Dorn Method

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The Dorn Method is an alternative therapy described as a holistic, gentle, effective and safe way to correct misalignments of the spinal column and other joints. Said to be a gentle relative of osteopathy and chiropractic, it is considered useful for complaints such as back pain, neck and joint pains, sciatica, migraine and hip problems.


Why should I be aware of this?

The Dorn Method is a gentle vertebrae and joint treatment. It can be helpful for treating illnesses directly or indirectly connected to the spinal column. It is completely safe but still very effective. No medication is needed and no medical training is necessary to use the method successfully. It can be learned and mastered easily; all you need is sensitive, healthy hands.

The method is based on the notion that our skeleton should be symmetrical, harmonic and in static-dynamic alignment equilibrium. When we 'upset' this 'bone order' our joints may be moved out of place especially in the spine, and cause various pains and disorders. When the skeleton is re-aligned people feel better and symptoms of illness can disappear or abate. It also involves the correction of uneven leg length which can be diagnosed in almost every human today. Due to this problem the pelvis becomes twisted and this often results in an asymmetrical, crooked or displaced spinal column.

All about Dorn Method

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This therapy was developed in the 1970s by Dieter Dorn, a farmer and sawmill owner in Germany. He damaged his lower back in an accident and went to visit a village healer. After a few legs swings and gentle pushes he felt great relief and found he could stand straight again. Dieter Dorn then combined principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine and modern anatomy to develop a method of healing by manipulating the spine. He decided not to patent this method of treatment to ensure its free availability to all those who needed it.

In the 1990s, Helmuth Koch Hildegard Steinhauser, Harald Fleig and other early students of Dorn, started teaching the Dorn method to interested students. This spread this method of treatment throughout Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

The method is based on natural laws of physics and anatomy and incorporates

  • an explanation of the cause of most spinal and joint problems;
  • an effective and safe therapy in cooperation with the patient and
  • self help exercises for patient’s ‘after care’.

'Dynamic’ or moving action

Dorn method is different from Chiropractic form of treatment. In the Dorn method, the treatment or correction of joint or spinal cord misalignments always takes place in a 'dynamic’ or moving action. It has been observed that muscles while trying to hold the positions of misaligned joints and spine, assume 'wrong' position as the correct one and hold it there. Chiropractic treatment goes for static correction. However, during static correction as done in chiropractic method of treatment, the strength of the holding muscles needs to be overcome and the patient is often quite tense since the treatment is done ´on´ them and not ´with´ them.

The treatment

Following from the idea that the treatment needs to be done “with” the patient, the therapy is begun with a detailed explanation of the Dorn method. The causes of the spinal problems are explained so that the patient also becomes capable of taking preventive measures.

After this starts the therapy proper. As explained above this is done in a dynamic process – the areas where the bones are being brought back into position are always moving. To begin with, the patient’s leg lengths are checked – this is done in a lying position. If found unequal, they are corrected. The therapist then moves upwards. The pelvis is checked after the legs; this is done in a standing position. Next come the lumbar and thoracic parts of the spine. After the thoracic, the cervical column is corrected, usually in a sitting position. After the legs and spine are re-aligned, the therapist works with the other joints like shoulder, elbow, hand, collarbone and jaw.

Post-treatment the patient is shown some simple exercises and it should be explained how to adjust uneven movements and bad postural patterns to achieve long lasting results and sometimes psychological connections are discussed which need to be addressed to avoid reoccurrences.

Treatment reactions

Occasionally certain reactions may be noticed up to seven days after the treatment. Dull muscle pain due to the correction (like after a gym workout) and pressure sensitivity on the corrected areas are common. Detoxification sign due to an improved metabolism (better nerve function) e.g. flu like symptoms, changes in toilet habits, and even an ‘awakening’ of unsolved inner issues may appear. These reactions are called ‘healing crisis’. Of course positive reactions like the disappearance of long time pain and chronic inner ailments can be noticed most of the time. In case of unexpected or severe reactions one must consult a therapist or a doctor.

See Also


  • The Dorn Method