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The History of Chiropractic

The term Chiropractic is taken from the Greek, defined as “done by hand”. Many forms of spinal manipulation have been utilized in healing for thousands of years. The Ancient Egyptians, Greeks, American Indians, Chinese and the African cultures have all experimented with spinal manipulation. In the 1800’s, medical professionals often used bone setting as a form of spinal manipulation.

Hippocrates, the Father of Medicine (460-377BC)

One of the greatest men to recognize the benefit of spinal manipulation was Hippocrates, the Father of Medicine (460-377BC). Hippocrates linked spinal manipulation with ill health. He stated, “Get knowledge of the spine, for this is the requisite for many diseases.” Hippocrates believed that only nature could heal and it was the physician’s duty to remove any obstruction that would prevent the body form healing.

Daniel David (DD) Palmer is considered the “Discoverer of Chiropractic”

DD Palmer was born in Port Perry, Ontario, Canada in 1845. In 1865, Palmer moved to the United States. Between 1865 and 1895, he studied health and healing and became a magnetic healer. In 1895, DD made the discovery of chiropractic. This is the date of the first recorded chiropractic spinal adjustment to Mr. Harvey Lillard, who went from being virtually deaf to hearing normal, after DD Palmer delivered a specific and intentional adjustment to his spine.

Bartlett Joshua (BJ) Palmer

The most important figure in chiropractic history is definitely, Bartlett Joshua (BJ) Palmer. BJ was only 14 years old when his father discovered chiropractic. However, by 1961, BJ helped elevate chiropractic to the second largest health-care system in America. BJ developed the art, philosophy and science of chiropractic, as we know it today.

BJ Palmer led the fight along with other chiropractors to practice chiropractic with constant controversyarising from organized medicine. Medical doctors saw chiropractors as a threat because they were taking away many of their patients who were not responding to medicine.

Chiropractic Today

In the years that followed, the chiropractic profession has grown to include over 60,000 chiropractors in the United States and Canada. Chiropractic schools are graduating approximately 5,000 new chiropractors a year. By the year 2010, it is estimated there will be over 100,000 chiropractors throughout the world.


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