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Chiropractors are practitioners of the complementary and alternative medicine approach known as chiropractic. (Chiropractic is both a noun and an adjective.) They trace their roots to September 18, 1895, when David Daniel Palmer—a magnetic healer—used his hands to thrust on a bump on the neck of his janitor and in the process cured the janitor’s deafness. The apparent healing is especially miraculous when one examines the distribution of the cranial nerves and discovers that the auditory nerve does not extend to the neck. But chiropractors have not historically emphasized conventional scientific approaches to knowledge.

From the apparent healing of the janitor, Palmer developed chiropractic (see entry Chiropractic). Palmer based the practice of chiropractic on his belief that a vital force infuses every cell of the body, that nerves are the paths through which this life force flows, and that misaligned joints (subluxations) disrupt the flow of the life force. He further believed that...


  • Chiropractic Care
  • Vital Force
  • Life Force
  • Mainstream Medicine
  • Chiropractic Patient

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Suggested Reading

  1. Barrett, S., & Jarvis, W. T. (1993). The health robbers: A close look at quackery in America. Amherst, NY: Prometheus.

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  2. Benedetti, P., & Macphail, W. (2003). Spin doctors: The chiropractic industry under examination. Toronto, ON: Dundurn Press.

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  3. Haldeman, S. (Ed.). (1993). Principles and practice of chiropractic (2nd ed.). Norwalk, CT: Appleton & Lange.

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  4. Magner, G., & Barrett, S. (Eds.). (1995). Chiropractic: The victim’s perspective. Amherst, NY: Prometheus.

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  5. Palmer, D. D. (1997). The chiropractor: 1914. Kila, MT: Kessinger.

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© 2004 Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers

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Hartsell, B. (2004). Chiropractors. In: Encyclopedia of Women’s Health. Springer, Boston, MA.

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  • Publisher Name: Springer, Boston, MA

  • Print ISBN: 978-0-306-48073-7

  • Online ISBN: 978-0-306-48113-0

  • eBook Packages: Springer Book Archive