ANJC History

New Jersey: A Brief History of Chiropractic

Imagine getting thrown in jail for practicing chiropractic in New Jersey without a license—but it was impossible to get a license!

Medical examining boards tried to impose unreasonable standards on the healing arts: like chiropractic.
Medical examining boards made it even more difficult with the passage of the McClave Act in 1939, establishing uniform license requirements for anyone in New Jersey wishing to practice any of the healing arts. Applying the standards of medical doctors, who perform surgery and prescribe medications, to chiropractors was a ploy used in states other than New Jersey to limit chiropractic.

Finally, in 1953, the New Jersey law was changed and chiropractors were allowed to apply for licensure before an examining board consisting mostly of medical doctors and a single chiropractor.

Over time, New Jersey licensure laws continued to evolve with increasing educational and training requirements for chiropractors that were more in step with the national accreditation given chiropractic colleges.

In 2009, the Association of NJ Chiropractors intensified its efforts for a new scope of practice bill in the NJ Legislature, updating the original scope of practice that was in effect since 1953. The prime sponsor of the bill in the NJ Assembly, Majority Leader Bonnie Watson-Coleman, explained why this bill needed to be passed.

Thankfully, for chiropractors and chiropractic patients in New Jersey, chiropractic has come a long way since the days when chiropractors were routinely jailed and suffered at the hands of the fanatical, anti-chiropractic wing of organized medicine!