Gonstead’s method of chiropractic practice was an extension of his training at the Palmer School of Chiropractic. While Gonstead was a student, Palmer began promoting the neurocalometer (NCM), a chiropractic invention of chiropractor Dossa Evins. Gonstead assisted in various efforts to improve the quality of these two instruments.

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In the 1940s Gonstead became a consultant for Electronic Development Laboratories (EDL). EDL made the original nervoscope, a competitor device to the NCM. Over the years, Gonstead helped the company define the device’s sensitivity, parameters, and function. He also worked with various X-ray companies to optimize full-spine 14×36 X-ray exposure, primarily the use of split screens to account for varying patient density on the lateral film.

  • Visualization – Changes in your posture and movement which could indicate any problems.
  • Instrumentation – The instrument is the Nervoscope. The Nervoscope detects uneven distributions of heat along the spine which can be indicative of inflammation and nerve pressure.
  • Static palpation – This is simply the process of feeling (or palpating) your spine in a stationary (or static) position.
  • Motion palpation – This process involves feeling the spine while moving and bending it at various angles.
  • X-ray analysis – x-ray films enable your doctor to visualize the entire structure of your spine.

Gonstead is recognized for applying basic mechanical principles first learned as an auto mechanic to analyzing the spine by using weight-bearing X-ray films. He used his expertise to develop an original chiropractic technique that proved to be successful in treating patients. Gonstead later taught other chiropractors his techniques in a series of seminars.

Gonstead’s first office was one of the first chiropractic offices that was not a home office. It was located above the bank building in downtown Mount Horeb, Wisconsin. In 1939, Gonstead built the first Gonstead Chiropractic Clinic in downtown Mount Horeb. Later in 1964, he opened a second clinic just outside of Mount Horeb, which treated 300 to 400 patients per day. The next year, 1965, a motel was constructed next to the clinic to accommodate out-of-town patients and chiropractors attending his seminar.

Colleagues began visiting Gonstead to observe his methods beginning in the late 1940s. In 1954, a formal

program started that led to an organized seminar series. Over the next few years, a group of professional teachers helped to organize a formal teaching system, leading to an ongoing seminar program that offers classes across the country.