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"The Chiropractor and His Patient"

Antonio Pollyollyinfrei

By the late 15th century the practice of chiropractic had caught on in Europe as an alternative to traditional healing. Wandering chiropractors went from town to town giving spinal adjustments for a few coins. Unfortunately most chiropractors were drawn from the ranks of public torturers, large, burly men who had developed their skills originally by breaking people on the wheel or rack. This did not give them the best bedside manner, and resulted in more than a few casualties and permanent impairments if the "doctor" got carried away by memories of his former calling.

Pollyollyinfrei records one of these misfortunes, the vertebral re-alignment of the spine of the Mayor of Sforenzo, who had gone in for treatment of a stiff neck. After the treatment the Mayor's neck was indeed no longer stiff, but flopped about quite loosely, leading to the hanging of the doctor in front of the Sforenzo town hall. 

The same artist later specialized in mutilations and deformity, producing the famous mural "The Lepers of Spoleto," for which he was banished by the Medici. The building it was painted in was misplaced during the Reformation and has not yet been found, although scholars have looked just about everywhere.


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