Atlasprofilax: A potentially dangerous procedure.

Imitation as a form a flattery.

Two weekends ago, I had a booth at a health and wellness expo and I had a chance to observe a practioner of a new form of atlas work called Atlasprofilax. Initially I was curious about what he was doing, I’m alway open to learning new things.  But now have decided that this is a potentially dangerous procedure and do not recommend people recieve it. Here are my reasons:

  •  His literature states that the atlas moves out of alignment the same way in every person. This is not true!  In the thousands of x-rays that I have taken, I can demonstrate that each misalignment is unique and individual to each person.  This is backed up by decades of research by NUCCA and other upper cervical chiropractic procedures. To make this worse:
  • They use an thrusting instrument on the upper neck, delivering multiple hard thrusts. If they are trying to move a persons atlas in a certain direction, only a percentage of their clients will have their atlases misaligned in the direction they they think it is. They could be moving the atlas in the wrong direction.
  • Then they label any adverse reaction as a healing crisis. A healing crisis can
    occur when someone retraces an old injury and may feel pain and
    discomfort. A health crisis is when you have pain and problems from a
    new injury or an aggravation of an old one. It takes a qualified health
    practitioner to be able to listen, do an accurate and objective analysis
    (that includes a follow up visit) to determine if a person is having a
    health or healing crisis. Unfortunately, these lay people are using range of motion and palpation to fool themselves into thinking that they are realigning everyone.
  • They don’t realign everyone. I was only able to asses three people that had received this procedure. All three were showing an atlas misalignment with stress on their nervous systems. I regularly screen individuals that do not have an atlas misalignment. These three were not one of them. 
  • They only see people one time. This practitioner and others travel to different towns, manipulate peoples atlases and then leave. The one that was here was from Los Angeles and seems to be making a circuit around the country.

Before I get a bunch of email, let me clarify. I know that they are helping some people (they are dealing with the atlas of course!), but I am giving my professional opinion on why this procedure could be dangerous. If you want to get your atlas realigned, go to one of the many excellent upper cervical chiropractic doctors around the country.

In my office, I take upper cervical x-rays before the first adjustment, as well as after to make sure that the correction is good. I also to regular follow up visits to make sure that people are doing well. Unfortunately, I don’t alway get it right the first time, but I as I improve this happens less. Some of my patients that have had the most amazing results were are ones that I didn’t get right the first time. I followed up, listed, made the appropriate "adjusments", and they did well. That is why we call this practice.

 ~Dr. Michael

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20 Responses to Atlasprofilax: A potentially dangerous procedure.

  1. Jeff says:

    You will happy to know that the AtlasPROfilax practitioner you are refering to has had his certification revoked and is no longer practicing AtlasPROfilax but an offshout he calls atlasreveloution.
    Some of your statments regarding atlasprofilax are not acurate,not your fault.
    First of all no one has ever been hurt or gotten worse from the treatment.
    AtlasPROfilax is NOT an adjustment or realignment. It is a procedure that releases the muscles and other tissues around the atlas which frees it, and contact with the atlas does not occure.You are correct that some of the terminology is incorrect and is in need of revision, as some of the truth is lost in translation.

  2. Dr. Michael says:

    I will confirm that the Ranan Shahar had his certification revoked. However, when I went to the international website, the information stated that they were resetting the atlas dislocation. I think because of legal issues they are remaking their English website with different wording. Other languages still have the information. Previous versions of their website can be found using the wayback machine at http://web.archive.org/.

    I stand by my comments that the force of the instrument used is dangerous, and that anyone interested in getting their atlas corrected should go to an upper cervical chiropractor who will take proper x-rays and use a much gentler procedure (especially with the Grostic/NUCCA/Atlas Orthogonal/Orthospinology techniques).

  3. kathy says:

    BEWARE OF ATLASPROFILAX IT RUINED MY LIFE

    Before my atlas was manipulated in January 2004 the problems I had were ulnar nerve pain in my right arm over 10 years and the odd headache. Apart from that I was healthy.
    2008: List of symptoms over the last 4 years since my atlas (C1 vertebrae in neck) was treated by a supposed “recognized” Atlasprofilax person in Switzerland

    The symptoms didn’t start manifesting until nearly one month after the atlas correction. Because the first symptoms were stomach related, (cramps, nausea) I did not find out for a year!!!! I thought that I was dying at one point as no doctor could figure out why I was so ill. By chance I found out that it could be because of the atlas being manipulated.

