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SUTTER SPECIFIC ATLAS CORRECTION - MAX SUTTER, D.C., PH.C
"Your booklet (The
Master Key to Health) IS a WONDERFUL, clear, concise and
simple explanation of what and how to get sick people well.
We congratulate you on having done a GREAT job." – B.J.
Max Sutter graduated from The Palmer School of Chiropractic,
Davenport, Iowa in March 1925. In November 1925 he was
licensed to practice Chiropractic in the State of California.
His offices were opened in Huntington Park, California,
in July 1926, and he was in continuous practice at that
same location. Max engaged in original research from 1938
to 1940, the results of which are touched upon in the reproduction
of his booklet 'The Master Key to Health' on
this web page. Some of his original research provided to
me by Ted and Jean Sutter, is reproduced in the downloadable
file "Sutter Research". All rights are reserved.
THIS I BELIEVE
- That there is a Creative Intelligence
in back of all laws and life on earth, call It God, Universal
Intelligence or what you will.
- That we are instruments
placed upon this earth for self-development and service.
whatever abilities, capacities and aptitudes we have
been endowed with have been given to us to be used
in serving our fellow-man.
- That the greater the abilities,
capacities and aptitudes the greater the responsibilities
in using them, and the more
they are used
the more they are kept, and the more they are used the greater
the opportunity for the develop-ment of greater abilities,
capacities and aptitudes.
- That the more we give the more we
receive, and the greatest among us is the one who serves
- That health is natural and disease is unnatural.
disease is caused by an interference with the Creative
Intelligence that wills normality within the body.
- That such
interference is caused by obstruction of nerve impulse
flow from the brain to the body due to a subluxated
- That this Chiropractic principle is the greatest
boon to suffering humanity and supplies a need for which
- That in spite of all misunderstanding and the
bitter opposition of entrenched authority that this principle,
will survive and many present-day theories and beliefs will
- That life can hold no greater
satisfaction than this — to
have assisted in the development and preservation of the
Chiropractic principle and practice for the living present
and the living
future, and to count it a privilege to do the best I can
for each and everyone
placed under my care, to ease the burden of sickness and
suffering of those afflicted and to put service foremost.
God gives me strength to adhere to this principle and
bear with the criticism of those who do not understand.
there is much that is bad in the best of us and much
that is good in the worst of us.
- That life is a positive
force and that that which is bad will become less and
less and that which is good
greater and greater.
- That what
is true and serves most effectively will survive. This
SUTTER SPECIFIC ATLAS CORRECTION
At the back and lower part of the head is a large
opening called the foramen magnum. Through this large opening
pass cer-tain nerves, arteries supplying the brain and spinal
cord, ligaments connecting the head and second vertebra of
the spine, a part of the hind brain called the medulla oblongata
and its coverings. At the level of the upper margin of the
arch forming the back portion of the first vertebra of the
spine, the atlas, the medulla oblongata is continuous with
the spinal cord. Within the medulla oblongata and adjacent
structures are nerve centers and nerve connections from the
brain to the entire body of vital importance in control of
normal body function.
Although for descriptive purposes
the nervous system has been divided into different parts,
between the various brain and spinal cord centers and the
rest of the body exists a complex interrela-tionship that
binds the body into one functioning, coordinating unit.
The top-most vertebra (spinal bone) of
the spine is called the atlas. On either side of the large
opening at the back and lower part of the head, the foramen
magnum, is a bony projection called a condyle. These condyles
rest upon the upper surfaces of the atlas vertebra allowing
normally for a free forward and back nodding movement of
The second vertebra of the spine is called
the axis. The head and atlas vertebra together move upon
the axis in a complex pivot-ing movement when the head is
Although many ligaments and muscles join
the head, atlas vertebra and axis vertebra move together
to keep movements within nor-mal bounds and to keep the head
and these vertebrae in their normal relation to each other
we do not find here the same construction of bony "locks" and
tough discs of fibro-cartilage that limit the move-ment of
individual vertebrae from between the second and third vertebrae
downward. At no other area of the spinal column do we find
any degree of movement that remotely approaches that found
between the head and the atlas vertebra and between the atlas
and axis vertebrae.
