CHIROPRACTIC ROOTS

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It is indeed a sad indictment upon our profession that there is so little apparent interest in chiropractic history. I imagine the apathetic attitude is no worse than the lack of interest in American history by most Americans. However, you would think that anyone truly interested in chiropractic, its philosophy and its future would be interested in its history. Yet less than 2% of our profession belong to an organization called the Association for the History of Chiropractic. Chiropractic history courses are virtually non-existent in chiropractic colleges. I would venture to say that other than names like D.D. Palmer, B.J. Palmer, and Harvey Lillard, historical figures in chiropractic are pretty much unknown. Many chiropractors have no interest in this profession other than how much money they can get from it. But, there is a good percentage who are truly interested in chiropractic and its future. Those are the ones who read this newsletter and should be interested in chiropractic history, yet there is a strong indication that there is an obvious lack of interest. The saying that those who do not study the events of history are doomed to repeat its mistakes is more than a trite statement. Many of the problems of contemporary chiropractic were the same problems that confronted our forefathers. We would do well to look at the mistakes that they made and at their solutions in order to keep from making the same errors.
While the Blacks, the American Indians, and other ethnic groups are increasingly emphasizing their history, chiropractors appear to be trying to bury theirs. We are literally burying our history. Every year more of the great pioneers pass on and their stories, their battles, the feelings that they had in building this profession are lost for all time. That is truly sad. What these great men and women did 40, 50, 60, 70 years ago is largely responsible for our right to practice today and most of us do not even know them or know of that which they have done.
Studying the lives of men like Washington, Jefferson, Hamilton, Adams, Lee, and Lincoln can give us an appreciation of what this country now is, and what it should be. Similarly, studying the lives of the great historical figures in chiropractic can give us an appreciation of what chiropractic now is and what it should be. I think some chiropractors are afraid to study chiropractic history for fear that it will somehow disrupt their present thinking. Deep down they are concerned that what they are doing does not line up with the principles and concepts that those who developed our profession held. That’s okay! There is nothing wrong with disagreeing with the developers of our profession but just maybe they can convince you that their ideas and their concept of chiropractic is sounder, better, and more rewarding. At least it shouldn’t hurt to “hear them out.” You may find that the old-timers were not ignorant “fishpeddlers” but were intelligent, articulate, scientific thinkers.
Every chiropractor should begin to take an interest in chiropractic history. It has to affect your thinking to some degree. If nothing else, it will make you think and there is far too little of that being done today within our profession.
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