    The symptoms come and go but some, like nausea, became less severe once the atlas was manipulated a second time 3 years ago by a second atlasprofilax practionner. We’d complained to the person who runs the website: they said the first person had done it incorrectly! Sometimes it will be two years that I have not had a particular symptom then it will come back all of a sudden. Every day I have had one or another of the symptoms listed below:

    Severe weight loss (55 kilos to 49 in two weeks) but only in first year, as soon as atlas was adjusted for second time the nausea lessened and I put the weight back on. I am 58 kilos now and I am 1.77m ( 5 foot 10) tall
    Ulnar and median nerve pain in arm (numbness and pain)
    Shoulder pain
    Sciatica
    Involuntary neck spasms (after this happens feel like I have been hit on the back of neck, feel ill for about an hour)
    Vertigo
    Headaches
    Had MRI of neck – results fine (slight arthritis but not unusual)
    Lower-, middle- and upper-back pain
    Rib cage pressure
    Nausea
    Abdomen cramps (more in back) Had ultra sound, blood tests, internal organs all fine
    Acid (but PH test shows acid is normal) Had two endoscopies – no signs of ulcer, etc. Had tests for Heliobacter Pylori, gluten and lactose allergy – all fine. Also had Thyroid checked – fine.
    Burning tongue
    Pressure in throat
    Saliva tasting strange
    Tonsil stones produced like crazy for about a year then stopped.
    Irregular periods (always were regular before)
    Neuralgia
    Jaw pain
    Knee pain
    Ankle problems
    Tibia went out of place for no reason and had to have it corrected by osteopath
    Hip and groin pain, sciatica
    Recently after gentle osteo treatment had hot flushes for the first time – I’m 39 years of age

    I react severely to any kind of treatment be it massage (gives me indigestion and nausea) or gentle osteopathy which makes a lot of the symptoms explode.
    I had very gentle osteopathy in Jan 2008 after not having any kind of treatment for over two years for fear of making things worse. After that, I had abdominal cramps, diarrhea, neuralgia, jaw pain, hot flushes, uncontrollable crying, nausea, back pain, weight loss, and generally felt awful and had to stay in bed.
    Had cranio-sacral osteopathy (just sacrum treated for 10 mins) and even that made me react but not as severely as gentle osteopathy.
    Today (Beginning 2008) symptoms are much less severe but they tend to have 2 or 3 month cycles: Two months of arm pain then my body will have some kind of crisis ( severe pain in back or neck etc) then the arm pain will stop and I will have problems with my throat ( pressure, ball in throat, burny tongue etc) and so on and so on It seems to bounce between the ulnar/ median nerve, the vagus nerve and the glossopharngyal nerve.I also have had a lot of clicking and snapping in my neck over the last year.

    SEPTEMBER 2009:
    Treated by NUCCA specialist in July 2008 in Michigan USA, 95% of my symptoms disappeared within 1-4 weeks of treatment. I still have lingering weaknesses in my shoulder and arm but all the other strange symptoms brought on by going to Atlasprofilax have completely disappeared and I am back to my normal self. I lose my adjustment from time to time but the quality of my life is amazing compared to when I was ill for 4 years after having atlasprofilax.
    My advice is to stay well away from these people.

  4. Dr. AO says:

    Hello I’m an AO practicing doctor,

    The first time I heard about AtlasProFilax I was surprised.
    Later, when I researched about it I got scared.

    First of all: anyone in the world can become an AtlasProf (if you pay the money of course). No studies required, no exams, no knowledge of the human body, no state exams, no university, no school degrees required…

    Second: they say they discovered the Atlas therapy. We all know Dr. BJ Palmer and Dr. Wernsing were the first ones in the history of medicine and manual therapy to talk about atlas misalignment, detection and correction. The just copied and pasted the principles and created a freaky thing called “atlasprofilax”.

    Third: they use crazy statements like “the atlas subluxation causes all diseases” or “we can reposition the atlas in 1 visit” or “the styloid process hold the atlas in place”, etc. Statements like those prove they don’t know anything about anatomy, physiology, clinical practice and make me thing about the old “charlatans” of the last century.

    Fourth: how are they going to replace the atlas if they don’t use any procedure to see the actual position of the atlas? They don’t use any diagnosis to know the exact position of the atlas. In that case…how can they replace it ???

    Fifth: I have many patients that come to my office after the Prof people had ruined their lifes and created a bunch of health problems the patients didn’t have before. But to avoid legal problems the Prof people make sign an authorization to their patients that in case something wrong happens…the Prof people is not responsible for it !! Sounds crazy to me!!!! What about you?

    Can the PROF people PROVE their procedure?

    And the problem doesn’t stop here…many other atlas “techniques” are starting to proliferate…check on AtlantoTech…
    Watch out people! The atlas is not something to play with!
    Let’s be a bit serious and honest about people’s health.

