Celebrate 125 years of chiropractic with MeyerDC! Each month we’ll look at the many chiropractic milestones throughout the decades, starting with Daniel David (D.D.) Palmer’s first chiropractic adjustment back in 1895. You can also check out videos from fellow DCs as they share their passion and insights. Plus! Submit your own story on why you became a chiro!
September 18th marks the official 125th anniversary of chiropractic! September 18, 1895 is recognized as the day the first chiropractic adjustment was performed by the founder of chiropractic D.D. Palmer on Harvey Lillard.
Founding of Chiropractic
The start of what is now modern chiropractic begins with its founding in 1895 by Daniel David (D.D.) Palmer, who performs the first chiropractic adjustment. Two years later in 1897, he establishes what will be known as the Palmer College of Chiropractic in Davenport, Iowa, the first school of chiropractic in the world, and begins the study of chiropractic medicine.
First X-Rays of Skeleton
Between 1900 and 1910, new technology enters the field as the first X-rays of the skeleton and spine, or Spinography, are performed for chiropractic. The Universal Chiropractors’ Association (UCA) is also founded in Iowa during this period (1906), providing legal protective services to chiropractors.
Major Subluxation Concept Introduced
During 1910 and 1920, the concept of major subluxation is introduced as the field of study develops. Additionally, between 1913 and 1915, the first official chiropractic licenses are issued in Kansas and North Dakota. D.D. Palmer dies in 1913, and his book, The Chiropractor, is published posthumously in 1914 by his widow, Mary Hudler Palmer.
Neurocalometer & the First Female Chiropractor
Through 1920 to 1930, new technology advances, including the invention of the Neurocalometer by Dossa D. Evans, D.C., as well as the development of thermography. Additional achievements include the graduation of Dr. Minora Paxson, D.C., Davenport, the world’s first female chiropractor in 1922. Dr. Gertrude Dunsworth, later of the Meyer Distributing Co., also receives her degree in 1924.
The Creation of the NCA
During this period, new associations are created, including the formation of the National Chiropractic Association (NCA) in 1935 when the American Chiropractic Association (ACA) and the Universal Chiropractors’ Association (UCA) combine. The first state licensing board is also established in 1933.
“Myofascial Trigger Point” & G.I. Bill
Between 1940 and 1950, exciting new knowledge develops with the coining of the term “myofascial trigger point” by Dr. Janet Travell and Dr. S. Rinzler in 1942. In 1945, the G.I. Bill at the end of World War II helps tens of thousands of returning veterans pursue higher education and enrollment in chiropractic colleges skyrockets. Meyer Distributing Co. is also formed in 1948 by Alphonse Meyer with Dr. Gertrude Dunsworth and her husband, who is also a chiropractor.
The “Drop Points” Table
In 1957, Dr. J. Clay Thompson creates a table with multiple “drop points” in the dorsal area, lumbar region, and pelvic area, becoming the foundation for the modern chiropractic table.
Activator Method Technique & Laser Therapy
Technology advances continue during this period with the discovery and development of the Activator Method Chiropractic Technique in 1967. In the same year, Professor Dr. Andre Mester begins using low power lasers in medicine. Dr. Mester is recognized by many as the grandfather of laser therapy.
Electrotherapy, Sports Medicine, & Chiropractic in 50 States
In 1970, the first EMS device is manufactured in Chicago, Illinois. Later in 1973, Dr. Kenzo Kase begins searching for a sports taping method that could assist in the healing of traumatized tissue and muscles. In 1974, the first modern, wearable TENS is patented in the U.S., and the state of Louisiana becomes the last official state to license DCs. Then in 1976, chiropractic sports medicine specialists first begin treating Olympic athletes at the Olympic Games in Montreal.
Wilk v. AMA
In 1987, the final judgment in the Wilk v. AMA case is entered, opening the way for greater cooperation between medical and chiropractic doctors in education, research, and practice in the U.S. and internationally. By 1988, the World Federation of Chiropractic (WFC) is formed.
Nutrition in Chiropractic Care
Between 1990 and 2000, the chiropractic industry experiences tremendous growth. During this time, the nutrition and supplement market grows exponentially, with many chiropractors incorporating some form of nutrition and nutritional counseling into their practice.
Drug Free Pain Relief Popularity
From 2000 to 2010, popularity in drug free pain relief alternatives grows. During this time, device advancements increase, including the development of the first Rapid Release vibration device in 2010 by Dr. Stan Stanbridge.
Technology quickly advances from 2010 to 2020 with the development of low level laser therapy (LLLT), ultrasound capabilities, and other equipment. Also, the first U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) and U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) grant for chiropractic research is established in 2011.