X-rays accordingly, along with using the new technology of thermograph and developed the Nervo-scope, and lastly put together a method to specifically and efficiently correct the vertebrae by manual adjustments. Using the thermograph instrumentation is not only what made his technique so unique; it also created a huge impact in the advancement of chiropractic. The reason that instrumentation is such a great improvement in chiropractic is it helps with locating the nerve irritation along the spinal column. Another great enhancement is the use of standing (also known as weight-bearing) full spine X-rays and the calculations that are derived from it. This helps me and other Gonstead chiropractors to accurately view the spine and detect the direction of the vertebral misalignment. The Gonstead System provides a higher standard of accuracy and overall chiropractic care.

Some interesting facts about Dr. Gonstead:

  • Dr. Gonstead saw 3.5 million patients over the 55 years of his practice.
  • His clinic was 32,000 square feet and designed by Frank Lloyd Wright’s nephew.
  • The clinic is located on the top of a hill in Mount Horeb, Wisconsin.
    Connected to the clinic, Dr. Gonstead built the Karakahl Inn, so that patients could stay nearby while receiving treatment.

  • Dr. Gonstead also built an airstrip landing so that his patients could fly in to see him, as well as for Dr. Gonstead to travel all over the world to care for people and give seminars.
  • His work hours were usually 18-22 hours a day, and saw up to 300 patients in one day.
  • Dr. Gonstead made many house calls, especially to those who were very ill.
  • Dr. Clarence S. Gonstead was a wonderful gift to the chiropractic profession and to all those who he cared for, and I admire this great man for the way he forever changed the quality of chiropractic. So now, next time you talk to someone about chiropractic, you can feel confident that you are getting the finest quality of chiropractic care there is with Gonstead Chiropractic.
  • For more information on the Gonstead technique and on Dr. Gonstead, check out the website: and

Dr. Justine J. Rhee
263 S. Euclid Ave.
Pasadena, CA 91101