For many emerging from winter-overeating-inactivity, spring’s clarion call to resume long abandoned fitness routines, and accelerating the firming of enervated bodies, may result in serious injuries. In fact, according to a US CPC study, over 149,000 were treated for exercise related injuries in 2007. While most injured seek traditional medical treatment; Complementary Alternative Medicines (CAM), are in fact, growing each year, and Chiropractic is number one.

Chiropractors, however, reject the CAM label; while the American Medical Association (AMA) has, for the most part, perceived them as an “unscientific cult” (Keating, p. 59, 2005), and have actively scorned them until 1987 when they lost an antitrust case.

The Origin of Chiropractic Therapy

The basic procedures of Chiropractic Therapy, spinal and soft tissue manipulation, have been practiced as far back as Hippocrates, “the father of medicine”. It was not, however, until 1896, when D.D. Palmer, after performing a ""medical miracle" named himself “The Father of Chiropractic Therapy”, claiming he alone invented a new therapy. Ironically, the only medical training Palmer had was nine years as a “magnetic (Energy) healer”. His other jobs were bookkeeper and grocer (Keating, pp., 30-33, 2005).

Palmer's Miracle

Palmer’s janitor had been deaf for seven-teen years. Palmer had him lie on a table then palpated his cervical spine. He performed “spinal manipulation therapy” (SMT) (Healy, 1990).Once done, the janitor could hear (Keating, 2005). News of Palmer’s miracle spread among both supporters and detractors. Ultimately, Palmer’s believers were greater in number, paving the way for Palmer’s establishing the Infirmary and Cure in 1897--later renamed the Palmer School of Chiropractic.

Palmer’s philosophy was grounded in “subluxation”, defined by Palmer as a pinched, compressed, or herniated disc, which caused all illness. The AMA scoffed at this; with nearly 100% consensus it was “drawn from thin air”. Moreover, Palmer’s vision of Chiropractic Therapy was based on vitalism, and spiritualism; notions the AMA also disregarded.

Some years after opening the school, an unassuming student, Clarence Gonstead, both attended and graduated. At that time no one could have predicted that Gonstead would become the driving force necessary to provide the credibility essential to keeping chiropractic therapy alive.

Author's Bio: 

Karen Randolph has an EdD in Educational Psychology, an MA in English Composition, an MA in Social Aspects of the Media, and is a Certified Massage Therapist. Karen is also a freelance writer who writes about a variety of topics; most topics cover the health field, but others cover critical analyses of artists.