Chiropractic History

Dr. Michael BucknellEducation Center, Liberation1 Comment

In this workshop Dr. Bucknell covers the nauseating history filled with corruption that Chiropractic has survived. Organized Medicine has made every attempt over the last century to maintain it’s power grab. But there is hope looking back at what has made Chiropractic the largest alternative health profession in the world today. Please visit our YouTube Channel to view the entire workshop.

Chiropractic History

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” George Santayana


  • The American Medical Association (AMA) is formed to “increase physicians income by restricting new practitioner competition”.


1882Chiropractic.Historty.Liberation.Mobile.Al.32 AM

  • “The Developer” Bartlett Joshua Palmer (BJ) is born to “The Discoverer” Daniel David Palmer (DD).  Before healer DD was a lumberjack, a teacher, and a grocer selling fish on the street.


  • BJ’s mother falls ill and dies.  DD is married six times in all.



  • Magnetic Healer “A crank on magnetism has a crazy notion that he can cure the sick and crippled with his magnetic hands. His victims are the weak-minded, ignorant and superstitious, those foolish people who have been sick for years and have become tired of the regular physician and want health by the short-cut method…he has certainly profited by the ignorance of his victims…His increase in business shows what can be done in Davenport, even by a quack.”
    This article was written during a time when Morphine and Mercury based “cures” were standard care in Medicine.

1895 - 



  • Heinrich Matthey MD of Davenport starts an attack campaign against Palmer to create a state statute preventing anyone but an MD from practicing.  This campaign prompts schools nationwide to develop “accreditation standards”.


  • State Medical Boards are now established in almost every state requiring a diploma from an AMA approved medical college in order to attain a license.
  • John D Rockefeller creates the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research.



  • The 2nd Chiropractic school opens in Cedar Rapids Iowa by Dr. Solon Langworthy, one of Palmer’s first class.


  • Oakley Smith is first to be licensed as a “drugless healer” under the Illinois Medical Practice Act.


  • The AMA’s Council on Medical Education creates list of “unacceptable schools” to reduce graduates into healthcare.
  • Dr. Langworthy publishes first book on Chiropractic titled “Modernized Chiropractic” establishing the brain as “life force” of the body, the term subluxation, and effectively bringing Chiropractic into the scientific arena.
  • BJ Palmer assumes control of Palmer’s School of Chiropractic.


  • Attorney Tom Morris legally differentiates Chiropractic from Osteopathy in terms of philosophy using Langworthy’s book as the reference, and frees Shegataro Morikubo DC of Wisconsin (also one of Palmer’s 6 first graduate students).  He is acquitted of charges of “unlicensed practice of medicine” therefore reshaping legal distinction for the profession.


  • The Flexner Report, financed by the Carnegie Foundation, closes hundreds of private medical and homeopathic schools and names Johns Hopkins the “model school”.  This establishes the first nonprofit, federally subsidized, university hospital effectively gaining control of all federal healthcare research and student aid.
  • From his studies now in Oregon DD Palmer theorizes that “nerves control health” in his most important Green Book “The Chiropractic Adjuster”.
  • BJ Palmer introduces Spinography (X-ray) for first time at Palmer’s School of Chiropractic resulting in a significant exodus of the more “straight” faculty and students.
  • With only 12,000 practicing Chiropractors, there are now more than 15,000 prosecutions for practicing medicine without a license.  The Universal Chiropractic Association (UCA) successfully defends 80% of them on the basis of philosophy.


  • Letter from DD Palmer to PW Johnson DC at Palmer’s School of Chiropractic suggests Chiropractic move to become a religion with himself as the “fountainhead” in order to have an easier legal path as the Christian Scientists were enjoying.


  • BJ purchases the 22 room Palmer Mansion for $25,000.  Four US Presidents visited his home during their presidency.


  • Kansas passes the first Chiropractic Statute.
  • DD Palmer dies of Typhoid Fever at age 68, BJ is unjustly accused of patricide.


  • By now BJ had accumulated the largest and finest osteological collection in the world with 4,392 skeletons and 13,697 specimens.


  • North Dakota and Arkansas become first states to officially license Chiropractors.


  • On the heals of the 1918 Flu Pandemic and the end of World War I, the US government pays tuition for returning veterans.  Enrollment at Palmer’s School of Chiropractic alone jumps to over 3,000!


  • State BCE’s endorse the Federation of Chiropractic Schools and Colleges “3 year and 6 month” curriculum standard.




  • Wisconsin and Connecticut pass first basic science statutes.


  • BJ is not re-elected in the UCA.  One week later he forms a different organization that is now the International Chiropractic Association (ICA).
  • BJ opens the Clear View Sanitarium which continues to operate until 1961.


  • Chiropractic becomes the LARGEST alternative healing profession in the United States and remains by far still today.
  • The National Chiropractic Association (NCA) is formed by merging the ACA and UCA.


