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Behind the words

What is Chiropractic? - History

Chiropractic has it’s origins in the United States and first came about in 1895 by Dr. Daniel David Palmer who was one of the earliest practitioners to recognise the importance of the spine and the nervous system. Dr Palmer called this new form of treatment "chiropractic" from the Greek words "chiro" (hand) and "praktikas" (done by).

DD Palmer image

In many ways, the early history of chiropractic is the history of several generations of Palmers. Daniel David Palmer, usually called D.D.; and his son, Bartlett Joshua Palmer, called B.J. to name but a few.

D.D. Palmer - the Founder. At the end of the 19th century, when D.D. Palmer came on the health care scene, medicine was leaving an era of proclaimed cure-alls to pursue more scientific investigation into the treatment of disease. D.D. reasoned that the body had an ample supply of natural healing power transmitted through the nervous system. If a single organ was sick, it must not be receiving its normal nerve supply. That led to the premise of spinal misalignment, or subluxation, and from there to a procedure for adjusting the vertebrae.

D.D. performed his first adjustments in 1895, relieving one man of deafness and another person of heart trouble. Arrangements were made to train others in the application of the chiropractic principle. The Palmer School and Cure was founded in 1897 and was later incorporated under the laws of Iowa. The school later became the Palmer School of Chiropractic in which today is educating the Chiropractor’s of tomorrow.

BJ Palmer

B. J. Palmer - the Developer. Dr. B.J. Palmer launched his colorful career by assuming the responsibility of the Palmer School of Chiropractic in 1904. His contributions included extensive research, improved methods of spinal adjusting and analysis, higher standards for chiropractic education, and increased appreciation for chiropractic worldwide. B.J. battled on many fronts - legal and legislative obstacles to the licensing of chiropractors and financial challenges to the school. He was often the center of controversy, but well before his death in 1961, chiropractic had secured a place among the health sciences.

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