By Christopher John, D.C.
The Directional Non-Force Technique (D.N.F.T.) is a very
specific manner of diagnosis and adjusting in chiropractic
originally developed by Dr. Richard VanRumpt. VanRumpt began
his earliest investigations in 1923 as a student at the National
College of Chiropractic, and he single-handedly taught this
method at seminars throughout the country for almost 50 years.
Initially inspired to develop the D.N.F.T. while still a
student, VanRumpt discovered that some deep lumbar palpation
rendered on a patient provided relief to many symptoms. The
notion that a less forceful approach could correct subluxations
intrigued him, as did the phenomenon of changes in leg length.
Before entering chiropractic college,he had been a professional
It was then that he developed an interest in leg measurement
from his boxing coach. The coach apparently utilized some
rudimentary form of leg check as a guide to adjustment that he
then rendered to his boxers.
It took VanRumpt a number of years of personal research to
develop an approach, utilizing a leg check and light-force
adjusting which he felt enough confidence in to teach to others.
The advantages of this technique are many. Less force, the lack
of torque and "audible articular sound" are aspects very much
appreciated by many patients. More important is the accuracy
and specificity of analysis of subluxations and the associated
correction. The ability to analyze subluxations without X-rays,
and having few contraindications for adjusting are other
advantages. And finally, the power of the adjustment, the
long-lasting nature of the correction and the speedy recovery of
most patients are important advantages.
The term "non-force" is slightly inaccurate with respect to how
the adjustment is rendered. It is, rather, light-force or
lowforce in nature. The efficacy of a low-force, lowamplitude,
high-speed impulse is a result of the diagnostic and adjusting
accuracy. Simply stated, when you are at the right place at the
time thrusting in the right direction, the body accepts the
correction totally and permanently.
As used here, the term "permanently" simply means
that we do not have to repeat this adjustment again and again in
order for it to hold the correction. If the subluxation is
corrected properly, including all elements, then one adjustment
will do the job!
There is a legitimate rationale, however, for preventative
maintenance. This is because new subluxations can be incurred
from a number of sources. My idea of optimal patient
maintenance is one visit every one to four months.
I have heard many different reasons and excuses for why a
patient should have to come in to the office so many more times
than this (for maintenance), but I do not agree with them.
Students and doctors should seriously consider their own
rationale for continued adjustments and how many visits are
typically required to correct a condition. For me, it is a
combination of several things: finding no or few subluxations
with the D.N.F.T. analysis, symptom removal or stationary
status, negative ortho/neuro tests and range-of-motion testing.
For a simple localized problem such.as neck pain or mid-back
pain, the problem can often be eliminated with two to five
adjustments. For more serious problems, or for the effects of
multiple injuries, five to nine visits would be my average.
While this is much less than we hear about in school and through
practice management seminars, when one considers chiropractic
ideals from a patient perspective, it can be seen that D.N.F.T.
merits serious consideration by our schools and profession.
This has not been done to date for a number of
A Unique Approach
While other techniques may appear to resemble or contain
elements of it, D.N.F.T. chiropractic is a 100 percent VanRumpt
discovery. Currently there are similar techniques which are
included in elective curricula in our schools, some of which are
now more well known than the original Directional Non-Force
I would not berate these techniques for being included in
elective curricula, but I would appreciate a level playing
field. There has been more discrimination against D.N.F.T.
chiropractic than you can imagine. I truly believe that if
people understood exactly what the Directional Non-Force
Technique is, there would not be such a furor over it.
Subluxation in D.N.F.T. philosophy is any misalignment of
osseous or soft tissue that is actively producing nerve
interference. The key phrase is "producing nerve interference."
If a misalignment is visualized on x-ray or by some other means,
yet is not actively producing nerve interference, it cannot be
considered a subluxation, according to VanRumpt and me.
Both a challenge and a D.N.F.T. leg check are used to analyze
subluxations. The challenge may be "hard" and consist of a
light push by a finger, or it can be a polarity check by aiming
the appropriate finger at a structure in a specific direction.
If the challenge is followed by a leg check within three
seconds, and if there is a pull-up of the "reactive leg", then a
subluxation and at least one component of its direction have
been found. The pull-up of the reactive leg, properly done, is
dramatic and is generally 1/2-inch to one full inch.
