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J Can Chiropr Assoc. Mar 1998; 42(1): 35–41.
PMCID: PMC2485333

Innate intelligence: its origins and problems


Animal Magnetism and Radionics were among several occult practices used during the 19th century for the treatment of disease. D.D. Palmer was exposed to these teachings and derived many of his ideas about health from the folk medicine practices of his time.

As a ‘magnetic healer’ Palmer believed he was correcting an undefined fifth force in the body that is otherwise unknown to science. Palmer believed he could influence this fifth force, termed Innate Intelligence, and that it was the explanation for the presence or absence of health.

Today, Innate Intelligence remains an untestable enigma that isolates chiropractic and impedes its acceptance as a legitimate health science. The concept of Innate is derived directly from the occult practices of another era. It carries a high penalty in divisiveness and lack of logical coherence.

The chiropractic profession must decide whether the concept of Innate should be retained.

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Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
  • Hultgren GM, Jeffers JS. Shamanism, a religious paradigm: its intrusion into the practice of chiropractic. J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 1994 Jul-Aug;17(6):404–410. [PubMed]
  • Donahue JH. D. D. Palmer and the metaphysical movement in the 19th century. Chiropr Hist. 1987 Jul;7(1):23–27. [PubMed]
  • Coulter ID. The chiropractic paradigm. J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 1990 Jun;13(5):279–287. [PubMed]

Articles from The Journal of the Canadian Chiropractic Association are provided here courtesy of The Canadian Chiropractic Association


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