A Brief History of Prolotherapy


25 Centuries ago, Hippocrates, the father of Western medicine, introduced heated metal probes into the dislocated and painful shoulders of javelin throwers. He believed that this would tighten the shoulder capsule by creating tough scar tissue and that the scar tissue would keep the shoulder in place.

More recently, in 1939, Dr. George S. Hackett, a medical doctor working for insurance companies, noticed that car accident victims who suffered from chronic pain, seemed to have chronic pain because of injured or non-healed ligaments and tendons.

Hackett - Hemwall

Dr. Hackett reasoned that repairing these connective tissues would resolve much of their pain. He introduced an irritating compound to reactivate the body's natural mechanisms to prompt the production or "proliferation" of new collagen tissues. Dr. Hackett coined the term "Prolotherapy," ("prolo" short for "proliferation" therapy) to describe the technique.

Dr. Hackett is considered the "father" of modern Prolotherapy because of his extensive research and lectures on the subject, and because he introduced the technique to many other physicians, including Gustav A. Hemwall, M.D.

In 1955, Dr. Hemwall attended a Prolotherapy presentation given by Dr. Hackett at the National Meeting of The American Medical Association. Thoroughly impressed by Dr. Hackett's results in pain management, Dr. Hemwall soon became Prolotherapy's leading practitioner, a role he would continue until his retirement in 1996 at the age of 87.

Dr. Hemwall's first attempts with Prolotherapy yielded astounding results. Patients who he had treated unsuccessfully for years, were suddenly healing and living nearly pain free lives after only a few sessions.

In his career, Dr. Hemwall administered Prolotherapy to over 10,000 patients, one of which was future United States Surgeon General C. Everett Koop, M.D., who, after his own dramatic results with Prolotherapy, offered the treatment to his own patients.