Wikipedia defines father as “the male parent of a child. Besides the paternal bonds of a father to his children, the father may have a parental, legal, and social relationship with the child that carries with it certain rights and obligations.” However, in today’s world, the concept of fatherhood has evolved to encompass various meanings. Father figures, for instance, play a vital role in the lives of children they care for, even if they don’t share a biological connection. These nurturing individuals provide a valuable role model and create a supportive environment for the children they embrace.
Moreover, there exists another type of father—the father of a movement. Mahatma Gandhi, renowned for leading the non-violent power movement, exemplifies this understanding of “father.” In this context, the term acknowledges a man who symbolizes a movement, an organization, or a community, carrying immense significance and influence.
In essence, the definition of fatherhood extends beyond mere biology or legalities. It encompasses the diverse roles and responsibilities fulfilled by individuals who provide guidance, support, and inspiration, whether in the context of family or as leaders of transformative movements.
Who was D.D. Palmer?
For the chiropractic profession, that father was Daniel David, (D.D.) Palmer. The father of chiropractic was born in Ontario, Canada in 1845 and relocated to Davenport, Iowa in the United States in 1865.
Before working strictly as a chiropractor, D.D. Palmer was a schoolteacher. The industrious schoolteacher was also a beekeeper, a self-taught healer, also believed in a variety of alternative techniques, including magnetic healing and other modalities.
Dr. Palmer the Healer
Palmer’s theory of chiropractic centered around the belief that nearly all diseases could be attributed to “subluxations”. Subluxations are conditions whereby one or more of the bones in the spine have moved out of position, creating pressure on spinal nerves interfering with the flow of nerve impulses between the brain and the body. Palmer was ahead of his time in understanding healing and the body and studied it extensively. He postulated that this approach to healing was divinely inspired and sought to share it with the world.
The First Chiropractic Adjustment
William Harvey Lillard was said to be the first chiropractic patient. Lillard worked as a janitor and cleaned the building where D.D. Palmer’s office was located. Seventeen years prior to that first adjustment in 1895, Lillard had experienced profound hearing loss when, while working in a cramped, stooped position, he felt something pop in his spine and then immediately noticed a loss of hearing. It is said that he sought the advice of many doctors over the course of several years, but none were able to help him, and he eventually gave up on ever regaining his hearing.
Palmer believed he could help Lillard and did his best to convince him to allow Palmer to perform a chiropractic adjustment on him. Harvey eventually agreed, and D.D. performed the adjustment, which restored Harvey’s hearing.
Palmer conducted extensive research into the physiology he believed was associated with Lillard’s hearing loss and determined it was due to a misalignment in the spine that blocked nerves controlling the inner ear. So he simply moved the bone back into place with a very specific adjustment.
Dr. Palmer went on to successfully treat other patients and eventually trained other practitioners how to do the same. In 1897 D.D. opened the first School of Chiropractic in Davenport, Iowa. It was called Palmer Chiropractic School & Cure.
Sometime after receiving his chiropractic treatment, Harvey Lillard shared in an interview that he had received two adjustments from D.D. Palmer and that his hearing was still very much restored some eight months later. Over the years, other chiropractors have reported success in healing hearing loss based on Lillard’s case. Many of these have been documented (though not all types of hearing loss can be improved with chiropractic care.)
The Art, Science, and Philosophy of Chiropractic
Where does the word chiropractic come from? The origin of the word can be traced back to two Greek words, “cheir” and “praktikos” which when combined, means “done by hand.”
According to Gray’s Anatomy, known as the “bible of anatomy,” “The nervous system controls and coordinates all the other organs and structures, and relates the individual to his environment.” (1) Since the nervous system controls everything in the body, any interference diminishes the body’s ability to function, heal and repair. Subluxations disrupt the messages from the brain to the body leading to dysfunction. Dysfunction over time leads to disease. Chiropractic adjustments reconnect the brain to the body, thus improving function.
Because chiropractic is so effective for the relief of spinal issues without the use of drugs or surgery, chiropractic is often relegated to resolving neck or back pain, but it is much more than that. For more than one hundred years, chiropractic has been widely used to restore the integrity of the nervous system and thus allowing the body to function and heal at a higher level. Chiropractic focuses on the body’s natural ability to heal, also called innate. According to D.D. Palmer, “Innate is a segment of the All-Wise; Educated is an offspring of innate, a servant for its lifetime only. Educated continues with and lasts as long as life exists; Innate is eternal, always was and always will be.”
From D.D. Palmer to MaxLiving
While D.D. Palmer is considered the father of chiropractic, his son, B.J. Palmer is considered the developer of chiropractic. B.J. carried on his father’s legacy and is infamous for his commitment to the profession. One of his most famous quips which sums up chiropractic philosophy perfectly is, “While other professions are concerned with changing the environment to suit the weakened body, chiropractic is concerned with strengthening the body to suit the environment.”
Palmer put forth that there were three causes of subluxations, trauma, thoughts, and toxins. This has been the basis for the philosophy of chiropractic for over a century. Fast forward to today where MaxLiving has stayed true to these “3 T’s” with their 5 Essentials. Core Chiropractic, Maximized Mind, Maximized Nutrition, Maximized Oxygen, and Minimized Toxins.
Is there any science behind chiropractic? There are reputable, scientific, sources such as The Journal of Chiropractic Manual Therapy¹ have demonstrated that chiropractic has significant benefits as reported by many patients. More importantly, chiropractic does not seek to cure anything but rather seeks to remove interference to allow the body to function optimally. After all, when in proper balance, the body can heal itself.
¹ Hugh MacPherson, Elizabeth Newbronner, Ruth Chamberlain, Ann Hopton. Patients’ experiences and expectations of chiropractic care: a national cross-sectional survey. Chiropr Man Therap. 2015; 23: 3. Published online 2015 Jan 16. doi: 10.1186/s12998-014-0049-0.