What is Naprapathy?
Derived from osteopathy and chiropractic medicine, naprapathic medicine is a holistic approach to wellness that focuses on connective tissue disorders. Damaged connective tissue, including muscles, tendons and ligaments, can cause pain to slowly build and spread throughout the body. The results can be chronic migraines, carpal tunnel, TMJ and a host of other conditions.
In 1907, after devising a system of treatment for evaluating and healing damaged connective tissue, Dr. Smith founded the science of Naprapathy. Dr. Smith took "napra" from napravit (to correct) and added the Greek word pathos (suffering, or pain) to coin the name naprapathy, to correct suffering or pain.
Who Was Oakley Smith?
Oakley Smith was born in 1880, and he went on to study osteopathy. In 1899, Smith received his degree in chiropractic from the Palmer School of Chiropractic in Iowa. He then attended the Medical School University of Iowa. After studying medicine for three years, Smith began working with Daniel David Palmer, who is considered the founder of modern chiropractic medicine. Smith and Palmer worked together at the Palmer School of Chiropractic.
As the two continued to do research, Smith began to form his own theories on concepts that Palmer had developed about vertebral subluxation. Smith began to focus on both repairing and healing connective tissues. Conducting anatomical research, he ultimately found that when dense or fibrous connective tissues, such as muscles, tendons, and ligaments, are used too often and become damaged, they produce a scar-like condition in one’s body. This both aggravates and causes problems with nerves that are closely aligned.
Next, Smith took a study trip to Europe and was exposed to the traditional manual therapies of Czechoslovakia, or Bohemia. Called “napravit,” these therapies were very similar to the technique that Smith had been working on in the U.S. Fascinated by his findings, Smith returned to the U.S. and started speaking with emigrants from Bohemia to find out more about these manual therapies. By combining this new knowledge with his chiropractic expertise, Smith began to develop the foundation for naprapathy.
A few years after his elucidating trip to Bohemia, Smith moved to Chicago and started his first chiropractic clinic. Smith and Palmer had chosen to part ways due to a disagreement about Palmer’s theory on what causes one’s back to become “locked-down.” Smith was developing another theory on the subject, and he began gathering support. Finally, in 1906, Oakley Smith published “A Textbook of Modernized Chiropractic.” This book laid the groundwork for the field of medicine that would later be referred to as “naprapathy.”
1907: The Beginning
In 1907, Dr. Oakley Smith formally founded the medicinal field of naprapathy by launching the Oakley Smith School of Naprapathy, located in Chicago. With this first educational institution, naprapathy gained its foundation as a science and a method of treatment. By the time he founded this school, Smith had finished the process of devising a system of naprapathic treatment, which involved both evaluating and healing connective tissue that is damaged.
Through his extensive research with Palmer and in Czechoslovakia, Smith determined that the current theory behind pain and disability – the subluxation theory – was incorrect.
Instead, Smith argued that the cause of pain and dysfunction in our muscles, nervous system, bone structure, and joints (the neuromusculoskeletal system) was due to changes in our connective tissues and tension in our soft tissues.
Rather than simply manipulating joints, such as in chiropractic medicine, Smith’s plan for naprapathic treatment involved soft tissue techniques, neural mobilization, and spinal mobilization and manipulation. Through this course of treatment, Smith was able to achieve long-lasting results in the treatment of pain.
Michael graduated in February 2018 with a degree in Naprapathic Medicine from Southwestern University of Naprapathic Medicine in Santa Fe, NM. Michael has a specific point of view and believes we can heal our bodies and move as we were designed.
For more information on Michael's Naprapathic techniques, please call 575.258.5999