Chiropractic History

Chiropractic was developed over 100 years ago in 1895 by a man named D.D. Palmer in Davenport, IA. He was a healer in the community who offered a different health care approach from traditional medicine.  The medical profession at that time was offering treatments such as blood-letting, undergoing a great deal of change, and wasn’t always widely available, which resulted in an increase in alternative healers such as D.D. Palmer.

D.D. Palmer espoused the philosophy that the body had a natural healing ability. He espoused that the body could self-heal and self-regulate provided that the body was supplied with sufficient quantities of what it needed, was free of toxicity, and had no interference to the one system that coordinates everything in the body, the nervous system. From there he postulated that interferences to the nervous system could occur as a result of spinal misalignments called subluxations. He further reasoned that because the spine houses the spinal cord and protects the spinal nerves as they leave the spinal cord, these subluxations can have significant consequences. He then gave his first spinal adjustments, and was able to help a deaf man’s hearing and also a man who had heart problems. Chiropractic was born and the rest is...well, history.

Although the specific art, science, and philosophy of chiropractic is only a little over 100 years old, the art of looking to the spine to improve overall health dates back to Ancient China and Ancient Greece. Hippocrates, often referred to as the father of modern medicine, wrote about spinal “manipulations” in his famous work Corpus Hippocrateum. He stated “Get knowledge of the spine, for this is the requisite for many diseases.” Socrates, quite possibly the greatest of the Ancient Greek philosophers, was quoted as saying “If you would seek health, look first to the spine.” The art of correcting the spine as a health care approach was carried on by the so called “bonesetters” who were known to perform spinal manipulation as well as reduce joint dislocations. These bonesetters were around from the time of Hippocrates until the development of professions like chiropractic and osteopathy.


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