Dr Hal Brown, Naturopathic Physician
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Manipulation in China
dates back to 2700 BC



"The doctor of the future will give no medicine but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, in diet and in the cause and prevention of disease."  
Thomas Edison
History of Manipulation

Wat Po Temple Statue of Traditional
Manipulation.  Bankok, Thailand

The history of the manipulation of human articulations, including the spine and extremities, goes back to the time of Hippocrates (640 BC) in the western world.

It is evident throughout Asia in Japan and India; and in China a distinct branch of Traditional Chinese Medicine called Tui Na is devoted to manipulative techniques. Documents in China date back to 2700 B.C.

Manipulation was also practiced in Egypt, Babylon, Syria, and Tibet. Polynesians, Native American Indians and the natives of Central and South America have used it. Many European countries have a long tradition of bonesetters.

The first North American professions distinctly devoted to the art of manipulation were the osteopaths. Andrew Taylor Still who formed the first college in 1892 in Missouri introduced it. Chiropractic originated with Daniel David Palmer in 1895, he began the first college in Davenport Iowa.

Up until 1955, Naturopathy and chiropractic were taught in the same colleges and naturopathic students studied chiropractic as part of their education. The presence of a strong program of physical medicine and manipulative therapies still continues in naturopathic colleges to-day. The study of spinal manipulation is still a requirement for graduation from all naturopathic colleges and for provincial licensure.

Dr. Hal Brown ND, DC, RAc.
Vancouver, B.C., Canada

Although manipulation techniques have evolved to being gentle and comfortable, earlier attempts appear to have had a rough start! Below illustrates a manipulation during traction in medieval Turkey. This illustration is from Le Premier Manuscrit Chirurgical Turc de Charaf-Ed-Din (1465). (British Museum)


The image below is a correction for dislocation of the spine. It's taken from a ninth century Greek manuscript in the Laurentian Library, Florence - a commentary by Appolonious of Kitium on Hippocratic treatise on dislocation