Occasionally a patient might think, “If chiropractic was so important, how come it wasn’t around hundreds of years ago? What did people do back then?” Well, it has been. It may not have been as scientific (neither was medicine) but forms of manipulation have been around since the beginning of recorded time.
Chinese Kong Fou Document written about 2700 B.C. is the earliest indications
A Greek papyrus dating back to at least 1500 B.C. gave instructions on how to maneuver the extremities to relieve low back pain.
Ancient American Indian hieroglyphics demonstrated “backwalking”
Some Indian tribes used manipulative therapy
Tissue manipulation was practiced by the ancient Japanese, Indians of Asia, as well as the Egyptians, Babylonians, Syrians, Hindus, and Tibetans
The famous surgeon, Sir James Paget, wrote in the British Medical Journal January 5, 1865, an article entitled, “Cases that Bonesetters Cure.” He reflected on the economic threat these bonesetters were to medical doctors when he wrote, “Few of you are likely to practice without a bonesetter for a rival; and if he can cure a case which you have failed to cure, his fortune may be made and yours marred. Learn then to imitate what is good and avoid what is bad in the practice of bonesetters.”
Hippocrates, who lived between 460B.C. – 357B.C., wrote over 70 books on healing including, Manipulation and Importance to Good Health and On Setting joints by Leverage. He said “Get knowledge of the spine, for this is the requisite for many diseases.” He stressed the importance of rest, fresh air, sun light, proper diet, exercise in moderation, cleanliness, tissue manipulation, and minimum usage of drugs.
Claudius Galen 130 to 200 A.D. was given the title “Prince of Physicians” after he corrected the paralysis of the right hand of Eudemus by treating his neck, apparently by adjusting the neck vertebrae. Galen, like Hippocrates, said “Look to the nervous system as the key to maximum health.”
The Bible- The importance of massage procedures for maximum beauty and health are emphasized in the Book of Esther.
The importance of cleanliness in both physical and moral well-being is mentioned over 200 times in the Bible. Cleanliness of water, food, clothing, bathing, and proper latrine methods are stressed. The Book of Leviticus stresses these measures with leprosy and veneral disease, and cautions against omens and magic.
Current medical literature will tell you that medical science has increased the longevity of people in recent years. The credibility of that statement is challenged by the fact that the life expectancy during Biblical times is given in the Bible as “three score and ten”- which is 70 years of age. Thus people are not living much longer today than they did in the Holy land 2,000 years ago. However, the people of Biblical times observed proper hygienic and sanitary measures.
With the fall of the Roman Empire and through the dark ages that followed, proper hygiene and sanitation became nonexistent. Ignorance, pestilence, and filth prevailed while logic and science took a back seat. Great masses of people died and, of course, longevity took a severe drop, too.
The physicians of the middle ages did not perform surgery, considered it beneath their dignity, and felt it belonged to the barber or executioner.
Ironically, the principles of proper hygiene and sanitation as taught in the Bible, were ignored until the turn of this century. These basic principles were rejected and violated by the physicians, many of whom would condemn anyone who tried to tell them otherwise.
Thus it was not any miracle pill which restored our longevity back to the Biblical days, but proper public health and sanitation measures.