Journal of Longevity:Article


Dr. Perry Cover Story

Journal of Longevity


Dr. LeRoy Perry:
Providing Health and
Wellness to Some Famous Friends


On April 20, we celebrated the birthday of our esteemed and longtime member of the Journal’s advisory board, Dr. LeRoy Perry.
by Judith Plowden

LeRoy Perry, D.C., C.Ped., has been called a Renaissance man, a modern-day
Hippocrates, and a Leonardo da Vinci of our time. And you’ll see why, from his
truly impressive array of talents and accomplishments that identify him as an
inventive thinker and doer.

As a chiropractor and innovator in sports science, Dr. Perry has designed many healing therapies as well as special exercise equipment. His inventions are an integral part of patient care at the West Los Angeles–based International Sportscience Institute (ISI), of which he is the president and founder.

Dr. Perry was the first chiropractor to serve as an official Olympic team doctor, and did so five times. He has treated athletes from more than 45 countries, and during the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, South Korea, NBC featured a report on his work. He has won many civic awards, including the Los Angeles Press Club’s Headlines Award in 1983. In 1995, Los Angeles Magazine named him “Best Chiropractor in Los Angeles.”

Presently, he donates his time as chairman of the Sports Science and Medical Advisory Board for America’s Schools Program, a national recycling initiative that raises money for education. Of this project, Dr. Perry says, “President John F. Kennedy was right in saying that our children are our future. We must help our children now.”

Dame Elizabeth Taylor’s Birthday Greetings:
“Dearest Lee, I love you very much and thank you with all of my heart for
everything you have done for me—for so many years and always
with such compassion.”

With cofounder Wilt Chamberlain, Dr. Perry also created the Foundation for
Athletic Research and Education, an organization that teaches athletes how to
enhance performance through proper diet, exercise, and biomechanics. “Sports
science is really an art dependent on science,” he says. “The thinking process
of a sports scientist is very much the same as a forensic detective. We are trained to look for health clues.”

Raising Awareness With Help From Hollywood

By drawing positive media coverage to his work, Dr. Perry has succeeded in
raising public awareness of chiropracticand sports medicine. For example, in her
book Elizabeth Takes Off, Elizabeth Taylor describes her experiences working
with Dr. Perry on her posture, walking,and therapeutic exercises.

And in Shirley MacLaine’s book Dance While You Can, the actress writes
about how Dr. Perry helped rehabilitate her; in fact, she even dedicated the book to him. While performing at the Pantages Theatre in Los Angeles, Shirley severely
injured her knee. She had to have surgery and was told she would never dance again. Dr. Perry, who believes and sees what others call “impossible,” had Shirley dancing within five weeks. She also told the Journal that when she was having problems with her neck at home in New Mexico, “Lee is the only doctor who would travel that distance. He has always been there for his patients and always will be.”

George Hamilton, a patient and friend of Dr. Perry’s for many years, agrees. He
told the Journal, “Lee has an inventor’s mind and healing hands.”

Dixie Carter, of the successful TV series Designing Women, maintains her
health by relying on the wisdom of Dr. Perry. The actress told the Journal, “Dr.
Perry’s knowledge and skill are unparalleled. He has no agenda other than what is best for his patients; and we, his patients, receive 100% of his gifts.”

In addition to being featured on the cover of Good Earth magazine with
Mariel Hemingway, Dr. Perry also shared a scene with her in the film Personal Best, working with screenwriter and director Robert Towne. His other movie appearances include Truth or Dare (1991) with Madonna and Born Yesterday (1993) with Don Johnson, Melanie Griffith, and John Goodman. Dr. Perry also received special thanks in the credits for Clan of the Cave Bear (1986), starring Daryl Hannah; Dick Tracy (1990) and Bulworth (1998), both starring Warren Beatty; and The 13th Warrior (1999), starring Antonio Banderas.

Chiropractics Increasingly Popular

Once scorned by the medical establishment, chiropractic treatment has
become quite respected, and many members of the chiropractic profession today feel that this is significantly due to Dr. Perry’s efforts. Chiropractic care is for athletes and nonathletes alike, including people who are experiencing age-related challenges. “The reason chiropractic has become mainstream today,” Dr. Perry says, “is because it works.” He often quotes Thomas Edison, who said, “The doctor of the future will give no medicine, but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, in diet, and in the cause and prevention of disease.” Dr. Perry believes that chiropractic doctors are the doctors of the future. “We are nondrug, nutrition-oriented, biomechanical practitioners.” Having been a doctor for 33 years, Dr. Perry adds, “What Thomas Edison did not say was that the doctors of the future will only truly change the future of mankind if they are communicating and working together. No one profession has all the answers. I have colleagues in many specialties and we all work together to help our patients. That is one of the reasons I like sports science. It is a team approach with one goal: to enhance the potential of the human body.”

