A New Model for the Mental Impulse


One of the challenges in explaining chiropractic to practice members, as well as people in the scientific community, is getting them to understand the metaphysical aspects of the mental impulse. This is especially difficult in practice. In fact, it may be the reason why some chiropractors mix. Straight is not a relative term. Instead of struggling to explain concepts like universal intelligence, innate intelligence or the mental impulse practitioners may choose to focus on symptom relief because people can understand and relate to that. It would be interesting to find out how often good chiropractors actually explain these concepts. For example, thousand of chiropractors across the country say in their offices everyday that “the brain and nerve system run the body.” Yet, philosophically, we know the brain and nerve system do not run the body anymore than does the cardiovascular system. It is the innate intelligence of the body that runs the body. So then, why do thousands of chiropractors say the wrong thing?
Certainly, there are a number of reasons. First, everyone knows that the brain and nerve system are at least involved in the running of the body. Every lay person knows that. Second, it saves time by just skipping a step. Innate intelligence runs the body. It uses the brain and nerve system. So they combine those two ideas to supposedly, make it simple. Third, people do not understand innate intelligence without some sort of extra explanation. It has a “religious” connotation unless it is explained properly and many chiropractors want to avoid religious connotations. Fourth, too many chiropractors have distorted the concept of innate intelligence. Reggie’s classic talk, “The Chemistry of Life” avoids the term altogether. Lastly, it takes more work to explain the term. It is true that everyone (with the exception of some chiropractors) can eventually understand it but it takes time and effort.
We must ask, is there anything wrong with not telling them? Yes, there is—it is lying to them. It is the innate intelligence that runs the body and the brain and nerve system. It is one thing if you are a chiropractor who does not accept the idea of innate intelligence but when you know the brain and nerve system do not run the body, and tell your practice members that they do, you are lying.
Not only are you lying to practice members, but you are also cheating them. They are being cheated out of an understanding of an important aspect of chiropractic and life. Imagine if everyone truly understood the concept of innate intelligence. How would it impact upon peoples’ perspective of life and health? If people understood the innate intelligence of the body, they would definitely be more prone to allow the body to heal itself and not interfere with it chemically with drugs. They would be much more inclined to want that innate intelligence expressing itself without nerve interference for a lifetime and, to that end, be under regular chiropractic care.
There may be one thing worse than ignoring concepts like innate intelligence and the mental impulse. That is incorrectly explaining them. Straight chiropractors have a history of doing that. The precedent was set by no less than D.D., B.J., and Stephenson themselves.Universal intelligence was described in terms of deity. Innate intelligence was described in terms of religion and spirituality. Certainly, people of religious persuasion should be taught the philosophy of chiropractic. In fact, it is something that is sorely needed. They already have an ADIO perspective of life. People of faith can easily understand innate intelligence and the living body as a self-healing, self-running mechanism. They recognize a higher power than their own educated brain. Understanding these concepts leads directly to the understanding of chiropractic. It is so much easier to reach this type of person but it should be done correctly. Innate intelligence is not God within us. To the person of faith it is a principle of active organization that God placed within us (the same as every other living organism).
Of all the difficult, most ignored and poorly explained terms in chiropractic the mental impulse is the greatest victim. This is very interesting. The scientific community abhors chiropractic’s “pseudo religious” concepts like universal and innate intelligence. They constantly recommend that we not talk in terms of metaphysics, that we be scientific. It is true that universal and innate intelligence are not scientific although there are scientists outside of the chiropractic field who are attempting to reconcile our metaphysical concepts with science especially in the field of molecular biology.It seems that as one goes deeper and deeper into the study of biology one comes up against things that can only be explained in terms of metaphysics. Needless to say, the mechanistic camp of the scientific community is critical of this group and tends to ignore their findings.
Although the nerve impulse is a scientific term, science has done little to explain it. But then neither has the chiropractic community. Too often, in an effort to make it “scientific,” we have ignored its metaphysicality, its non-materialism. For the last 110 years we have been trying to measure it, analyze it, demonstrate degrees of interference to it, and prove we have removed interference to it, when we do not even know what it is! We think we can build machines to learn everything about it when, in truth, the mental impulse is just as metaphysical a construct as the innate intelligence of the body. No one would consider building a machine to measure or demonstrate its presence. (Although it could be argued that any machine that demonstrates an organism is alive, demonstrates innate intelligence in that organism. But then of course, we must define life and that can only be done in terms of metaphysics).
