The Chiropractic Program
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.
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.