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The Rise of Chiropractic Franchising: How Chris Tomshack, D.C., Built HealthSource into a Worldwide Leader
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Written by Steve Szucs   
Saturday, 12 March 2011 21:31


t the helm of the world’s largest chiropractic franchise, you might think Dr. Chris Tomshack is finally ready to rest easy.

As the CEO of HealthSource Chiropractic, his company has already outpaced every other franchise in its category, but even the man who’s been nicknamed chiropractic’s very own “Colonel Sanders” claims he’s only just begun to stir the pot.

“I always knew HealthSource would be this big, and it’s poised to continue to lead chiropractic into the future,” Dr. Tomshack says. “In the next five years, I foresee us being at about 1,000 clinics, delivering the absolute very best care possible to millions of patients, and driving the perception of chiropractic in America. It won’t be long before chiropractors can finally assume their rightful place in healthcare.”

When talking to Dr. Tomshack, two words come to mind: tenacious positivity. It isn’t unusual to hear “fantastic” and “phenomenal” in the same sentence, and congratulatory fist-bumps occur sporadically throughout the day. Even the inscription on his red bracelet, which is given to every member of HealthSource, oozes positive thinking: “What I think about I bring about.”tomshackcrowd

But, to say he’s a chiropractic optimist is a little shortsighted.

For a DC who got his start literally living in the upstairs of his own small office, Dr. Tomshack says he simply learned to make the best out of his situation, while striving to make his situation better.

“My patients and I would play this game where we’d try to guess what’s for dinner,” he says. “My wife Lisa, who also worked the front desk, took X-rays and did the billing, would step away to the kitchen behind our tiny therapy room, and the smells would fill up the entire office. We made sure we were always having fun, especially when our 115-pound pet Rottweiler would sneak out from the living room and scare the living daylights out of patients—you couldn’t help but laugh.”

Dr. Chris Tomshack discusses implementing the  “Ah ha” moments during the 2010 HealthSource Super Camp in Dallas, TX. With more than 600 in attendance, the 2010 Super Camp was the largest in HealthSource history.

Dr. Tomshack reflects back on old memories with a smile—the cutting of his opening day ribbon, reading to his kids on his first adjusting table, and even the bulldozing of his first office to make room for a larger one.

In fact, a glimmer of hope and inspiration tends to poke its way into most of his conversations, even when talking about subjects like the ever-changing scope of healthcare and its effect on chiropractic.

“We’ve got massive changes taking place each and every year and, unfortunately, the average DC has no idea that they’re going to be audited in the next 12 months,” he says. “It takes much more effort these days to stay on top—not only to be successful, but legal. I believe it takes systems to survive today, and it’s the systems that HealthSource provides that are helping to keep our DC’s safe.”

The HealthSource “systems” were developed and perfected during Dr. Tomshack’s initial years as an in-the-trenches DC, and now make up the backbone of the HealthSource franchise. They assist HealthSource docs in everything from their initial report of findings to tracking the return on investment of every marketing effort—to the penny. Simply put, the HealthSource systems serve as a GPS-success guide for DC’s, allowing them to track, control, and evolve their office for optimum results, Dr. Tomshack says.

But success, and even the systems, didn’t just fall into Dr. Tomshack’s lap. He, like countless others just entering the field, initially struggled to build a growing patient base, and was forced to learn how to succeed by going back to business basics.

“My very first day, I had eight new patients, which was an incredible start,” he says. “But then it slowed to the point where the first year was very unsuccessful, and that’s when I began to rely on my business degree. I started studying the industries and business systems outside chiropractic, and tried to figure out the best way to import them into chiropractic.”

A Palmer College of Chiropractic alum, Dr. Tomshack credits his late-father, Michael Tomshack, for pushing him towards majoring in business, while still an undergraduate at Ohio University.

“We all heard the stories of those doctors that could do well financially, but when it came time to balancing their check book and their business—they just couldn’t do it,” he says. “So, in addition to my science classes, I made sure to build up my business know-how as well.”

Dr. Tomshack’s father played a fundamental role in his life, he says, not only as a father, but as a business mentor.  A lifelong salesman, manager and entrepreneur, Michael Tomshack was a dynamic part of the HealthSource team before passing away in 2006. His tutelage, Dr. Tomshack says, taught him that you couldn’t simply sit behind a desk and be successful—you need a phenomenal work ethic, and you need to know your business and your patients.

“To sit back behind your desk or adjusting table and merely think that your clinic is going to be successful is ludicrous,” he says. “Our profession today is more competitive than ever before—success takes hard work, but it also requires solid business systems.”

To sit back behind your desk or adjusting table and merely think that your clinic is going to be successful is ludicrous.

