Our Chiropractic Techniques

We use a number of highly-effective adjusting approaches to help improve spinal biomechanics and reduce nervous system interference. The approach we use is based on our clinical judgment and years of experience.

The primary adjusting techniques we use include:


After identifying which vertebrae have lost their normal motion or position, a specific manual thrust is applied to free up “stuck” spinal joints.

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A special hand arrangement called a “pisiform contact” is used to deliver a specific thrust at the right place and the right time.

At Puget Sound Wellness Center, we use an adjusting style commonly referred to as “Diversified.” First, an analysis of your spine is performed. This can initially involve a case history and X-ray pictures of your spine.

Subsequent visits may include motion palpation, with the chiropractor feeling the spinal joints move as you turn and bend. Or, a leg check may be performed, to uncover an imbalance in the neck or lower spine.

With the malposition of one or more spinal bones identified, a specific manual thrust is administered. The direction, speed, depth and angle that are used is the result of years of experience, practice and a thorough understanding of spinal mechanics.

The energy delivered during the thrust may produce a slight “popping” sound from the shifting of gas and fluids in the joint. This sound may be interesting, but is not a guide as to the value or effectiveness of the adjustment.

While improving spinal biomechanics can reduce nervous system interferences, virtually all joints of the body can be adjusted to help restore proper range of motion.

MC2 Technique

Tonal or nervous system centered chiropractic techniques are not muscle or bone based but rather focus on the nervous system and the related changes in a person’s physiology.

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Chiropractic techniques fit into three basic models based on the three body systems primarily addressed by chiropractors.  Chiropractic intimately involves itself with the skeletal system, the muscle system and the nervous system.  Therefore, while all chiropractic techniques involve all three systems, the techniques themselves can be differentiated from one another based on their method of assessment and their method of correction.

  • Segmental or skeletal system centered chiropractic techniques adjust vertebrae that are not in their optimum position back to a more normal position and, in so doing, affect the nervous system first and then the muscle system next.
  • Postural or muscle system centered chiropractic techniques first involve putting tension or relaxation within the muscle system in order to allow an easier structural adjustment to take place.  In so doing, this approach involves the muscle system first which then affects the skeletal system and then, finally, the nervous system.
  • Tonal or nervous system centered chiropractic techniques are not muscle or bone based but rather focus on the nervous system and the related changes in a person’s physiology.  As such, tonal chiropractic techniques look at the nervous system first and the doctor’s input into the nervous system then affects the muscle system which, in turn, affects the skeletal system.

Since all three technique models work and produce good results, why would we prefer a tonal approach?  The answer comes in understanding how the interference to a person’s nervous system takes place to begin with.  Did the bone move out of place thus affecting the nerve which then affects the muscle?  Bones cannot move by themselves so there must have been a muscle imbalance first.  Did the muscle imbalance occur first thereby causing the bone to move out of its normal position?  Muscles do not think or act on their own so a muscle imbalance can only be the result of an unbalanced nerve supply to the muscles.  So, the bone can only move if a muscle moves it and a muscle will only move when the nervous system tells it to.  For us then, it makes more sense to address the nervous system first so all else can follow.

Activator Methods®

This is a system of spinal evaluation combined with a handheld adjusting instrument that delivers a consistent, low-force thrust.

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We use one of the most popular “low force” chiropractic techniques in the world.

First the Evaluation

We begin by analyzing how well your spine moves. We test how well you turn and bend. While you’re lying face down, we’ll evaluate the length of your legs. This simple procedure can reveal significant differences in leg lengths. Click here to try a simple leg-length home test.

This time-tested protocol tells us if subluxations exist and their location. It also helps us know when to adjust and when not to adjust.

The Adjusting Instrument

Activator Instrument: the hand-held instrument delivers a precise, repeatable force at just the right angle.

The Activator Methods® Adjusting Instrument is a handheld spring-loaded tool that delivers a consistent low-force, high-speed thrust.

Because it’s many times faster than adjustments delivered by hand, the body rarely tightens to resist, making adjustments comfortable and effective. It’s also helpful for adjusting elbows, wrists, knees and other joints of the body.

The Follow Up

After your adjustment, we retest to make sure changes have been produced. Testing afterwards helps us deliver high-quality care and high levels of practice member satisfaction.


Clinical Biomechanics of Posture® is focused on producing improved posture, balance, spinal alignment and restoration of essential spinal curves.

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Traction, along with specific chiropractic adjustments, help restore spinal curves and proper alignment.

Clinical Biomechanics of Posture® helps produce optimal posture and spinal alignment. As your spine assumes a more competent relationship with gravity, symptoms diminish and health can return.

