Come on in. Get comfortable, and we’ll continue discussing this wonderful book called “Living Long & Loving it”, written by two doctors, Irvin M. Korr, Ph.D. & Rene J. McGovern, Ph.D. (Dr. McGovern wrote the book, taken from Dr. Korr’s extensive notes, which he had planned to use to write his own book, but he died at the age of 94, still energetic and loving life, right up until the end.)
You’ll remember that my new doctor of osteopathic medicine, Susan Cislo, D.O., generously lent me this book, as I wanted to learn more about this amazing practice.
It’s the story of Korr discovering a secret to aging well. A topic very close to our hearts.
Korr trained as a physiologist at Princeton University and later moved to Kirkville, Missouri to find out what was going on there.
He discovered the secret to aging well through osteopathy, and it changed his life forever.
Kirkville was the home of the Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine, founded in 1892, and referred to as a reform movement in medicine. When the book was written in 2008, it noted that there are now 26 colleges of osteopathic medicine. There may be additional colleges of osteopathic medicine by this time.
Korr wrote, “This book is intended as an affirmation that the last part of ones’ life can indeed be the best part of life.” Such wonderful words to live by!
“What is your secret?” This was asked him by pupils and strangers when discovering Korr’s age. As he passed into his middle years and then late 70s, the question became more frequent and persistent. People truly wanted to know how a person of his age could look so healthy, remain unbent, flat-bellied, agile and vigorous and still fully engaged professionally, with continually widening interests, who was still athletically active; and who was still living as enthusiastically as in any previous period, and perhaps even more so.
Korr writes that his family history was not great. His father was very frail, was sent away to a tuberculosis sanitarium when Korr was only 5 years old, and died in early middle age. His father’s parents died in his first year of life. His mother and her parents lived longer, with less impaired lives, but hypertension and hyperthyroidism were chronic problems for them.
As Korr completed his graduate studies at Princeton, physical complaints and chronic illness were so much a part of his daily environment he was persuaded that ill health and early death by heart attack were also his destiny. At 36, he viewed himself as middle-aged.
In the fall of 1945, he accepted an appointment as professor and chairman of the Department of Physiology at the Kirkville College of Osteopathy and Surgery
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Five years later, as he was ending a physiology lecture, he was approached at the podium by a recently appointed faculty physician, Dr. Chace, who immediately offered his services. Korr responded with, “Why, I’m not sick.”
Dr. Chace responded, “No, you may not be sick yet with a namable disease, but you’re not very well either!”
Korr was not opposed to upgrading his health, so he asked what had led him to such an unfavorable assessment of his health. Chace showed Korr how he leaned on the lectern throughout his lectures. He described his labored breathing, shoulders visibly rising and falling with each breath; his frequent sighing; the gradual fading of his voice and the change in his pallor; and the resulting collapse into his office chair after each lecture.
Entirely by his observations of Korr’s posture and the way he moved, Chace was able to describe, in detail, his severe right-sided headaches and backaches. He pointed to Korr’s almost fixed tilt of the head to the right, due to constricted muscles, and the compensatory curve in the lower back that brought his eyes level. Korr accepted, with some uncertainty, Chace’s caring offer
Korr’s first visit was the longest and was devoted to a physical examination performed not only by Chace, but by internists on the clinical staff as well as x-ray and lab technicians. In addition to diagnostic procedures in common use
In those days, Chace performed a palpatory survey of Korr’s entire body with his hands, assessing muscular tensions and tissue textures in every area, prodding for sited of tenderness that he seemed to locate with remarkable precision, and testing for ease and range of motion of virtually every joint in his body. Korr found that he was physically as inflexible as a much older man. His neck and throat were his biggest concerns.
Korr’s chest was a concern, also because what he found there seriously impaired his respiration, so vital to general health. Korr’s rib hinges on the spine should be freely mobile, and Korr’s had become nearly immobilized by stiffness in those joints. Dr. Chace said that Korr’s chest had to be lifted and dropped with each breath, “like an orange crate” like the folds in an accordion. In addition, Korr’s neck was a problem because the rigid tilt of his head, aside from causing headaches, demanded compensatory adjustments elsewhere in his body.
Korr believed that the act of breathing had become so labored and inefficient, and his lungs were so poorly ventilated that these two reasons alone could account for his lagging energy.
Dear friends, we’ll have to leave poor Dr Korr in this unhealthy position until next week, but I’ll give you a hint. His story has an amazingly happy ending. So please stay tuned for next week.
By then, I’ll have a personal report, also, on how Dr. Cislo continues to improve my health. I can’t wait to share my news with you. Oh, I almost forgot to share this with you, I received an email for one of our friends s about the huge success she had enjoyed in Phoenix, through this type of treatment. She had delivered her baby with no sedatives or pain medicine of any kind. She wanted to share that news. When she moved to California, no doctor of osteopathy was available. Aren’t we luck that we now also have such doctors?
Until next time, please continue being kind to yourselves and to one another. It makes life so much sweeter.