Written by Sheila Laws, D.C.
Raymond Nimmo, D.C., graduated from Palmer School in 1931, and set up his practice in Fort Worth, Texas. He soon became thirsty for more knowledge, so he studied and taught Logan Basic Technique and other techniques. His quest brought him to the realization that what chiropractors had been taught in chiropractic colleges was not scientifically sound. He rationalized that the “bone on nerve” theory could not be substantiated by physiological facts because too many patients were being healed by manual manipulations, which did not involve bony contacts. His own chronically painful shoulder was relieved by a chiropractor who did not touch a vertebra, but corrected the problem by eliminating the hypermyotonia and trigger points (TP’s) present in his body.
Being a man who questioned everything, Dr. Nimmo researched the current literature and found facts to substantiate his developing theory; i.e., that chronically hypertonic muscles were the cause of most of the complaints that patients presented with. He began to incorporate his research findings into his practice, and patients responded in, what seemed, a miraculous fashion.
His success attracted attention from fellow DC’s who asked him to teach them what he was doing. He was a masterful teacher, beginning his lectures with the basics of anatomy and physiology. Dr. Nimmo defined chiropractic as “a branch of the healing arts that is concerned with those foci adversely affecting the function of the nervous system, which are amendable by manual methods.” His constant goal in teaching was to impart what was sound neurologically and physiologically so that his theories could not be “debunked.” The results he obtained were proof of the effectiveness of the “Receptor-Tonus Method” principles. Thousands of chiropractors studied his methods and changed their lives, their practices, and the health of their patients. Dr. Nimmo taught that the “bone out of place” concept, so prevalent in the chiropractic profession, actually enslaved the average chiropractor. To quote Dr. Nimmo: “Didn’t they ever stop to consider that the bones are where the muscles and ligaments put them?”
He was a man 50 years ahead of his time in his thinking. He felt that chiropractors should be concerned with the functional integrity of the nervous system. In other words, if it is chiropractic to adjust a bone in the effort to restore functional integrity to the nervous system, it certainly should be chiropractic if the chiropractor directed his efforts to the factors which produce the misalignment of such a bone. To this end, a “hands-on” method, which restores the functional integrity of the body, especially the spine, by freeing the nervous system and permitting it to function normally, must be considered as a “CHIROPRACTIC” method.
Receptor-tonus Technique is a systematic approach which uses ischemic compression to remove myofascial trigger points. The doctor is instructed to search for and correct these points which bombard the nervous system and give rise to subluxations by the hypermyotonia they produce in the skeletal system.
Trigger points arise from several causes, such as acute or chronic muscular overload, direct trauma, poor posture, chilling of a muscle and even emotional stress. Once a trigger point has occurred, due to metabolic stasis in the area of the TP, waste products begin to accumulate. These waste products are nerve irritants (bradykinin, serotonin, hyaluronic acid, etc.) which, in turn, produce and perpetuate pain. Due to the accumulation of waste products, the blood supply to the area is decreased and ischemia and resultant pain are felt by the patient.
The treatment consists of sustained pressure for a specified length of time, usually five to seven seconds, but lesser time for some TP’s. The pressure is applied to the patient’s tolerance, always mindful of the pain threshold variances in each patient. Proper spacing of the office visits, and knowing which muscle groups to treat are important factors in determining patients’ responses. It is imperative for the chiropractor to understand that this method of chiropractic technique cannot be learned from reading about it, or in sporadic weekend practice. Attending and participating in three to five Receptor-Tonus seminars will usually prepare the doctor to recognize and successfully remove these causes of subluxations and resultant ill health.
Since Dr. Nimmo’s death in 1986, seminars teaching these methods are being taught by several certified instructors, namely myself, Dr. Jeffrey Cohen, Dr. Michael Fiscella, and Dr. Michael Schneider.
Dr. Sheila K. Laws is a 1962 graduate of Palmer College of Chiropractic. After attending 45 seminars taught by Dr. Raymond Nimno, developer of the Receptor Tonus technique, he asked her to carry on his teaching. Dr. Laws has been an R-T Instructor since 1975, and held approximately 180 seminars across the U.S.A. She can be reached by phone at 217-223-6170.