Dr. Bronner’s soap labels vs. defenders of chiropractic

March 6, 2017 • 10:15 am

When I got the latest attempted comment defending chiropractic “medicine” on my website, I had a déjà vu moment, as if I’d seen that kind of language before. And then I remembered—it was on a bottle of Dr. Bronner’s soap!

I don’t know how many people use this wonderful liquid soap, which comes in varieties like lavender, eucalyptus, and peppermint (I prefer the original peppermint), but it smells great and is useful for all kinds of tasks. You can even brush your teeth with it! It was popular in the Sixties, beloved by hippies, but it’s still sold in a lot of places (Trader Joe’s, for instance, which is where I get mine), and it’s not expensive.

The soap was invented by Emanuel Bronner (1908-1997), a German-American Jew who used his products to expound his philosophy: a “Moral ABC” connected to Judaism and world unity. To promulgate his ideas, he crowded the labels of his soaps with all kinds of bizarre and unhinged statements in tiny print, generously larded with exclamation marks. Here’s a sample:


An enlargement of a small bit of the label:


Besides the soap being excellent and nice-smelling, you could spend hours reading the label, and I still remember many of the statements, like “Okay! Okay!” Here’s what a whole label looks like (you won’t be able to read it, but you can see a readable version here).


Although Bronner died in 1997, the soap is still great and the labels still bizarre.

But I digress. Compare the label of those soaps with this comment from “MILCOON” that I got about one of my anti-chiropractic posts, “More chiropractic shenanigans” (it’s reproduced exactly as I got it):

I’ve heard plenty of people say they have had good results from a Chiro!
Yes some chiropractors don’t care about their patients, but NOT ALL of them!!!
Example 1- lady had migraines for well over 12months suffering every couple of weeks with bad migraines doc no answers. Paid for scan privately still no answers!! Few Treatments with chiropractor no complaint of migraine for months and months!
Example 2- lower back pain and sciatica, seeing physio for months no better! 2 treatments with a Chiro already noticed improvement!
And finally about 4 or 5 examples of persons attending appointments at a Chiro when their doctor has not offered any kind of referral to see a specialist and Chiro has said to them you must ask for a scan or a referral for so and so. All have resulted in findings of health problems!!!
1 of which a cancer was discovered! The partner of the person who sadly passed away was supremely grateful because they found out and were able to spend their last days together as DOCTORS couldn’t do anything to save them!!!!
There are good and bad in EVERY single profession and most likely you will hear about the bad!! Chiropractic clearly works for some people! Not every Chiro is good! But not every chiro is bad or a money grabber! As the same with doctors not all of them are good!!! Not all of them genuinely care about their patients either!! Unfortunately it’s the way things are!! It’s life! Chiro works for some but not others! If you want to try it then why not. Instead of going to the doctors that prescribe pills with endless lists of side affects!
You’re suggesting most chiros are “lining their pockets?”
So people have cancer and the pharmaceutical companies make drugs for people with cancer (or other diseases) are these companies reducing the cost of the drugs to help people live and survive???… or are they continuing to line their pockets???.! I remember a few years ago the NHS saying they would have to stop buying a certain cancer drug because they couldn’t afford it! The pharmaceutical companies don’t then offer it at a lower cost because they want to continue to make their BILLIONS!!!!!! Doctors are a pharmaceutical companies dream (money, money, money!)

I swear to Ceiling Cat that this is just like a Dr. Bronner’s label. MILCOON could get a job writing for them. Okay! Okay!

Such are the followers of chiropractic, though I hasten to add that some of them aren’t this unhinged.


UPDATE: This just in: another comment from a chiropractor, who identifies himself as Dr. Christopher Perry. I don’t know what to make of this comment, which seems to both laud and diss his profession. (Poor writing seems to characterize this profession.) Would you want this guy’s hands on your spine? (Note: it’s reproduced exactly as it came in.)

