Neurocalometer & Thermography in Early Chiropractic Medicine

Celebrating 125 Years of Chiropractic 

March double feature! 1920–1930 was an exciting decade for chiropractic. Earlier this month, we looked at the first female chiropractors who pioneered the field during this period. In this post, we will focus on the new technology developed during this time—the Neurocalometer—as we continue our celebration of 125 years of chiropractic medicine!

Let’s look at what a Neurocalometer is and its early place in chiropractic, plus the first General Catalog.

Thermography and the Neurocalometer

Since the origin of chiropractic medicine, chiropractors had their sights set on integrating new, sometimes controversial, methods into patient care. The Neurocalometer was one of those methods. This heat-sensing instrument, invented by Dossa D. Evans, D.C., used the science of thermography to measure heat coming from the body. The Neurocalometer was introduced to the world in 1924 by the son of chiropractic, B.J. Palmer. According to Joseph C. Keating Jr., “In BJ’s eyes, the Neurocalometer was a movement that was destined to improve his profession.”1

So, what was the purpose of this controversial device? It was used as a tool to detect subluxated spinal joints, which the Palmers had been intrigued by for over a decade. The Neurocalometer had two heat-detecting probes that were connected to a meter. The meter detected temperature differences on either side of the spine.2 If high temperatures were detected, it was thought to be a sign of a subluxation, or vertebral misalignment. Although the launch of the Neurocalometer was met with some objections, it helped shape chiropractic medicine into what it is today. 

The General Catalog of Chiropractors’ Supplies

In 1922, the General Catalog of Chiropractors’ Supplies was introduced to the chiropractic community. This was one of the first marketing and advertising initiatives for chiropractic—and was designed to sell useful, economical products to chiropractors. The catalog was printed by the Palmer School of Chiropractic in Davenport, Iowa. 

Looking Ahead

As we continue our look at the exciting chiropractic innovations, products, and milestones over the last 125 years, next month we will discuss the creation of the NCA as well as the first state licensing board. 


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References

1Keating, Joseph C. “Introducing the Neurocalometer: a View from the Fountain Head.” The Journal of the Canadian Chiropractic Association, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Sept. 1991, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2484664/.

2Wanlass, Paul. “Chiropractic Principles & Their Evolution Through History.” Southern California University of Health Sciences, Dec. 2017, https://my.scuhs.edu/ICS/icsfs/Lecture_2_-_Chiropractic_Principles_and_Their_Evol.pdf?target=25aefd81-fe79-4757-8666-e8e6ce00f260

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