Treating and Teaching Patients

Above all, particularly given Americans’ worsening health today, Dr.
Perry’s therapy offers a welcome approach: self-help. He and his colleagues
at ISI focus on educating patients as much as treating them. In this, Dr. Perry echoes the words of Hippocrates, one of the world’s earliest doctors, who wrote, “A doctor should be a teacher.”

ISI offers many unique therapies. Dr. Perry combines the best of ancient traditions, such as yoga and acupuncture, with modern technology, including magnetic resonance therapy and enhanced external counter pulsation (EECP), a noninvasive, FDA-approved treatment for cardiovascular problems. ISI works closely with physicians and medical specialists from many hospitals in the Los Angeles area, particularly Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Century City Hospital, St. John’s Hospital, and UCLA Medical Center.

Joe Weider’s Birthday Greetings:
“LeRoy, I respect you and love you and wish you all the very best that life can bring, always!”

Hydrokinetic Spinal Distraction

The average patient comes to Dr.Perry’s Institute because of back problems and often has concerns about spinal alignment. Of course, this is a major area where chiropractic adjustment can generally help. But people from all over the world come to ISI to learn about a specific therapy Dr. Perry invented. Known as hydrokinetic spinal distraction, this method involves being suspended in a pool with flotation devices and weights to decompress the spine. Dr. Perry says, “This technique reduces the need for long-term spinal care. It is extremely helpful for scoliosis, herniated or bulging discs, sciatica, arthritis, and other spinal disorders.”

Healing Ions and Ultrasound

For certain inflammatory injuries and chronic conditions, Dr. Perry administers
a fascinating procedure called iontophoresis, during which a galvanic current
is used to drive specially formulated healing ions into the inflamed tissue. This is
followed by phonophoresis, the use of ultrasound.

Dr. Perry learned the special technique at the 1976 Olympics. Although it is a time-consuming therapy, more and more patients prefer it to painful cortisone injections.

People of all ages are attracted to Dr. Perry’s ISI and Athletic Club. Lately, he
has seen an increase in younger patients, especially those who spend long hours
in front of computers. Dr. Perry sees many former athletes, who often have
degenerative arthritic problems in their later years due to accumulative impact
and stress. Remarkably, Dr. Perry’s Athletic Club is also attracting new
members in their 60s, 70s, and 80s, who enjoy working out under the supervision
of a private trainer.

Same Personal Treatment as a Pro Athlete

At Dr. Perry’s Athletic Club, members can receive the same personalized
training as Olympic and professional athletes. Dr. Bob Delmonteque, another
well-known member of the Journal’s advisory board, has been a patient of Dr.
Perry’s for 30 years, and Joe Weider, the founder and publisher of Muscle &
Fitness magazine, has been going there for 20 years. They both give Dr. Perry’s
Athletic Club high praise, and it is even the primary photo location for Muscle &
Fitness. Dr. Delmonteque told the Journal that Dr. Perry’s “ideals and
methods in the health and fitness industry have gained great respect from physicians and health care specialists around the world.” He goes on to say that Dr. Perry “is the best.”

Joe Weider calls Dr. Perry “a giant of a man” whose “knowledge and loyalty
are endless.” He says he has known Dr. Perry “for over 20 years and each of
these years has been a great pleasure.

Any one who is fortunate enough to be in contact with him will know what a
good friend should be.”

Exercising His Inventive Side

As an inventor, Dr. Perry holds 12 patents. His inventions include the
PerryBand™, an exercise system known as a “complete gym in a bag” that is
used by athletes all over the world; the Dr. Perry Posture Lift Mattress; his
Happy Back Seat Cushions; his Home Cervical Traction System, Cervical
Pillows, and Cervical Collars for neck health; and his adjustable Bad Back
Supports with ice packs, which are very popular with back-pain sufferers
and laborers. In addition, he developed the Universal Scissors/Shears for sports
medicine, which are used by NASA, the military, and police and fire departments.
He also designed the seat for the Budweiser Rocket Car owned by movie
director Hal Needham. In this car, professional stuntman Stan Barrett broke
the sound barrier in 1979, clocking in at 739.6 mph on the NASA shuttle landing
strip at Edwards Air Force Base. Following his passion for speed and
drag-racing motorcycles, Dr. Perry also designed a supercharger for Harley
Davidson Motorcycles.

Of all of his inventions, Dr. Perry’s Invertabod has perhaps gained the most media attention around the world. This upside-down A-frame device is used to stretch and strengthen back and abdominal muscles in order to decompress the spine and help relieve back pain. Dr. Perry was featured in LIFE magazine alongside Jane Fonda, who was shown suspended from the Invertabod. He also appeared in City Sports Magazine with Jack Nicholson and Wilt Chamberlain (this time, it was Wilt hanging upside down on his invention!).

