The history of modern chiropractic dates back to the 1800s; September 1895 to be exact. This is when the first treatment of what we consider modern chiropractic, was performed by Daniel David Palmer. The Iowa doctor, who was studying the nervous system, performed an adjustment on a janitor, Harvey Lillard, who was partially deaf. Shortly after the adjustment, the man mentioned to Palmer that his hearing was improved.
A new segment of the medical field was born.
Little did Palmer know just how this simple adjustment would subsequently change the world and how far into the future his therapy would persist. He must have had some inkling of this, however. Just two years after that initial treatment, Palmer opened up a school for budding chiropractic professionals, focusing heavily on the body’s ability to heal itself (innate intelligence) and the nervous system. The idea was to use both science and metaphysics in a new discipline to adjust the body in such a way that it could be cured without the use of medication. Palmer’s 1895 treatment has since extended to focus on the spine as the focal point for a number of ailments and as a major indicator in a person’s general health, all while being much safer and non-evasive than medication and surgery.
Doctors of Medicine at the time shunned Palmer’s treatment, seeking to license their form of practice exclusively. This was the start of a decades-long endeavor by the medical field to shun this form of therapy, encouraging people to instead focus exclusively on the use of medication as a treatment. This led to a nationwide fight to legitimize chiropractic care through licensing, which did not succeed in all 50 states until the 1970s. The field has diversified significantly since the 1895 treatment. Now there are many chiropractic universities in the US and the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College. There are different schools of thought in the profession; those that are pain based and those that are wellness based.
Throughout its existence, the chiropractic field has had to contend with medicine’s view of this therapy, despite significant amounts of scientific evidence to its effects. Moreover, millions of patients over the years have been able to attest to its value and its role in their physical and mental well-being. It all started with a partially deaf janitor in 1895 who was able to hear better after a simple adjustment.
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