Chiropractic History

Our actions and behaviours shape our tomorrow, and without an understanding and appreciation of chiropractic's history, we lack an appropriate foundation to make chiropractic's tomorrow

After all, if what we think, say, and do today is the same as what we thought, did, and said yesterday, then chiropractic's tomorrow will be yesterday again

We appreciate Gore Vidal's delectable perspective that 'History is idle gossip about a happening whose truth is lost the instant it has taken place'  and that the most rewarding histories are informed works of fiction

The Journal also appreciates that 'Well-behaved women seldom make history' attributed to both Marilyn Monroe and Eleanor Roosevelt who probably appropriated it after Anne Boleyn; we know it was documented in 1976 by Pulitzer Prize winning historian Laurel Thatcher Ulrich in a 1976 article about Puritan funeral services 

For this reason we encourage reports of the significant contributions made by women to our profession, without aspersing their behaviours

One such woman is Mary Ann Chance and two papers here celebrate this doctor’s contribution to our profession. The reflection by Alana Callender is a delightful encouragement for more doctors to also become historians, and we welcome this notion by publishing Dr Callender’s work as the Mary Ann Chance Memorial paper for 2020

But who was this woman and why does she deserve a ‘memorial’ paper in her honour? The answer is told by her husband and life-partner Rolf Peters. We are delighted to do as Mary Ann herself would have done, to publish a paper that breaks conventional boundaries. This backgrounder is published by the Journal as a ‘love story’. It gives us all cause for reflection about our own meagre contributions. 

The emergence of Chiropractic Education in Australia

Abstract: This paper describes the emergence of chiropractic education in Australia. Chiropractic clinical practice started in Australia about 20 or so years after DD Palmer first started teaching chiropractic in 1897. This point is used to anchor Palmer’s idea of chiropractic as a teachable construct which has lead to some 50 institutions globally. The establishment of chiropractic in this world region commenced with Palmer graduates in New Zealand then Australia between 1914 and the 1920s. The American-trained Palmer graduates formed the mainstream of the chiropractic profession which remained subluxation-focussed while a variety of self-initiated programs without any trained chiropractors as teachers emerged and eventually dissipated or merged. These programs produced practitioners as osteopaths and naturopaths and then, as government inquiries commenced, chiropractors. The relationship between this stream of self-proclaimed practitioners of various disciplines and the mainstream US-trained chiropractors was strained to say the least. Seen as a feud, it resulted in each forming their own professional associations and then very different education programs. Through mergers these programs continue today as Macquarie University and RMIT University. Two other government programs have emerged, at Murdoch University and Central Queensland University, and a fifth Australian program is establishing itself as a private institution in Adelaide. This college, together with the New Zealand College of Chiropractic, are the only two of the 6 colleges holding true to Palmer’s founding concepts.

Indexing Terms: Chiropractic; history; Australia; education; accreditation; International College of Chiropractic; ICC; RMIT; PIT; Sydney College; Macquarie University; NZCC; ACC.

Cite: Ebrall P. The Emergence of Chiropractic Education in Australia. Asia-Pac Chiropr J. 2023;3.4 URL

The establishment of the International College of Chiropractic (ICC) Melbourne.

Abstract: The purpose of this pragmatic historical narrative is to report events leading to the establishment of the first program of education by chiropractors for chiropractors in Australasia. The mainstream chiropractors in Australia formed an independent education body incorporated on 6 March 1975 as the International College of Chiropractic (ICC). The anchor years are the early 1970s to 1975 during which the ICC went from an idea to a reality in a very short time. It then transitioned from a private, stand-alone fee-for-education institution to be within a state tertiary education system which resulted in government funding for student places. The evidence strongly supports my contention that the ICC marked the commencement of chiropractic education in Australia. 

Indexing Terms: chiropractic; history; Australia; Government Inquiries; identity; education.

