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Dr. Daniel David Palmer - The Father of Chiropractic

September 18th, is the anniversary of the first chiropractic adjustment and the birth of the chiropractic profession. DD Palmer gave the first adjustment to Harvey Lillard in 1895 in Davenport Iowa along side the Mississippi River. DD Palmer was himself a colorful figure. During his lifetime, Palmer would be a school teacher, a farmer--developing a new variety of raspberry, which he called "Sweet Home"--a grocer and eventually practicing as a "Magnetic Healer" in Davenport for a number of years prior to founding chiropractic.

Magnetic healing had nothing to do with magnets. Rather it was a cross between massage and meridian therapies--which is based upon the concepts of acupuncture and Chinese medicine. Magnetic healing rose up as an alternative to main stream medicine at the end of the Civil War. In 1895 it was still common for medical doctors to use blood letting as a method for curing disease.

DD Palmer was practicing magnetic healing when the first chiropractic patient Harvey Lillard entered his office. Palmers own accounts of that historic event are as follows. "Harvey Lillard a janitor in the Ryan Block, where I had my office, had been so deaf for 17 years that he could not hear the racket of a wagon on the street or the ticking of a watch. I made inquiry as to the cause of his deafness and was informed that when he was exerting himself in a cramped, stooping position, he felt something give way in his back and immediately became deaf. An examination showed a vertebrae racked from its normal position. I reasoned that if the vertebra was replaced, the man's hearing should be restored. With this object in view, a half-hour's talk persuaded Mr. Lillard to allow me to replace it. I racked it into position by using the spinous process as a lever and soon the man could hear as before. There was nothing "accidental" about this, as it was accomplished with an object in view, and the result expected was obtained. There was nothing "crude" about this adjustment; it was specific, so much so that no Chiropractor has equaled it."