The Chiropractic Program

Twenty-six credit hours



THE INSTITUTE CHIROPRACTIC develops chiropractic continuing education courses for online learners. Each lecture is designed to offer a new level of insight into the chiropractic principles and the history of ideas in chiropractic. Members get access to all of the lectures. Additionally you can choose to take each course for continuing education credits in approved states. The list of courses is below.

Introduction to Chiropractic’s

History of Ideas.

This hour is an overview of the history of ideas in chiropractic with an emphasis on the shapers of chiropractic theory. This approach groups the history of ideas in two innovative ways so that students can more easily learn this complex subject. The first way is by describing the history according to four generations since D.D. Palmer’s death in 1913. By grouping the main periods of chiropractic history according to four generations it becomes evident that each new generation built upon the previous generation. This offers an important insight for the modern chiropractor to understand that much of modern practice rests on the work of previous generations. This approach is augmented further by delineating eight waves of ideas in chiropractic history. Each wave is characterized by a set of publications. For example, in the first wave of chiropractic ideas was shaped by the books authored by D.D. Palmer, B.J. Palmer, O.G. Smith, S.L. Langworthy, and A.P. Davis, while the second wave was shaped by the books of both Palmers, Howard, Loban, and Carver. By taking this discrete view of each new group of texts, the complexity of chiropractic’s theory development becomes easier to learn.

THE Early History of Chiropractic

In this eight hour lecture, participants will learn the history of chiropractic’s early principles. Participants will learn the basic principles of chiropractic from several perspectives and be able to apply those principles to how they practice.

D.D. Palmer’s First Chiropractic Theories

D.D. Palmer’s first chiropractic adjustment was delivered to Harvey Lillard in 1895, but his first writings on chiropractic were not published until 1897. And yet, it was not until 1902 that he truly developed his first real chiropractic concepts. In early 1902, he started by using the term “luxation” and then later included the term “sub-luxation.” He also introduced his first thoughts on vertebral adjusting as well as the concepts of Innate nerves, Educated nerves, and the role of intervertebral foramina in subluxation theory. While the first use of subluxation in chiropractic may have been from Palmer’s student O.G. Smith, a timeline of several of Palmer’s earliest concepts are uncovered during this lecture. Modern students will be introduced to the formation of several core chiropractic theories and thereby learn a greater appreciation for the development and foundation of chiropractic’s ideas.

Early Chiropractic Theory Part 1

Several of D.D. Palmer’s earliest students shaped chiropractic theory by forming schools, publishing texts, initiating legislation, and fighting court battles. This lecture introduces the modern students to the foundational theories of A.P. Davis, Solon Langworthy, Oakley Smith, and Shegatoro Morikubo. These four early leaders had a significant impact on the development of chiropractic theory because future texts would draw upon their ideas, especially the books by Davis, Smith, and Langworthy. Morikubo played a unique role as primarily an advocate of B.J. Palmer’s theories in the courts and in his published writings. His actions and writings inspired many early chiropractors and helped to shape the legal landscape. This lecture introduces the modern reader to the core ideas from these individuals.

Early Chiropractic Theory Part 2

Shegatora Morikubo wrote a few important articles on chiropractic principles. He introduced several concepts and philosophical approaches that were reflected in the Palmer School during this period. John Howard was one of the most influential chiropractors from the first generation. Not only did he found National Chiropractic College and pioneer the inclusion of Naturopathic methods within the chiropractic profession but he integrated most current theory. It is also important for the modern reader to understand several ways that scholarship about Howard has been mistaken. By accurately assessing Howard’s influence, the modern chiropractor might better understand the foundation of several important chiropractic ideas and events.

Early Chiropractic
Theory Part 3

Howard’s three volume encyclopedia was published in 1912. It represented an integration of the ideas from D.D. Palmer, A.P. Davis, Smith, and Langworthy. The text develops several chiropractic principles and lays out a philosophical foundation for the profession. The early writings of Willard Carver and B.J. Palmer helped to shape several chiropractic theories. Carver would become known as the father of full-spine analysis. B.J. Palmer’s earliest writings in his Volumes 3 and 4, established the foundation for several core chiropractic theories.

Early Chiropractic Theory Part 4

The works of Joy Loban, James Firth, and Alva Gregory also had an important influence on the chiropractic paradigm. Firth was an early student of B.J. Palmer’s and a core faculty member for many years. His textbook on diagnosis was the first of the Palmer greenbooks not authored by a Palmer. It went into five editions and influenced two generations of chiropractors. Gregory’s books were an attempt to integrate the biomedical paradigm into chiropractic. His life and work had a greater impact on the early profession than previous historians may have realized especially through the influence of his student, Riley. Loban had a great influence on the profession as well. His two most prominent students were Hugh Logan and Fred Illi.

