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What are Chiropractic Methods?

The intent of chiropractic care is to reduce joint pain and inflammation, and restore normal range of motion (ROM) and relax the muscles surrounding a joint complex. There are many varied techniques associated with chiropractic adjusting. The delivery of the adjustment may be by hand as in Diversified technique or assisted by instruments such as: Flexion and Distraction, Activator, Thompson Drop and S.O.T. Blocks.

We also treat muscles and look at your diet to restore joint health. Patients commonly receive a moist hot pack, prescribed stretches and/or exercises and suggestions on what to eat to quell inflammation, in addition to chiropractic adjustments.

Explanation of Methods


One of the original, safe and most commonly utilized methods, diversified adjusting uses a high velocity (quick), low amplitude (shallow) thrust often accompanied by a "popping" sound as pressure is released from the joint. A major effect of diversified adjustments is restoration of a joint’s function. It is a passive, manual maneuver during which a three-joint complex is taken past the normal range of movement, but not so far as to dislocate or damage the joint; its defining factor is a dynamic thrust, and the patient usually feels more relaxed after the adjustment.

Flexion and Distraction

A gentle, non-force adjusting procedure utilizes specialized adjusting tables with movable parts to open or distract a joint complex, often coupled with flexion, lateral flexion and/or rotation. This is an effective method of spinal decompression.


The gentlest methods of adjusting the spine and extremities. Activator uses the Activator Adjusting Instrument, a spring- loaded adjusting tool, to give consistent low-force, high-speed chiropractic adjustments rather than directly by hand.

The hand-held Activator instrument is specifically designed to deliver a controlled, light and fast thrust without undue strain to the patient. The thrust delivered by the instrument is so quick that it accelerates ahead of the body's tendency to tighten up and resist the thrust of an adjustment. The activator is suitable and comfortable for all types of patients, ranging from pregnant women, babies and children, to athletes and seniors.

Thompson Technique

Developed originally by Dr. Clay. Thompson. The adjustment is assisted by the use of what is known as a drop piece. The chiropractor applies a quick thrust at the same time the section drops. The dropping of the table allows for a lighter adjustment without the twisting positions that can accompany other techniques. The intent as in all adjusting is to restore the joint’s range of motion and relax the muscles around the adjusted joint complex. It is safe, fast and gentle.

Sacral Occipital Technique (S.O.T)

SOT is one of the oldest chiropractic techniques and was founded by Dr. Major B. De Jarnette (1900-1992) a student of the founder of Osteopathy Dr. Andrew Taylor Still and also cranial techniques as taught by Dr Sutherland. SOT is a method of chiropractic care that identifies distortion patterns in the nervous pelvic and spinal systems. This technique uses wedge shaped blocks to insert under the patient's pelvis for pelvic correction using the patient's weight.

Rehabilitation and Physiotherapy

Nerve and Musculoskeletal pain is often caused by repetitive stress, improper posture or habits, shallow breathing, nutrition, chronic stress, muscular and/or skeletal imbalances, poorly maintained core muscle strength and inflexibility. These issues are and must be addressed during the rehabilitation phase of treatment for short term and long term benefit. Orthotics, or uniquely molded foot inserts may also be deemed necessary to keep patients out of pain in the present and in the future.

Manual Therapy

Manual therapy is also known as mobilization or manipulation of soft tissues, such as muscles, ligaments and tendons. It’s purpose is to increase joint range of motion (ROM), relax muscles, restore normal muscle and joint function and reduce inflammation and pain.


You may have noticed the circular marks on Michael Phelps’s shoulders during the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics. Those were cupping marks. Cupping, also known as “fire cupping,” has ancient roots in China and Eastern Europe. It is used for treating muscle pain and stiffness, as well as colds, influenza and allergies. To perform cupping, fire is placed inside of a glass cup to create a vacuum. The cup without air is then quickly placed on the body. The suction from the vacuum releases the muscles and/or what is causing the patient’s chief complaint.

Sliding Cupping uses the above mentioned method with oil applied to the skin surface of the area to be treated. The cup is then led along the appropriate, well-oiled path.

In bio-medicine, it is thought that methods such as acupuncture, cupping and gua sha are used on areas of pain to create “controlled inflammation,” or “controlled microtrauma.” These methods of controlled microtrauma send cellular signals which in turn require the body to respond to and heal the areas that are causing pain.