Actually since the early days of our profession, we have been trying to build a machine that would demonstrate the mental impulse. B.J. felt that he had accomplished the task when he developed the electroencephaloneuromentimpograph. He went to enormous trouble with shielded rooms to ensure that nothing would interfere with the findings of the instrument. Whatever he was recording, it was not a metaphysical phenomena. It was a physical impulse. Later he developed the neurocalometer which recorded the blood vascular effects of an interference to the transmission of the mental impulse. But that is measuring a physical effect, one result of the mental impulse. Is it even possible to quantify or demonstrate the mental impulse scientifically? If it is a metaphysical phenomena, then it is no more possible to demonstrate or measure it than to demonstrate or measure innate intelligence scientifically. If it is not, then we must change much of our thinking with regard to the mental impulse and interference to its expression.
Our model has historically been a force model, viewing the impulse as energy, electricity or some sort of power. Our research and instrumentation has been in an energy model. We try to measure forces or measure heat which is a product of energy. Our explanations of chiropractic are in terms of energy. We liken the brain to a generator and the nerves to wires. Everyone is familiar with those electrical terms. They are not incorrect. There is an aspect of electrical-type energy or force that emanates from the brain and travels over the nerves. It obviously plays an important role in keeping the organism alive. But that is not the area of interest to the chiropractor. These are physical forces generated in a physical brain that travel over physical nerves that science has been able to physically measure, but those forces are not what we as chiropractors are really addressing.
Our approaches to explaining chiropractic to lay people tend to promote this model in the publics’ mind and reinforce it in our own mind. We use terms like “the power that made the body.” If we are using power in the sense of a Being, then perhaps that is legitimate but still not philosophically correct. (It may be theologically correct but that goes beyond our chiropractic philosophy). The idea of turning on the power is not legitimate and may undermine our efforts to clearly communicate our chiropractic objective. It really is not the “power” that made the body that heals the body but the properly directed power that does the healing and only within limitations of matter.
We have all heard and probably have used the story ourselves of the rabbit’s brain that generated enough electricity to run a radio. That electricity, however, is not our area of focus. The electricity from the rabbit does not make the radio work in the sense of communicating sounds. A radio that is simply “on” is worthless. It must be transmitting information, music, etc. from an intelligent source. That is what makes the radio of any value. The product of the rabbit’s brain does not give us the 6 o’clock news. A newscaster in a far away studio does. Just talking about “energy,” “power,” or “forces” is simply not adequate in the 21st century. Mary Shelly’s model is no longer adequate. We are not Dr. Frankenstein’s monster that is alive by virtue of our electrical charge and we surely do not function in a coordinated, organized manner by virtue of electricity. Perhaps we need to even change our Triune of Life model and replace the Force part of it with another term that more clearly states our paradigm. Some may claim that this is really unnecessary but there are many good reasons for “adjusting” our terminology and explanations. First and foremost, the energy/force concept is simply not correct. Second, with the acceptance of the quantum physics model, the concepts of matter and energy are becoming blurred or rather synonymous, and force and energy are often interchanged. Yet, our model of the triune clearly delineates the matter and the force.
Reggie Gold once asked the question “where does the interference occur in the triune model.” Some said between the force and the matter, some said between the intelligence and the force. The correct answer was that it was within the matter, a hard bone putting pressure on a soft nerve. There definitely is a material aspect to the vertebral subluxation. But there is a non-material, a metaphysical aspect of it, and that should be the focus of the chiropractor.
The Information Model
It is ironic that the detractors of chiropractic in the scientific community continually criticize our metaphysical constructs. The more they do, the more we try to “materialize” them. Yet, it is the metaphysical aspect of them that makes them valid. If there is a metaphysical aspect to man, and there is; if the mental impulse is part of that aspect, and it is; if the mental impulse is vital to the proper control and function of the human organism, and it is; and if vertebral subluxation interferes with homeostasis in the body, it has to affect the quality of that impulse. Chiropractors should focus on that. We do not have to apologize for, or be ashamed of, the fact that we address a metaphysical construct. It is real, it is vital to life. If science has a problem with that, if it does not fit their scientific model, that is their problem.
