Three Generations of Healers

Doc Talk excerpt
I was recently going through some old newspaper clippings my mother sent me and found this notice from my hometown newspaper, dated March 14, 1917: “Dr. Frank Kunert is installing a Sulphur Vapor Bath at his Sanitarium of Nature Cure and Chiropractic, know locally as the “Mecca” for the afflicted. The bath provides a permanent cure for rheumatism, sciatica, lumbago, neurasthenia, hardening of the arteries, high blood pressure, liver and kidney disorders, asthma, eczema, obesity and dropsy.”

While some of these claims seem a bit bold, I am told that patients came from throughout the United States and Canada, grateful for benefits obtained at the Kunert Sanitarium. Eight years ago, natural medicine had its champions and ground breakers. Dr. Kunert was one of them; I know, because he was my grandfather.

Recently, I have become interested to know more about my family?s tradition in healing arts and wanted to share some of this with you. I am really the ?black sheep? of the family, since I was the first to become an M.D. My mother?s father, know affectionately as ?Doc? Kunert, was one of the earlier chiropractors in LaCrosse, Wisconsin, and the founder of the Kunert Sanitarium. He was joined in practice by his brother-in-law, Dr. Henry Yanzer, who was a naturopath (N.D.) as well as an osteopathic physician (D.O.). My great aunt, Dorothy Yanzer, N.D., was in charge of a ?Special Department for Ladies? at the sanitarium. About 75 percent of their patients were recovering from rheumatic fever. In those days, before penicillin, treatment consisted primarily of spinal manipulation and massage, dietary and nutritional therapies, and cleansing and detoxification. (The ?sulphur vapor? baths mentioned were individual casket-like boxes in which patients would lie; steam introduced into the boxes encouraged sweating and thereby aided in toxin removal. This theory forms the basis of Sauna Detoxification as currently practiced in leading environmental clinics around the world.)

My father was the first healer on his side of the family. He was a medic in the Navy during WWII, where he contracted polio and was paralyzed from the neck down. He was told he would never walk again. However, he was introduced to chiropractic during his long and arduous rehabilitation and attributed much of his nearly-complete recovery to that profession. Upon discharge, he was accepted at the Logan School of Chiropractic in St. Louis, Missouri. He met my mother, they were married and I was born during his last year of chiropractic school. Unfortunately, he was diagnosed with acute leukemia shortly before graduation and died before he was able to practice. I am sure he would have been an outstanding and compassionate practitioner of the healing arts.

I was raised by my mother and her family in a predominantly naturopathic environment. My grandfather forbade immunization; my acute illnesses were treated with chiropractic, herbs and mustard plasters. I can still remember the warm confident feel of his hands as he adjusted my neck and my absolute amazement when he cured my headache by working on my big toe! Grandpa?s letterhead read ?Frank Kunert, DC ? the Nature Cure Man ? God is my Helper, without Him I can do nothing.? He began each day with an hour of prayer, solitude and meditation. My Uncle Henry, Grandpa?s partner, was a strong advocate and regular user of green tea, years before the active anti-oxidants and phytochemicals of this beverage were isolated and identified. He recently passed on at age 102! He played golf well into his ?90?s. A vegetarian most of his adult life, Grandpa spent much of his time after retirement in his totally organic vegetable garden (just under two full acres!). To his day, one of my greatest regrets is not having the opportunity to converse regularly with these great healers after I developed my interest in natural healing.

I have enjoyed sharing this bit of my history with you. As I write, I have gained some insight into how I have come to do what I do and be who I am. These strong traditions of natural healing served to influence and direct me, often without my knowing it. Through four years of medical school and five years of residency, while learning all I could about drugs, surgery and conventional medicine, a quiet voice within kept reminding me, ?There is another way.? In my first few years of practice, that voice grew louder and louder, finally to be heeded. So here we are, blending the best of conventional medicine and the wisdom of centuries of natural healing, with your improved health as our goal. It?s an honor to be of service.

Healthfully yours,
Will Corell, M.D.

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