Dr. Dick Versendaal is one of the last living doctors of chiropractic who studied under Dr. B.J. Palmer. Today, he still practices with the “big idea” in mind.
In a Q & A session with Dr. Ken Murkowski, Dr. Versendaal talks about his past and present. Also revealed are some of the interesting beginnings of Contact Reflex Analysis® (CRA), as well as where Dr. Versendaal sees his influence as it relates to the Science, Philosophy and Art of chiropractic. Join us in reviewing this inspiring history, for Dr. Versendaal’s 76th Birthday celebration.
Dr. Ken Murkowski (KM): Tell us about your memories of B.J. Palmer.
Dr. Versendaal (Dr. V): Well, there are so many stories, but he demanded respect for himself and chiropractic, and he was strict about punctuality. If you were not in your seat 15 minutes before class, you were late and he locked the classroom doors.
KM: Dr. Versendaal, how did you come up with the concepts and principles of CRA?
Dr. V: Due to my own severe chronic stomach pain I, like so many other chiropractic patients, was desperate for a relief and cure. I sought out different techniques and DC experts. I was willing to try any chiropractic technique to relieve and cure my stomach pain. While attending a Dr. George Goodheart seminar, I was treated for my stomach dis-ease with reflexes in my mouth; these reflexes completely alleviated my problem forever. A chiropractic reflex miracle! I then hypothesized the body had to have other contact reflexes for other dis-eases and pains.
KM: Dr. Versendaal, exactly what does CRA stand for?
Dr. V: Today CRA®, Contact Reflex Analysis®, is an established protocol for testing the causes of VSC (dis-ease) and how they are affected by the structural (traumas), emotional (autosuggestion), chemical (toxins), and the VSC and its eight physical and eight chemical components. Of course, once comprehensive CRA testing is done by any DC who knows CRA then they must have the contact reflex adjustment. This, I refer to as the dynamic adjustment in class, for those practitioners licensed to do so today. Then we also do the VSC eight chemical components with the CRA nutrition for wellness.
KM: Dr. Versendaal, how did CRA start? Where did the research funding come from?
Dr. V: Well, I must thank my mom. I was in practice about one year. I had to take my mother to a very famous MD (Dr. Northouse) in Grand Rapids, Michigan. I was sitting in his waiting room and a nurse summoned me to his private office. He said, “Young man, your mother says you are a specialist and you can fix anything. I am a world famous medical doctor, author, and teacher. I am now being forced into early retirement due to years of constant debilitating neck, shoulder, and arm pain. I have tried every known medical treatment and therapy and nothing has worked. I want to try chiropractic today!” The rest, as they say, is history. I did CRA testing and a dynamic adjustment on the doctor and recommended special nutrition. I left the doctor in the hands of “innate” and took my mom home.
Drs. D.D. and B.J. Palmer were light-years ahead![/pullquote]
Two weeks later, I was again called to come to the doctor’s office. The doctor said, “I told you that if you helped me that I would help make you famous.” He opened his drawer and handed me the title to an antique car on display in a Grand Rapids museum. Its value was $15,000 in 1959. I later sold the car to a museum in North Carolina.
Dr. Northouse established a research foundation in hospitals covering three states (Tri-States Research) dealing with nutrition, the nervous system’s reflexes, and adjustments. We hired MDs and PhDs to do CRA research with labs and tests. The CRA research tied in blood tests and urinalysis samples just like B.J. did at the Palmer Clinic.
KM: As one of the last chiropractic icons, where do you see yourself and CRA in today’s chiropractic society?
Dr. V: Thank you. I never see myself as an “icon,” only as another chiropractor and teacher. We have to look at the entire chiropractic profession today. On the far left, we have DCs legally doing minor surgeries, injections, and wanting to distribute drugs. On the far right, we have DCs only adjusting one bone (HIO) by hand only. It is my belief that I am in the “middle” of all chiropractic and its philosophy, art, and science. CRA is based on the vertebral subluxation complex (VSC) and its eight physical and eight chemical components, which stem from D.D.’s original teachings that VSC is caused by traumas (structure), autosuggestions (stress), toxins (chemical), and spinal subluxations (TATS). I will tell you that at CRA seminars, I have seen practitioners from the far left and the right who have embraced with CRA principles, protocols, and teachings.