It wasn’t soon after that Dr. Tomshack saw his fledgling practice begin to take flight. He would go on to build three additional HealthSource clinics throughout the Cleveland suburbs, and it was around that time that he realized his business “secret” could be molded into a plug-in-play system all chiropractors could “clone” and implement on their own.

“I knew we had systems that could be duplicated,” he says. “And then the realization came that this is the perfect franchise concept for other chiropractors to take advantage of, greatly shortening the learning curve of success.”

The first HealthSource franchise was sold in April of 2006, and another 49 more would sell throughout 19 U.S. states by year’s end. The following year, HealthSource introduced HealthSource Weight Loss Systems to franchisees, while also wrapping up another successful year with 99 franchises sold.

In 2007, HealthSource introduced its Regional Developer model to allow an on-site team to work locally in basically all areas of the country. There are now 25 groups of Regional Developers overseeing 42 franchise regions throughout the U.S. The corporate team recently grew to 14 to help accommodate and expedite questions and concerns, providing anything and everything HealthSource owners could possibly encounter while running their chiropractic clinic, according to Dr. Tomshack.

The tremendous growth of the young company didn’t go unnoticed.

HealthSource caught the attention of several publications including Inc., Entrepreneur, The Franchise Times, and Delta Airlines Sky magazine, which all touted its rousing success.

In 2009, HealthSource began its reign atop Entrepreneur magazine’s “Franchise 500,” where it was ranked the number one franchise in the Health Services category—an honor that still stands three years running today. And in January, HealthSource captured yet another Entrepreneur title—the number one “Top New Franchise.”

But, while the franchise has continued to steadily grow, Dr. Tomshack says it’s the business roots of HealthSource that has allowed it to evolve and prosper in the “new economy.”

“My father always cautioned me never to focus solely on growth,” Dr. Tomshack says. “He would reference the Wendy’s restaurant franchise of the mid-80s when they were so focused on growth that they let their product slip. First and foremost, the best marketing in the world can’t fix a bad product. That’s why, to this day, we remain entirely patient centric—focused on what’s best for patients in 2011.”

HealthSource’s patented Progressive Rehab program is one example of how patients are encouraged and taught to keep themselves injury-free through exercises at the clinic that can eventually be done at home.

When coupled with chiropractic care, patients not only feel better for longer periods of time, Dr. Tomshack says, but can get back to living a more active lifestyle.

With 300 clinics currently throughout 43 U.S. states, HealthSource appears to have all the right ingredients when it comes to expanding the role chiropractic plays in people’s lives.

“The HealthSource name has become synonymous with pain relief and wellness,” he says. “Patients know that they can walk into any of our more than 300 clinics throughout the country, and expect the same level of extraordinary care they’re accustomed to.”

HealthSource has also begun to “give back” to the profession by playing a larger role in the development of young DC’s. In addition to teaching business curriculum courses at Life College and Northwestern University, HS LaunchU was created to assist recent graduates, and soon-to-be doctors, providing them with a foolproof road map to success.

“The chiropractic profession is changing at breakneck speed,” Dr. Tomshack says. “Not a whole lot of changes took place from 1895 to 2005, but it’s a whole different animal now. We want to make sure our younger docs have the tools to succeed, and a team they can depend on.”

While HealthSource increases its role in the community, chiropractors throughout the world continue to tap in to its success.

In fact, as this story is being written, a steady stream of more than 50 interested chiropractors are making their way to a blustery, and very snow-covered Cleveland to attend a HealthSource Discovery Day—a day that Dr. Tomshack describes as “kicking the HealthSource tires to see what we’re all about.”

They’re slated to come from all areas of the country—Texas, South Carolina, Michigan, even Ohio, to name a few—and each will be encouraged to ask questions, and share their own stories and concerns.

Dr. Tomshack admits that, while many may be interested in purchasing their own HealthSource franchise, each is encouraged to go home and think about it.

“Even if they qualify, we tell all of our attendees to leave the checkbook at home,” he says. “The bottom line—there’s never any obligation to simply find out more about what we do. I want everyone to see, in person, who we are, and what we’re all about.”

With 300 clinics currently throughout 43 U.S. states, HealthSource appears to have all the right ingredients when it comes to expanding the role chiropractic plays in people’s lives.

And, as more and more HealthSource clinics pop up in the nooks and crannies of the country, Dr. Tomshack reaffirms that the end goal isn’t about trying to sell something—it’s more about sharing a secret.

“This has always been about raising the bar for chiropractic,” Dr. Tomshack says. “I’m just eager to meet some potential HealthSource family members, and help teach them how to succeed.”