Some years ago an interesting event took place that should have revolutionized our understanding and our explanation of the mental impulse, nerve interference, the vertebral subluxation and what we do as chiropractors. Ironically it occurred in the field of science. Crick and Penrose cracked the genetic code. They came to the realization that life is a matter of information. While the innate intelligence may create energy to keep the body alive, what is important to the chiropractor and life is the fact that it also creates information to control the body’s integrative activities and to coordinate all its functions. Biologists are now saying that what makes living matter unique is information. We are said to be in the information age. No one would deny it. It has been estimated that today there is more information contained in the Sunday edition of the New York Times than an average person living in the early nineteenth century learned in their entire lifetime.
It is to our advantage as chiropractors to be living in the information age because what we deal with is information, biological information. We should not be reluctant to proclaim this fact because the entire world recognizes and utilizes information and the transmission of it as essentially a metaphysical phenomena. The issue is how do we reconcile the electrical model with the informational model? It is difficult to do this with any degree of success because the informational model will not be accepted by mechanists and most of the scientific community is mechanistic. The problem is that information is metaphysical. The intelligent design scientists are battling the problem right now. They maintain that their scientific findings clearly bespeak a metaphysical creation of the earth and all the while are trying to keep away from a religious construct. The mechanists in the scientific community will not allow them to even get a metaphysical foot into the door of the scientific community. (7) In a sense, one can understand the scientific communities’ reluctance to accept the conclusions that intelligent design draws. Science has historically related to the physical not the metaphysical. On the other hand, science must realize that for it to have any relevance beside merely establishing unrelated physical facts, like the fact that an object falls to the ground at 9.8 meters per second², it must go farther than mere physics. It must at least recognize that metaphysical constructs are important and relevant. Nowhere is this fact more evident than in dealing with the mental impulse.
If we conclude that the mental impulse is more than merely a physical force, that it carries information or has something within its very nature that is information, then we have left the realm of physics and entered the realm of metaphysics. For information is metaphysical. Words on a printed page are information. The physical aspect, the ink and paper, are meaningless as a conveyor of information. The ink must be intelligently arranged in a certain manner to form letters, the letters must be intelligently arranged to form words and the arrangement of those words must be intelligently thought out. Ink spots do not bespeak intelligence, words do. It takes intelligence to put the words on paper and intelligence to derive value from those ink spots. The historical accomplishments of men bear witness to the grand educated intellects that have written stirring words like the Declaration of Independence. Words that have inspired men and women to monumental actions.
In a similar manner, sound is only vibration that strikes the hearing apparatus but when those sounds are intelligently formed, they can create information that makes us laugh, cry, think and stir us to action in ways nothing else is able to do. Providing, of course, that we have a receptacle of intelligence to receive and interpret those sounds. We might classify that which we as chiropractors involve ourselves with as bio-information and say that the human nerve system is a bio-informational system. 
While so many in the scientific community ridicule the “metaphysical” associated with chiropractic, like the innate intelligence of the body, the fact is that information is just as metaphysical as innate intelligence. The age-old philosophical question in chiropractic is “Where does innate intelligence go at death?” Well, since it is not a physical entity that occupies space, it really cannot go anyplace. It just ceases to express itself, at least through that matter that was once living. The same is true of information. It is a metaphysical construct. Unless it is put down in an intelligible, material format, one that can be used by our senses and one that can be utilized by other educated brains, it is lost forever. There is information and knowledge that has been lost to the world forever because ancient people had no way of physically expressing their metaphysical information or if they did, those physical entities have been lost or destroyed.
It would be great if information were tangible. We could draw it out of the brains of smart people or download it like you would information “floating around” in cyberspace. We would experience no loss at the death of an Einstein or Shakespeare or Palmer. However, Shakespeare would say, “But alas, we cannot.” Where does information go at death? If it is not recorded in some manner, it “goes” to the same place the innate intelligence of the body does at death. It is lost forever. So once again we are faced with the necessity of trying to explain the information created by the innate intelligence with the innate intelligence itself. Both are metaphysical constructs. We must explain the intangible mental impulses in tangible terms. 

