Throughout history cultures have identified spinal manipulations, of one kind or another, as beneficial for function, health, and vitality. As far back as 460 – 385 B.C. Hippocrates, often referred to as the father of medicine, described a technique for treating scoliosis by the use of gravity to effect spinal manipulation1.
Since that time spinal manipulations have been used in cultures around the world; Balinese of Indonesia2; the Lomi-Lomi of Hawaii3-5; Japanese, China, and India6; Shamans of Central Asia7; the Sabodors in Mexico8; bone setters of Nepal9,10, Russia, and Norway11.
There is no doubt that throughout the span of human history spinal manipulations have been viewed as helpful. However, Chiropractic as we know it today, was founded by D.D. Palmer in 1895. D.D. Palmer was a natural doctor with a small practice in Davenport, Iowa. One evening he had a “chance” encounter with the janitor that cleaned his office, a deaf man by the name of Harvey Lillard. Through their encounter D.D. learned that Harvey was not born deaf, but had experienced a back injury 17 years earlier and had been deaf ever since. D.D. offered to examine Harvey and discovered an unusual prominence within the spinal column at the place Harvey indicated his original injury was.
Rationalizing that the prominence was a misaligned vertebra, and the result of the injury,
he decided to thrust on the vertebra in an attempt to bring it back into a normal position. Within 24 hours Harvey reported back to D.D. that he his hearing had been restored!
D.D. reasoned that because the nervous system controlled functions of the body, such as hearing, that if bones of the spine were out of place this would cause stress on the nerves that would not allow them to work. By restoring the proper placement of the spine, nerves were able to start working again, thus Harvey Lillard regained his hearing. D.D. referred to this theory as, “The Law of the Nerve”, and with this Chiropractic was born.