The art of joint manipulation has been practiced for thousands of years. Hippocrates, The Father of Medicine (460-370 BC), describes manipulative procedures in his monumental work known as the Corpus Hippocrateum.
Other historical records indicate that the beneficial effects of spinal corrections have been recognized and utilized by health care providers in many societies even before the time of Socrates who advised, ‘If you would seek health, look first to the spine.’
Galen (130-202 AD) earned the title ‘Prince of Physicians’ when he relieved the paralysis of the right hand of Eudemas (a prominent Roman scholar) by careful manipulation of his neck.
During the Middle Ages, the art of manipulation was practiced by bonesetters. This art was passed from generation to generation and was practiced in most communities in Europe, North Africa, and Asia by practitioners who learned their skills by apprenticeship.
This photo, depicting neck manipulation, was copied from China as early as, 940 AD.
History of Dr. Daniel David Palmer – The Father of Chiropractic and Dr. Bartlett Joshua Palmer – The Developer of Chiropractic
“I have never considered it beneath my dignity to do anything to relieve human suffering”
On March 7, 1845 Daniel David Palmer was born in Port Perry Ontario. Though his childhood was unremarkable, David and his brother both demonstrated great intelligence by completing the equivalent of eighth grade by age 11 and 9 respectively.
The boys’ parents, Thomas and Catherine were forced to leave Canada in 1856 after the failure of Thomas’ grocery business. So, taking their four other children, the Palmers returned to the States and left David and Thomas J. in Port Perry. This put an end to the boys’ education and the two children went to work in Charles Frederick’s match factory. It is unclear whether the boys lived on their own at this time or with their grandparents, but either way, it was a difficult life for the boys.
In 1865, the boys decided to rejoin their family in the States. They had little money but managed to pay their way by working at a number of odd jobs. D.D. took a teaching position upon reaching Iowa and soon married for the first of five times. In the 1880s, D.D. became interested in spirituality and the works of Paul Caster, a magnetic healer. Theory behind magnetic healing proposed that a magnetic field surrounded the human body and minor illnesses could be cured by influencing this force. D.D. moved to Davenport Iowa in the late 1880s. By 1887, he was known as a vital healer and soon became popular enough to open a 14 room infirmary.
D.D. Palmer’s own words describing his magnetic healing practice…
“In 1886 I began as a business. Although I practiced under the name of magnetic, I did not slap or rub, as others. I questioned many M.D.s as to the cause of disease. I desired to know why such a person had asthma, rheumatism, or other afflictions. I wished to know what differences there were in two persons that caused one to have certain symptoms called disease which his neighbor living under the same conditions did not have…In my practice of the first 10 years which I named magnetic, I treated nerves, followed and relieved them of inflammation. I made many good cures, as many are doing today under a similar method.”
As the above quotation states, Palmer was interested in finding the true cause(s) of disease. He wanted to know why two people who lived in the same house, drank the same water, breathed the same air and often had the same parents, could have two dramatically different constitutions, one being healthy and free of disease and the other sickly. Palmer felt that there must be something other than environmental factors influencing an individuals health. His theory, was that this internal factor was the function of the nerve system. On September 18, 1895, D.D. Palmer would have the chance to prove his theory.
September 18, 1895
It is said that on this fateful day, a patient named Harvey Lillard came to see D.D. complaining that he had lost his hearing some 20 years earlier when he bent over and felt something in his back “give”. Palmer found a lump on Mr. Lillard’s back and felt that he could re-adjust Lillard’s spine with his hands to rid him of the bump.
D.D.’s account of the first spinal adjustment is as follows : “Harvey Lillard a janitor in the Ryan Block, where I had my office, had been so deaf for 17 years that he could not hear the racket of a wagon on the street or the ticking of a watch. I made inquiry as to the cause of his deafness and was informed that when he was exerting himself in a cramped, stooping position, he felt something give way in his back and immediately became deaf. An examination showed a vertebrae racked from its normal position. I reasoned that if the vertebra was replaced, the man’s hearing should be restored. With this object in view, a half-hour’s talk persuaded Mr. Lillard