The word ‘chiropractic’ comes from a combination of two Greek words: Cheir, meaning ‘hand,’ and praktos, meaning ‘done’. In the late 1800s, prolific scientific reader Daniel David Palmer was researching ways that natural healers in history had used a hands-on approach to heal their patients. Palmer realized that none of them had developed a philosophical or scientific rationale to explain how their practices worked. He devised the codification of the philosophy, art and science of chiropractic based on his extensive study of anatomy and physiology, and called it chiropractic because it means “Done by Hand.”
In 1895, Palmer performed his first chiropractic adjustment. He examined a janitor who had become deaf 17 years earlier after he felt something “give” in his back. Palmer gave an “adjustment” to what he felt could be a misplaced vertebrae in the man’s upper back, and afterwards, the janitor’s hearing improved.
After that, Palmer continued to develop chiropractic and in 1897 established the Palmer School of Cure, now known as the Palmer College of Chiropractic, in Davenport, Iowa where it remains today. Palmer’s son, Bartlett Joshua (BJ), was one of his first students, and he also taught the practice to many members of the older healing arts of medicine and osteopathy. The first state law licensing chiropractors was passed in 1913, and by 1931, 39 states had given chiropractors legal recognition.
Today, more than 60,000 licensed chiropractors practice in the United States. Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Canada, Mexico, Great Britain, Australia, Japan and Switzerland also officially recognize chiropractic as a health care profession.