Cupping, gua sha and acupuncture may all leave marks on treated areas. Cupping marks may be the size of the cups or smaller, and may last as long as a month or as short as a day. The area may be sparsely marked or completely filled in. The colors range from light red to bluish purple depending on the condition, from a TCM theory stand point. It is noted that cupping and gua sha marks have come into fashion and are sometimes flaunted among famous artists and now athletes from the U.S..

Gua Sha, or IASTM

A type of manual therapy using an IASTM or gua sha tool over effected soft tissues to improve muscle performance and increase ROM. In addition, it reduces inflammation, pain, fibrosis, scar tissue formation and degeneration.

Gua sha literally translates as “scraping sand,” in Mandarin Chinese. It is an ancient form of IASTM used for 1,000’s of years throughout Asia. It leaves small red markings or petechiae, known as “sand,” over the treated area, and is extremely effective when treating an entire muscle from attachment to insertion, with similar results as sliding cupping.

IASTM has been shown in laboratory to increase fibroblast production as well as a vascular response. This is important because fibroblasts are responsible for the cellular repair of elastin, collagen and proteoglycans that make up our soft tissues. Scarring in soft tissue is associated with an unorganized collagen fiber matrix. Most importantly, soft tissue treated with IASTM exhibits a reduction in scarring. In other words, tissue is repaired in a normal, organized fashion with IASTM or gua sha and normal soft tissue function is restored.


A manual therapy technique using ischemic compression to inflamed muscles. Each area is pressed in specific locations using the hand, elbow or forearm for several seconds up or down the muscle and/or ligament. This is repeated several times to reduce pain and relax soft tissues.

Cross Fiber Friction

This form of manual, tissue manipulation increases vascular flow and reduces scar tissue from forming. It maintains soft tissue mobility and reduces inflammation or pain.

Thermal Therapy

A hot, moist pack is applied to symptomatic areas for 8-10 minutes. Thermal therapy creates vasodilation, reduces inflammation and muscle tension. Moreover, it has a soothing, analgesic effect.


An ancient practice that adapted postures from animal forms and stretches. The word itself is often translated as “unify.” It's intention is to connect your breath to your movement and postures or poses. It is considered a form of moving meditation. The postures can be used to increase physical and mental strength, flexibility and endurance, and is similar to Pilates in this regard. The forms also help improve posture and alignment when performed honestly and within one’s physical limits.

Diaphragmatic Breathing

Also known as eupnea or belly breathing, this method requires individuals to reduce their breathing rate and control their breath. Deep breathing exercises are used to relax muscles and control headaches with the added benefit of lowering blood pressure and anxiety or depression.

Visualization Therapy

Guided imagery is used to direct breath and help patients visualize the healing process in their body.


Pilates is named after it’s developer Joseph Pilates. It is a physical exercise system that like yoga, uses the breath and movement to unify the body with the mind. Muscle control, breathing and alignment are extremely important in this method. Many of the exercises strengthen as well as lengthen core muscles, referred to as the “Powerhouse.” The Powerhouse includes the abdomen, upper and lower back, hips, inner thighs and buttocks. It is used to improve alignment, posture, flexibility, strength and endurance.

PNF Stretching

Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation (PNF) Stretching requires passive placement of a restricted muscle into a position of stretch followed by an isometric contraction of the restricted muscle. The isometric contraction is held for approximately 10 seconds. After the contraction period the patient is instructed to relax the restricted muscle that was just contracting and activate the opposing muscle to move the limb into a greater stretch. Through the Golgi Tendon Organ, the tight muscle is relaxed, and lengthened. This method improves flexibility and short-term active and passive ROM.


Our clinic uses 3D scanner technology developed by Foot Levelers to create uniquely molded foot inserts for any shoe, boot, sneaker or slipper. Heel lifts are added to inserts for patient’s with non-functional leg length discrepancies. Custom made shoes and sandals are also available.

Wobble Board

This is a ball set into a board used to stand on in order to restore proprioception and balance, as well as develop postural reactions.

A Glimpse of Chiropractic History

Spinal and extremity manipulation dates back 1,000’s of years to ancient China (Tui Na), Greece and Egypt. The translation of the word chiropractic means “effective treatment by hand” coined from Greek root words by Rev. Samuel Weed. Modern, American chiropractic was founded in 1897 by Daniel David Palmer and includes many different techniques.

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