The History of Chiropractic


David Daniel Palmer (Iowa, USA) recognised towards the end of the 19th century that the source of many diseases of the body could be traced to trapped nerves and particularly damage to the nerves in the spinal cord, especially those in the narrow passages between two spinal segments. The further development of the chiropractic technique was shaped by charismatic practitioners who took the initiative to use these healing procedures.  These included, for example, his son B. J. Palmer (during the first half of the 20th century).

The first USA trained Swiss chiropractors to set up an independent practice in Canton Zurich in 1932 (Simon Müller and, later, Emil Siegrist), were met with a hostile reception from the established medical profession which involved legal actions leading to the imposition of fines against both practitioners and to a prison sentence for Simon Müller.

To counteract this strong condemnation, the patients of Simon Müller joined forces and organised themselves such that, in 1939 they achieved a vote of approval in Canton Zurich for the recognition of chiropractic.  Further cantons followed suit.  A petition bearing 400,000 signatures resulted in the revision of the Sickness and Injuries Insurance regulations of 1963/64 to declare that chiropractic treatment was fully accepted.  Since January 1965, chiropractic treatment has been covered by medical insurance.

Worldwide Integration


Diverse national societies are members of the World Federation of Chiropractic (WFC) and are connected with international organisations especially the World Health Organisation (WHO).  The WFC is a member of the Council for International Organizations of Medical Sciences (CIOMS) which, under the umbrella of the WHO and UNESCO and headquartered in Brussels, organises a congress of experts every 2 years with the theme of the locomotor system.  This congress is frequently organised with the cooperation/participation of other international organisations.

This information can be found in one of the brochures of the Schweizerischen Chiropraktoren- Gesellschaft (make requests to SCG, Bern.  Only available in German).

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