The Czech word “naprapravit” (to correct) and the Greek word “pathos” (suffering) combine to form the word Naprapathy. The Naprapathic treatment method “corrects suffering” through manual manipulation of inelastic connective tissue which may be irritating the nervous system and causing pain. Dr. Oakley Smith, the first Naprapath, founded the science of Naprapathy in 1907 after devising a systematic treatment method of evaluating and healing damaged connective tissues. He discovered that structural imbalances (often situated in the spine) were sources of pain that can build slowly and spread throughout the body.
The cause of such imbalances, which deplete the suppleness of connective tissue, include poor posture, trauma and general wear. Naprapathy teaches that, over time, the resulting stiffness can produce pinched nerves. These trigger or contribute to chronic conditions like arthritis, migraine headache, carpal tunnel syndrome, TMJ, herniated disc, bursitis, tendonitis, fibromyalgia, sciatica, chronic back pain, joint pain, shoulder pain and stress related pain in humans. In Naprapathy, treatment begins with a medical case history and a spinal examination to identify the precise location of pain.

Naprapathic therapy includes manual manipulations designed to stretch specific connective tissues, improve structural alignment, promote balance and provide pain relief. Treatment may also include ultrasound, electrical, heat, and cold pain relief treatment methods. Animals would respond well to Naprapathy. Naprapathy’s philosophy of restoring the body’s natural balance extends to posture counseling and correcting dietary deficiencies. In the later case, a Naprapath will provide nutritional counseling.


Animals treated with naprapathy have shown extremely good recovery rates. Same contraindications apply with massage and chiropractic.


Currently, the practice of Naprapathy is licensed in Illinois and New Mexico. A Doctor of Naprapathy carries the designation D.N. Many Naprapaths are found in the Midwest, because the four-year Chicago National School of Naprapathy is located there. To be credentialed, Naprapaths must complete a minimum of six years of higher education.