D.D. Palmer in 1895 was a "Magnetic Healer", practising in Davenport Iowa, USA. I guess
that meant that he either put magnets on people for curative purposes or that he used the
magnetic qualities of the hands to induce a similar effect. Either way, we could say of him
by today's standards that he was involved in a form of "natural" therapy.
D.D. Palmer had his consulting rooms in downtown Davenport. On September 18th 1895,
D.D. and some of the other tenants of the building were talking in the corridor, when
janitor, Harvey Lillard walked past. According to Lillard's grand daughter, one of the group
called out to Lillard to join the group for a social chat, but being deaf, he just kept on
One of the group ran after Lillard and brought him back to the group, where he was asked
how he had became deaf.
He related that 17 years prior, he was in a confined space where he was bent over and
twisted while trying to lift a heavy object. He said that his spine went snap, and a very
short time later he lost most of his hearing.
D.D.Palmer thought about this for a few days and the found Harvey Lillard and put it to
him that if his spine went snap and he lost his hearing, then maybe if the spine was
snapped back into place that he may get his hearing back.
Lillard figured he had little to lose and everything to gain, and with that in mind, he allowed
Palmer to, as Palmers notes put it wracked the spinal segment back into place.
Lillard got off the bench walked over to the window and opened it. He found he could hear
normally again. This was to be the very first Chiropractic adjustment.
A short time later, a religious pastor, came to Palmer saying that he had been diagnosed
with heart disease. He had been to the medical people and was still unwell in spite of their
Palmer had time to ponder the changes he brought about in Lillard, and he thought that
the only way that Lillard had got his hearing back was that the manipulation had taken
pressure off the nerve to allow the nerve to function normally. Using the same logic, he
reasoned that he would check the parts of the spine from where the nerves come out of
the spine and go to the heart, to see if there was any impingement on those joints. Palmer
palpated (felt) the spine in those areas and found a stuck place and manipulated it back
Within a month the Reverend Weed was so happy with the results, that he made up a
name for this new treatment. He called it "Chiropractic", from the greek words, cheiros
meaning hand and prakticos to do or perform. Chiropractic for many, many years was in
fact only "performed by hand".
D.D Palmer started teaching his new healing method of Chiropractic in 1896 eventually
calling his school "The Palmer School of Chiropractic", later called the "Palmer College of
Chiropractic", from where I graduated, It is still now graduating more chiropractors now on
3 campuses than any other single organisation world wide.
So at the heart of the chiropractic is manipulati
on of the spine. This even in 1895 was not
a new or novel thing. Manipulation for stuck and painful joints has gone on for at least
2500 years. There are statues depicting manipulation dating from Egyptian, Greek and
Roman times as well as in ancient Asia.