Cite: Ebrall P. The establishment of the International College of Chiropractic (ICC) Melbourne. Asia-Pac Chiropr J. 2022;3.2. URL

Yesterday when I was young

We need our research and academic community to step up and aid chiropractors in clinical practices that don’t understand how to share their valuable information in publications. There really doesn’t have to be a schism between clinicians and researchers but this will continue if we keep our eyes closed ... there are powerful factions in our chiropractic research and academic communities that are seeking to eliminate our chiropractic technique systems.’

Dr Blum is an experienced chiropractic clinician, a well-published researcher, and Research Director of the Sacro Occipital Technique Organization, USA 

Cite:  Blum C. Yesterday when I was young [Reflection]. Asia-Pac Chiropr J. 2020;1:025 

DD Palmer’s theistic spin on biology and the modern effort to hide it

'… a large hunk of our profession continues to fracture away from subluxation-based care. Medically minded chiropractic educators sneer at the work of our founders and poison the minds of fledging chiropractic students using straight chiropractors’ alleged belief in vitalism and other non-material constructs as part of their constellation of arguments against the validity of the science-end of subluxation. Why should we keep handing them that card?’

Indexing terms: Palmer, theism, chiropractic

Cite: Seiler E. DD Palmer’s theistic spin on biology and the modern effort to hide it. Asia-Pac Chiropr J. 2020;1:034 URL

The reason for remembering significant people

'Accept the things to which fate binds you, and love the people with whom fate brings you together, but do so with all your heart.’ Marcus Aurelius

The Journal remembers Mary Ann Chance and this paper helps to explain why. This Editor was trained by MAC and even today can not place a comma without trepidation I will be ‘called out’. This is a ‘must read’ paper for every Palmer alumnus

Cite: Peters R. The reason for remembering significant people: The story of Mary Ann Chance and why our profession is what it is in Australia today. Asia-Pac Chiropr J. 2020;1.1 URL

 A philosophy for chiropractic education in the 21st Century: A contextual prelude

The future of chiropractic education is explored with an emphasis on the need for an institutional philosophical frame-work. Evidence-informed predications are offered with a brief summary and desired outcomes

Indexing terms: chiropractic, education, curriculum, philosophy, trends

Cite: Ebrall P. A philosophy for chiropractic education in the 21st Century: A contextual prelude. Asia-Pac Chiropr J. 2020;1:036 URL

Reflections of a chiropractic historian

This paper continues an annual series commenced within the pages of the Chiropractic Journal of Australia which celebrates the life of Mary Ann Chance as a woman of chiropractic, being the daughter of Dr Hugh Chance and close to BJ Palmer. Mary Ann, or MAC to her friends, guided with her husband Rolf Peters the CJA for some 30 years until her sudden death

This 2020 Memorial Paper is written by a quiet achiever in the field of chiropractic history, Alana Callender. First, an English teacher. Then, a librarian. And then a historian

This paper is published in the ‘historical narrative’ style based on insights gained during the research and teaching processes. Dr. Callender has produced numerous historical articles and books over her career. Her capstone work, Dr. Palmer: Chiropractor, World Traveler, Author, Lecturer, Civic Leader, Mother and Wife, will be published by the Association for the History of Chiropractic in 2020


'Librarians are your best detectives when it comes to writing a complete history. Chiropractic needs many more writers of history. Why don’t you give it a try?

Indexing terms: chiropractic, history

Cite: Callender A. Reflections of a chiropractic historian. Mary Ann Chance Memorial Paper. Asia-Pac Chiropr J. 2020;017 URL

The Founder of Chiropractic: Some notes on DD Palmer

This narrative gives the 19 September 1895 as the date on which Palmer became one of the first health practitioners to realise the health of a person, as the host, played a role in disease.

Indexing terms: Palmer, chiropractic, adjustment, host

Cite: Peters RE. The Founder of Chiropractic: Some notes on DD Palmer. Asia-Pacific Chiropr J. 2020;1:010 URL


This product has been added to your cart