Steve Szucs, a former journalist and two-time Associated Press award winner, now works as a copywriter and ad developer for HealthSource Chiropractic and Progressive Rehab.

Perspectives on Chiropractic from ACC & NYCC President Dr. Frank Nicchi: Interview with Dr. Frank J. Nicchi, D.C., M.S.
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Written by TAC Staff   
Saturday, 12 March 2011 20:03


r. Frank Nicchi has served as President of the New York Chiropractic College (NYCC) since September 2000. His education includes a Bachelor of Arts degree from St. John’s University in 1973, the Doctor of Chiropractic degree from New York Chiropractic College in 1978, and a Master of Science degree in Management (with Honors) from Roberts Wesleyan College in 2005.

Dr. Nicchi’s academic career started in 1980, when he was appointed to the faculty of New York Chiropractic College, teaching clinical diagnosis and chiropractic technique. He maintains the faculty rank of Professor in the department of Diagnosis and Clinical Practice. Additionally, he has served as a faculty clinician at the College’s outpatient health center in Levittown, NY, and as Dean of the Division of Postgraduate and Continuing Education.

Over the past two years, he has also served as President of the Association of Chiropractic Colleges (ACC) and, as such, acts as a member of the Steering Committee of the Chiropractic Summit.


TAC:  What inspired you to become a chiropractor?

NICCHI: I was first exposed to chiropractic at a young age through my brother-in-law, who was a chiropractor. Like so many others, I benefited personally from chiropractic care in my adolescence and as a young adult, leading me to pursue a career in this rewarding profession.


TAC:  Did you ever have a practice?

NICCHI: Yes, prior to my appointment as President, I maintained an active chiropractic practice for some 22 years while attending to my teaching and administrative responsibilities at NYCC.


TAC: What are the responsibilities of the president of the Association of Chiropractic Colleges, and how does the ACC influence policy regarding chiropractic education?

NICCHI: Let me begin by giving an overview of the ACC. The Association is comprised of all accredited chiropractic educational programs in North America and New Zealand, whose mission seeks to advance chiropractic education, research and service.

A major focus of the association’s activity is the coordination of the annual educational and research conference commonly known as the ACC-RAC (Research Agenda Conference).

The conference begins with meetings of the ACC Working Groups, representatives from different areas of colleges (chief academic officers, chief financial officers, deans and directors of clinics, institutional advancement, assessment, research, libraries, admissions and postgraduate education) to discuss common challenges and share mutually supportive information.

Faculty and researchers representing academic institutions globally assemble to explore and establish best practices in chiropractic education and research. This year’s conference (scheduled for March 18-19 in Las Vegas) has as its theme, “Focus on Integration: Chiropractic Education & Practice in Integrative Healthcare.”

Additionally, the ACC advances education and research through its Journal of Chiropractic Education (JCE)—the profession’s only peer reviewed journal dedicated to the mission of promoting excellence in educational research in chiropractic.

The ACC provides educational information and guidance to the profession on topics such as the safety of cervical manipulation and guidelines related to informed consent. We also have consistently served as a partner with the World Federation of Chiropractic (WFC) in carrying out their Biennial Education Conference held in various countries throughout the world.nicchi2

As president of the ACC, it has been my privilege to provide leadership and oversight to association activities and initiatives over the past two years. Through organizational planning, we have developed several specific strategic directives. These have led to the formation of focused task forces that: Examine how we might increase the prospective student inquiry pool (which is critical to enrollment growth); address the definition of “primary care provider” and  explore the feasibility of developing clinical residencies as part of the doctor of chiropractic program training.

Surely, these strategic directives significantly impact on the future of chiropractic education and the students we serve.


TAC:  How do you view the position of chiropractic with regard to the changes taking place with the healthcare reform?

NICCHI: First, let me express the importance of the unified effort and work put forth by the Government Relations committee of the Chiropractic Summit in helping to ensure chiropractic inclusion in the healthcare reform legislation slated to take effect in 2014. It includes a provision that will prevent insurance companies from discriminating against practicing doctors of chiropractic administering professional services consistent with their respective states’ scopes of practice.

This is historic language, as it will apply to ERISA plans as well as any plans created in the law’s new “state exchange market.” I am thrilled that the new healthcare reform law casts the services provided by doctors of chiropractic as an integral part of the healthcare system.


TAC:  Anything new happening at New York College of Chiropractic that you’d like to share with our readers?

