The founder of chiropractic, Daniel David Palmer (aka D.D. Palmer), opened the very first school of chiropractic, called Palmer College of Chiropractic, in Davenport, IA in 1897. There he taught his healing techniques, expanding the college to multiple cities and raising awareness. Since then, chiropractic spread far and wide as a viable non-invasive treatment for many ailments. The school still thrives in Davenport and it’s where I learned my techniques. The Palmer method involves combining several different techniques for more efficient healing. Here I’ll go over each of the techniques and the basic principles behind them so you know what to expect as soon as you walk into my office.
The Gonstead method is centered around the idea that the body’s foundation is the pelvic girdle. When this structure is normal, balance and stability is also normal. However, if any of the vertebrae become misaligned, changes will be prevalent throughout the whole body. The original philosophy behind this method is to find the misalignment, correct it, and leave it be unless it causes further problems.
One of the most common techniques used by modern chiropractors, the Diversified technique is probably what you imagine when you hear the term “chiropractic”. Its objective is to restore proper mobility and range of motion via “high velocity and low amplitude” thrusts within each individual joint that’s affected.
This technique involves something called the Thompson Drop Table, a specialized treatment table that has segments that “drop” with the portion of the body being treated during high velocity, low amplitude thrusts. The table facilitates joint movement and is considered a gentle healing technique.
The Activator method is the 2nd most common technique used in chiropractic care. It’s unlike traditional spinal manipulation because it uses a small tool called the “Activator Adjusting Instrument” in order to administer force on specific, single, targeted vertebra. In other words, if chiropractic were surgery, the adjusting instrument is a scalpel.
This technique gets its name by combining two areas of the spine: the very bottom (sacrum) and the very top (occiput). It came about when an engineer, Major Bertrand DeJarnette, suffered a major injury and received chiropractic treatment. He applied his engineering expertise to chiropractic, stressing the importance of indicators and patterns within the body, acknowledging that pain in one area could be caused by misalignments in another. Using this method allows chiropractors to know when spinal corrections are not enough so they can employ other methods.
Toggle Recoil is a technique that was invented by BJ Palmer, the son of D.D. Palmer in 1910. It corrects upper cervical vertebra (in the neck) without twisting or bending the neck and is considered a gentle healing technique. The use of a drop table is required so the chiropractor can use minimal force with extreme precision and maximum results.