What is a Blair Certified Upper Cervical Chiropractic Doctor?
An Upper Cervical doctor is a special type of chiropractor who has completed advanced study in the relationship between the upper neck (aka craniocervical junction, or C1-C2 complex) and the nerve system.
Upper Cervical care is a special division of chiropractic developed in the USA in the 1930s and researched extensively since. As powerful as it has been demonstrated to be, fewer than 5% of all chiropractors in the world practice upper cervical care. In Australia, that percent is less than 1%.
There are 6 primary methods that comprise the Upper Cervical specific chiropractic techniques. Arguably, the Blair technique represents the most precise of these techniques.
Named after its developer, Dr. William Blair, the Blair technique focuses on the joint surfaces (aka articulations) in the upper neck.
Because every person is constructed differently, the Blair technique measures these differences in order to determine the exact direction and degree of misalignment in that person’s upper neck.
The Blair technique thus represents a non-invasive approach that is designed to correct these misalignments using an adjustment that is precise and custom-designed for each patient to use the least amount of force possible (i.e., no manipulation) and with the greater potential for positive results.
Why become a Blair Upper Cervical Chiropractic Doctor
The upper neck and brainstem are the master control centres for the entire body. The brain may represent the master command centre; however, it is the brainstem that executes all body functions and processes all primary sensory information.
The alignment of the upper neck has a profound impact on the function of the brainstem. Even if the upper area is not fractured or dislocated, misalignments as small as a few millimetres can exert physical tension on the brainstem, disrupt the flow of fluid (arteries, veins, and cerebrospinal fluid) or overload the nerve receptors that allow the brain to function.
If the function of the brainstem is impaired in any way, the body can never reach its optimum potential. Certainly, it is possible to enhance the adaptability of the body through nutrition, exercise, bodywork, meditation, etc. However, if a problem in the upper neck persists, you will always be swimming against the current.
Although Blair Upper cervical is not a magic “cure-all” for all things in the body, it is one of the essential core elements that are necessary for the rest of the system to work as well as possible.
In my opinion, not only does it behoove all chiropractors to have an in-depth understanding of this area, but if the population as a whole appreciated the profound influence of the upper neck on their health, it would have far-reaching implications that could improve the wellbeing of the world.
How to become a Blair Upper Cervical Chiropractic Doctor
The first step to becoming a Blair upper cervical chiropractic doctor is to start a course of study in chiropractic.
Typically, the Blair Technique is considered to be an advanced certification that is not taught in most schools or universities as part of the basic chiropractic degree. However, the Blair Technique is taught in a few schools as a special elective.
Furthermore, weekend seminars in the Blair Technique are offered around the world for chiropractors and students wanting to learn more.
The Blair Seminars are officially divided into three 12-hour courses: Primary, Intermediate, and Advanced. Even if you are a chiropractic student - and even if you are only in your first year - the courses are designed for you.
In other words, you do not yet need to be a practicing chiropractor to learn the Blair Technique. In fact, I believe that learning the Blair Technique while you are still a new chiropractic student will help you in all areas of your chiropractic studies!
What you need to become a Blair Upper Cervical Chiropractic Doctor
In order to practice the Blair Technique, there are a few pieces of special equipment that are used that many chiropractors in Australia have never learned how to use.
One of the most basic is a special type of low adjusting table that allows the chiropractic doctor to be able to stand over the upper neck in order to deliver the correct line of drive.
Even more important is an instrument that aids the Blair chiropractor to determine when an adjustment is or is NOT needed. You see, one thing that is very different from the Blair Upper Cervical technique from many full spine chiropractic techniques is that we do not want to adjust on every visit.
I mean, think about it: IF the body is capable of healing itself naturally, doesn’t that also include a misalignment in the upper neck? Shouldn’t the patient’s own body be capable of healing even with chiropractic care?
The instruments that we used in the Blair Technique is an infrared computerised paraspinal thermography scanner called a “Tytron.” In brief, it measures heat differentials along the spine as a function of the sympathetic nervous system.
If the nerve system is functioning properly, the temperature should be adaptive but within a 0.3oC range on either side. If it is not, it represents clinical evidence that the body is not functioning optimally whether or not there is pain.
Finally, the Blair Technique requires the use of advanced 3D imaging in order to measure the exact direction and degree of any misalignments in the upper neck. Although many chiropractors may argue that x-rays are not important, you will realise very quickly when studying the Blair Technique just how unwise that advice maybe.
Would you ever have brain or heart surgery if the surgeon didn’t order tests first? Or wore a blindfold while doing the procedure? The same goes for seeing and knowing what is or is not happening in the upper neck.
In the Blair Technique, we either take specialised types of x-rays that are not available in routine radiography practices (because they are taken from customised angles) or we use a special scanner called a “Cone Beam CT” which is an upright scanner that takes three-dimensional images of the upper neck (and which uses even less radiation than an x-ray series!).
How to become a Certified Blair Upper Cervical Chiropractic Practitioner
To become certified in the Blair Upper Cervical chiropractic technique, you need to be a practising chiropractor who has attended the complete seminar series 2-4 times. (There is so much information that NO ONE is able to memorise it all from a single series).
There are three levels of certification in the Blair Technique: 1) Proficiency, 2) Primary, and 3) Advanced.
Proficiency certification is the basic level that requires the submission of 5 x-ray series, an oral exam, and an adjusting setup test.
Primary certification is the main level that requires the submission of 20 consecutive x-ray series, a more detailed oral exam, and an adjusting setup test.
Advanced certification is the highest level that requires an even more detailed oral exam and an adjusting setup test for all the procedures used in the Blair Technique.
At the time of this writing, there are approximately 200 chiropractors in the entire world practising the Blair upper cervical technique. Of these, approximately 100 are Proficiency Certified, 20 are primary Certified and only 10 are Advanced Certified.
The process, thus, is one that only a few special individuals have pursued, but one that is absolutely worth-while.
What is the support you need to become certified?
For any Blair chiropractic doctor going through the certification process, because it is such a small world, there is never a shortage of doctors willing to assist when it comes to case management, x-ray analysis, and interpretation, etc.
The Blair Chiropractic Society (Intl) has a wide variety of resources available for its members to help them achieve the highest level of practical competency wherever in the world they are.
If you are a chiropractor or chiropractic student interested in learning the Blair work, we would be happy to assist you.
Dr. Jeffrey Hannah is an Advanced Certified Blair Chiropractor and first certified Blair chiropractor to practice in Australia. He has taught courses in Australia and New Zealand since 2016 and has also created an online introductory series to the Blair Technique.
He currently serves as the Director of Technique and Certification on the board for the Blair Chiropractic Society. He as a passion and desire to see the Blair work grow through the world, for he believes that it is one of the most essential and powerful forms of healthcare that so many people around the world need (and don’t even know it).
If you have any questions or would like o request information about upcoming seminars, you can click the Contact Us , or alternatively call us direct at our practice in North Lakes (Brisbane, QLD): 07 3188 9329.
Alternatively, if you are a patient looking for a Blair certified Upper Cervical practitioner near you, you can reach out to us and we will be happy to assist you.
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