Because of the
freedom of movement necessary in the region immediately
above and below the atlas vertebra, and because of the
construction necessary to allow for such freedom of movement,
the atlas vertebra can be subluxated, that is, "locked" out
of its normal articular relation sufficiently to affect
vital nerve structures and thus affect the normal control
of function of any organ or part of the body.
Strains, variously produced, at birth,
in infancy, childhood, and in adult life, affecting the atlas
vertebra, may result in a sub-luxation of the atlas vertebra,
and so be the initiator of an inter-ference within the nervous
mechanism leading to the development of some abnormal condition
of the body. Little or no local symp-toms may be present
at the time the atlas vertebra is subluxated, or symptoms
may fade out and disappear, and so be forgotten, and yet
be the beginning of some abnormal condition that shows up
in later years.
So long as this
subluxation of the atlas vertebra is not cor-rected,
efforts to regain lost health may prove of little or
The exact variation of the atlas subluxation
in relation to its surrounding structures peculiar to the
individual case must be ac-curately determined. This can
only be done through a specialized X-ray technique and analysis.
With the precise analysis of the atlas
subluxation in degrees of deviation from normal articular
relation the first important step in specific atlas correction
has been accomplished.
The specific correction of the atlas subluxation
corrects the basic cause of interference within the nervous
mechanism allowing the Innate Intelligence within the body
to bring about a return to normal function.
Specific Atlas Correction is not primarily
concerned with the classification and naming of a symptom
or a group of symptoms or what organ or tissues are affected,
or in what manner they are affected. It realizes the great
difficulty, not to say impossibility, involved in diagnosing
accurately the various complex factors in-volved in each
individual condition, and that the most accurate diagnosis
is of little fundamental curative value unless it at the
same time locates the cause of such derangement of function
Specific Atlas Correction is primarily
concerned with the def-inite determination of the specific
subluxation of the atlas vertebra initially responsible for
the development of the abnormal condition, or conditions,
affecting the body, and its correction. Unless such correction
has been accomplished the last word as to the ability of
the Innate Intelligence within the body to bring about a
natural restoration to health has not been said.
Specific Atlas Correction is not concerned
with palliative measures, the treatment of symptoms that
may afford temporary relief, leaving the underlying disturbance
as bad as or worse than before. No basically useful purpose
will be served by doctoring or suppressing symptoms as long
as the cause is not corrected. Only when symptoms disappear,
following the correction of the cause of the condition within
the body, as a result of regeneration by the Innate Intelligence
within the body has anything really worth while and of lasting
benefit been accomplished.
Specific Atlas Correction does not concern
itself with elec-tricity, radionics, lights, diet, massage,
medicine, general spinal manipulation, or surgery.
If you are one of the many who have failed
to obtain a cor-rection of your condition through any means,
Specific Atlas Cor-rection invites your serious consideration.
PRACTICAL APPLICATION OF MAX SUTTER'S
Analysis of the Atlas Misalignment
The following X-rays were used by Max Sutter
in the analysis of atlas misalignment
- Lateral upper cervical spine are usually
- AP open mouth being careful to make
certain that the central ray is angled upward at about
a 6 degree angle and closer to the bottom teeth than
the upper teeth, so that the anterior arch of the foramen
magnum is clearly visible
The LATERAL is checked as per the usual
Palmer hole-in-one (HIO) protocol to determine superior (too
far forward) or inferior (to far backward) on the condyles.
The AP open mouth – using the anterior
arch, find the center of the foramen magnum using a compass
and then keeping one point at the center, compare the distance
of the lateral masses of the atlas using the same structures
for comparison. A significant difference will show left or
right laterality of the atlas.
The Sutter adjustment consists of a toggle
recoil, but instead of using the pisiform bone in the hand
to contact the atlas, a thumb contact was used on the atlas
transverse process, on the theory that a better direction
could be given. The thumb used for adjusting is held firmly
to the fist by the thumb and forefinger of the other hand.
Frequency of adjustment was usually 3 times
per week for the beginning patient, which was then reduced
to twice per week, once per week, once every two weeks, and
finally to once a month, which was considered adequate for