B.J. Palmer Theories in Volume 2

In 1907, B.J. Palmer published his first solo text. The book includes many of his first theories including his CTE Cycle or creation, transmission, and expression. This became the foundation for his interference theory, which would guide the profession for much of the 20th century.

D.D. Palmer’s 1906 Book &
A Brief History of Subluxation

The first part of this lecture explores D.D. Palmer’s first book. In 1906 and 1907 the first books by D.D. Palmer and B.J. Palmer were published. In these texts we get the foundations of both Palmer’s theories. By carefully analyzing Volume 1 of the greenbooks against articles written from 1904-1906, it is possible to determine which chapters of that first book were authored by D.D. Palmer. The second part of this hour contains a brief lecture from 2016 on the history of chiropractic subluxation theory and its relevance for modern practice. It is also directed at assisting the chiropractor to accurately assess and critique the peer-review literature on subluxation.

B.J. Palmer’s Volume 5

In 1909, B.J. Palmer published his second book on philosophy of chiropractic as Volume V. The first edition of this text lays out his subluxation theories. Many of these theories became the foundation for the Palmer School for decades to come. These ideas would help shape the discourse of the profession in ways that few historians have acknowledged. By carefully studying the ideas from this early period the modern reader can learn how these ideas influenced Palmer’s students from J.R. Drain to R.W. Stephenson and also how those ideas are still impacting modern practice.

Early Chiropractic Pioneers

Ratledge & Drain.

This hour lecture provides an overview of two of the twentieth century’s most influential chiropractic theorists; T.F. Ratledge and J.R. Drain. Ratledge graduated from Willard Carver’s Carver-Denny Chiropractic College in 1908. He was friends with D.D. Palmer during Palmer’s final years. D.D. Palmer even lectured at Ratledge’s school in California before he died. T.F. Ratledge opened several schools, influenced state laws, and developed the chiropractic principles from D.D. Palmer in unique ways. His legacy is hardly understood by modern chiropractors even though his impact on modern practice and theory was significant. Jim Drain graduated under B.J. Palmer at the Palmer School of Chiropractic in 1911. He also attended several of D.D. Palmer’s final lectures. Drain was a leader in chiropractic politics and theory for many decades. He was president of the Texas Chiropractic College and published several books. He pioneered subluxation theories and practice and also devoted a considerable amount of time working with special needs children and those affected by polio. Drain’s legacy for modern practice was also significant.

History of the Chiropractic Subluxation

This lecture takes on the mistaken notion in the literature that vertebral subluxation in chiropractic is only an historical artifact. The lecture traces the history of vertebral subluxation theory in chiropractic and offers a critical examination of the peer-reviewed literature on the topic. The objective of this course is to assist chiropractors to understand the foundation of modern practice and give them tools to analyze and criticize the literature.

The Chiropractic Subluxation 1902-1934

Recent literature has critiqued the modern use of vertebral subluxation in chiropractic without demonstrating a comprehensive understanding of the chiropractic subluxation literature. This lecture describes some of the leading subluxation theories from early chiropractic leaders such as D.D. Palmer, B.J. Palmer, O.G. Smith, S.L. Langworthy, A.P. Davis, Joy Loban, Willard Carver, Alva Gregory, James Firth, John Craven, R.W. Stephenson, and Joe Riley. By understanding the ideas that comprise the foundation of early subluxation theory, modern chiropractors may better understand daily practices and procedures as well as theory and models of subluxation.

The Chiropractic Subluxation 1930-1990’s

The chiropractic subluxation has many complex and disparate research and theory at its foundation. Some of the models of subluxation have roots in acupuncture theory, reflex theories, and traditional chiropractic theories. Several more recent models include D.D. Palmer’s approach to the subluxation as a subluxated joint integrated with proprioceptive theory. Subluxation theory in the second half of the twentieth century included theory from Speransky to Selye and supported by decades of research with myriad types of instrumentation and analysis methods. More recent models such as the Vertebral Subluxation Complex, and the Vertebral Subluxation Model, included many of the earlier approaches and can be integrated into modern practice.

Chiropractic and Systems Science

This lecture explores the premise that chiropractic models originate with an early systems thinking perspective. Thus the chiropractic profession and twentieth century theoretical biology have many similarities. Taking this approach allows for a more integrative view of the chiropractic principles and it also helps the modern chiropractor to understand the literature on this topic. Several chiropractic models in the last few decades have explicitly integrated a systems approach.

