On this date in 1895, in Davenport Iowa, a janitor named Harvey Lillard was working in D.D. Palmer’s office. D.D. had been many things, but held a passion for anatomy, physiology, and looking at what made people sick. He had an office in downtown Davenport and was practicing as a magnetic healer. This was a form of laying on of hands, and may have been similar to what we know as Reiki today.
Harvey was hard of hearing and told Palmer that he had been that way for several years after he had lifted something heavy and felt a ‘pop’ in his back. Palmer had Lillard lie down on his table and felt along his spine. We don’t know exactly what Palmer had found, but he described it as a “bone out of place”. He thrust into that bone and “reset it”. Within a couple of days, Lillard’s hearing had returned, and a healing profession was born.
Palmer noted the relationship of the spine with the nerve system, (i.e. spinal cord) and said that Lillard’s hearing returned because he removed the interference of the nerves to the ear that was caused by the bones of the spine. He called his new science ‘chiropractic’ which means “performed by hand” and began treating people with all sorts of conditions by adjusting the spine. People came from all over to be treated by Palmer and his new technique.
Actually there was nothing new about adjusting the spine as people had been doing it for centuries. But this was the first time that someone related the spine to the health of the nerve system.
Palmer wanted to keep the technique to himself, as was quite common for doctors at that time, but his son, B.J., felt that the world needed this healing modality. He founded the Palmer School of Chiropractic in Davenport. And, the rest is history.
Today, there are thousands of chiropractors around the world treating thousands of people every day. Chiropractic is the largest natural healing profession in the world, and the second largest healing profession next to the MD’s. And this is all because one man had his hearing restored on a hot afternoon in 1895.
Happy birthday chiropractic!