Dr Christopher Perry

As a chiropractor I know that the scientific evidence currently shows the chiropractic is an excellent form of healthcare. As a profession it is nothing more than a healthcare version of used car salesman peddling lemons. The AMA has succeeded in marginalizing chiropractic. As a veteran chiropractor of 30 years once told me the American public is too stupid to understand chiropractic. The AMA and the pharmaceutical industry has one So stick a fork in it chiropractic the fat lady has sung. And if you haven’t noticed everyone is fat

33 thoughts on “Dr. Bronner’s soap labels vs. defenders of chiropractic

    1. LOL! Wins prize for Best Comment.

      Actually I think I can make out what the doc may have been trying to say in his drunken fight with the keyboard. Here’s my edited version of his comment:

      As a chiropractor I know that the scientific evidence currently shows the chiropractic [as a **field of medicine**] is an excellent form of healthcare [in the doc’s opinion]. As a **profession** it is nothing more than a healthcare version of used car salesman peddling lemons [chiropractic healthcare is analogous to a used car lemon? I guess he is trying to distinguish between chiropractic as a medical field and its practitioners]. The AMA has succeeded in marginalizing chiropractic. As a veteran chiropractor of 30 years once told me the American public is too stupid to understand chiropractic [possibly so, but I have to wonder if the doc understands medical science]. The AMA and the pharmaceutical industry has [won] one So stick a fork in it chiropractic [practitioners] the fat lady has sung. And if you haven’t noticed everyone is fat

      1. Haha – thanks for the help. It definitely needed an explanation. I had no fricken’ idea what he was trying to say!

  1. Dr. Bronner’s been my go-to (Peppermint) soap since the 70’s. I recently got a bottle that had “pro minimum wage” info all over it . . . must have been related to some referendum or something, as the recent batch is in the old “okay! okay” packaging, complete with ONE WORLD UNITY admonitions and praise for Rudyard Kipling.

    1. These are really cool labels! What a hoot to get all that on the bottle! I’d buy one just for the fun of the label. (I hope I remember if I’m ever in the US because I can’t imagine it getting through customs.)

      1. I’m not sure that the label on the liquid soap bottle can be removed easily, but if it can, I’m happy to send you one.

  2. On September 18, 1895, Daniel David Palmer cracked his first back thereby starting the practice of Chiropractic something. Just 43 days later there was an earthquake in Charleston MO but there has been no major earthquakes on the New Madrid seismic zone since. Coincidence? By Chiropractic standards, no.

  3. I thought I’d be able to figure out Dr. Perry’s point by running it through a New-Age-to-English translator, but that’s not the problem. He’s not talking woo; he’s being unclear. I’m not sure if he’s agreeing with you, or disagreeing.

  4. I do love that Dr. Bronner soap. Although I don’t care for the label, they still have their own fascination.

    The only good thing I ever saw a chiropractor do is help my mother be able to walk again after she was thrown from a horse. Now, that is because it was pure spinal adjustment, which is the only thing (some) chiropractors are good at. I rather think a decent osteopath could have done a better job. The rest of the philosophy, saying that spinal adjustment can cure everything from crabs to dry skin, is pure bunkum.

  5. I was a hardcore Dr. Bronner’s guy in the Seventies. Then I cut my hair, came in from the cold, and planted one foot in the straight world.

    Was visiting a buddy of mine and his wife a while back, and they put a bottle of peppermint in the guest shower. It hasn’t changed a bit, and I still like it.

    1. Same here. Hardcore – user, too, Mr Kukec. Peppermint then.

      Now ? Just five strolling blocks from my front porch step: thus, http://www.wheatsfield.coop has in stock today 16 liquid ounces’ worth of its / the Doctor’s unscented, eucalyptus, tea tree, citrus, almond, peppermint and lavender. In this size for my gift – giving ? $9.99. (Comes — some aromas do — in the bar – format as well.)

      Thank you for this post’s reminder thereof, Dr Coyne ! There is just at the end of this week a birthday – person for whom I can boogie on down to the Coop and acquire there a sweet bottle’s worth !


      ps I eventually (because I was forced to — with words of that guilt – instillation — at my age then of 19 ! from my (parents’) community members’ religions: “You’ll end up like those Berkeley hippie – whores !” — from very many more than one or two of these so – churchy folks of the Missouri Synod – Lutheran, Roman Catholic and those “terribly liberal” Methodist – / Presbyterian denominations — and my even .being. [allowed to be] away at university [which I wholly paid for by myself alone] was at stake) … … cut off my hair, too.

      And, immediately, regretted it.

      And a year later, they all were correct:
      I went off to Woodstock: all thanks to Dr Bronner’s peppermint as my hair’s shampoo !

