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A History of Chiropractic Treatment

How Chiropractic Treatment Traveled from the U.S. to Canada

If you are considering seeking treatment with an Ottawa chiropractor, you are not alone. While it took many years for it to gain legitimacy in the public eye, chiropractic treatment is now the third-largest primary health care provider in Canada.

DD Palmer

The Greek meaning of the word “chiropractic” is “done by hand.” The name was chosen in 1895 by Daniel David Palmer, a magnetic healer in Davenport, Iowa, and the founder of chiropractic treatment. Although the practice of healing the body through physical manipulation had been used by ancient cultures for thousands of years, Palmer sought to find a scientific rationale. Due to his extensive study of anatomy and physiology, Palmer was able to connect them through the philosophy and science of chiropractic. Palmer performed the first chiropractic adjustment to a deaf janitor suffering from a back injury. Afterward, the janitor’s hearing improved along with his back pain. The surrounding controversy over whether it was possible to restore hearing through spinal manipulation brought considerable attention to the practice.

The Palmer School of Cure

By 1897, Palmer, believing chiropractic was a cure for all diseases, established the Palmer School of Cure (now the Palmer College of Chiropractic) in Davenport. His son, B.J. Palmer, was one of his early students, along with other members of the medical community. B.J. took over the school in 1906. As chiropractic medicine spread, there was tension between conventional allopathic medicine and this new approach. While each state established statutes to practice medicine between 1873 and 1899, there were no statutes for chiropractors. As a result, practitioners risked arrest. B.J. Palmer and several graduates of the school created the Universal Chiropractic Association to help members with legal expenses.

Chiropractic Licensure Laws

Despite opposition from the medical community, the first U.S. state law licensing chiropractors was passed in 1913. By 1931, 38 states followed, but it wasn’t until 1974 that the process of chiropractic licensure in all states was completed. In Canada, Alberta became the first province to license chiropractic. When Ontario followed in 1925, chiropractors in cities such as Toronto and Ottawa were able to build practices. Chiropractic medicine gained national attention in Canada when the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College opened in 1945. The last province to license chiropractors was Newfoundland in 1992. While there are still those who doubt the effectiveness of chiropractic treatment in the U.S., chiropractic treatment has become a norm of medical care in Canada because of its healing effects.

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