  5. jon says:

    I would like to comment on the atlasprofilax procedure.

    First, I would like to say chiropractors have been a staple in my life for some time. I have had many x-rays and adjustments. My x-rays did confirm my atlas being way out of wack. I have tried over 5 different chiropractors through the years. Many dollars and treatments involving 2-3 times a week adjustments. With no stability in my neck. Much pain and tension. Trouble sleeping and various left eye issues(vision and dryness) that changed from needing glasses to not needing glasses to back to needing glasses. Recently, I was in one of my worst times with my vision poblems and neck pain. I had chiro treatments during all of this time with no help. I had the atlaspofilax done and instantly my vision improved as I walked out the door. I had it done two months ago..with continued improvement in vision and neck stability and reduced pain and discomfort. I have regular chiro appointments and my current chiropractor commented how I finally have my head on straight and aligned and how it is stabalizing. I did not mention why this is so to him. I took the confirmation and continue to enjoy my new vision and neck. I give thanks and only wish to share my good experience. The adjustment was less trauma then a chiro visit. The tool was gentle and instantly I my range of motion increased. I am sad to hear the bad stories for it has helped me so very much. I wish only great health and comfort to all.

    JON

  6. Reenee says:

    Jon,

    Perhaps you can tell us who your atlasprofilax practitioner was since that person may be competent. That other person’s horrible experience for 4 years is of concern to me.

  7. Brandon David says:

    I just wanted to add a quick note on my experience with this procedure. I had this procedure done because of some serious issues in my body. I have had L5-S1 degenerative, bad knees, one leg shorter, hips to the point of pain anytime I’m on my feet, etc… I was in really bad shape. After this procedure, the benefits just popped up everywhere in my body. After 17 years of suffering, I’m almost completely healed from my prior misalignment. I have been doing doctors, chiro, acupuncture, massage, everything under the sun for 17 years, and it is all over now thanks to this alignment from atlas profilax.

    I understand skepticism, but I’m telling you right now that this treatment not only changed my life, but improved it so drastically that I literally have a new lease on life. It is the most amazing feeling to feel free of pain and light on my feet! Better vision, added mental clarity, physical issues all solved in one quick swoop… It is literally the best thing that’s ever happened to me!

    Sincerely,
    Brandon

  8. Nikki says:

    I am interested to read this as I had this treatment 4 years ago by a Atlas Profilax practitioner, but, that practitioner had no previous experience of working with clients in the health area. It was following the treatment that I got a back injury suddenly one day, without doing anything much – essentially my sacrum got jammed downwards and it has never recovered despite ££ K with therapists. The practitioner really didn’t want to know and also had no experience of dealing with my problem, though she did offer me some Scenar treatment in the short term. I intuitively feel that the AP treatment somehow damaged my alignment and I should never have been offered the AP in the first place without her collaborating with my osteopath (who has now left the UK unfortunately). I was not to know this but she should have done. I had tricky alignment in the first place.

    I’ve reached a dead-end with this now unless you can suggest something. Thanks for listening.

  9. Dr. Michael says:

    Hi Nikki, you may want to contact Dr Heidi Grant in the UK. Here is her website: http://www.nucca.co.uk/

  10. Dr. Michael says:

    Brandon, I’m glad you are doing well. Addressing an atlas misalignment can have a profound affect on our health. I believe that for most people an upper cervical chiropractor is going to be consistently better at addressing the problem without the side affects.

  11. Brian says:

    I’m living in Australia and had the Atlas Profilax treatment about 2 years ago. I suffer from various conditions but in summary my main problems are vertigo and fibromyalgia. Both of which can be caused from a misaligned atlas bone. I’ve had head forward type posture all of my life. After having the treatment, which seemed fairly non invasive and gentle enough. I didn’t notice a huge change but there did seem to be some improvement in my ability to turn my neck around. The most noticable thing was when I was driving and I could turn my neck to look backwards in both directions without any pain. It was interesting how it swiveled more easily than usual. My father then also had the treatment about 2 weeks after I had mine. He also reported a similar effect of being able to move his neck better. Both of us were a little sceptical and wondered if it wasn’t just another scam treatment but to this day we couldn’t really say for sure because we both seemed to have some improvment. Not a huge change though that some people seem to report. I still have vertigo and fibromyalgia. I still have neck pain but I have to say that it seems that very gradually I’m straightening up a bit.
    Just my two cents worth.
    Cheers

  12. Dr. Michael says:

    I’m glad you haven’t had a bad experience as others have. You may want to try upper cervical chiropractic which I believe would be much safer. Also, you may want to try the Epley maneuver for the dizziness.

