Koren Specific Technique (KST)

Koren Specific Technique (KST) was developed as an advanced chiropractic technique by Tedd Koren, DC (please note that naturopathic doctors are trained in spinal adjustment techniques, thus we implement these tools in practice as well).  The technique has both an assessment and treatment component to it:


Assessment: assessment is done through occipital drop reflex testing (ODRT) (please see the corresponding article on ODRT for a full explanation).  The ODRT is assessed by the physician by placing the thumbs above a structure at the base of the skull known as the occipital ridge.  After “challenging” the system (see below) the physician brings his/her thumbs down over the ridge and looks to see if they come down evenly (“negative response” or “no pathology”)  or with one thumb being lower than the other (“positive response” or “pathology is present”).  The assessment is non-invasive and allows the physician to determine precise diagnostic and treatment information.


Treatment: treatment can be directed at any type of structural/functional imbalance or mental/emotional factors.  This is typically achieved using a chiropractic adjusting tool known as an Arthrostim.  The Arthrostim produces a rapid but gentle tapping motion which is used to gently push misaligned body structures back into place (or to stimulate underfunctioning organs).  Based on my experience and the collective experience of KST practitioners (95% of whom are chiropractors) these adjustments produce the same end results as using traditional spinal manipulations (i.e. high-velocity, low amplitude thrusts).  Some readers may be familiar with the Activator chiropractic adjusting tool, which is quite similar to the Arthostim.


How do you know what to treat?

I treat what your body tells me to treat (through ODRT).  We all have numerous physical misalignments – fortunately most of them aren’t causing a pathology right now (and many of them never will, directly at least), but when they do symptoms result.  Most of those misalignments are secondary, though.


Primary Misalignment (subluxation): one that occurs due to some form of insult (a fall, a nutrient deficiency, overuse, emotional factors, etc).  These are the “root causes” of structural issues.


Secondary Misalignment/Secondary Compensation: one that occurs because of a primary misalignment.  When a primary misalignment occurs part of the body is thrown off centre.  To help balance things out, some other structure must move out of alignment (it’s like when you’re walking one arm must swing back as the other moves forward to keep you balanced).  The secondary compensations are not root causes, and are ultimately not what need to be adjusted (when spinal segments need habitual re-adjustments it is likely that it is because the primary misalignment has not yet been discovered).


Thus, part of the art of KST is in finding the primary misalignments and correcting them, so the whole system can return to balance.  This is likely why KST is such a successful therapy and is viewed as being “advanced” by the practitioners who use it.

What are the applications of KST?

KST can be used to complement the treatment of literally any pathology – physical, mental, or emotional.  The reason for this is that structure dictates function – if the body is out of alignment it cannot function optimally.  Misalignments lead to impaired flow of nerve signals (which coordinate everything in the body), blood, and organ function.  By putting everything back into place in the right order, proper function can return. 


It is clear to see how this can impact optimal physical functioning.  In terms of mental and emotional symptoms, similar therapeutic value can be achieved by treating patients while they are thinking of the mental issue or emotional state.  Upon doing so, certain physical structures begin to come out of alignment – once those are adjusted the mental/emotional state is improved both acutely and in the long-term.  To illustrate by example:


A patient presents with concerns of anxiety.  Upon implementing a thorough naturopathic treatment protocol, KST is utilized as well.  The patient is assessed with ODRT and several general adjustments are performed – further ODRT shows so no other general adjustments are needed.  The patient is then asked to recall an anxiety provoking incident and think about it while the ODRT is done to re-check him.  New misalignments begin to turn up and each one is treated until no further subluxations occur while thinking of anxiety.

This is a glowing example of holistic medicine – that body, mind and emotions (and spirit) are continuations of one another.  The patient was cleared of misalignments, but upon experiencing a negative emotion/thought process his physical state reflected that.  By treating the body we are able to support the mind and emotions as well.


One quick note on the statement “structure dictates function”: indeed, it is a two-way street as function dictates structure, too.  This is why a comprehensive approach to health conditions is important – treating the structure alone will only take one so far.

Why is KST being recommended for me?

Generally speaking it is to enhance your overall health, prevent illness, and treat current symptoms.  More specifically it may be to:
- Enhance organ function                                  
- Correct a structural problem in the skeleton
- Work with emotional symptoms
- Resolve pain
- Improve supplement absorption
- Improve immune system function
- Enhance lymphatic flow
- Facilitate detoxification
- Facilitate family constellation work
- Treat problematic scar tissue
- Treat neurological symptoms
- Address symptoms of autism or ADHD
- Support cognitive function
- Address learning issues (e.g. dyslexia)

© 2012 by Dr. Bryan Rade ND and Dr. Taryn Deering ND