History of the Blair Technique

Dr. William G. Blair began to develop his distinctive method for the analysis and correction of subluxations of the cervical spine soon after graduating from the Palmer School of Chiropractic and establishing his practice in Lubbock, Texas, in later 1949. Trained in the classical Upper Cervical Specific (HIO) method, Dr. Blair soon became concerned with the potential effects of osseous asymmetry ("malformation," as he termed it) on the accuracy of the traditional spinographic analysis in producing a valid adjustive listing. His observations of skeletal specimens also led him to conclude that the prevailing view of the misalignment of atlas in relation to the occiput was inaccurate: atlas could not move in a truly lateral direction because the slope of the lateral masses and the condyles created an osseous locking mechanism preventing such motion, and atlas could not rotate in relation to occiput in the coronal plane without causing a gapping of the atlanto-occipital articulations due to the complementary shapes of the articular surface of the occipital condyles and the lateral masses.

Working in his own practice, Dr. Blair developed methods for imaging misalignments of the cervical vertebrae at the margins of their articulations eliminating asymmetry as a source of error in spinographic analysis. He developed new concepts of the misalignment of the cervical vertebrae which made it possible to tailor the adjustment precisely to the shape and orientation of the articulation being adjusted, as it presented in each case. Both the spinographic analysis and the delivery of the adjustment itself could therefore be "customized" to accommodate each individual patient's anatomical situation.

Upon the unremitting insistence of a trusted colleague to whom he had shown the work privately, Dr. Blair began to teach his technique to the field in 1961. The work was taught as Primary and Advanced courses of three days each, with the Primary course covering primarily spinographic imaging and misalignment concepts and the Advanced course treating adjustive methods. (For a time the two courses were taught consecutively as a five-day combined course, but Dr. Blair considered this approach too demanding of the students.) Dr. Blair continued to teach his work actively until 1980. He continued to refine all aspects of the system during his active teaching phase as well as after it. After his retirement from practice in 1982, he continued to develop adjustments for multiple misalignments of atlas which were field tested by Dr. R. Weldon Muncy of Lancaster, California.

Teaching and research of the Blair Technique has been continued since Dr. Blair’s passing by the William G. Blair Chiropractic Society, Inc., a 501 (c) (3) qualified Texas non-profit corporation which credentials instructors, sponsors research, and holds annual educational conferences. The Blair curriculum is currently divided into four courses of two days each. Research projects to date have focused primarily on inter-observer reliability studies of measurements and perceptual judgments made on Blair Cervical Series spinographs.

Despite the proliferation of orthogonally-based upper cervical techniques deriving from the work of John F. Grostic and ultimately from B.J. Palmer, the Blair Technique remains the only non-orthogonal precision spinographic and adjustive technique for the cervical spine in the chiropractic profession. Senior practitioners of the technique continue to refine its concepts and methods within the distinctive articular approach to the cervical subluxation, and to share these developments in the course work and educational conferences of the Blair Society.