Chiropractor Unity Lewis
by Mrs Blythe Harrison
My sister, Unity Allsopp was born in Pietermartizburg, South Africa in 1921. Our father Professor Herbert Allsopp was strongly into alternative medicine. I do not remember seeing a doctor all my childhood. Colds and sore-throats etc were treated with a fruit diet and honey. So called 'Nature cure'. The tonsils should not be removed as they were nature 'clean-up' organs, and when infected were mopping up toxins. Germs was a bad word, and of course there are indeed far more positive bacteria than damaging ones. Much of what appears in popular magazines today, would make our father nod and chuckle that people having learnt, at last!!
Also we were not inoculated or vaccinated. Partly for health reasons, but also the serum was in those days obtained from infections on a live calf's belly. We were vegetarians and anti-vivesection of course, part of the picture.
So the atmosphere to look for therapies that could treat the nervous system from outside the body would have been a small jump away.
THEN--- there is an incident which must have been of importance in Unity's life. It certainly was in mine. At a picnic when I was about 7 years old, I slipped off a branch of a tree and fell over a metre on to my back on round boulders. I was really hurt, and can remember crawling to get through a barb-wire fence to Dad. Some days later my leg swelled up and I had real difficulty walking. Surgery would have been a very foreign option, and I was taken to the only practitioner in Pietermaritzburg - an Osteopath. I was carried in and walked out! That bit I can remember clearly. Of course it took days to recover and several weeks of treatment. The man was an American, I can't remember his name, I'm afraid, and he used the term 'ok' which was a bit frowned upon as silly slang! I do not really know if Unity was very aware of all this, but I think she must have been, and it certainly influenced my parents and ---- ??
Unity matriculated early as we all did as we went to school straight into Std 1-- having been given 'Infant classes' at home. Our mother May Allsopp was a qualified Infant teacher. So Unity went to University for a year - till she was 18, and then embarked on the trip to America. She went with another 'Maritzburg student-- Sheila Galthorpe--- who was considerably older, and was to be 'supportive'. (Sheila after training risked a boat return during the war and was torpedoed and spent many many days in an open boat, where only some survived. I don't know what came of her.