The chiropractor Oakley Smith had graduated under D D Palmer in 1899. Smith was a former Iowa medical student who also had investigated Andrew Still’s osteopathy in Kirksville, before going to Palmer in Davenport. Eventually, Smith came to reject the Palmer concept of vertebral subluxation and developed his own concept of “the connective tissue doctrine” or naprapathy. Today, naprapathy is a popular form of manual therapy, particularly in Scandinavia and the US.
: Naprapathy is defined as a system of specific examination, diagnostics, manual treatment and rehabilitation of pain and dysfunction in the neuromusculoskeletal system.
The therapy is aimed at restoring function through treatment of the connective tissue, muscle- and neural tissues within or surrounding the spine and other joints.
Naprapathic treatment consists of combinations of manual techniques for instance spinal manipulation and mobilization, neural mobilization and Naprapathic soft tissue techniques, in additional to the manual techniques Naprapaths uses different types of electrotherapy, such as ultrasound, radial shockwave therapy and TENS.
The manual techniques are often combined with advice regarding physical activity and ergonomics as well as medical rehabilitation training in order to decrease pain and disability and increase work ability and quality of life.
A Dr. of Naprapathy is specialized in the diagnosis of structural and functional neuromusculoskeletal disorders, treatment and rehabilitation of patients with problems of such origin as well as to differentiate pain of other origin.
The National College of Naprapathic Medicine is chartered by the State of Illinois and recognized by the State Board of Higher Education to grant the degree, Doctor of Naprapathy (D.N.). Graduates of the College are eligible to take the Naprapathic Medicine examination for licensure in the State of Illinois. The D.N. Degree requires:
- 66 hours – Basic Sciences
- 64 hours – Naprapathic Sciences
- 60 hours – Clinical Internship
Only Three clinical trials on Medline with no evidence it works.
1.The authors concluded that the effect of manual therapy for male and female patients seeking care for neck and/or back pain at an educational clinic is similar regardless if spinal manipulation or if stretching is excluded from the treatment option.
2. The authors concluded that combined manual therapy, like naprapathy, is effective in the short and in the long term, and might be considered for patients with non-specific back and/or neck pain.This study is hardly impressive either. The results are consistent with the interpretation that the extra attention and care given to the index group was the cause of the observed outcomes, unrelated to ant specific effects of naprapathy.
3.The authors thought that this trial suggests that combined manual therapy, like naprapathy, might be an alternative to consider for back and neck pain patients.
If you ask me, naprapathy is something between chiropractic (without some of the woo) and physiotherapy (without its expertise). There is no good evidence that it works. Crucially, there is no evidence that it is superior to other therapeutic options.
I was going to finish on a positive note stating that ‘at least the ‘naprapathologists’ (I refuse to even consider the title of ‘doctor of naprapathy’) do not claim to treat conditions other than musculoskeletal problems’. But then I found this advertisement of a ‘naprapathologist’ on Twitter:
And now, I am going to finish by stating that A LOT OF NAPRAPATHY LOOKS VERY MUCH LIKE QUACKERY TO ME.