His Life
Who were the Palmers of Davenport, Iowa, USA?
The man who discovered
chiropractic was Daniel David Palmer (The Founder, "DD"). He did so in 1895.

His son was Bartlett Joshua Palmer (The Developer, "BJ") whom this web site is about.
BJ and his wife Mabel had a son "Dave" Palmer (The Educator). The history is fascinating, well documented and would make an exceptional Hollywood saga if any film maker would care to see the amazing relevance to the history of healing in America, and globally.


There is some wonderful history at the Palmer College site where these photos come from.

Still living today is Ms. Vicki Palmer, Daughter of Dave Palmer, who chairs Palmer College of Chiropractic. During my time there from 1994-7, it was a magical place to learn.
Here is a picture of me, Lyn Stewart and Vicki on Founders day 1995, one hundred years to the day after the first adjustment, signing my picture of the Ryan Building; site of the first chiropractic adjustment.

palmer college

In my office I have following images: a bust of DD, and above it a painting of his son, BJ, who developed upper cervical adjusting, and a picture of me with my teacher Roy W. Sweat of Atlanta, Georgia, USA. I explain to patients that this is my lineage of tutelage; from DD right to me in 4 generations.

I also keep images of other healers as inspiration. It so happens that DD Palmer was interested in healing, and the science and anatomy surrounding such issues. Basically he asked the question why one man got sick, and his counterpart, working at the same bench, did not. He had an extensive grounding in the science of the day, but also in his interest in the human spirit. Allegedly, and to the dismay of some, Palmer alleged that he got the gift of chiropractic from a spiritual source. He tried it on the spine of 17-years-deaf janitor Mr. Harvey Lillard on September 17, 1895 and made history when his hearing returned in three days.

BJ later attested that the atlas, or C1 vertebra, at the top of the neck was the only one that could sufficiently be "subluxated" enough to affect the flow of mental impulses from the brain and block bodily information returning, like a safety pin cycle of nerve electricity. He loved electrical analogies, unlike his rivals the (somewhat similar profession) osteopaths who spoke much about circulation as the primary system. The medical men also seemed to worship the heart, practically and poetically, as the major influence after Harvey described the circulatory system. After all, it's not very romantic to say "I love you with all my electrical mental impulses".

BJ also developed a system of spinography to depict images of the relationship of the atlas to the skull and the rest of the body below. He devised a marvellously disciplined art, science and philosophy of how to use the hands to make the corrective forces necessary to fix the atlas misalignment (You can view this in a brief movie I made on youtube )

So Upper Cervical Specific Technique was born. It was also nicknamed "Hole in One" or HIO by BJ. This legacy was carried on through Grostic technique, to Atlas Orthogonal (AO) technique after that. So, even though BJ had some ideas that are outdated and plainly wrong today, he is the one that can lay claim to being the originator of this specific technique which refined discoveries made by his father.

Importantly, DD did not lay claim to having discovered spinal manipulation, but a system of using ‘the spinous and transverse processes as levers to rack misaligned vertebra back into normal position’. This was paramount in separating chiropractors from all the other professions claiming to influence the spine, to this day: chiropractors were specific enough, focused enough and demanded enough physiological and anatomical knowledge in order that they not merely perform a generalised manoeuver called a "manipulation" but a procedure known as an adjustment, in order that only one joint, or joint complex, was affected. Whether or not they always achieved it was debatable to this day, but the intent was there from the start.
BJ said chiropractic was ‘specific or it was nothing’.

Time always has an always will perpetuate those methods which better serve mankind. Chiropractic is no exception.

My illustrious father placed this trust in my keeping, to keep it pure and unsullied or defamed. I pass it on to you unstained, to protect as he would have you do. As he passed on, so will I. We admonish you to keep this principle and practice unadulterated and unmixed. Humanity needed then what he gave us.

You need now what I give you.

Out there in those great open spaces are multitudes seeking what you possess.

The burdens are heavy; responsibilities are many; obligations are providential; but the satisfaction of travelling the populated highways and byways, relieving suffering and adding millions of years to lives of millions of people, will bring forth satisfaction and glories with greater blessings than you think.

Time is of the essence.

May God flow from above down His bounteous strengths, courage and understanding to carry on; and may your Innates receive and act on that free flow of wisdom from above down, inside out . . . for you have in your possession a sacred trust. Guard it well.

.J. Palmer's last words