The understanding the spine is somehow involved in health and wellness, in addition to the practice of utilizing manual manipulation as a way to obtain healing, dates back to the time of the ancient Greek philosophers. In fact, Hippocrates once said, “Get understanding of the back, for this is the requisite for several ailments.”
Modern chiropractic, however, indicates its beginnings in the late 1800s, when a Canadian living in the US, Daniel David Palmer, a self educated teacher and healer, performed the very first spinal manipulation on a patient.
That patient was Harvey Lillard, a janitor who worked in Palmer’s building. Lillard was almost totally deaf and mentioned to Palmer that he lost his hearing many years before when he was bending over and felt a “pop” in his upper back.
Palmer, who had been a practitioner of magnet therapy (a common therapy of the time) was fairly learned in physiology and incredibly interested in how a spine interacts with all the remainder of the entire body’s systems.
He found a difficulty with one of his vertebra and examined Lillard’s back. Palmer manipulated Lillard’s vertebra and an amazing event occurred—Lillard’s hearing was restored. Today, this process is referred to as a chiropractic adjustment.
Palmer soon found that alterations could alleviate patients’ pain as well as other symptoms. These problems with vertebrae are called chiropractic subluxations.
He started to use these “hand treatments” to treat many different ailments, including sciatica, migraine headaches, stomach complaints, epilepsy, and heart trouble. In 1898, he started the Palmer School & Infirmary in Davenport, Iowa, and began teaching his chiropractic techniques.
The medical community failed to immediately embrace techniques and Palmer’s chiropractic theories. The called him a “quack” and refused to recognize his achievements. At one point, Palmer spent time in jail because of his violation and was indicted for practicing medicine with no license.
Research has shown that Palmer was not the fish monger that was unlearned that some in the health care profession claim. An investigation of this library, which he quoted in his letters, showed that he was up to date in his knowledge at the turn of the 20th century. Obviously, his theories, in the light of 21st century knowledge, seem uneducated.
Today, chiropractors are licensed in most European countries, Canadian provinces, all the US states, Australia and New Zealand. There tend to be more than 50,000 practicing chiropractors in the US alone . Despite its North American roots, there are more chiropractic educational programs beyond North America.
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The information herein on "The History Of Chiropractic" is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional, or licensed physician, and is not medical advice. We encourage you to make your own healthcare decisions based on your research and partnership with a qualified healthcare professional.
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