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Major Bertrand DeJarnette

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Major Bertrand DeJarnette, DO, DC

Dr. M.B. DeJarnette
Born December 23, 1899
LaMonte, MO
Died May 31, 1992
St. Mary's Hospital, Nebraska City, NB
Nationality Flag usa.gif United States
Education Chiropractic
Alma mater Nebraska College of Chiropractic (1924)
Occupation Developer of Chiropractic Technique (Sacro Occipital Technique)
Years active 1924 to 1990
Home town Nebraska City, NB
Known for Developer of Sacro Occipital Technique
Title Chiropractor, Osteopath
Spouse(s) Todde De Jarnette


Major Bertrand DeJarnette, DO, DC was a Chiropractor and Osteopath, and is notable for having discovered and developed S.O.T. or Sacro Occipital Technique. [1]. Born on December 23, 1899 Major DeJarnette was raised in Havelock, Nebraska [2]. N.B.- His name is actually "Major" and does not represent an armed forces designation. His last name has been found spelled DeJarnette without a space and De Jarnette with a space, in publications and letters that were written by himself.

In high school he considered a career in mechanical and design engineering [2] and earned a four-year scholarship as an apprentice in the field of experimental engineering [2]. In 1918 he moved to Detroit, Michigan to pursue a career in the automobile industry[2]. After an explosion in the factory that left him severely crippled, he discovered osteopathy as a possible way to restore his health[1]. He traveled to the Dearborn College of Osteopathy in Elgin, Illinois for treatment[2]. Due to his limited financial resources DeJarnette decided to enroll in the college since there was no charge for students to receive treatments.[2]

After his graduation DeJarnette returned to Lincoln, Nebraska[2]. However still suffering from serious back problems he met a chiropractor who convinced him to receive chiropractic care[2]. So “the Major” similarly chose to attend chiropractic college as an economical manner to received chiropractic care and decided to enroll in the Nebraska College of Chiropractic where he received his degree in 1924.[2]

Due to his inquisitive mind DeJarnette incorporated his engineering background and studied the works of many of the leaders of both the osteopathic and chiropractic professions. He felt that there were several contradictions and inadequacies within the professions as well as in his own practice. He began dividing his time between the actual practice of chiropractic and the researching of its principles. For the next 60+ years, until his death in 1992 Major Bertrand DeJarnette continually researched and perfected his chiropractic techniques and their physiological implications. [1] [3] [4] [5] [2] [6] [7] [8] [9] His body of printed materials, including technique manuals, philosophical discourses, and research papers is unparalleled in the profession.[10]

During his early years of developing and researching SOT DeJarnette had other doctors who studied with him and later branched off to create their own techniques, such as, Richard Van Rumpt who later developed Directional Non-Force Technique, Randolph Stone who later developed Polarity Therapy, and George Goodheart who later developed Applied Kinesiology.

Development of a Category System of Analysis

DeJarnette attempted to give chiropractors a method of generalizing patient presentations so that methods of analysis, intervention, and outcome to treatment could be assessed and measured. To do this he used his knowledge of engineering, chiropractic and osteopathy to integrate an anatomical physiological based method of analysis and treatment. Ultimately he visualized the entire body in three dimensions (holographically) and that structure and function is part of an integrated matrix.

Three Novel Concepts

DeJarnette utilized concepts of evaluating the body’s presentation as a three dimensional holograph which was affected by a matrix of integrative activities. He investigated how sustained stressors to the body created distinct retained patterns of distortion in the neuromusculoskeletal system. He ultimately used his experiences to develop methods of categorizing three specific primary body distortion patterns.

1. He factored Osteopathic principles relating to CSF circulation, dural membranous tensions, and cranial bone dynamics into chiropractic analysis and treatment.
2. He determined that there are two parts to the SI joint, a posterior weightbearing supportive hyaline structure and an anterior synovial membranous joint that allows for joint nutation.
3. From an engineering standpoint he realized that the majority of the weight or stress from structures above the SI joint rests upon the posterior SI joint, whereas inferiorward the stress is spread 50% to each hip joint.

DeJarnette’s three novel concepts led to the development of three specific categories of analysis:

Category One: relates to the anterior synovial SI joint’s nutation and its relationship to dural tension and CSF circulation.
Category Two: relates to the posterior SI weightbearing joint.
Category Three: relates to the body’s adaptation to the inability to distribute weight through the posterior SI joint and its subsequent transmission (via iliolumbar ligaments and sacrospinalis muscles) to the lumbar discs and spine.