NICCHI: NYCC recognizes the critical role it plays in shaping professional and public perceptions and has forged affiliations with several Veterans Affairs Medical Centers (VAMC).  We currently offer clinical rotations at five U.S. Veterans Affairs facilities in Miami, FL, and in Buffalo, Rochester, Canandaigua and Bath, NY. This is significant, given the fact that an estimated 75 percent of all healthcare providers do part of their training at a VA facility. Having chiropractic interns work shoulder to shoulder with other healthcare practitioners helps build the cultural authority of our profession. We’ve also been able to integrate our chiropractic clinical instruction into private hospitals and long-term care facilities, as well as in the campus health centers of several state universities in New York.

NYCC recognizes the critical role it plays in shaping professional and public perceptions and has forged affiliations with several Veterans Affairs Medical Centers (VAMC).

Consistent with our efforts to integrate chiropractic with other healthcare disciplines, we have successfully transitioned into a multi-programmatic institution, currently offering Master of Science degrees in acupuncture and Oriental medicine, diagnostic imaging, clinical anatomy, applied clinical nutrition, and human anatomy and physiology instruction. The Master of Science in Human Anatomy and Physiology Instruction, the first and only program of its kind and offered almost entirely online, takes advantage of higher education’s increasing need for instructors thoroughly trained in human anatomy and physiology and who are solidly grounded in the latest theories and best practices of undergraduate education.

In addition, NYCC launched its new Academy for Professional Success, designed to provide students and alumni with the tools required for business success. We twice earned recognition by The Chronicle of Higher Education as a “Great College to Work For,” ultimately earning a place on its honor roll.  This past year, we commenced delivery of our Master of Science in Applied Clinical Nutrition completely online and also opened our fourth outpatient health center in Rochester, New York.


TAC:  How do you view the future of chiropractic?

NICCHI: I am optimistic about chiropractic’s future. The public is increasingly seeking more natural approaches for their healthcare needs, and the advent of chiropractic integration into diverse healthcare settings is enabling healthcare practitioners representing a variety of disciplines to better understand the benefits and effectiveness of chiropractic. This, hopefully, will lead to collaboration with field practitioners through cross referrals and a “team approach” to healthcare.


To learn more about NYCC and our educational programs, please visit our Web site at www.nycc.edu.

Nutritional Considerations for a Healthy Pregnancy
Special Feature
Written by David R. Seaman, D.C., M.S., D.A.B.C.N., D.A.C.B.N.   
Monday, 21 February 2011 00:00

mediterraneandietNormal pregnancy is a controlled inflammatory state that is influenced by diet?

Inflammation is central to reproductive success.1 Normal ovulation, menstruation, implantation, and parturition are all inflammatory processes. In contrast, conditions of pregnancy represent an exaggerated inflammatory response (systemic or localized), including spontaneous abortion, preterm labor, preterm prelabor rupture of the membranes (PPROM), preeclampsia, and other “great obstetrical syndromes.”1

Clearly, pregnant females and those who wish to be pregnant should pursue an anti-inflammatory lifestyle that includes exercise, a healthy diet, and healthy thinking. An operational goal should be to maintain a normal inflammatory state, so that both mother and developing child can get through the initial nine month process in a healthy fashion, which should then be followed by a healthy recovery for the mother and a healthy developmental process for the newborn.

Regarding diet, researchers coined the term “fertility diet” to describe the diet that is most conducive to a healthy pregnancy,2 which is very similar to the Mediterranean-like, anti-inflammatory diet that I have described previously in many TAC articles. Regarding the Mediterranean diet, preterm birth was reduced in Danish women who adhered to such a diet.3

Useful Nutrients during Pregnancy

vitaminsupplementsA prenatal vitamin supplement is very common; however, research suggests that there are additional nutrients to consider as possible supportive measures.

Dietary fiber from food or supplements may be advised. Adequate dietary fiber intake has been associated with a reduced expression of gestational diabetes and pre-eclampsia.4,5

Maternal omega-3 fatty acid supplementation during late pregnancy and lactation decreases the risk of developing food allergy and IgE associated eczema in infants during their first year of life.6 Published papers outline an omega-3 plan during pregnancy.7

Adequate vitamin D intake is crucial for maternal and the health of the developing infant.8,9 Recent evidence indicates pregnant and lactating women may need as much as 7,000 IU’s of vitamin D per day.8

When women supplement with probiotics, such as Lactobacillus GG, before and after pregnancy, there is a reduced expression of eczema in their children.10


A healthy nutritional approach for mothers and their developing child is very straightforward and supported by clinical research. Consideration should be given to an anti-inflammatory diet that is supported by fiber, a multivitamin, vitamin D, fish oil, and probiotics.

There is an additional concern that should also be considered if infertility is a problem. Silent celiac disease can manifest as infertility in some women and this has been suspected for many years.11-13

As this is a short article, I would suggest consulting with the cited articles for more details. The articles or abstracts are easily accessible at pubmed.gov, our National Library of Medicine’s search engine for scientific articles. If full text articles are not available, the author can be emailed directly in many cases.