I welcome all practitioners today to “unite” under CRA no matter what their individual chiropractic philosophy or technique tools are. I am giving all DCs and chiropractic another technique tool to add to their healing toolboxes thus increasing health and wellness in the world today with simple protocols!
KM: Do you think you have grown beyond chiropractic?
Dr. V: I believe it’s the exact opposite! I look at myself and CRA as being an evidence-based research teacher and sharing my knowledge based on TATS learned from D.D. and B.J. Palmer. CRA is in the middle of the chiropractic road. Some of my former students have focused on one or more of the causes of VSC. Dr. Ulan, a former CRA board member and CRA practitioner is now a teacher focusing the majority of his teachings on the VSC chemical components of dis-ease. Two of my students are also focusing heavily on the chemical components of CRA (Drs. Stuart White and John Dobbins). All three doctors learned the CRA principles and protocols for wellness. I am happy to have been a teacher to them so they can teach also.
When I teach CRA , I reinforce the history of chiropractic in today’s wellness practitioner by utilizing D.D.’s triad of wellness as it applies to our philosophy, art, and science! This includes not only nutrition (toxins), but the structural (traumas) and emotional (autosuggestions) causing dis-ease. CRA is one of the most holistic modern approaches to total “family wellness” today! CRA raises the autoimmune systems and increases one’s immunity to dis-ease, especially inflammations in our environment today.
KM: Do you view yourself as being light-years ahead of the current wellness movement?
Dr. V: Yes and no. Drs. D.D. and B.J. Palmer were light-years ahead! I don’t know if I am light-years ahead in the wellness movement. I view CRA research for the last 56 years as the seed of chiropractic wellness care. I am exceptionally happy to see the modern chiropractic profession treating and teaching patients about wellness, and DCs dealing with the issues of traumas, autosuggestions, and toxins, along with the spinal VSC. The only place where I might be light-years ahead would be in the research and development of the 10 natural nutritional products and six essential oils (VerVita®) that we are using today in CRA because of people’s chemical sensitivities especially with wheat, gluten, sugar, etc.
The reason we have it down to 10 nutritional products and six essential oils is because any practitioner today can learn and explain to the patient, the synergistic relationship of how VSC is affected by the triad. The research and development of these formulas is based on the interrelationship of body systems instead of the same old one vitamin deficiency syndrome.
KM: Is CRA easy to learn and reproduce by young practitioners today?
Dr. V: Yes. Young, old, like any other chiropractic mainstream technique, the more you practice the technique principles and protocols, the more proficient you become in Contact Reflex Analysis® and contact reflex adjusting. How long does it take to learn to be perfect in the Gonstead, Thompson, diversified technique, or acupuncture? Remember the Vince Lombardi quote: “Practice doesn’t make perfect. Only perfect practice makes perfect.”
KM: Do you have one or two more memorable miracle success stories with CRA ?
Dr. V: For the record, every patient who is helped with CRA® is a chiropractic success story. In my last 56 years, I estimate by seminar attendance records thousands of CRA students have tested and taken care of tens of thousands of patients. They have heard the CRA principles and protocols. One of the CRA successes that is very dear to my heart is Dr. Bob Hoffman. This great man is one of my closest friends besides being a chiropractic teacher, management pioneer, entrepreneur, and speaker for The Master’s Circle.
KM: Do you see yourself retiring in the near future?
Dr. V: No, absolutely not. I believe you must walk your talk, and I do that. I am 76 years young. I celebrated my 76th birthday (in March) by teaching. I am just starting on some new research. I have great vitality, but more importantly, my passion is for helping chiropractic, and people in life by teaching chiropractors CRA, so they can help their patients. My passion for teaching is only surpassed by my burning desire to help every sick person I meet through CRA, and to make the world a healthier place naturally…and spread the words of wellness.
Thank you, Dr. V, and Happy 76th Birthday from The American Chiropractor.