The Birth of Chiropractic
On September 18th 1895, in Davenport Iowa in the States, the first Chiropractic adjustment was performed by Daniel David Palmer (DD Palmer). A partially deaf gentleman by the name of Harvey Lillard was examined and given an adjustment to his spine. Immediately after, Harvey reported that his hearing was restored (1)
A new field of natural healthcare emerged, which DD Palmer called Chiropractic. The word comes from the Greek words cheir (meaning 'hand') and praktos (meaning 'to do’'), i.e. Done by Hand.
Among his early students were Palmer’s son, Bartlett Joshua (BJ Palmer) and wife Mabel.1 BJ Palmer’s photo is on the wall at the end of the corridor at Lotus.
A prolific reader of all things scientific, DD Palmer realized that although various forms of manipulation had been used for hundreds if not thousands of years, no one had developed a philosophical or scientific rationale to explain their effects. Palmer’s major contribution to the health field was therefore the development of the philosophy, art and science of Chiropractic.
Chiropractic today is the 3rd largest primary healthcare profession in the world with more than 5000 chiropractors in Australia, seeing more than 300,000 people each week, offering a natural drug free hands-on approach to spinal healthcare (2).
Chiropractic has evolved through the years, though the philosophical principles of DD Palmer’s distinct healing profession are still the same as they were over 120 years ago.
Essentially, the body is self-healing and self regulating ( the body is designed to maintain balance or homeostasis and to heal itself).
The nervous system controls and coordinates every organ, cell and tissue of the body.
The vertebral column or spine protects the nervous system. Chiropractic focuses on the relationship between structure (primarily the vertebral column) and function (as coordinated by the nervous system) and how that relationship affects health (3).
Chiropractic adjustments are specifically controlled forces applied to spinal joints or anatomic areas with the intent of enhancing the body’s healing response. This response is postulated to be due to changes in joint mobility, muscle function and altered neurological reflexes in the spine and brain (4,5,6).
The principle common to all chiropractic theories is that spinal joint malfunction (termed ‘vertebral subluxation’) can adversely affect neurological function or optimal brain/body communication and processing (6)
Chiropractic adjustments aim to restore normal joint motion, reducing pain and abnormal muscle tone and improving neurological function through altered sensorimotor integration and appropriate motor control (central brain processing and motor function) (4,5,6). By improving and maintaining healthy spinal mechanics, overall body function may be enhanced, through better nerve connectivity and improved brain processing (5,6,7).