The reactive leg is a phenomenon which every human experiences.
The body has the capacity to react to certain things in such a
way that the musculature on one side of the body will contract.
This contraction, if viewed on a patient in the supine or prone
position, will appear as a temporary shortening of one side. It
is most dramatic when viewed at the walking surface of the heel.
This is not to be confused with a static or functional short
This is also entirely different from the Derefield, Activator,
Nucca or any other leg measuring system in chiropractic.
According to VanRumpt, the Derefield leg check was being
utilized by osteopaths prior to chiropractors. Incidentally, a
literature survey on the Derefield was performed as part of a
scientific study by Dr. Joanne Nyiendo of Western States
Chiropractic College. From what I can recall of her lecture,
there is very little understanding of the true nature of the
Derefield leg check and what it means.
Correction of the Subluxation
Subluxations are corrected through a thumb thrust, which is best
described as low-force, high-velocity, low-amplitude impulse.
In the case of certain discs in certain directions, we also
employ a specially modified 3/8-inch wood dowel with which we
can perform a light thrust between the transverse process toward
the center of the intervertebral disc. The disc correction is
one of the main features of D.N.F.T. adjusting.
It is not necessary to "mobilize joints" to correct
subluxations. Fixations are set up by the body itself to
protect against further damaging effects of nerve interference.
If the underlying subluxation is corrected, fixations are
automatically released by the body. This fact is little known
to chiropractic students throughout the country.
We invite any who are interested in conducting scientific
research, and who would like to investigate this, to contact the
president of our newly formed scientific research organization.
Dr. Laura Henson, president of the newly formed D.N.F.T
scientific research organization, would be glad to help develop
a protocol for such a study.
Analysis of the Subluxation
X-rays have a number of legitimate uses in chiropractic, but
analyzing subluxations is not one of them. You only analyze
distortion and manifestations of subluxations, and not
necessarily subluxations (which produce nerve interference). We
utilize the body itself to be the indicator of the location and
direction of the subluxation.
If nothing else, I would hope that what would be remembered is
that Directional Non-Force Technique chiropractic is very basic,
fundamental, pure chiropractic.
VanRumpt would quote D.D. Palmer when he said, "Find the
subluxation, fix it and let the body heal. "
As I mentioned earlier, we now have a nonprofit educational
organization, completely independent from D.N.F.T. seminars,
that is dedicated to scientific research. We already have
protocol for an initial scientific study and are poised to
begin. Anyone can find out about this by dialing our hotline,
selecting the scientific research voicebox, and leaving a
message for Dr. Henson.
D.N.F.T. chiropractic has been taught as an elective for several
years now at the Pennsylvania College of Straight Chiropractic
and Southern California Chiropractic College. Relicensing
seminars have also been sponsored by these two colleges.
Unfortunately, for the most part, teachers and administrators
themselves do not know what D.N.F.T. is and either misrepresent
it or do not teach it in history and philosophy classes at all.
It is also not offered as an elective except in the schools I
have already mentioned. As VanRumpt used to write, it is the
most misunderstood technique in chiropractic.
I think the future of Directional Non-Force Technique is
hopeful, based upon the formation of our scientific research
organization. The technique has always stood on the merits of
its results and is loved by patients and doctors all over the
world. But now the call is out for demonstrable results. We
welcome the challenge.
About the author: Christopher F. John, D.C., a 1982 graduate of
Western States Chiropractic College, has had a private practice
in Beverly Hills, Calif., since 1983. He was personally trained
by Dr. Richard VanRumpt in 1986 to be his successor in teaching
and researching the Directional Non Force Technique.
Directional Non-Force Technique, its associated logo and several
other expressions are now registered trademarks and
servicemarks. More information may be obtained from D.N.F.T.
Seminars @, 256 S. Robertson Blvd., Suite 1636, Beverly Hills,
CA 90210; or call (310) 657-2338, or utilize FAX (310) 657-2279.
Dr. Laura Henson can be reached by calling the D.N.F.T. hotline
at (310) 657-2338 and selecting the scientific research voicebox.