Confessions of a Quackbuster

This blog deals with healthcare consumer protection, and is therefore about quackery, healthfraud, chiropractic, and other forms of so-Called "Alternative" Medicine (sCAM).

Monday, November 22, 2004

Chiropractic's Legacy: Palmer Megalomania

Some examples of the megalomania of DD Palmer and his son, BJ Palmer:

"I am the originator, the Fountain Head of the essential principle that disease is the result of too much or not enough functionating [sic]. I created the art of adjusting vertebrae, using the spinous and transverse processes as levers, and named the mental act of accumulating knowledge, the cumulative function, corresponding to the physical vegetative function-growth of intellectual and physical-together, with the science, art and philosophy-Chiropractic. . . . It was I who combined the science and art and developed the principles thereof. I have answered the time-worn question -- what is life?" - DD Palmer(

"There is a vast difference between treating effects and adjusting the causes. I was the first to adjust the cause of disease. . . . The man who had the intellectual capacity to comprehend the displacement of vertebrae; the mental ability to grasp the significance of nerve impingement; the power to conceive and discriminate between normal and abnormal positions; the foresight and wisdom to discern the outcome; the genius of originality to create such a unique science; the judgment needed for the occasion; the brain caliber capable of reasoning on this heretofore perplexing question--the cause of disease; the sense of touch required to discover a racked vertebra and the skill and tact to replace it, was the one destined to discover the science which he named chiropractic." - Shall Chiropractic Survive?, 1958 (B.J. Palmer quoting his father)

The following account of B.J. Palmer's attitude is likewise quite astounding:

"While attending a meeting at the Hotel Sam Peck (Legacy now) my thoughts drifted back to over a third of a century ago when as a new doctor in this state, I was privileged to be seated at a table with many of the pioneer chiropractors in this state. Dr. Yoder was present, along with Dr. Tina Murphy, Dr. Carl Lindquist and others. They told the story of going to clinic in the early nineteen hundreds at Palmer College in Davenport, Iowa and passing through a door with two pictures above it, one of Jesus Christ and one of B.J. Palmer. Under Christ's picture were the words "HE HEALED FEW". Under B.J. Palmer's were the words "I HEALED MANY". I expressed my disbelief but they all swore it was true." - Dr. Conrad Kaelin (source)

Let's see now.....What was that word again?.....oh, yes! Megalomania! Like father, like son......

Now you'd think that was enough, right? Wrong! It gets even better. Here are a few quotes from one of DD Palmer's letters:

"I occupy in chiropractic a similar position as did Mrs. Eddy in Christian Science. Mrs. Eddy claimed to receive her ideas from the other world and so do I. She founded theron a religioin, so may I. I am THE ONLY ONE IN CHIROPRACTIC WHO CAN DO SO."

"Exemption clauses instead of chiro laws by all means, and LET THAT EXEMPTION BE THE RIGHT TO PRACTICE OUR RELIGION. But we must have a religious head, one who is the founder, as did Christ, Mohamed, Jo. Smith, Mrs. Eddy, Martin Luther and other who have founded religions. I am the fountain head. I am the founder of chiropractic in its science, in its art, in its philosophy and in its religious phase. Now, if chiorpractors desire to claim me as their head, their leader, the way is clear. My writings have been gradually steering in that direction until now it is time to assume that we have the same right to as has Christian Scientists.

Oregon is free to Chiropractors. California gives Chiropractors only one chance, that of practicing our religion.

The protective policy of the U.C.A. is O.K., but that of religion is far better. The latter can only be assumed by having a leader, a head, a person who has received chiropractic as a science, as an art, as a philosophy and as a religion. Do you catch on?

The policy of the U.C.A. is the best that B.J. can be at the head of, BUT THE RELIGIOUS MOVE IS FAR BETTER, but we must incorporate under the man who received the principles of chiropractic from the other world, who wrote the book of all chiropractic books, who today has much new matter, valuable, which is not contained in that book.

If you will watch my book closely as you read, you will find it has a religion contained in it, altho I do not so name it.

If either of the Davenport schools would take advantage of practicing our religion founded by D.D. Palmer, it will make the way of chiropractic as easy as it was for the S.C.'s." - DD Palmer

D.D. Palmer's religion of Chiropractic (Read the whole thing. It isn't long.)