The Ideal Spine

We’ll take pictures of your spine. We compare these images with published standards. We’ll point out any deviations we see. Naturally, these findings will direct our specific care recommendations.

Corrective Care Protocol

After symptomatic relief, patients are offered the option to pursue Corrective Care. This is where dramatic, longer-lasting spinal changes are made. This is done through a specific protocol of adjustments, traction and exercise.

  • Adjustments help restore segmental integrity to the spine, decrease abnormal weight distribution and avoid spinal degeneration.
  • Traction delivers a constant force to help retrain and remodel the spine to counter the effects of long-standing postural distortions.
  • Exercises, designed for each patient’s particular spinal abnormality, are used to strengthen weaker areas of the spine.

Documented Spinal Changes

With high levels of patient involvement and objective standards used to measure success, expect to see dramatic spinal changes.


This full spine approach relies on X-rays and a heat-sensing instrument for a thorough evaluation and documented results.


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Named after its developer, Dr. Clarence Gonstead, this approach came from his engineering background. His “foundation principle” explains how a subluxation pattern in one area of the spine can produce compensatory changes in another.

A Thorough Evaluation

The two probes detect minute differences in temperature up and down your spine.

After studying your health history, we conduct a complete examination. This generally includes full spine X-rays and precise analysis. Using a small heat-sensing instrument, subluxation patterns are revealed by slight differences in temperature. Finally, we use our fingertips to “palpate” or feel the location of individual bones and how they may differ from their normal position.

Full Spine Correction

With a complete picture of your spine it’s time to make the needed corrections.

To adjust your lower spine and pelvis, we’ll have you lie on your side. Subluxations in the middle back are corrected as you assume a comfortable kneeling position. When you are seated, we can restore the integrity of your spine without twisting or rotating your neck.

Sometimes you’ll hear a slight “popping” sound that we call cavitation. Sometimes you won’t. Either way, better health is on the way!

Safe and Effective

The Gonstead Technique is acknowledged as one of the safest systems of evaluating and caring for the spine.


Thompson Terminal Point technique is a system of analysis and a special table that reduces the amount of energy needed to adjust your spine.

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The Thompson Technique, developed by Dr. J. Clay Thompson, has evolved into a system of analysis and a way of adjusting the full spine. The combination produces precise adjustments and high levels of practice member comfort.

A System of Analysis

Early chiropractors noticed that subluxations would produce the appearance of a short, or contracted leg. Using a protocol of comparing leg lengths while the practice member turned their head, helped determine whether the subluxation was in the upper, middle or lower back.

Terminal Point Table

After gently lowering you to a prone position, individual drop pieces give way, reducing the amount of energy needed to adjust your spine.

What practice members often notice first is our segmental “drop” table. After stepping onto the platform, the table gently lowers you into a horizontal position. This helps preserve any leg length inequality.

Individual cushions or “drop pieces” located along our table surface support each area of your spine until the thrust is delivered. Then, each drop piece gently gives way, reducing the amount of energy needed to move a specific spinal segment.

Popular and Patented

So unique is this approach, Dr. Thompson was granted a patent in 1955. Since then, because of its precision and practice member results, it is a technique used around the world.

Toggle Recoil

While lying on your side, we’ll use our hands to deliver a quick contact to the upper bones of your spine. Your body does the rest.

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It would require tremendous pressure to push a nail into a piece of wood, yet only a light hammer touch if the force is swift and accurate. Same with a toggle adjustment.

The upper cervical spine is one of the most nerve-rich areas of your spine. Even subtle changes here can have whole-body effects. Because of its importance, this special adjusting technique has evolved, producing positive results for a variety of health problems.

Comfortable and Relaxed

After a thorough examination revealing the relationship between the skull and the two uppermost bones of the spine, you’ll be positioned comfortably on our adjusting table, usually lying on your side. The more relaxed you are, the more effective your adjustment.

Ultra Quick

Then, we use our hands to deliver a super-fast thrust to the upper bones of your spine. Experience suggests that the best results are obtained with the greatest speed and the lightest force possible. Once the energy is delivered to your spine, my hands are quickly removed from the contact point so as not to interfere with the natural recoil of your spine.

Your Body Does the Adjustment!

The wisdom of your body uses this energy to “reset” the relationship between the spinal segments and your head. All I do is give your body a precise nudge, which allows your body to “right itself” into a more normal pattern. Health can return as the neurological insults are reduced.

If you’ve been to a chiropractor before and prefer to be adjusted in a particular way, let us know. We want you to relax, enjoy and fully benefit from your chiropractic care.

Think of an adjustment as “tuning” a piano, adjusting each string so it produces the perfect tone.

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