The History of the “Done by Hand” Medicine: Chiropractic
Daniel Palmer saw that physical manipulation had been used for hundreds, maybe even thousands of years, but no one actually scientifically or philosophically looked at what was being done and made sense of it all. He then began to study these ways through anatomy and physiology ultimately developing the philosophy, art, and science we call Chiropractic today.
With a greek root, the word Chiropractic translates to “done by hand.” It was in the 1890s when Palmer was crafting this medical phenomenon. Before this, he was a practitioner of what was know as “magnetic healing,” where magnetic fields around a patient’s body were manipulated to heal ailments. As a spiritual man, the formation of Chiropractic was a spiritual journey for Palmer. In 1895, Palmer performed the first adjustment on a janitor who felt something “give” in his back years ago and has since experienced loss of hearing. Through examination, Palmer found what seemed to be a misplaced vertebra in the janitor’s upper back. With the adjustment, pain was relieved and restoration of some of the man’s hearing began.
Palmer then went on to form the Palmer School of Cure in 1897. People became fascinated with this innovative healing art Palmer was practicing and wanted to learn about it. The institution still exists today and is called the Palmer College of Chiropractic. Located in Davenport, Iowa, it stands proud as the trusted leader in chiropractic, the first chiropractic college and continues to have the highest enrollment amongst other chiropractic colleges. Many skillful and talented chiropractors have studied at this institution including Dr. Steve Petrak.
In 1913, the first state law licensing chiropractors was passed in Kansas. By 1931, chiropractic was legally recognized in 39 states. Today, the practice is recognized in all 50 states and even internationally in places like Canada, Mexico, Great Britain, Australia, Japan, and Switzerland.
Palmer left a monumental mark on the medical world. His legacy carries on through chiropractors, like myself, who aid the roughly 30 million people worldwide who seek chiropractic care annually.