"Chiropractic is a philosophy, science and art of things natural; a system of adjusting the segments of the spinal column by hand only, for the correction of the cause of dis-ease."
- BJ Palmer

A brief history

Chiropractic began in 1895, when Daniel David (DD) Palmer gave the first adjustment in Davenport, Iowa (USA) on 18 September. DD was a self-taught healer. He was a teacher and grocer before starting his magnetic healing office. After nine years in business, he learned that the maintenance man, Harvey Lillard, in his building had lost much of his hearing. 17 years prior, Lillard had been working in a cramped area and felt a ‘pop’ in his back. After minor coaxing, Lillard allowed Palmer to assess his condition. Palmer’s examination revealed a tender lump, which he believed was a spinal misalignment (later referred to as subluxation) and possible cause of Lillard’s poor hearing. Palmer then gave what he termed “a correction” of the vertebra and Lillard’s hearing improved.

Palmer said “there was nothing accidental about this, as it was accomplished with an object in view, and the expected result was obtained. There was nothing ‘crude’ about this adjustment; it was specific so much so that no chiropractor has equaled it.”

Two years later, Palmer started teaching his discovery and knowledge. The Palmer School of Chiropractic was later taken over by his son, Bartlett James (BJ) Palmer, then grandson, David Palmer. Under David Palmer’s leadership, the PSC was renamed Palmer College of Chiropractic and added undergraduate coursework to the curriculum.


The chiropractic approach to health and disease is based on two fundamental concepts:
1. the structure and condition of the body influences how the body functions and its ability to heal itself; and
2. the brain-body relationship is instrumental in maintaining health and in the healing process.

The chiropractor looks to address diseases not with the use of drugs or chemicals, but by locating and adjusting subluxations (misalignments of the spine or other joints) to allow the body to heal itself.

Although chiropractic shares much with other health professions, its emphasis and application of philosophy distinguishes it from other modern health and disease care professions. Chiropractic philosophy gravitates toward a holistic (whole person) approach and includes:

• emphasis on patient recuperative abilities rather than surgery, when possible
• recognition that dynamics exist between lifestyle, environment, and health
• understanding the cause of illness in order to eliminate it, rather than simply treat symptoms
• recognition of the centrality of the nervous system and its intimate relationship with the capacities of the body
• balancing benefits versus risks of clinical interventions
• recognition of the importance of monitoring progress closely through appropriate diagnostic procedures
• a patient-centered, hands-on approach focused on influencing function through structure
• focus on early intervention emphasizing timely diagnosis and treatment of conditions that are wholly functional and reversible.

Chiropratic blends an effective combination of conviction, critical thinking, open-mindedness, and appreciation of the natural order of things. It focuses on the establishment and maintenance of a relationship between patients and their environment which is most conducive to functional well-being.

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