Cellular Needs
Universal Forces All matter is subject to universal forces. These forces are of no special significance to the discussion at hand. Whether these forces can be changed in character to become an innate force (and the mechanism by which that occurs) is open to discussion. This idea was suggested by both Stephenson and Palmer and seems to be a logical deduction.(8) The mechanism by which these universal forces become mental impulses is related to an area of discussion which is slightly afield of the topic of this paper.


Trophic Impulses This is the nerve energy that makes a cell alive. Very little seems to have been written about this subject, which is very perplexing for it seems such an important topic. It may be a form of electrical energy and is most likely the force that is measured by various instruments like EEG, or EKG. It has been suggested that it is particulate in character meaning that it is physical in nature like electricity. (9)

Mental Impulses Unlike nerve impulses, these impulses are not particulate. They are metaphysical, imparting information to the cell. They inform the cell of what to do and how to act in a coordinated manner with all the other cells of the body for the good of the organism. To date there is no physical means of measuring these impulses inasmuch as they are metaphysical.


In an attempt to develop a new model for the mental impulse, we can compare it with the telegraph, an invention of the nineteenth century, the same century as the discovery of chiropractic. The telegraph is a system that transmits simple, unmodulated, electrical impulses. A code developed by Samuel B. Morse, called The Morse Code, is transmitted over wires. There are a number of similarities between the telegraph and the informational model of the mental impulse.


  1. An electrical impulse is carrying a metaphysical message


  3. Both mechanisms can be interfered with in two ways


    1. Cutting of the wires. We have all seen the old western movies where the bad guy climbs up the telegraph pole and cuts the wire and the line goes dead, just as an important message is coming through. Usually the telegraph operator looks over to the sheriff and says, “The line just went dead!” In the human body damage to a nerve causes paralysis.


    3. Distortion of the message. If there is some sort of interruption in the telegraph line or a malfunction in the key, there is a distortion in the series of dots and dashes that make up the code and convey the information. It is also possible that the sender of the message is incompetent and inadvertently distorts the message. Of course, our analogy breaks down here because the informational model in the body has a perfect intelligence originating the message.


  5. The necessity of an intelligent recipient


  7. The immaterial needs the material


  9. The issue is not electrical but informational

The most desirable aspect of moving into an informational model is the fact that there are so many clear analogies, ones that are even more understandable than electricity and most importantly, ones that are closer to the true model. While the analogy to the garden hose cutting off precious life-giving water and causing the plant to die is a more graphic illustration, it probably is not as accurate as can be found in the informational model. Some other analogies include:



  1. The written word


  3. Recordings


  5. The computer



What is the purpose of this knowledge and information? We as straight chiropractors must be in the forefront of chiropractic developments, for no other reason than the fact that we understand and recognize that there is an important metaphysical component to chiropractic, one that significantly impacts upon what we do. We do not just move bones. We do not just remove physical interferences in the nerve system. We restore the expression of the innate intelligence of the body through its matter. We work with a metaphysical mental impulse.


In addition, scientific research in the model that currently exists will never “prove” chiropractic. They cannot. They will never scientifically demonstrate the mental impulse. Consequently, we will always need the philosophy of chiropractic. As long as we have non-material principles like universal intelligence, innate intelligence and the mental impulse we will need a philosophy. It is our philosophy that sets us apart from science.


Lastly, we owe it to people to represent the best, the clearest, and the most honest information in explaining chiropractic so that they can have the greatest opportunity to avail themselves of its wonderful benefits.






  1. Gold Reggie, Chemistry of Life Audio Tape..


  3. Stephenson, R.W., Chiropractic Textbook. 1927. Palmer College.


  5. Dembski, The Design Revolution. 2004. IVP: Downers Grove, IL.


  7. Palmer, B.J., Palmer’s Law of Life. 1958. PSC: Davenport, IA.


  9. Crick, Frances, Deciphering the Genetic Code. 1958-66. National Library of Medicine.


  11. Dembski.


  13. Bonbouri, Ian, Ameur Academy of Religion. November 19, 2000. Nashville.


  15. Stephenson


  17. Strauss, Joseph B, Toward a Better Understanding of the Chiropractic Philosophy. 1999. FACE: Levittown, PA.








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