Focus on Foot Health

Working with athletes gave Dr. Perry a special interest in the biomechanics of
the foot. But it wasn’t until 1991, while working with Nikki Haire, a backup
singer/dancer on Madonna’s Blond Ambition Tour, that he put his skills to the
test. An accident had left Nikki unable to dance, as she had torn all of the ligaments in her ankle. Every orthopedist she consulted wanted to operate, which would have jeopardized her spot on the tour. However, Dr. Perry used a technique
called functional taping, which mimics the support of the tendons, ligaments, and
muscles of the ankle. Then, with the help of master shoemaker Pasqual Di Fabrizio, he designed a stabilizing shoe with special ankle support that, in combination with his taping technique, allowed Nikki to dance. With the help of Dr. Perry’s special shoe, she never missed a performance. In fact, Madonna liked the functionality and fashionable design so much that she ordered a pair for herself and the other backup singer/dancer on the tour.

George Hamilton’s Birthday Greetings:
“Lee, so many friends have been helped by you—you’re like a bridge
over troubled waters for all of us. May your health be as good as the health of everyone you’ve helped!”

Dr. Perry says, “We feel foot health is extremely important. Patients who don’t
walk correctly or have improper alignment of their feet are more likely to experience knee, hip, and back pain, which could lead to degenerative conditions such as arthritis. All this could have been prevented with proper education on foot health.”

Feet Are the Body’s Foundation

Recognizing this, Dr. Perry studied at the Eneslow Pedorthic Institute in association with the NewYork Podiatric School of Medicine and became a nationally certified pedorthist—that is, a specialist in shoe anatomy, design, and function, as well as foot biomechanics. “Just remember, your feet and the shoes you wear are the foundation of your body,” Dr. Perry advises. “If they are unstable, it starts a chain reaction creating compensatory stress. Be kind to your feet and wear the correct shoes; make sure you have enough room, good arch support, and overall stability!”

When Dr. Perry heard reports of U.S. soldiers suffering from ankle, knee, hip,
and back injuries, he applied his stabilizing shoe concept to military gear. He realized that he could help soldiers reduce stress on their joints from the impact of walking, running, and jumping by designing a special “propulsive sole” to enhance the push-off phase of movement. His design is also useful for police officers, firefighters, and anyone concerned with reducing the impact of walking, which Dr. Perry calls “another reason we have so many arthritic problems with backs, hips, and knee joints.”

Propelling the Foot

By propelling the foot, Dr. Perry’s shoe design not only protects the joints,
but also helps lift the body upward, thereby strengthening the buttocks, abdomen, and upper back while reinforcing proper postural alignment. Both men and women who have worn his propulsive-soled shoes report that they feel younger and taller, have more spring in their step, and move with less effort.

Dr. Perry has written feature articles for a variety of magazines and other publications, including Muscle & Fitness, Parade, and Reader’s Digest. While
working with Glamour magazine on an article about high-heeled shoes, Dr. Perry
realized that no matter how much pain or discomfort these shoes may cause, many women are willing to suffer for the sake of fashion. He therefore decided to adapt his propulsive-sole concept for high heels, with great success. Dr. Perry is in the process of applying for patents on his propulsive shoes in numerous styles and applications and hopes to introduce them to the market next year.

Fuel for the Body

While therapeutic exercises offer many health benefits, Dr. Perry also
emphasizes the importance of good nutrition— that is, supplying the proper fuel for the body’s metabolic processes. He believes that most people don’t drink enough water, and he is currently finishing a book that will explain the vital
importance of adequate water intake. He also advocates a pro-alkaline diet and is
a great believer in antioxidants and omega-3 fish oils.

Health Enhancement Programs

ISI offers one-day, weekend, and oneweek health enhancement seminars titled
“Beyond Exercise and Therapy” that teach people how to help themselves.
These programs are especially helpful for people with chronic back problems. Free, one-hour lectures are available to the public on many self-help topics, including weight management and exercises to strengthen the back and abdominal muscles. In addition, Dr. Bradley Frederick teaches Satori classes, which include a unique combination of relaxation and stress management techniques. The goal of each ISI program is to promote maximum fitness, health, and happiness.

Dr. Perry says, “Challenges are life’s opportunities.
You are never too young or too old to learn to help yourself.”

Help Yourself

With a few important lifestyle changes, you can improve your body’s potential and
your quality of life. But, as Dr. Perry emphasizes, it starts with you.Above all, his
style of sports science and chiropractic treatment is one that empowers the patient. “You are never too young or too old to learn to help yourself,” he says.
“It just takes good coaching and your participation.”


  International Sportscience Institute™
International Sportmedicine Institute™
3283 Motor Avenue West,
Los Angeles, CA 90034 •(310)559-6900

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