Early Chiropractic Systems Approaches

This lecture explores D.D. Palmer’s chiropractic paradigm from five different perspectives. Doing so allows the modern chiropractor to better interpret some of Palmer’s more complex ideas. Palmer’s approach is defined as the chiropractic paradigm and it is contrasted against the approaches of his students, especially those who attempted to integrate chiropractic with naturopathic models and biomedical models. Approaches of several early chiropractic theorists are described in this context.

Chiropractic Theories and Systems Science

Several chiropractic theories emerged that were congruent with systems science such as B.J. Palmer’s models from his earliest books as well as some of his later ideas in the 1930-1950s. Other early theorists that had systems approaches included Logan, Verner, Homewood, and R.J. Watkins. Systems theory and Chaos theory developed in the twentieth century as a way to capture the complexity of living processes. Many of the core ideas from these theories were integrated into chiropractic in the 1990s. Some of the chiropractic subluxation theorists from this period include Epstein, Boone, Brown, Filippi, Phillips, Coulter, and Newell. By understanding the similarities between chiropractic principles and systems science modern chiropractors can better interpret the literature and apply it to practice.

An Integral Framework for the Chiropractic Principles

Students will demonstrate knowledge in the early history of chiropractic, including the legal, social, and cultural circumstances surrounding the emergence of philosophy in chiropractic and the recognition of chiropractic as a separate and distinct profession. Further, the student will learn the Integral Framework as a way to more fully understand the traditional conflicts in the philosophy and politics of the chiropractic profession. This framework will also provide a more thorough way to interpret the principles of chiropractic as they relate to biological systems, dynamical systems theory, as well as health and wellness in relation to body, mind, and spirit.
Format: Online learning with video and PowerPoint presentations.

The Need for Discourse in the Philosophy of Chiropractic

This first lecture describes the professional debate in chiropractic about scope of practice and emphasizes the importance of intellectual rigor. The different paradigms within chiropractic are described. An introduction to the Integral Approach is discussed as a way to move chiropractic forward in four domains, which include theory, practice, science, and culture.

An Integral Approach to Chiropractic Principles

Multiple approaches to chiropractic’s perspectives on health, wellness, and personal growth are described. An Integral Theory to chiropractic principles and practice is discussed. Qualitative, quantitative, interpretive, social & economic ways to view chiropractic research is proposed. The lecture includes the importance of consciousness studies in chiropractic principles and B.J. Palmer’s use of second-person perspectives as central to chiropractic theory and practice.

Perspectives on Chiropractic Principles and Practice

The philosophy of chiropractic is discussed in terms of exterior perspectives. A four-quadrant view of chiropractic principles is described. The Morikubo case is discussed in conjunction with the expansion of philosophy and emphasis of vertebral subluxation in the profession. Exploring the implications of the “legal ploy” argument against philosophy in chiropractic. How D.D. Palmer’s life was shaped by legal struggles.

The Impact of Social and Cultural Forces on Chiropractic

Early philosophers of chiropractic are discussed. Understanding D.D. Palmer’s inclusion of morality and religion in his later writings on chiropractic is described including D.D. Palmer’s Traveling Library and the early influences on his ideas of chiropractic. Principles of chiropractic are examined in four-quadrants.

An Integral Biography of B.J. Palmer

B.J. Palmer’s personal evolution is described. B.J. Palmer’s life is discussed in personal, behavioral, cultural, and social terms. Chiropractic principles are described in terms of social development. A developmental view of B.J. Palmer’s life is undertaken. An emphasis on Palmer’s “uneven” development and its relevance for chiropractic today is central to this lecture.

Perspectives on B.J. Palmer’s spiritual writings

States and stages of consciousness are described in relation to the philosophy of chiropractic. A framework to include chiropractic writings on psycho-spiritual development is established. B.J. Palmer’s later writings on Innate Intelligence are interpreted. The principles of chiropractic are contextualized within cultural history. Chiropractic as a leading cultural movement is discussed.

Chiropractic and Developmental Studies

The postconventional worldview is defined. Dogmatic and Expert perspectives on chiropractic are discussed. Rational and mechanistic thinking in chiropractic is defined based on the developmental psychology literature. Pluralistic perspectives on chiropractic are interpreted. Vertebral Subluxation is defined from many perspectives.

Philosophy of Chiropractic and Systems Thinking

D.D. Palmer is described as an early systems thinker. A short history of systems thinking for chiropractors is developed. Chiropractic’s use of systems theory in research and practice is defined. Three schools of thought on Innate Intelligence are introduced. Interior and exterior measures of health for chiropractic research is discussed.

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