Dr. David Seaman is a Professor of Clinical Sciences at National University of Health Sciences-SPC campus and is a consultant for Anabolic Laboratories. He has written numerous articles on the treatment options for chronic pain patients, with a focus on nutritional management. He can be reached at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .


1. Romero R, et al. Inflammation in pregnancy: its roles in reproductive physiology, obstetrical complications, and fetal injury. Nutr Rev. 2007(II):S194-S202.

2. Chavarro JE, Rich-Edwards JW, Rosner BA, Willett WC. Diet and lifestyle in the prevention of ovulatory disorder infertility. Obstet Gynecol. 2007;110(5):1050-58.

3. Mikkelsen TB, Osterdal ML, et al. Association between a Mediterranean-type diet and risk of preterm birth among Danish women: a prospective cohort study. Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand, 2008; 87(3): 325-30.

4. Zhang C. Dietary fiber intake, dietary glycemic load, and the risk for gestational diabetes mellitus. Diabetes Care. 2006; 29(10): 2223-30.

5. Qiu C, et al. Dietary fiber intake in early pregnancy and risk of subsequent preeclampsia. Am J Hypertens. 2008; 21(8): 903-9.

6. Furuhjelm C, Warstedt K, Larsson J, et al. Fish oil supplementation in pregnancy and lactation may decrease the risk of infant allergy. Acta Paediatr. 2009;98(9):1461-67.

7. Greenberg JA, Bell SJ, Van Ausdal W. Omega-3 fatty acid supplementation during pregnancy. Rev Obstet Gynecol. 2008;1(4):162-69.

8. Cannell JJ, Hollis BW. Use of vitamin D in clinical practice. Alt Med Rev. 2008;13(1):6-20.

9. Hollis BW, Wanger CL. Nutritional vitamin D status during pregnancy: reasons for concern. Can Med Assoc J. 2006;174(9):1287-90.

10. Kalliomaki M, Salminen S, Arvilommi H, Kero P, Koskinen P, Isolauri E. Probiotics in primary prevention of atopic disease: a randomised placebo-controlled trial. Lancet. 2001;357(9262):1076-9.

11. Wilson C, Eade OE, Elstein M., Wright R. Subclinical coeliac disease and infertility. Brit Med J. 1976; 2(6029):215-16.

12. Collin P., Vilska S., Heinonen PK., Hallstrom 0., Pikkarainen P. Infertility and coeliac disease. Gut. 1996;39:382-84.

13. Kumar A, Meena M, Begum N, et al. Latent celiac disease in reproductive performance of women. Fertil Steril. 2010 Nov 22. [Epub ahead of print].

The Amazing Chiropractor Series Moving Forward with Dr. Kenzo Kase
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Written by Dennis Domarzalski   
Monday, 24 January 2011 17:31


r. Kenzo Kase expects that when it comes his time to, well, die, he will do so slumping, lurching or somehow moving forward.

The 67-year-old inventor of the Kinesio Taping® Method and Kinesio® Tex Tape won’t be able to help himself. He has always moved forward—never backwards—in his 35-year career as a chiropractic doctor and medical researcher, and he won’t change character when the time comes.

It has been that moving forward and questioning things, especially in his chiropractic practice and in the area of human health and well being that drove Dr. Kase to develop his tape and taping method, which is used on every continent of the earth.

“Everybody probably thinks that I’m strange. It’s because I think a little bit too fast. I’m always looking for something,” Dr. Kase said on an August, 2010, trip to work with Kinesio’s U.S. operation in Albuquerque, New Mexico. “I’m eager to find new things because there are so many unknown matters for us, especially for health conditions.”

His unorthodox thinking includes challenging conventional medical wisdom, which he has always done.

Kase pointed out that medical publications follow certain types of accepted advice. “They say ‘Keep your body warm.’” When followed too closely, he noted “That is dangerous. The elevation of temperature in the body may cause necrosis, which is cell death. Cells die when the body temperature goes higher. Exercise makes the body temperature higher. Hot baths make the body temperature higher and [so does] stimulation.” Kase advised care and moderation when raising body temperature. “I always have to say, ‘Put your body in cold water. Put an ice pack on your head.’ All those things come from common sense.

“As you get older and approach 70 years old, your body temperature gets higher because of the physiology of the body and chemically the body cannot metabolize, so the body temperature goes up. That is why if you fly on an airplane, say to a foreign country, you get jet lag. You can prevent it by jumping in cold water. After I have a long flight I go into cold water and I don’t get jet lag and then I can sleep well.”