Integrating Viscerosomatics and Cranial Biodynamics into SOT

Utilizing the categories of analysis and treatment DeJarnette found specific ways of incorporating treatment relating to viscerosomatic and somatovisceral reflexes, and specific organ manipulation into an indicator based system of care entitled Chiropractic Manipulative Reflex Technique (CMRT).

Incorporating cranial, meningeal, and CSF analysis and treatment into a systematized methodology of care was also integrated into his category system. This allowed the doctor to use pre and post indicators to assess when and where care is needed and whether the care rendered was successful. His system of analysis involved palpation for pain, functional assessments, and palpation of cranial compliance. This allowed for a generalization of patient presentations into a system of analysis and care that followed a logical and reproducible progression.

With persistent extremity imbalance due to trauma, asymmetrical function, and various other possibilities DeJarnette incorporated a system of extremity analysis and treatment relating to the feet, ankle, knees, and hips as well as from the scapula, shoulder, and elbow. Since imbalanced function can be specific to a joint or factors distal or proximal the whole kinematic chain of influence is considered with SOT extremity analysis and treatment.

Role in Chiropractic Research

Early Research Efforts

For Major Bertrand DeJarnette, DO, DC, research was an essential part of being a chiropractor and essential to the future of the chiropractic profession. As early as July 1935 Major Bertrand DeJarnette was a featured speaker at the 40th Anniversary Convention 1895-1935 of the National Chiropractic Association presenting clinical research. Always research was his passion and in an interview in 1982 DeJarnette reiterated, “as far back as chiropractic college, I saw the need for a more scientific basis for chiropractic theory. My own personal physical problems had not been solved by medicine, osteopathy, or chiropractic; so I began experimenting on myself. I’m still at it, and I can see no end of the need for continuous research in chiropractic [7].”


Robert Cooperstein, DC discussed the need for appreciating chiropractic's early researchers. While critical scrutiny of their early work is surely needed, still the value of their efforts should be appreciated.

"Chiropractic's proto-researchers served the historical role of irreversibly formulating a new agenda for chiropractic. In the future, it would have to prove and not merely posit its clinical value, and demonstrate that its methodology in concept and practice was consistent with normal science. Yes, from today's vantage point mistakes were made, and the freedom to construct "artful hyperbole" was much abused. On the other hand, if these clinician-scientists had not made these mistakes and thrown down the research gauntlet to the chiropractic profession of today, it is highly unlikely the chiropractic research milieu would have taken the strides that now usher the profession toward a more rational technique.[11]

Evidence Based Practice

Dr. DeJarnette saw the importance of sharing clinical experience through case report and self-analysis. This started as he first began to find that things he instinctively did for a patient would disappear from his memory if he did not outline them carefully. So before our day and age of computers, he recommended that to begin the first step in research, you would need to buy a notebook, an eraser and long pencil. He emphasized that, “those would be your first three pieces of research equipment. You use your notebook because it is not expensive. You use a pencil because it can be erased, and of course mistakes will be made so you must own an eraser [12].” With those three pieces of equipment he sat down one evening and wrote his first case report of an unusual patient presentation and his treatment rendered. He recollected that he did not sit down to write until perhaps three months after that patient’s presentation. Dr. DeJarnette could not believe how much he had forgotten about the details. The lesson he learned was "write the unusual down now [12]".

When Dr. DeJarnette began to study the treatment he had rendered he realized that if any meaningful information were to evolve from his experience, he would have to resolve it himself. Dr. DeJarnette suggested that research has to be a free agency. Basically he saw a need and worked to fulfill that need. He realized that explaining how his discoveries evolved was more difficult than the process of developing new diagnostic and therapeutic interventions [12].

“Research is a study of what you have, and what you need to make it better, and how to make it better is the final research step. S.O.T. never wants to be just good. It always wants to be better and best and greatest and most dependable [13].”
“Research in Chiropractic must go on forever. Someone must do this type work, for it simply will not take care of itself. A profession cannot stand still. Momentum must constantly be generated. Chiropractic research needs many things it does not now have [14].” ”Sacro Occipital Technic, like all Chiropractic Technics, needs further study. We certainly do not have all the answers to all of man’s problems, and neither does any other group of people [14].”

