Happy 119th Birthday, Chiropractic!

It was 119 years ago that Daniel David (“D.D.”) Palmer tested his new theories on health and disease on the first chiropractic patient, Harvey Lillard, in Davenport, Iowa. D.D. had a very successful magnetic healing practice in Davenport at the time (magnetic healing did not use magnets, but was rather a form of bodywork/manipulation) and D.D. thought that health comes from within the body.

Harvey Lillard was the janitor of the Ryan Building, where D.D. kept his practice, and Mr. Lillard had complained to D.D. earlier that his hearing had almost completely left him many years earlier when he’d been stooped over in a small space.

Palmer examined Lillard and noted that there was an unusual prominency in Lillard’s spinal bones (vertebrae). Palmer’s new theory was that misalignments in the vertebrae negatively affect the transmission of information along the nerves, so he accepted Lillard as a test case.

Palmer gave Lillard the first chiropractic adjustment on Sept. 18, 1895, and Lillard exclaimed that he could hear the sound of the horses’ hooves on the street four stories below! If Lillard’s adjustment had caused no result, Palmer would’ve happily continued in his successful magnetic healing practice! Thanks to the perfect juxtaposition of events, however, Palmer started a new profession, called Chiropractic (from the Greek words for “done by hand”) that has helped millions and millions of people all over the world for 119 years.

Happy Birthday, Chiropractic!