To Know Where You’re Going,
First Appreciate Where You’ve Been
On September 18th, we celebrate the 121st anniversary of the first chiropractic adjustment. As a chiropractor, this day is quite sacred. It marks the inception of what has become my mission, my contribution toward the betterment of humanity. It also is a time to reflect upon the many trials (literally) that have afforded my right to practice what I love. I’d like to share with you some little-known facts about the history of chiropractic.
In the 1930s, healing arts were essentially undefined. Medicine did not have the cultural authority it enjoys today. You’ve heard of snake oil salesmen – this was their era. The AMA quickly began the process of establishing medicine as the only evidence-based practice in order to ensure government funding. To make a long story short, all chiropractic licenses were pulled and many DCs ended up in prison.
Chiropractors around the country banded together state by state to fight the new legislation. We established ourselves as separate from medicine, thereby holding onto our professional a identity and removing ourselves from diagnosis and treatment. Osteopaths, who were masters of manipulating the spine and extremities, chose to expand their programs to include medicine and pharmacology. This is why an MD and a DO are nearly indistinguishable today.
In 1963, the AMA launched a “Committee on Quackery” meant to contain and eliminate chiropractic. They professed that chiropractic was unscientific and a “cult”. By the 1980s, the AMA was sued and found guilty of violating the Sherman Anti-Trust Act. While the trial was very public, it’s ultimate verdict was kept quiet. As a result, public opinion of chiropractic has remained negative. For more information, you can look up Wilks versus AMA.
As I look to the future of my profession, I hope to see chiropractors come back to the pure and true purpose of chiropractic. A practice rooted in the detection, analysis and correction of vertebral subluxation. Where our research goes beyond back pain and headaches. Where we measure heart rate variability (that colorful chart we showed you at your most recent exam) as proof of improving adaptability – an overall shift in your physiological function. Where we watch people throw away their canes and witness babies begin their journey using their full genetic potential.
Why do I feel compelled to share this? Because I, like many of you, have seen the life-changing results of chiropractic care. I’ve seen this in my patients, as well as in myself. I can’t imagine my or my son’s life without the confidence that we’re more adaptable to the uncertainties of Mother Nature and our culture. Whether it be prolonged sitting, or electromagnetic waves, or rising temperatures, or Zika.