In 1895, the world was in the middle of the second industrial revolution, also known as the “Technological Revolution,” marked by innovation and creativity. Healthcare was emerging from the practice of “heroic medicine,” which consisted of induced vomiting, sweating, bloodletting, intestinal purging and the use of leeches.
In 1859 Louis Pasteur (1822 – 1895) was at the top of his game. During this time period, he discovered the rabies vaccine, pasteurization, and his famous “germ theory,” stating that germs were the cause of diseases and that they could be prevented. It was also at this time that Charles Darwin (1809 – 1882) published his book on natural selection. German bacteriologist Robert Koch (1843 – 1910) became famous for isolating Robert Kochanthrax (1877), tuberculosis (1882), cholera (1883) and for his development of Koch’s Koch postulates that showed the relationship between microbe and disease. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology of Medicine for his tuberculosis findings in 1905. In 1875, Dr. Andrew Taylor Still, discouraged with the cruel and abusive nature of medicine, opened The American School of Osteopathy in Kirksville, Missouri, which featured magnetic healing and bone setting. It was also during this period, 1886, that Daniel David Palmer (1845–1913) opened his magnetic healing office in Davenport, Iowa. Magnetic healing was a cross between massage and meridian therapies, which are based upon the concepts of acupuncture and Chinese medicine. Magnetic healing rose up as an alternative to mainstream medicine at the end of the civil war.
D.D. Palmer was interested in finding the true cause(s) of disease. He wanted to know why two people who lived in the same house, drank the same water, breathed the same air and often had the same parents, could have two dramatically different constitutions, one being healthy and free of disease and the other sickly.
On September 18, 1895 D.D. Palmer gave his first chiropractic adjustment to one Harvey Lillard. Palmer is quoted as saying, “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 Harvey Lillard that if that 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.”
Rev. Samuel Weed is credited for defining the term “chiropractic” by combining the Greek word cheiros and parktikos meaning “done by hand.” In 1896 D.D. Palmer, considered the “Father of Chiropractic” added a school to his magnetic healing infirmary, and began to teach others his method. This school would go on to become known as Palmer College of Chiropractic.
In 1906 Palmer was imprisoned for practicing medicine without a license. After his release he traveled, spreading his theory on chiropractic. It was during this time that Palmer’s son, Bartlett Joshua Palmer (1881-1961) took over Palmer School of Chiropractic and went on to become known as “The Developer of Chiropractic.”
In 1915, B.J. Palmer proposed the concept of “Major Subluxation,” which he stated that, “Displacements of spinal segments cause deterioration of the innate self healing power of the body.” He later went on to establish the “Hole in One Theory” where he theorized that there was only one major subluxation in the body and it was almost always found in the upper cervical spine at C-1, also called the atlas vertebra. Palmer developed the Toggle Recoil Technique, which was specifically for adjusting the atlas.
In 1913, Kansas became the first state to issue a chiropractic license and Louisiana the last to license chiropractic in 1974.
Atlas Orthogonality was developed by Dr. Roy Sweat, a 1950 graduate of Palmer College of Chiropractic. He took Dr. B.J. Palmer’s pioneering work to another level. The Atlas Orthogonal treatment method is the “pinnacle of scientific development and precision in the field of chiropractic atlas correction.”
In 1970, Dr. Sweat designed the first Atlas Orthogonal Percussion Adjusting Instrument and over the years has developed a series of seven different models.
In 1981, he created the Atlas Orthogonal Post-Doctoral Certification Program – a series of specialized educational seminars that provide the doctors an in depth understanding of Atlas Orthogonality and its clinical importance and patient benefit. Dr. Sweat has written several books on the Atlas and has over 30 published articles. He has also designed specialized X-ray equipment and is working to develop a computerized X-ray analysis program. Dr. Sweat is an associate professor at Life Chiropractic College in Marietta, Georgia and is associated with their research program. Dr. Sweat’s programs have been presented to and endorsed by C.H. Suh, Ph. D. of the University of Colorado. He is listed in the Who’s Who under Leading Professionals & Executives.
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