  13. David says:

    My Wife had this procedure done. She had a whiplash injury from 17 years back. She had not been able to work because of the pain and had basically been in pain almost every day since her injury. After the Atlasprofilax procedure she was pain free basically the very same day. Can’t say its for everyone but if you have an old Whiplash injury I would check this out.

  14. Susan Walker says:

    The excellent healer I have used for 40 years, had the AtlasProfilax treatment done, and it created many severe disturbances in her body. After 6 years she still suffered some of the worst symptoms–neck and back related.
    Seems like it works sometimes for some people, but with such a radical adjustment as Atlas Profilax, to have it done is like playing Russian roulette.

  15. Maureen Hirst says:

    I had the Atlas Profilax treatment about 3 years ago in Blackpool. The lady who administered the treatment was off-hand and gave the impression that I was ‘taking up her time’ for want of a better description. The treatment at that time was £160.00 with a follow-up the next day. When we turned up the next day we were met at the door with this look of puzzlement and ‘what did we want’. The follow-up was done very begrudgingly. This cost over £300 with travel and accommodation and did not a scrap of good. I would certainly not recommend it.

  16. Tatiana says:

    My name is Tatiana. I’ve taken this procedure in Moscow, Russia. And this is my opinion: those, who practises AtlasProfilax – are deceivers and charlatans. Some impressionable People , who tests weakness under peredsilny persons and suggestions are probably inclined to think that in this theory there is a clever sense. If they will be helped by self-deception – I’ll be very glad. But I am sure that already told – “experts” AtlasProfilax – deceivers and charlatans.

  17. Jeremy says:

    Just to add to some of the other comments on here, I had mine done here in Australia in May 2011. I was out of alignment generally in my body, however within a day or 2 of having the procedure done I started getting some really uncomfortable sensations in my neck (I had never had a day of neck pain in my life!). When I went back for my follow up appointment the practitioner said that it was nothing to worry about and it was just part of the process and it would be fine very soon. About a year later I contacted and went and saw another Atlasprofilax practitioner and he couldn’t explain why I was having this pain and said that it wasn’t normal.

    3 years later I still have daily pain in my neck (the muscles feel very restricted and tight), and if I move my head side to side I have pinching feeling happening and I start to get a dull uncomfortable pain in my neck by the end of the day.

    I have seen 2 different Osteopaths and a chiropractor during that time and have had no relief.

    In my opinion avoid this procedure at all costs as when I was discussing what happened with my Chiro he was shocked that they complete the procedure without even looking at any X-rays or other type of scan to determine whether it’s in fact out of alignment and how they should best treat it.

  18. John David says:

    I am scheduled to have this treatment performed by a Dr. Vladamir Tomljenovic, California. I have been told that the treatment is electrical stimulation of the neck muscles so that they relax and allow the atlas to properly realign itself. Please elt me know if this doctor performed the procedure for you, if you experienced any adverse reactions and if you were required to sign a statement that absolves him of all liability prior to treatment. I have never had my neck x-rayed and therefore have to take his word on my atlas being misaligned.

  19. Dr. Michael says:

    Under his linked in page, he states that his education is at The Ackermann College in Sweden. He states that he has a doctorate and implies that it is in Chiropractic from the Ackermann College. According to Ackermann’s website, the highest “diploma” is a Master of Chiropractic (non-academic) and “Certificate of Honour”. When I go to the California Board of Chiropractic Examiners, I cannot find his name or license. While some have done well with atlasprofilax, some people have been seriously injured. I would stick to an upper cervical chiropractor with a license in good standing in your area. If he does not have a license, then he does not have any insurance that most chiropractors carry.

  20. Gloria says:

    In responese to Dr Michaels post. If a practioner performs the Atlas adjustment using hard thrusts, then they are not doing it properly.
    I had my Atlas adjusted about a month ago & I am going back for a check up next month. I had it done in Edmonton Alberta & a gentleman from BC came to our city, as no one practises it here.
    I have to tell you that I am a firm believer of massages & chiropractors. I go to both of them monthly. However, I have had a pulling tension on the right side of my neck and the top of my right shoulder, for years, & my monthly visits by neither one of these professionals/treatments, have cured this problem. I still continue to go to them, but, this Atlas treatment has done the trick. And, yes, I was skeptical before I had it done, but, I am now tension free in my neck and shoulder.
    I have also had problems sleeping, in regards to a different problem. I sleep on my right side, but, I have not been able to do that for the last 2 years, as my arm hurt to lay on it. And again, monthly massages & chiropractor visits have not helped, but, with my Atlas adjustment, my arm pain has disappeared & I am back sleeping on my right side. Yippee!!!!

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