Brown saw chiropractor Harlow Wells in response to an ad for a free spinal exam. During his second visit to Wells, he lay on his back on a table and held up his arm at the chiropractor’s request. Brown described this visit in his report:
According to the procedure, Wells would try to pull down my arm. I would resist. Under normal circumstances, my arm would remain strong. But by Wells’ pressing or poking different spots on my body, the arm would give way, I had learned. He told me that muscle weakness corresponded to other health problems.
Wells tested the arm. It remained strong. Then he reached for the potato [he had brought from another room] and placed it on my chest. WHAMMO! When he pulled, my arm dropped like a rock.
“I guess this means I shouldn’t put any potatoes on my chest?” Brown ventured. The chiropractor replied that potatoes would have the same effect regardless of their position on the body. He performed the same procedure with an egg and explained that enzymes and other constituents of the potato and the egg had acted unfavorably on the reporter’s “aura.” Wells claimed that this “interference” indicated a health problem — probably a nutritional deficiency. After further “testing” of the same sort, he sold four bottles of “glandular” supplements to Brown for $47.50.
In an article in the Journal of Chiropractic Humanities, Craig Nelson, D.C., a faculty member at Northwestern College of Chiropractic, states:
The various chiropractic techniques, in addition to prescribing corrective procedures, usually come complete with a theoretical framework to explain the rationale behind the technique. Explicitly or implicitly, each of these techniques claims a unique relationship with the truth. … There is no comparable circumstance in any other health profession.
The Morter HealthSystem — whose purported mission is “to improve the health of mankind worldwide” — melds subluxation theory with other esoterica. The system includes B.E.S.T. (bio energetic synchronization technique), baby B.E.S.T., a stress-management program called “The Twelve Steps to Stress Less,” and nutritional supplementation “to restore the body to its natural alkaline state.” B.E.S.T., the centerpiece of the system, is a pseudonatural variant of self-healing and polarity balancing. M.T. Morter, Jr., M.A., D.C., past-president of two chiropractic colleges, developed the method in 1974 and describes it as an “approach to non-forceful chiropractic.” In “B.E.S.T.” (1980), he claims that an “internal force” — “Innate Intelligence” — totally regulates health, that “Nature” is “not only smarter than we think” but “smarter than we can think,” and that the body “does not know how to be sick.”
In a booklet titled “Baby B.E.S.T.: Infant Adjusting/Care” (1991), Morter states:
The human body was obviously built utilizing subconscious information, as neither our own nor our mother’s consciousness was necessary for the nine months our body was in development. This subconsciousness in man could be thought of as a derivative of the perfect God consciousness that created us. Both GOD consciousness and the consciousness that built us are beyond the comprehension of man. Unlike some would have us believe, God is neither limited by, nor is a reflection of, the subconsciousness of man. The Universal Intelligence, or God, is much more than man can even perceive.
An introductory Morter videotape called “The Health Revolution: Re-Inventing Healthcare” declares: “By applying today’s scientific knowledge to the doctrines of yesterday, we will create the healing science of the 21st century.” It conveys D.D. Palmer’s claims that “innate intelligence” has “the power to conceive, judge and reason on matters which pertain to the internal welfare of the body” and that “the determining causes of disease are traumatism, poison and auto-suggestion.” According to the videotape, trauma, toxicity and thoughts produce “memory-retained engrams” (physical changes in nervous tissue) that interfere with sensory nerves. Such interference allegedly causes “subluxations.” The narrator explains: “Bioenergy — the electromagnetic energy of the universal intelligence that creates and sustains all life — flows through the nervous system naturally. But when negative memory engrams interfere with normal bioenergy, disease happens.” A 1992 videotape cites Kirlian photography.
One of the main premises of B.E.S.T. is that even weak magnetic fields have substantial effects on muscular strength. In “Baby B.E.S.T.,” Morter claims that an electromagnetic field controls the development and repair of the body throughout life. He further claims that physical trauma, chemical stresses (primarily nutritional) and mental stresses affect the movement of this field and may appear as vertebral subluxations, organic disease or emotional disorders. B.E.S.T. supposedly “neutralizes” impediments to the electromagnetic field. Treatment involves applying finger-pressure to equally tender “pulsating points” on the body until — and for at least 20 seconds after — their pulsations synchronize. B.E.S.T. distinguishes between north and south contact-points and between “north-contact” and “south-contact” fingers. It localizes north contact-points on the half of the body that is farther from the earth — regardless of the body’s position — and south contact-points on the other half. North-contact fingers are the right middle finger and the left index finger. South-contact fingers are the left middle finger and the right index finger. According to B.E.S.T., practitioners must use north-contact fingers on north contact-points and south-contact fingers on south contact-points.
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