SOT Related Publications

DeJarnette continually stressed the need for research and especially all chiropractors who studied and utilized his SOT methods of analysis and treatment. SOTO-USA has continued his efforts by striving to bring his Sacro Occipital Technique into the evidence based chiropractic era.

The following are SOT related publications in peer review journals, chiropractic or interdisciplinary research conferences, non-peer review journals, and proceedings from the Annual SOT Research Conferences. These articles either directly relate to SOT patient management or support the use of cranial, TMJ, and pelvic block related assessments and treatments.

SOTO-USA has gathered all the full text SOT or cranial peer reviewed articles into two compendiums one for literature from 1984-2000 and another from 2000-2005. They are currently working on the compendium from 2005-2010 and expect to have it published by 2012. Along with their annual SOT Research Conference Proceedings the compendiums are also sent complementary to all chiropractic colleges nationally in the United States.

Peer Reviewed Journals

Link to List of Journals

Research Conference Proceedings

Link to List of Papers

Non Peer-Reviewed Journals

Link to List of Journals

SOT Research Conferences

5th Annual SOT Research Conference - 2013 (Papers)

Link to papers

4th Annual SOT Research Conference - 2012 (Papers)

Link to papers

3rd Annual SOT Research Conference - 2011 (Papers)

Link to papers

2nd Annual SOT Research Conference - 2010 (Papers)

Link to papers

1st Annual SOT Research Conference - 2009 (Papers)

Link to papers


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Rosen, MG; Blum CL (Jul/Aug 2003). "Sacro Occipital Technique: Technique and Analysis". Today's Chiropractic 32 (4): 22,24-6. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 2.8 2.9 Heese, N (Jun 1991). "Major Bertrand DeJarnette: Six Decades of Sacro Occipital Research, 1924-1984". Chiropractic History 11 (1): 13-5. 
  3. Heese, N (Sep/Oct 2000). "Chiropractic Innovator: Dr. Major B. DeJarnette". Today’s Chiropractic 29 (5): 60-6. 
  4. Unger, JF; Blum CL (Sep 1995). "The Legacy of a Chiropractor, Inventor and Researcher: Dr. Major Bertrand DeJarnette". Conference Proceedings of the Chiropractic Centennial Foundation: Davenport, Iowa: 35-6. 
  5. Koffman, D (Jul 1992). "Chiropractic Bids Adieu to “Major” Bertrand DeJarnette". Dynamic Chiropractic 10 (13). 
  6. DeJarnette, MB (May/Jun 1986). "Sacro Occipital Technique – 1986". Today's Chiropractic 15 (3): 97-98. 
  7. 7.0 7.1 DeJarnette, MB (Jul/Aug 1982). "Cornerstone". Todays Chiropractic 82: 22,23,28,34. 
  8. DeJarnette, MB (Mar 1978). "Sacro Occipital Technique (SOT) – 1978". J Can Chiropr Assoc 22 (1): 8. 
  9. DeJarnette, MB (Nov 1959). "Shall Chiropractic Survive?". Journal of the National Chiropractic Association 29 (11): 75. 
  10. ""The SOT Related Publications of Dr. Major Bertrand DeJarnette"". 1928-84. Retrieved June 24, 2012. 
  11. Cooperstein, R (Oct 2003). "Once Upon a Time in Chiropractic Research". Dynamic Chiropractic 21 (21). 
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 DeJarnette, MB (Mar 1975). "Sacro Occipital Technique - Research". The Sacro Occipital Technique Bulletin. 
  13. DeJarnette, MB (Mar 1978). "Sacro Occipital Technique - Research". The Sacro Occipital Technique Bulletin: 2-3. 
  14. 14.0 14.1 DeJarnette, MB (1958). The History of Sacro Occipital Technic. Nebraska City, NB: Privately Published. p. 27. 

External Links

  1. Other research compilations and an assortment of SOT books can be found here:SOTO.Org Website
  2. SOTO-USA - SOT Research Conferences
  3. 4th Annual SOT Research Conference
  4. 3rd Annual SOT Research Conference
  5. 2nd Annual SOT Research Conference
  6. 1st Annual SOT Research Conference
  7. The Complete Works of M. B. DeJarnette
  8. Articles and Videos About M. B. DeJarnette