Chiropractic, a treatment of manipulating joints, has been debated as a legitimate form of alternative medicine since 1895. The practice was founded in Iowa by Daniel David Palmer, an extremely religious man, who theorized that manual manipulation of the spine could cure diseases. Palmer believed it to be a spiritual form of healing to realign the flow of God in man. Although initially rejected by the medical community, chiropractic gained a large following that led to the founding of Palmer School of Chiropractic.
This alternative medicine would continue to skim the line of controversy for decades, even as it grew to be one of the largest forms of alternative medicine in the United States, Canada, and Australia. After 12 successful years of adjusting and teaching, Palmer and thousands of chiropractors were arrested in 1907 for practicing medicine without a license. This began a series of legal battles and political campaigns by the Universal Chiropractors’ Association, who insisted that chiropractors were different from traditional doctors because they analyzed and adjusted patients rather than diagnosed and treated diseases.
By 1974, chiropractors were officially allowed to treat patients across fifty states in the U.S. Although it was a big win for the chiropractic community, Palmer’s son B.J. Palmer founded a separate institution that rivaled his father’s for decades on. To this day, chiropractic continues to face criticism and controversy from medical communities despite increasing demand from customers and scholarly interests from researchers. The legitimacy of chiropractic continues to be a hard subject to crack.