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Chiropractic: A Brief History

An Unexpected Beginning

Chiropractic is the science dedicated to the location, analysis, and correction of the vertebral subluxation and its associated effects on the body. Discovered in 1895 by then magnetic healer, Dr. Daniel David Palmer, Chiropractic was originally thought to be a cure for deafness. It all began on the evening of September 18, 1895 when Harvey Lillard, the deaf janitor of the Brady Building in Davenport, Iowa, entered the office of Dr. Palmer to clean. A self-made student of anatomy and physiology, Dr. Palmer questioned Lillard about his deafness and learned that he had not always been deaf. While cleaning under a stair well 17 years earlier, Lillard had struck his head on the ceiling and heard a loud “popping sound”. Palmer asked if he could examine the place where Lillard had heard the pop. On examination, he found a lump on the spine and determined that a vertebra had become misaligned. Palmer laid Lillard down, placed his hands on the lump and thrust into the spine. There was a loud “pop” and within days, Lillard reported that his hearing had returned.

Based on his success with Lillard, Dr. Palmer began to promote his new cure for deafness and in a short time the Palmer Infirmery was full of deaf people, none of whom was ever cured for deafness. However, what Dr. Palmer did notice was that other seemingly unrelated ailments began to improve. Everything from heart disease to cancers seemed to respond to his new science, which he called “Chiropractic”. The word chiropractic was derived from two Greek words “Kiro,” and “practos,” meaning done by the hands. Soon, Dr. Palmer had created an extensive list of ailments which had responded to chiropractic care and a long list of miraculous cures began to develop.

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So impressive were these cures that many of those healed decided to stay on and learn this new healing art and the chiropractic profession was thus born. By the 1920s there were nearly 25,000 practicing chiropractors in the United States.

The Profession Continues to Grow

As more and more people sought the benefit of chiropractic care and the list of ailments that responded to chiropractic continued to grow, it became evident that chiropractic did much more than treat diseases. Chiropractic adjustments appeared to assist the body in ways which extended far beyond the treatment of disease. Chiropractic care enhanced the very essence of life in the body, removing interference to the body’s expression of life through the nerve system. The correction of vertebral subluxation allows the body to express its inborn wisdom, its Innate Intelligence without interference.

Today, chiropractic is the world’s largest non-allopathic, non-drug, non-surgery health care science. And, according to a 1994 report in the New England Journal of Medicine, 86% of health care consumers are opting for alternative methods of health care, and chiropractic, to help them to improve their health status.

A great deal has changed about our understanding of the impact of a chiropractic adjustment on the human body. With our ever increasing knowledge of how the body works, we are constantly seeing how far ahead of his time D. D. Palmer really was. His understanding of the intricate interaction of the body’s systems lead him to create a philosophy which science is just now beginning to grasp. With the help of his son, B.J.Palmer, the science and profession of Chiropractic have grown and flourished with well over 50,000 licensed chiropractors administering over 12 million adjustments every year.

Chiropractic: Safe & Highly Effective

Chiropractic is also the safest of the healing arts when administered by a properly trained and licensed Doctor of Chiropractic. While the horrors of medical intervention are played out in the media every day with reports of death and ruination of life as a result of failed surgery and adverse drug reactions, chiropractic has been proven to be a safe and effective means of improving body function, maintaining the delicate balance of life for millions of people, without any negative effects. The safety of chiropractic care is increasingly evident as malpractice insurance rates for Doctors of Chiropractic decline each year.

Here, at Branchville Family Chiropractic we work with our practice members to ensure that they understand what chiropractic is and how they can best utilize our services to their benefit. We feel that an informed health care consumer is better able to make good health care decisions that will help them to save time and money and reach their health care goals.

Be sure to review the rest of our site for the whole story on how chiropractic care in our office can help you and your family.


Branchville Family Chiropractic | (973) 948-5556