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Dynamic Chiropractic – June 17, 2004, Vol. 22, Issue 13

Neuromodulation Technique: Access, Assess, Modulate

By Marc Heller, DC
I just returned from my second "neuromodulation technique" (NMT) seminar, taught by technique founder Leslie Feinberg, DC. This work is truly changing my paradigm of healing.

NMT is an energetic or informational healing approach fully informed by cutting-edge science.

This is not based on the 16th- and 17th-century science of Descartes and Newton. This is the extrapolation of 20th- and 21st-century science. Heisenberg's "uncertainty principle" reminds us that the observer affects the observed. Biologist Rupert Sheldrake has given us the concept of morphogenic fields. The "zero point field" is the incredible energy that fills all of the space in the universe. Chaos theory makes sense of nonlinear equations as they are applied to apparently random patterns. I could go on and on, and there are many books that have attempted to explain these newer physics concepts to nonphysicists. These principles are accepted or debated within the science of the subatomic particle, and in looking at the big questions of the nature of the universe. They have not, within the standard medical model, been applied to the level of cellular biology. These concepts are the underpinning of the effects of healing prayer and homeopathy, as well as NMT.

We know that so many of our patients' problems, whether from pain or otherwise, come from improper communication within the nervous system. I'll focus on pain, as so many of our patients come to us with various kinds. Chronic pain is rarely caused by a specific tissue pathology. But what causes pain?

Chronic pain is a centrally mediated phenomenon. It usually involves upregulation of the pain receptors; misinterpretation of sensations, such as a stretch or pressure, as pain; and facilitation of various nerve pathways, both sensory and motor. If you read the literature of pain, you already know this. An excellent book on this topic for both doctors and patients is Explain Pain by David Butler.

How do we treat chronic pain? How do we attempt to reset all of these sensors, motor organs and nervous system pathways? As chiropractors, we work mostly from the outside-in, attempting to reset the pain patterns through our various adjustments to joints, fascial release to the fascia and muscles, and rehab exercises. Suppose that we could directly talk to the nervous system, ask it exactly what was set wrong in the sensory-motor system, and ask the nervous system to reset itself to a more optimal setting. Suppose that this could work quickly. Suppose that implementation of this idea was not 100 years away, but could be done now, with current technology.

NMT relies on muscle response testing to ask questions of the nervous system, and then gives the nervous system a set of instructions, reinforced by tapping the spine. Those of you who have studied AK, NAET, TBM, NET, or many of the other similar systems already have some clue about this. But unlike most of these systems, NMT does not use a set of points or vials to identify lesions or corrections. NMT does not use reflex points on the head, belly or feet. NMT is all about information and directly reprogramming the autonomic control systems with precision verbal instructions.

When you first watch this done, you may have issues of faith, confidence or belief. It's much easier to believe that a physical correction really does something. But the proof is in the results. The proof is in seeing chronic pain patterns unlock quickly and permanently. My first major success with this work was with a 45-year-old female who has been my patient for 10 years. She had two symptomatic herniated discs in her midthoracic spine; I was only able to give her minimal relief. By the end of each workday, she would be in severe pain. She had been through the medical "system," where no relief was available other than meds.

After her first treatment, the patient was immediately dramatically better, both symptomatically and on palpation. Beyond the temporary relief, the treatment effects were profound and permanent. I treated her three more times. Three months later, she is free of pain most of the the time, with occasional mild fatigue and soreness of her thoracics at the end of the day. I was not able to accomplish this with nutrients, with my previous adjustments, with soft-tissue work or with rehab.

What did work? NMT reprogramming of her sensory-motor system. Do all of my patients respond this readily? No way! The technique is not perfect, I'm not perfect, and my patients are not perfect. I have had my share of failures with this work.

Who should study this work? It's thorough and comprehensive, and not something that you will master in one weekend. I've talked about one aspect of this work, the sensory-motor pathway. NMT has 42 different pathways to assess and correct various forms of dysfunction - mental, emotional, physical and biochemical - at very deep levels. NMT is appropriate for those of us who want to become more complete natural physicians, working with innate to heal the body.

Whether you want to improve your results in the musculoskeletal arena or move into a broader style of practice, NMT will give you powerful tools. I have studied more neurology and physiology in the past three months than I have for many years. Instead of dry theory, I can now use this understanding in my practice, directly reprogramming for optimal physiological function. NMT is for those of us who are always searching for better answers to help our patients. The caveat: You need to learn to trust muscle testing (or leg checks) to trust that the body really can use information directly to reprogram and heal itself.

Is this chiropractic? If you see chiropractic as accessing innate intelligence and modulating the nervous system for healing, then this certainly is chiropractic. It may be a stretch for many of us to study with psychologists, nurses, MDs, NDs, and acupuncturists, who are also embracing and learning NMT. It may be a stretch to do less physical work - to just use words and tapping to accomplish the correction. It may be a stretch to fully let go of the idea that we are doing the healing, and that we are just facilitators, enhancing the body's ability to heal itself. Yes, I know we pay lip service to this. But when this is thrown in our face as direct truth, can we surrender to it?

I can't speak authoritatively as to the difference between NMT and other energetic techniques, as I have not studied the others in depth. However, the practitioners who have moved toward this method state that NMT is very thorough and gets to the deepest levels of interference.

I want to personally thank Dr. Feinberg for the amazing work he has done putting this together. He combines the passion of a great chiropractor with the clarity of a brilliant scientist. My life and the lives of my patients have forever been changed by this work. Learning NMT is also an opportunity to join an ongoing healing adventure, sharing knowledge with an international multidis-ciplinary team of brilliant practitioners.


  1. NeuroModulation Seminars, the Feinberg Technique,
  2. McTaggart, Lynne: The Field: the Quest for the Secret Force of the Universe (excellent overview of field concepts, written by a journalist).
  3. Sheldrake, Rupert: The Presence of the Past: Morphic Resonance and the Habits of Nature.
  4. Bohm, David: Wholeness and the Implicate Order.
  5. Butler, David: Explain Pain.

Click here for more information about Marc Heller, DC.


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