What is Micro Alignment Therapy?

Micro Alignment Therapy is a precise joint analysis and adjustment that uses small lever motions on specific joints to correct joint misalignments and improve function. It can be used on all joints in the spine and extremities, including the shoulders, elbows, knees, wrists, hips, ankles and cranium. Micro Alignment Therapy was developed by Canadian chiropractor Dr. Robert Young more than 40 years ago and has been revitalized by Dr. Barbara James, who has used it exclusively in her practice for over 28 years.

Micro Alignment Therapy is suitable for patients of all ages. Results vary between patients, but multiple treatments are usually required.

What does Micro Alignment Therapy feel like to patients?

Micro Alignment Therapy emphasizes the use of small, slow and specific movements used to correct individual joints. This is a localized therapy in which individual joints are addressed and the body remains stationary. Patients may feel some movement or hear a “click” – much like the sound of a light switch – when joints are realigned. Patients report they are more relaxed after a treatment.

What are the benefits for patients?

  • Ideal for people who did not respond well to deep pressure/force or impulse techniques of adjustment
  • Very relaxing and gentle, is well-received by patients
  • Results are experienced within 2 – 4 sessions and alignment holds well.
  • Soft tissue Micro Alignment will assist good joint alignment, so it works well in situations where different therapies are required, eg. After a motor vehicle injury.
  • Micro Alignment corrections can be used throughout the whole body to assist optimum body performance (often areas of pain are not the only areas requiring alignment to help the body release pain signals).  Works well for those patients who want to assist their healing with stretching and postural correction techniques.
  • The techniques can be modified to assist patients with special needs, for example if they cannot lie on their stomach they may be treated sitting, on their side or even standing.

What are the benefits for chiropractors?

  • Integrates well with existing methods of soft tissue and joint correction.
  • Does not require special equipment for analysis or therapy
  • Micro analysis can pinpoint specific areas requiring correction, it is quick and provides good patient feedback on improvement
  • Is not physically demanding
  • Will expand your scope of practice and attract many new patients who are looking for a gentler therapy that gives good results.
  • It is enjoyable and rewarding to expand your skills and help people to heal quickly
  • Patients who receive great benefit are highly motivated to complete their healing, and refer others in for your services.
  • Helps to teach people the value of whole body alignment for optimum healing, and many people will return for wellness care.

How do patients respond to treatment?

Each person responds differently to Micro Alignment Therapy. Some patients experience some immediate relief of their symptoms, while others will not see improvement until they have had two or more adjustments. In general, the longer a patient’s joints have been misaligned, the more adjustments are required to provide relief. As with all manual therapies, occasional joint tenderness and inflammation may occur following treatment, but this may be treated simply with ice and rest.

What is the sound sometimes heard during the adjustment?

Not all Micro Adjustments make a sound, and often the lever movement can be repeated a few times in the same area without a sound.  The sound is distinctly different from the “cavitation” of an impulse adjustment.  I explain to patients that it sounds like the “click of a light switch turning on”.  The sound can be heard by patients and by the doctor, but is not usually heard by anyone else in the room.

Without the benefit of studies to research what the sound is, it can only be explained as a sound made by the pisiform lever as it moves the contact surface.  When the hook of the pisiform bone is understood to be a moving fulcrum or partial cam, the sound of the movement comes from the pisiform as it induces movement in the joint or tendon.