What Is Chiropractic?

What is chiropractic care? At the heart of this alternative medical therapy is spinal manipulation, which is one of the oldest healing practices, dating back to ancient Greece. In 1895, Daniel David Palmer founded the modern profession in Davenport, Iowa. His theories surrounding subluxations (misalignments of the spine) are still central in the practice of many chiropractic providers today.

What Is Chiropractic?

The word "chiropractic" combines the Greek words "cheir" (hand) and "praxis" (action), and means "done by hand." Chiropractic care is an alternative medical therapy that takes a different approach from conventional medicine.
 
The basic concepts of chiropractic care can be described as:
 
  • The body has a powerful self-healing ability
 
  • The body's structure (primarily that of the spine) and its function are closely related, and this relationship affects health
 
  • Chiropractic therapy is given with the goals of normalizing this relationship between structure and function, and assisting the body as it heals.
 

The History of Chiropractic Care

Chiropractic is a form of spinal manipulation, which is one of the oldest healing practices. Hippocrates described spinal manipulation in ancient Greece.
 
In 1895, Daniel David Palmer founded the modern profession of chiropractic care in Davenport, Iowa. Palmer was a self-taught healer and a student of healing philosophies of the day. He believed that:
 
  • The body has a natural healing ability that is controlled by the nervous system
 
  • Subluxations, or misalignments of the spine (a concept that had already existed in the bonesetter and osteopathic traditions), interrupt or interfere with this "nerve flow"
 
  • If an organ does not receive its normal supply of impulses from the nerves, it could become diseased.
 
This line of thinking led Palmer to develop a procedure to "adjust" the vertebrae, the bones of the spinal column, with the goal of correcting subluxations. While some chiropractors continue to view subluxation as central to chiropractic healthcare, others no longer view the subluxation theory as a unifying theme in health and illness or as a basis for their practice.
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