Dr. Kase also explained, “People say that high salt leads to high blood pressure, and so everybody says, ‘Don’t take salt.’ Well, I say that salt is very important for health. When someone goes to the emergency room for major trauma, the first thing they always do is give them salt. At the cellular level, if we don’t have enough salt, the cell may be damaged.

“But salt is important, and so is sugar. Their levels have to be in balance for our cells and bodies to thrive. Without enough salt, sugar levels rise and that may lead to diabetes, which is much more dangerous than eating a little salt.”

Dr. Kase believes that the body must be mildly stimulated in order to remain healthy and ward off diseases.

In this modern world, he feels we should remain aware of the impact of the environment around us. As humans increasingly live bunched together in urban areas, we are subject to bad air and other byproducts of city life. He has no problem with people smoking a little, drinking in moderation and exercising only a little as a defense against the toxins we passively breathe and imbibe. The danger would come from an unprepared immune system, from an excess of any bad habit, or from overdoing our efforts at fitness.

Dr. Kase believes that the body must be mildly stimulated—often with things that are considered unhealthy by doctors—in order to remain healthy and ward off diseases.

“If someone has high blood pressure, generally a doctor will advise to not stimulate the body because that will increase blood pressure,” Dr. Kase said. “But that type of advice will cause the opposite reaction. If you keep the body safe all the time, it will not be prepared for danger. If we are always in a safe environment, we won’t be prepared for when the danger comes.”

Kenzo Kase didn’t start out to be a chiropractor. He grew up in Tokyo, a sickly child.

“I was very weak at age six or seven. I couldn’t attend physical education classes because I had pneumonia, tuberculosis, kidney infections and all kinds of allergies. I was told by doctors not to inhale too much dust,” Kase recalled.

His grandmother was a Japanese natural healer who used herb therapy and acupuncture on her grandson. He recalled:

“She would burn dried herbs on the skin around my belly button. The idea is that if you burn the skin a little, the body tries to heal the burning area and that stimulates the body to renormalize.”

By his teens, Kase was stronger. He enrolled in Tokyo’s Meiji University and decided on a career in business. After graduation he went to work for a large Japanese railroad company, where he was one of 20,000 employees. Over a five-year period he worked in the public relations, real estate, insurance and travel departments.

“Then I quit,” Kase laughed. “I could always see more into the future. I suggested some things to the company to prepare for the future, but they didn’t. So I thought, ‘Now what am I going to do?’ I thought about being a chiropractor. We had only three chiropractors in Japan after World War II and I figured I would be the fourth and I thought to myself: ‘That would be good!’”

It wasn’t quite that simple. Kase married at age 24, and his wife’s father was one of those first three chiropractors in Japan.

“When I saw him for the first time he worked so hard on one patient,” Kase said of watching his father-in-law treat a patient.  “It was 45 minutes to an hour. He was sweating so bad. I thought, ‘Well, that’s not a real good profession.’”

How wrong he was. Although his father-in-law worked hard, Kase was impressed with his concern for patients. Eventually he himself enrolled in the National College of Chiropractic (now National University for the Health Sciences) in Lombard, Illinois. After graduating in 1974 he set out to help heal bodies. He became the fourth chiropractor in Japan to have graduated from a U.S. chiropractic college, and an acupuncturist.

Always the observer, thinker and visionary, Kase soon realized that he wanted to do more for his patients than adjust their spines and joints. He began searching for a taping method that would help heal traumatized tissue and provide muscle and joint support.

He tried various traditional sports taping methods, but found they reduced the patient’s range of motion and sometimes inhibited the healing of traumatized tissue.

He began searching for a taping method that would help heal traumatized tissue and provide muscle and joint support.

After a whole lot of tries, Kase came up with Kinesio® Tex Tape, an elastic type of tape that is about the thickness and weight of human skin. The tape, which stretches to approximately 140 percent of its own length, moves with the skin and muscles, does not trap body heat and sweat and can be worn in the shower. It lifts the skin, which promotes the free flow of body fluids, and helps muscles contract. It is the over-stretching of muscles that leads to injuries, Kase added.

After decades of improvements, Kinesio® Tex Tape is now used to treat a variety of orthopedic, neuromuscular, neurological and medical conditions. Kase uses it to relieve headaches, reduce wrinkles, heal cuts and burns, treat dogs and horses, as well as to treat cerebral palsy patients. It seems as if he finds a new use for it on a daily basis.

The tape is innovative, but by itself it isn’t magic. Medical practitioners undergo intense training in the Kinesio Taping® Method, which trains them how to recognize what is going on with a patient’s body and how to apply the tape for maximum healing performance.

