Dorn Therapy

Dorn Therapy

The Dorn method is a form of manual, holistic alternative therapy claimed to be used to correct misalignments in the spinal column and other joints. In its theoretical approach, it is somewhat related to chiropractic and osteopathy, although it is different in its practical application. It was developed in the 1970s by the German lay-healer Dieter Dorn.

Early students of Dorn, like Helmuth Koch (who coined the name Dornmethode), Hildegard Steinhauser, and Harald Fleig, started to teach the method in the 1990s, enabling its use to spread in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Dorn intended for it to become a folk medicine, free from trademark or copyright so it was universally accessible.

Medical researcher Edzard Ernst has described the Dorn method as “totally bogus” and “pure nonsense.”


The Dorn method is based on the correction of uneven leg length, which, according to Dorn, can be diagnosed in almost every human. Because of that, the pelvis is said to become twisted, and this can allegedly result in an asymmetrical, crooked or displaced spinal column.

Corrections of joint or spinal cord misalignments are done in a ‘dynamic’, moving action. According to Dorn, people’s muscles always try to hold the positions of the joints and spine, and when they are out of order the muscles assume this ‘wrong’ position as the correct one and hold it there. Dorn proponents state that a static correction, such as that used in chiropractic therapy, is difficult because it needs to overcome the strength of the holding muscles, and because the patient is often tense since the treatment is done ‘on’ him and not ‘with’ him.

The Dorn method therefore uses motion to divert the muscles’ tension, and in this relaxed state it is allegedly possible to realign the bones.

During a treatment, the practitioner palpates the patient’s spine. If any ‘unbalanced’ areas are found, possible underlying misalignments are palpated with gentle pressure using the thumb or hand against the spinous processes, while the patient enacts guided movements such as swinging the leg or arms to distract the muscles’ inertia; this is similar to the principle of mechanics known as ‘counter pressure’ In case of pain, the patient is advised to stop the procedure in order to avoid any damage to the body.


  1. ^ The ‘Dorn Method’ – relatively new and totally bogus
  2. ^ Romina Tobias (2009-01-09). “Healing Hands”. Lifestyle Magazine. Archived from the original on 2012-07-12. Retrieved 2009-10-05.


  1. Dieter Dorn. Die ganzheitliche Methode Dorn. Integral, München 2007. ISBN 978-3-7787-9184-4
  2. Helmuth Koch, Hildegard Steinhauser: Die Dorn-Therapie. Grundlagen und praktische Durchführung. 3. Auflage, Augsburg : Foitzick 2008. ISBN 978-3-929338-40-9