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Directional non-force technique

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Richard Van Rumpt, DC [1][2] (1904 - 1987) was a professional boxer in New York at the young age of 16. When Dr. VanRumpt and the other boxers would prepare for a fight, the boxing trainer did a rudimentary leg check before performing a cervical manipulation. This experience left him with a curiosity about leg checks, and he subsequently spent many years observing the phenomena involving dynamic changes of relative leg length.” Van Rumpt graduated from National College of Chiropractic in 1922 and by the late 1920’s had met Dr. Major DeJarnette and became his student. Not much later he was chosen by DeJarnette to head up the SOT east coast research group. By the late 1940’s the two men parted ways and Van Rumpt began to teach his own adjusting technique and system of subluxation analysis.[3]

Directional Non-Force Technique (DNFT)

Early Developments

VanRumpt began developing Directional Non-Force Technique (D.N.F.T.) while he was still in college in the 1920s. During this time he realized maybe to have good clinical results it wasn't necessary to have "heavy" adjustments. The analysis part of DNFT began after he read in a Rosicrucian magazine that the body was positive and negative and that every other finger on either hand might be positive and negative. In 1923 he started experimenting to see if it was possible to use the positive and negative fingers in making a chiropractic listing.[4]

DNFT's Biological Plausibility

VanRumpt’s protocol was fairly direct. He had discovered a neurological reflex that was elicited when the feet of a patient are moved very specifically around an axis of rotation of the subtalar joint. When one foot is fully everted and the other foot is everted only half way, a whole body reflex is elicited which triggers contraction of muscles all along the half-everted side of the body creating a relative short leg to occur. That shortening can be as little as an 1/8 of an inch or more than a full inch. Once the doctor has established this “leg shortening reflex”, he/she can use it as a feedback tool, in conjunction with a body tissue challenge, to identify the presence of nerve interference almost anywhere in the body.[3]

VanRumpt utilized a simple Descartian system of three dimensional analysis to determine if the body’s proprioceptive receptors are working properly. The doctor challenges any anatomical structure to the right or the left, anterior or posterior, cephalad (superior) or caudad (inferior). After challenging the structure, the doctor performs the foot eversion procedure to check for leg shortening. If the reflex activated leg demonstrates relative shortening, then there was some mechanoreceptor dysfunction, assuming that the reflex was not inhibited at the spino-cortical level. Purportedly if there was no response to the “subtalar reflex challenge” that it was due to some inhibition of the local proprioceptor response, and therefore there was no interference with the reflex activated leg mechanism. The doctor would then adjust the “offending” structure to reset the proprioceptor, removing the subluxation.[3]

The Focus of DNFT Care

DNFT thrusts are able to achieve these structural corrections without the torque, strong force, and associated articular sounds that are often associated with traditional chiropractic. DNFT Chiropractic is a patient oriented approach that seeks to provide maximum, long lasting relief in a swift, safe, and effective manner.[5][6][7][8]

DNFT Research

Van Rumpt wrote very little about his published research[4]. A study by Shelley found a positive response relating to fertility with a 32 year old female and initially “surface EMG showed significant muscle asymmetry,with a marked elevation of muscle tension on the left side in the area of L3 [9];” whereas a follow-up at 6 weeks found that “surface EMG showed a substantial improvement in muscle symmetry, as well as a reduction in the muscle tension previously noted at L3 [9].”

A non-randomized, non-controlled practice based study was performed with 22 private chiropractic practices in the US. The subjects were 131 adult patients with chronic low back pain (lower back pain ≥3 months) mean duration of 11 years, 53% male, mean age of 46.75. Significant improves appeared in general health, functional disability, and pain intensity of interventions of 4-weeks with 6 visits of DNFT chiropractic care.[10][11]


  1. Editorial Staff (Nov/Dec 1987). "DNFT creator Van Rumpt dies at age 83". ICA Rev 43 (6): 3. 
  2. Cooperstein, R; Gleberzon, BJ (Apr 2004), Technique Systems in Chiropractic, New York, NY: Churchill Livingstone 
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Boro, WJ; Blum CL (May 2012). "Treatment of Low Back Pain by Cranial Adjustment: A Case Report". 4th Annual Sacro Occipital Technique Research Conference Proceedings (Atlanta, GA): 27-33. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 Editorial Staff (Sep 1987). "An interview with Dr. Richard Van Rumpt". Am Chiropr: 4-7. 
  5. John, CF (Mar/Apr 2003). "Directional Non-Force Technique". Todays Chiropr 32 (2): 20-5. 
  6. John, CF (Jul/Aug 1994). "The Directional Non-Force Technique". Todays Chiropr 23 (4): 30-2. 
  7. John, CF (Jul/Aug 1992). "Directional Non-Force Technique of Chiropractic". Am Chiropr 14 (7): 15-6. 
  8. John, CF (Jul 1989). "The Directional Non-Force Technique of Chiropractic". Am Chiropr: 14-5. 
  9. 9.0 9.1 Shelley, J; John C (2003). "Healthy Pregnancy In A Previously Infertile Patient Following D.N.F.T. Chiropractic Care: A Case Report". J Vert Sublux Res 1: 1-7. 

External links

DNFT Website