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Dr. Martin reunites with Finnish chiropractic pioneer

Florida Campus President Dr. Peter Martin met with fellow Class of 1968 graduate Dr. Ragna Valli in her native Finland this year.
Dr. Peter Martin standing next to Dr. Ragna Valli

Florida Campus President Peter Martin, D.C., and Ragna Valli, D.C., the woman responsible for the birth of chiropractic in Finland, were reunited recently during a vacation to Finland by Dr. Martin and his wife, Chris. It was the first time the two fellow students had seen each other since graduating from Palmer College in 1968.

In her youth, Dr. Valli, then known as Marjaleena Mäkinen, had severe asthma. After finding relief from chiropractors in Norway, she was so happy that she decided to study chiropractic herself.

Upon graduating from Palmer, she returned to Finland. She then opened her first practice in 1969 but was told by Finnish authorities that all X-rays had to be taken and read by medical radiologists. However, being a serious woman with strong convictions, she read the X-rays herself. Dr. Mäkinen’s pioneering work opened the door for chiropractic to become socially acceptable in Finland.

In 1977, Dr. Mäkinen and four of her colleagues founded the Finnish Chiropractic Association (now, the Finnish Chiropractic Union). On her own, Dr. Mäkinen lectured and demonstrated chiropractic to medical doctors throughout Finland. Then, in 1994, legislation was passed that recognized and registered chiropractors with the title of koulutettu kiropraktikko, or “trained chiropractor.”

Today, her son, Jaakko, the first second-generation chiropractor in Finland, and his wife, Christa, are in practice in Tampere, while Dr. Valli continues to practice at home.

“It was a once in a lifetime vacation,” said Dr. Martin of his visit with Dr. Valli. “But truly the highlight was to be able to reconnect with Ragna after 40 years and to see firsthand the wonderful things she has accomplished for our profession in Finland.”

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