A Patients Guide to SOT Practice
Over 100 years ago, D.D. Palmer (the Founder of Chiropractic) had a “big idea” – the idea that good health can be sustained naturally, without drugs or surgery, through chiropractic care. Today, Chiropractic is the second largest licensed health care profession.
We know that the nervous system controls the functions of every tissue, organ and system in the body. Chiropractic concerns itself with the relationship between structure (primarily the spine) and function (primarily coordinated by the nervous system) of the human body, and how that relationship affects the restoration and preservation of health.
When that relationship is compromised by a spinal bone interfering with the nervous system (a vertebral subluxation), your Chiropractor will deliver a spinal adjustment (a specific, precise, corrective force to the offending spinal segment). This correction permits normal nerve transmission, enabling the body’s innate recuperative power to begin the healing process.
So what is Sacro Occipital Technique?
Sacro Occipital Technique (SOT) is a specialised, comprehensive, gentle and innovative technique of Chiropractic founded in 1925 by Dr De Jarnette, It is so named because of the relationship between the sacrum (base of the spine) and the occiput (base of the skull).
One of the functions of the sacrum is to pump Cerebro-Spinal Fluid (CSF) from the base of the spine back up the spinal canal to the brain and throughout the nervous system. The occiput also helps to pump CSF. The minute rhythmical motion that circulates the CSF is essential to optimal health – CSF effectively acts as the circulatory system of the brain and spinal cord.
The pelvis forms the foundational support of the human skeleton. It supports the upper body right up to the skull, and enables us to transfer our weight to our legs. The spine holds our body upright, supports all of our organs and provides anchor points for our muscles. It also protects our delicate nervous system. The nervous system controls our body, and can only function normally when our structures are balanced and our pelvis is stable. This is what SOT aims to achieve.
In more technical terms, restoration or maintenance of health is accomplished through specialised integrated procedures including functional chiropractic neurology and biomechanics, nutrition, soft tissue techniques and the diagnosis and treatment of the craniosacral respiratory mechanism (CSRM).
The techniques utilised in SOT promote optimal innate healing mechanics for the spine, pelvis, cranium, organs, extremities, nervous system, brain and muscles. These techniques promote balance, neurological integrity and integrated function of the organ structure and neurological mechanism.
Interestingly, SOT practitioners are most often the chiropractors for other chiropractors in their communities.
The Three Categories:
The category system of diagnosis and analysis developed by Dr De Jarnette provides your SOT chiropractor with a logical, balanced approach to your care, leading to the most appropriate treatment approach for you. Your body will adapt to misalignments. This adaption or failure to adapt produces different “categories”, which may be progressive. Chiropractic Manipulative Reflex Technique (CMRT) is an effective approach to dealing with the issues that are a common cause of chronic subluxation.
Category One occurs when the sacro-iliac joints become misaligned, or subluxated. This has the effect of rotating the hips and tilting the sacrum. When the sacrum tilts it reduces it’s pumping ability. The reduction of the normal sacral pump means the cerebro-spinal fluid does not circulate as effectively, and may lead to a lack of nutrition and an increased toxicity of the nervous system. Category One symptoms arise from this reduced nerve function and can affect many tissues and organs throughout the body.
Correction of Category One
When correcting a Category One subluxation, your Chiropractor will use two blocks that will be placed under your pelvis in specific positions and directions. Your body weight and breathing motions then normalise the sacro-iliac joints and assist the sacral pump which stimulates the movement of cerebro-spinal fluid. This improves nerve nutrition and removes toxins, which allows your nervous system to function at its optimum.
Category Two – Sprain of the pelvis
Category Two happens when ligaments that hold the sacroiliac joint are stretched or sprained, allowing the joint surfaces to separate. This disturbs the body’s balance, nervous system and our spine right up to our shoulders and neck and also our cranial system.
Correction of Category Two
The “arm fossa test” is a specific test your chiropractor will use to confirm a Category Two, as well as other sensitive indicators. To correct the Category Two, blocks are placed under the pelvis and the weight of the body helps reposition the sacroiliac joints for healing. Usually you will notice your arm response and sensitive areas improve immediately as the blocks do their work.
Category Three – Lower back, discs and nerves
Between each of the spinal vertebrae is a disc. These discs act as shock absorbers as well as spacers between the bones. When our bodies work correctly, the discs allow enough space between the spinal bones for delicate nerves to exit. When our bodies are out of balance these spaces can become compromised by an alteration to the disc, which may pinch or irritate the nerve just beside it.
Correction of Category Three
Category Three occurs when the low back can no longer tolerate the physical stressors placed on it. This can be a sudden one-off event such as a lift, or it can be a pre-existing weakness that is aggravated. Often Category Three produces pain in the low back and sometimes pain radiates down a leg as sciatica. Correction involves using blocks under the pelvis in a specific direction and position. Your weight and breathing help to balance the low back and take the pressure or irritation off the nerve. This allows the body to heal.
(From the Sacro-occipital Technique Organization of Australasia)