  • Chiropractic.Historty.Liberation.Mobile.Al.15 AMChiropractic.Historty.Liberation.Mobile.Al.20 AMWarren Sausser DC introduces the first upright full spine X-ray to further Logan Basic Technique.
  • Ronald “Dutch” Reagan gets his first broadcasting job at Palmer owned WOC as a sportscaster.  He said of BJ Palmer he was a “great and gracious gentleman”.


  • The BJ Palmer Research Clinic begins 30 years of published study.  Set up in two divisions; Medical, for diagnosis and Chiropractic, for treatment.  Patients come from all over the world for care.


  • Chiropractic.Historty.Liberation.Mobile.Al.09 AMThe famous but not well reported “Chiropractor” Jack LaLanne opens the nation’s first health and fitness club in Oakland, California.


  • World War II ends, and thanks to the GI Bill legislation enrollment again skyrockets. BJ wrote he “wished I could get a hold of Hitler’s atlas so that I could give him an adjustment to make this tyrant sane”.
  • NCMIC is chartered as the first to provide malpractice insurance to Chiropractors.


  • What is now the Council on Chiropractic Education (CCE) is established.


  • Chiropractic.Historty.Liberation.Mobile.Al.07 AMProfits from penicillin, polio vaccines, and others drive medicine to power and virtually eliminate all homeopathic professions except for Chiropractic.
  • Winifred Gardella, the polio poster child is cured by Lewis Robertson DC.


  • Palmer’s skeletal collection grows to over 25,000 specimens valued at over $350,000.


  • BJ Palmer dies at his winter home in Sarasota, FL at age 79 from colon cancer.


  • The National Board of Chiropractic Examiners (NBCE) is founded.


  • The current ACA is formed by merging the NCA and some of the ICA.
  • Prompted by growth of Chiropractic after licensure, the AMA secretly forms the “Committee on Quackery” designed to “contain and eliminate” the Chiropractic profession according to official federal court transcripts:Chiropractic.Historty.Liberation.Mobile.Al.03 AM-001
  1.  Ensure Medicare does NOT cover Chiropractic.
  2.  Ensure the US Office of Education does not recognize or list a Chiropractic accrediting agency.
  3.  Encourage continued separation of the two primary national associations.
  4.  Encourage state medical societies to push for laws limiting Chiropractic


  • National College of Chiropractic achieves federally recognized accreditation, gaining CCE recognition from the US Office of Education.


  • US Congress authorizes payment for Medicare patients to Chiropractors.


  • CCE is recognized by the US Commissioner of Education.
  • Louisiana becomes the final state to pass statute for Chiropractic.
  • Chiropractic.Historty.Liberation.Mobile.Al.03 AMLife University is founded by Sid Williams DC in Marietta GA.


  • “Sore Throat” releases secret AMA documents to the press, prompting “Wilk vs AMA” to be filed in 1976.


  • AfterChiropractic.Historty.Liberation.Mobile.Al.32 AM-001 a long legal battle, Judge Getzendanner finds the AMA guilty in violation of the federal Sherman Act for “engaging in unlawful conspiracy in restraint of trade”.  


  • The first Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program is established at the University of Southern California.


  • Digital Motion X-ray (DMX) gains US FDA approval.



  • “ObamaCare” is enacted with unexpected outcomes still coming for all health care professions…


  • New discovery that the immune system and lymphatics are in fact controlled by the brain.

Chiropractic NOW

  • Chiropractic programs around the world and current number of practicing DCs:
  1. United States:        17    75,000
  2. Canada:                   2     7,250
  3. Australia:                4     4,250
  4. United Kingdom:    3     3,000
  5. Brazil:                        2     700
  6. Denmark:                  1     550
  7. France:                      1+   450
  8. Japan:                       2     400
  9. South Africa:           2     400
  10. Sweden:                    1     400
  11. New Zealand:          1     400
  12. Spain:                      2     300
  13. Switzerland:            1     275
  14. Mexico:                   3     60
  15. South Korea:           1     ?
  16. Malaysia:                 1     ?

The FUTURE of Chiropractic

Battles I believe will be the following:

  • We need more ChiropracTORs practicing ChiropracTIC!
  • Chiropractors will continue to see greater diversification and specialties like medicine.
  • Where MDs are splintering into private practices, Chiropractors MUST start working together to gain a market advantage.
  • Medicine will use DPT’s in attempt to undermine Chiropractic by assuming the field when in reality there is room for all.
  • Chiropractors will NOT see better insurance coverage, but neither will MDs.
  • Healthcare is unsustainable, so as costs balance patients will determine the market.

Chiropractic is in the balance and the next 20 years will either BOOM or BUST.

Did we leave something out? What would you add to this timeline of Chiropractic?

About Dr. Michael Bucknell

Doctor Bucknell is a licensed and board certified Doctor of Chiropractic, well-known wellness expert on radio and TV, accomplished author, patent-holding inventor, and entrepreneur. He is extension faculty of Life University, served as the USA Judo, Wrestling, and Weightlifting team's Wellness Advisor and Team Doctor, and NBC Local 15 Gulf Coast's correspondent at the 2012 London Olympics.