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A Glimpse Into the History of Chiropractic

The developer of the chiropractic profession was a prolific author. He wrote dozens of books for chiropractors and students, which collectively became known as, “The Green Books.”

I’d like to share with you a small portion of one of these texts from 1951, where Dr. Palmer sheds light on the global vision he had for chiropractic care during its infancy.

“We would establish a universal adjustment which would accomplish most possible results, to greatest number of vertebrate family, which could be applied in shortest possible time, to greatest range and variety of cases, from mildest to severe types, acute or chronic, with least inconvenience in time, labor or cost to patient and ourselves; that this adjustment must be simple  enough for layman and thereby great enough for savant. It was to be of that character that it could be used by majority of people the world over.”

Dr. Palmer was striving to create the most effective adjustment possible – one that could be delivered quickly and safely. He wanted it to be easy on the doctor, painless for the patient, and simple enough that any and everyone could understand it.

He worked tirelessly to improve adjusting methods, having devised over 206 of them during his lifetime. What I find most interesting about these methods is how each was an improvement upon its predecessor. When he found a flaw or limitation with a particular method, he corrected the error and moved onward, leaving the obsolete technique behind.

Evidence of this can be seen in the 27th volume he published, where he stated, “We would rather today know and use 1% of #206 than 100% of #205.”

When I first read this text as a fledgling chiropractic student, I remember thinking about how Palmer was passing us the baton, and how we should be picking up where he left off, not regressing or “reinventing the wheel” when it comes to the effectiveness of spinal adjusting.

This text fueled my desire to learn more about Upper Cervical Care (Palmer’s method of choice from 1934 until his death in 1961). It’s a little-known fact that Palmer left full-spine adjusting behind in the 1930’s and progressed onward to adjusting the upper neck exclusively for nearly three decades!

It’s something that always fascinated me, so I wanted to share this tiny glimpse of chiropractic history with you.