By Judy Soborowicz DC CCN, Active Health Chiropractic and Nutrition
The Chiropractic Profession is celebrating 125 years since the first adjustment was given by founder DD Palmer in Davenport, IA. The first chiropractic patient, Harvey Lillard, was a partially deaf janitor whose hearing improved significantly following the adjustments. Doctor Palmer had established a unique theory about the nature of disease and emphasized the role of the patient’s body in healing from within which he called “Innate Intelligence.” Palmer asserted that Innate Intelligence coordinates and controls all activity via the brain and spinal cord through the nerves along the spine. Palmer’s theory was unique, as it emphasized the essential role of the nervous system in creating the conditions for the body to heal from within.
DD Palmer founded the Palmer School of Chiropractic in 1897 and many of the early graduates were medical doctors. However, with interest in the profession growing and rights to practice becoming an issue, chiropractors recognised the need to form an association.
Though licensure did not exist for chiropractic in each state, many chiropractic doctors were arrested and sent to jail for practicing without a license. The early association prevailed in establishing chiropractic as a separate and unique health profession, which led to licensure for chiropractic in each state. Many families experienced greater health as a result of chiropractic care, and large chiropractic clinics and hospitals were opened all across the country. One such clinic in Mount Horeb, WI was founded in 1964 by Clarence Gonstead who established the Gonstead method of chiropractic care. Patients traveled from all over the world to be treated at the Gonstead clinic, and many recovered from seemingly hopeless health conditions.
Advances in science over the past 125 years have led to greater understanding of the theory DD Palmer illuminated, and the unique principle of chiropractic has stood the test of time. While many people think of chiropractic as back pain care, the chiropractic approach is actually concerned with the tone of the delicate nervous system in relation to the protective bony structures of the body. The nerve system is mostly encased in the bony structures of our skeletal system, injuries and insults over time cause irritation leading to loss of optimal nerve tone, and chiropractic adjustments restore tone. Altered nerve tone can be caused by slips, falls, auto accidents, walking problems, scoliosis, even the birth process itself. Healing results are often complex, as the nervous system controls and coordinates everything that happens in the body, and restoring nerve tone initiates powerful responses.
People who are new to chiropractic are often seeking drug-free or surgery-free help for neck or back pain, and are delighted to find additional health benefits occur. A seven year review of over 70,000 chiropractic patients showed a 60.2% decrease in hospital admissions, 59% fewer days in hospital, 62% fewer outpatient surgeries and procedures, and 85% less pharmaceutical cost (JMPT 2007). For 125 years, chiropractic patients have experienced that it is possible to attain a new result by actively moving toward health and optimizing the power of Innate Intelligence.