The History of the Webster Technique
In 2000, the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association (ICPA) created that Webster Technique Certification program and is presently incorporated the ICPA 180 Hour Certification program as part of the ICPA’s mandate on the post-graduate education of chiropractors on the chiropractic care of children, pregnant women and general family wellness care. Since its inception, thousands of chiropractors have been certified by the ICPA in the Webster Technique in addition to the countless other chiropractors familiar with the techniqe and who use it in their practice.
Since Dr. Larry Webster’s passing in 1997, inquiries on the development of the technique by Dr Webster has been a much sought after question. To provide an insight into the possible “how” and “why” of the development of the technique, the following is an excerpt of an interview of Pamela Webster Axtell, the daughter of Dr. Webster by Dr. Jeanne Ohm, DC, the instructor for the ICPA Webster Technique Certification and Executive Director of the ICPA. The conversation took place on December 29, 2011.
Dr. Larry Webster, founder of the ICPA , Logan practitioner, and Life College instructor developed the Webster technique in response to his daughter Lucinda giving birth to her daughter Shannon, on November 14th, 1976. It was a long and difficult labor, the baby had turned breech and throughout the labor, as long as Lucinda was allowed, she hobbled out of her bed into another room in the hospital and met her father for an adjustment. At some point, the staff did not allow her to continue and the labor got even more arduous.
After this personal experience with his daughter’s birth, Dr. Webster wanted to develop an adjustment “for laboring women to help with the ease of birth,” describes Pamela, Lucinda’s sister.
Shortly after, Dr. Webster was caring for a family whose mother was pregnant and also presenting breech. He worked diligently with her developing this adjusting technique in hopes of an easier delivery than his daughter had. He saw her once per week for several weeks and her baby turned vertex in time for delivery. Dr. Webster began teaching other chiropractors this adjustment for safer, easier labors and these doctors reported that their patients’ babies were turning vertex as well. Thus the title: “Webster Breech Turning technique” later to be called the Webster In-Utero Constraint technique by Drs. Anrig and Forrester.
When Pamela was pregnant, her father insisted that she get regular chiropractic care throughout pregnancy and mailed her a video of his technique to show her chiropractor. She also showed it to her OB, who was quite interested in the pelvic biomechanics and the chiropractic perspective. He too, encouraged her to see her chiropractor regularly for this technique knowing this was out of his obstetric scope.
The ICPA implemented the ICPA Webster Technique Certification program in 2000. Connie Webster, Dr. Webster’s widow and Executive Director of the ICPA and Dr. Ohm developed the Webster Certification Proficiency Class. The ICPA Webster Technique Certification was incorporated into what is now the ICPA 180 Hour Certification program. Both the terms “in-utero-constraint” and “breech” were eliminated from the language with the technique simply called, “The Webster Technique.” This was done to re-establish its original intent as a chiropractic adjustive technique. True to Dr. Webster’s original intent, the Webster Technique has always been taught in the ICPA 180 Hour Certification program as a specific and valuable adjusting technique to be used as a specific sacral analysis and diversified adjustment to be used throughout pregnancy to reduce the effects of sacral subluxation. In addition, the Webster technique has been taught as a specific sacral analysis and adjustment for all weight bearing individuals regardless of age or gender. This too, is in accordance with Dr. Webster’s original recommendations in his classes.
Today, Webster Certified doctors are well sought-out by many pregnant mothers and birth care providers. To be Webster Certified means that the doctor has attended the ICPA 12 hour post graduate class: Perinatal Care with Jeanne Ohm,DC where they gain an appreciation and understanding of pelvic biomechanics, sacral subluxation and their relationship to easier, less invasive births. Attendees are taught the Webster technique and additional chiropractic adjustments relating to the specific needs of the mother in pregnancy and in her preparation for birth.
The current ICPA definition for the Webster Technique is as follows:
The Webster technique is a specific chiropractic analysis and diversified adjustment. The goal of the adjustment is to reduce the effects of subluxation and/or SI joint dysfunction. In so doing neuro-biomechanical function in the sacral/pelvic region is improved.
The ICPA recognizes that in a theoretical and clinical framework of the Webster Technique in the care of pregnant women, sacral subluxation may contribute to difficult labor for the mother (i.e., dystocia). Dystocia is caused by inadequate uterine function, pelvic contraction, and baby mal-presentation.32 The correction of sacral subluxation may have a positive effect on all of these causes of dystocia.
In this clinical and theoretical framework, it is proposed that sacral misalignment may contribute to these three primary causes of dystocia via uterine nerve interference, pelvic misalignment and the tightening and torsion of specific pelvic muscles and ligaments. The resulting tense muscles and ligaments and their aberrant effect on the uterus may prevent the baby from comfortably assuming the best possible position for birth.
Two ICPA/ PBRN’s are in the final stages for implementation in t2012. We encourage your participation if you are certified in the Webster technique and if you implement the Webster Technique in your practice in both pregnant and non-pregnant patients. Practice-based research networks are a pragmatic approach to research where “real-world” data, your data, form the foundation of external evidence in evidence-based chiropractic practice.
Jeanne Ohm, DC
ICPA Executive Coordinator
Parents, to find a Certified D.C. in your area, visit our Membership Directory.
To read research about this technique visit: http://icpa4kids.org/Chiropractic-Research/Webster-Technique/
ICPA members: access the most current paper on the Webster technique here: http://chiropracticpediatrics.sharepoint.com/Pages/2012_1220_webster_icpa.aspx