  6. “I’ve heard plenty of people say”, __________. So, it must be true and you’re an idiot if you don’t believe it.

  7. I still remember my discovery of Dr Bronner’s soap in a store when I was first living on my own. The labels were bizarre and hilarious, and that got me to buy it. And like many here, I came to like it on its own merits. Probably a pretty common experience.

  8. I love Dr. Bronner’s soap – I’m a patchouli kind of gal (yes I know), but I like the lavender too. A small amount of the unscented liquid soap, plus a few drops of essential oils, will go a long way, when mixed with tap water in one of those foaming hand soap containers. Don’t need no stinkin’ antibacterial soap!

    I have a large bottle of the pure castile soap at home, but I hadn’t thought to read the label in years. Thanks for the lulz!

  9. “The AMA has succeeded in marginalizing chiropractic.”

    Maybe this is “Dr.” Jill Stein in disguise, who wanted the government healthcare system to pay for homeopathy! Not to mention her stance on vaccines and other kooky statements and policy stances.

  10. Dr. Perry is right about this:

    [the] American public is too stupid to understand chiropractic

    And yes, mild to morbid obesity can cause back, knee, and hip injuries which can lead a lot of people to seek alternative treatments, instead of properly treating their ailments.

  11. Whether he wanted to become so or not, JC (this JC, not The JC) is by now absolutely godly, since the very top line on the soap label equates absolute cleanliness with being godly.

  12. Three years ago, I had endocarditis (which I had never heard of before being diagnosed). I’m alive because a group of dedicated physicians flooded my body with antibiotics. The whole thing sucked. I got fever spikes from my body trying to fight off the drugs, and I was in the hospital for nine days. But I’m alive and healthy now, and I’d buy any of those doctors a beer if I saw him/her in a bar. Do chiropractors really think they could have saved me by mucking with my spine? I’d be dead.

    1. If they do, they’re crazy. Medicine is amazing for situations such as yours. Not so good for lifestyle diseases/disorders such as hypercholesterolemia, diabetes and metabolic syndrome.

  13. This page was suggested in my Google Now feed and I’ve read the last few posts. Is this a Chiro bashing page, or would someone please help me understand why you guys passionate about crazy Chiros? I haven’t read the comments but there seems to be a lot of them.

    I’ll make this quick: I’m a Chiro by title, but not profession – confused, yet? There’s a split in our profession: straights and mixers. Straights are the vitalistic philosophers and mixers are evidence-based practitioners trying to assimilate with other health/medical professionals.

    If I had the choice, I would not want to be titled a “Chiropractor” for exactly what’s going on here and the responses of my religious “colleagues”. My kids are vaccinated, my treatment plans are about 5-7 visits, I don’t magically “fix” people, and I don’t even adjust (manipulate) all my patients. I’ve even turned away patients because I didn’t think they would be a good fit because they were attracted to traditional chiropractic.

    With the above being said, I have PT colleagues that feel the same way about others in their profession. They are more in line with what I and other Chiros like me do than the aforementioned “others”. It’s not as “quacky” as some Chiros but do you know how many times we’ve heard of patients going to a PT mill 3x/wk for 2-3 months doing supervised band exercises with no results?

    My point is that just like everything, there’s the good and the bad. With chiro, it just so happens you only hear the ones that are shouting the loudest and they are the majority. As I said, I don’t mind the chiro bashing – I do it too. What I don’t understand is: why? There seems to a lot of passion involved. Is it the pure enjoyment of stirring the pot, listening to the ridiculous defenders of chiro? Why not just ignore it? These people LOVE to combat criticism, which is feeding beast.

    1. I think one aspect which grates rather is non-medically trained or qualified persons passing themselves off as medical professionals. Now tell me no true chiroprator would do such a thing…

  14. When I lived in Virginia, a chiropractor was in the local cycling club (he was a great cyclist, and nice guy). Some years passed, and I was out on a long ride. I stopped in the parking lot of a used car sales lot for a short break. The salesman on the lot was the ex-chiropractor. It sounds like a made-up story, but it’s not.

  15. It was nothing more than a quick comment via speech to text on my iPhone. And you can make of it exactly what it says. Many chiropractors love chiropractic but hate the profession.

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