Kinesio Taping® is now used to treat lymphedema. Kase explained how that use came about:

“It was five or six years after I first invented the taping method. An orthopedist doctor used my tape and method and he showed a slide at a symposium and said he could reduce hematomas by taping. He put the tape on a bruise, and shortly afterward, the bruise was gone. I thought, ‘That’s wonderful! How come?’ Then I realized that the tape could open up the capillary area between the epidermis and the dermis and it helped increase drainage. Then I figured that if it helped with hematomas, we could use it for the lymphedema.

“The lymph node system is kind of like a washing machine system. The fluids flow a certain way throughout the body and flush out impurities. It’s when the flow of lymphatic fluids is obstructed that problems occur. So, if there is a swelling of the lymph node on one side of the body, we will tape the opposite side in order to get the lymphatic fluids flowing to the healthy side.”

When it comes to patients, Kinesio has pretty much seen them all, including athletes, infants, horses, dogs and flamingos.

“I treat a lot of dachshunds. They tend to get herniated discs because their bodies are too long; they’re over-stretched. Normally, people won’t do surgery on them because it is too expensive, and if the pain is too severe, they put the dog to sleep. I apply the tape right over the hair in a certain direction and the dogs respond well.”

In the U.S., only medical practitioners are trained to apply the tape, and patients are not generally encouraged to tape themselves. Practitioners explain to patients how the tape works, especially as it relates to muscle contraction. But Kase, ever the healer, believes that “everybody should be able to learn because it is not dangerous to wear and it is effective for many emergency cases, bruising, slight burning and mosquito bites. If someone has a mosquito bite, we put the tape on and they don’t feel the scratching. Then, in 15 minutes, all the swelling is gone.”

Kase suggested that practitioners should try applying the tape before doing any extremity adjusting.

stampsjan“First they should try the Kinesio® Tape, and many times they won’t have to do the adjustment. This won’t be a good answer [for some chiropractors] but that is the answer I have,” Kase explained. First they should try Kinesio Tape and then reassess the patient to determine whether an adjustment is still necessary. “You can also put the tape on and then adjust. Sometimes when we adjust we over-adjust. If you put the tape on before you adjust you will get a more gentle adjustment.”

When asked which two or three conditions he has had the most success in treating with his tape, Kase laughed.

“It is hard to tell,” he admitted, “because it is not only a couple. There is lymphedema, headaches, bruises, chest congestion, lower back pain, muscle strains. If I put the tape on the anterior diaphragm, that will help relieve chest congestions. In Japan we do a lot of organ taping—kidney, liver and spleen. There we use it for asthma and menstrual problems and pain.”

The tape is used for a wider variety of ailments in Japan and some other countries than it is in the U.S., which, with its Western medical culture, tends to dismiss natural remedies or demand expensive studies as to their effectiveness, Kase said.

The world’s top athletes use Kinesio® Tex Tape, including NBA basketball star Kevin Garnett, Japanese tennis star Kimiko Date, and, at the 2010 World Cup games in South Africa, most of the Scandinavian soccer players.

It was when the Japanese volleyball teams wore the tape in the 1988 Seoul Summer Olympics that it became a sensation in Japan.

In 2010, middle schools in Japan adopted the Kinesio Taping® Method as part of the required first-aid curriculum.

In more than 30 years of taping, Kase has had famous and memorable patients, but none who stand out as much as the seven-year-old cerebral palsy patient that he treated in the summer of 2010. The boy’s parents had come to Japan from Canada for a vacation (the mother is Japanese) and asked Kase if he could do something for their wheelchair-bound son. They had heard of Kase’s work and wanted the best for their child.

“When he came to see me his left hand was folded and contorted, as was his left leg and foot,” Kase said. “I taped his finger from his fingernails up to his wrist, and I taped his toes, too. Ten minutes after I put the tape on his fingers, one of the fingers on his left hand opened up. This hand had always been claw-like, and after 10 minutes it was starting to unwind.

“A couple of days later when they came back his mother told me, ‘He can pull the toilet paper by himself!’ After three treatments he could use a camera. He could hold the camera and push the shutter button with his right index finger. Normally, people with cerebral palsy can’t use their right fingers very well.

“Two weeks after we started he could walk without holding someone’s hands so long as they supported his back. After three weeks he was walking by himself. His attitude had completely changed and he told me that he wanted to compete in the Special Olympics. He had a goal.”

As he charges forward in his career of healing, Kase will keep refining Kinesio® Tape. He continues to develop applications using cryotherapy, extending his firm belief that cold, rather than heat, is beneficial to muscle health. He has developed the “Osteo-Ariser,” a set of soft, fabric-covered mallets that he uses to gently pound and stimulate joints and bones, and he teaches a new method of chiropractic adjustments.

