The History of the Webster Technique
In 2000, the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association (ICPA) created the Webster Technique Certification and incorporated it into the ICPA's Certification program. Since its inception, thousands of chiropractors have been certified by the ICPA in the Webster Technique.
Since Dr. Larry Webster’s passing in 1997, inquiries on the development of the technique 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 the co-developer of the ICPA Certification program. The conversation took place on December 29, 2011.
Dr. Larry Webster, 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’ whose babies were breech also turned vertex. Thus the title: “Webster Breech Turning technique” later to be renamed the Webster In-Utero Constraint by Drs. Anrig and Forrester.
When Pamela became 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 then Executive Director of the ICPA and Dr. Ohm co-developed the Webster Certification Proficiency Class. The ICPA Webster Technique Certification was incorporated into what is now the ICPA 200 Hour Certification program. Both the terms “in-utero-constraint” and “breech” were eliminated from the language to be retermed as “The Webster Technique.” True to Dr. Webster’s original intent, the Webster Technique has always been taught in the ICPA 200 Hour Certification program as a sacral analysis and diversified adjusting technique to reduce the effects of sacral subluxation. Although origiginally developed to be used throughout pregancy for pelvic balance, Dr. Webster also presented this technique as ameans of assessing sacral subluxation in all weight bearing people.
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. In this class, 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.
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