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Differentiating the Palmers

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Lecture for the Zoe Symposium

October 5, 2019

This TIC talk analyzes several key aspects of the early evolution of chiropractic theories from DD Palmer to BJ Palmer. It examines DD Palmer’s pioneering concepts of vertebral subluxation, his view of disease as physiologic discord when the spine was slightly displaced, and his core ideas around nerve tension and impingement. The presentation explains how BJ Palmer extended these concepts by developing a mental impulse model focused on the expression of Innate Intelligence. It reveals the intellectual debates between the two founders, including how DD Palmer critiqued BJ Palmer’s early writings, specifically the idea of “pinched” nerves. This led BJ Palmer to evolve his theories and introduce new ideas like the cord pressure model. The talk also covers DD Palmer’s later focus on concepts of tone and the neuroskeleton. It clarifies common misconceptions and mistakes in chiropractic literature that attribute models to the wrong founder. And it notes opportunities to conduct further research on these early theories and their importance in understanding the philosophical underpinnings that shaped the profession.

Key Points:

  • Analyzes DD Palmer’s early subluxation writings and view of disease
  • Discusses his nerve tension/impingement concepts
  • Looks at evolution of BJ’s cord pressure model after DD’s critiques
  • Covers DD’s tone and neuroskeleton theories
  • Addresses mistakes in literature attributing models
  • Discusses intellectual debates between the founders
  • Notes opportunities to research early theories