Kase does not only adjust to the spine, he adjusts to the skin, fascia, muscle, ligaments and tendons and finally the joint. These are components of the human body that need to be addressed to keep a healthy joint and spine system. Kase added. “I always adjust to the muscle. It is the muscle that moves the joint. If the muscle is healthy, then the joint is healthy. It is the muscle that pulls the joint off.”

In the meantime, Dr. Kenzo Kase will indulge his one weakness—food—and he will continue to be as he has always been:

An original thinker.


Dr. Kase may be contacted in this country through Kinesio USA.

3901 Georgia St. NE, Bldg. F

Albuquerque, NM 87110



INTERNAL HEALTH: A Chiropractic Specialty Spinal Flexibility Tests
Special Feature
Written by Dr. Howard F. Loomis, D.C.   
Tuesday, 04 January 2011 14:21

I have noticed, during 25 years of teaching seminars, that all healthcare professions seek therapeutic corrections for alleviation of symptoms, a “this-for-that approach.” Seldom do we seem to focus on finding the cause of the symptoms. In this column I have been advocating an examination approach that recognizes that muscle contraction, accompanied inevitably with loss of range of motion, can be caused not only by a structural problem but visceral function as well. In other words, they should not be separated when we attempt to establish the cause of chronic recurring subluxation patterns.

I would suggest that to enhance your practice you need the following:

1. An examination that identifies the exact cause of your patient’s symptoms - be it structural, visceral, or emotional.

2. Absolute confidence that your examination will stand the light of scientific scrutiny and will yield information quickly and accurately.

3. A ceremony that both educates and inspires your patient. Ceremonies are important and you already have one. It is your office procedure.

In my last column, I discussed an easy and quick way to determine the structural side of weakness in your patients. This month I want to discuss three easy to perform tests for determining the flexibility of a patient’s spine. Specifically where it may be compromised and how the answers will help you determine the cause of a patient’s chronic symptom/subluxation patterns.

Test #1

Any patient, regardless of age, sex, or size should be able to cross their arms over their chest (so they cannot use their hands to assist them) and raise both legs from the table simultaneously, keeping the knees straight. The inability to perform this task indicates loss of structural integrity in the spine. The problem may be acute as in a recent sprain or strain, with considerable pain quite evident. The problem may be chronic without evident pain and discomfort, only a history of chronic health problems. Regardless, a positive bilateral straight leg raise test calls for a careful and thorough examination to determine the affected lumbo-sacral spine. Most patients will have no problems raising their legs together.

So we proceed to the second test.

Test #2

Stand or sit at the patient's head. Place your palms on top of their head so that your middle fingers are in front of their ears and your ring fingers are behind their ears. Press strongly toward the patient's feet, without bending the patient’s head, and ask them to try and raise their legs together again. If the patient can still raise their legs, the test is negative. But, if the task is much harder or the patient cannot raise their legs at all, the increased spinal pressure has produced an irritation the body cannot compensate for.

This usually involves a condition of lax ligaments as depicted in an interruption in George's line. This condition will allow continual irritation of the involved spinal sympathetic nerves and result in symptoms of sympathetic dominance to the involved organs. Muscle contractions will be found around the involved spinal joints, muscles around the involved viscera, and can be palpated in the upper cervical spine below the skull.

Continual sympathetic stimulation is associated with vasoconstriction and elevated blood pressure. It also produces inhibition of exocrine secretions from the digestive organs and bowel as well as peristalsis. Conversely it stimulates endocrine or hormonal secretions. Eventually these organs produce symptoms and nutritional problems.

Test #3

Continue standing or sitting at the patient's head. Place your hands at the side of their head so that your fingers can wrap around the mastoid process and the base of the occiput. Now, traction the head and cervical spine strongly, without bending the patient’s head, and ask the patient to try and raise their legs again. If the patient can still raise their legs, the test is negative. If the task is much harder or the patient cannot raise the legs at all, then spinal traction produced an irritation the body cannot compensate for and has shown the spine is not capable of extending.

This often involves a lumbo-sacral instability that is compensatory for a structural weakness in the lower extremities or sacral base. This condition will allow continual stimulation of the parasympathetic nervous system and result in symptoms of parasympathetic dominance. While the textbooks indicate that parasympathetic dominance increases digestive and bowel function, the point is that this cannot continue indefinitely due to an unidentified structural cause. Also remember that endocrine secretions will be decreased, giving rise to “subclinical endocrine” syndromes.

Critical Point

Three simple and easy to perform tests that can be done quickly with the patient lying supine may provide the answer to perplexing cases of chronic, recurring symptom/subluxation patterns that no one else has been able to find. It is from such things that successful practices are built.


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