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The Proprioceptive Deep Tendon Reflex® method, or P-DTR for short is a comprehensive system of functional neurology. It recognizes that input from sensory receptors – and the way the brain processes the information from these receptors – is critical in determining neuromuscular responses throughout the entire body. If the incoming information from proprioceptors is faulty, then motor control is compromised, and pain and dysfunction will ensue. P-DTR was developed by and is the original thought of Dr. Jose Palomar, an orthopedic surgeon from Mexico (#GENIUS). 

Let’s break down the meaning of the name: 

  • 'Proprioception' is our ‘sense of self’, the knowledge of where our body and its parts are in space. This sense relies on input from sensory nerve endings in muscles and joints and other areas of the body. In P-DTR those sensory nerve endings are referred to as ‘receptors’.

  • 'Deep Tendon Reflex' is any kind of tendon reflex such as the patellar reflex at the knee. It is used to reset a dysfunction. 

Dr. Palomar discovered that the majority of musculoskeletal pain and a lot of other functional health problems are actually caused by dysfunctional receptor signalingIf the incoming sensory information is correct and interpreted correctly by the CNS all systems are functioning properly and we can say that this person is in a healthy functional state. On the other hand, if the incoming signals are faulty and/or the interpretation by the brain is inaccurate there will be disease. It’s a little bit as if your car alarm always goes off whenever the wind blows or it simply always goes off without any reason at all… Your sensors (receptors) are simply too sensitive or miscalibrated. 

P-DTR was developed as a structured method to find the source of such aberrant/faulty information and for resolving the problem. Manual muscle testing is used to investigate where the problems are. Then different neurological stimuli are applied to an area. The type of stimulus depends on what type of receptor is dysfunctional. I might poke you with a tooth pick, slap you, stretch an area, put pressure on a tendon or ligament or use my tuning forks to detect vibration dysfunctions.

What we need for treatment is the primary dysfunctional receptor and its main compensatory receptor. Once we’ve found both, treatment is simple. We co-stimulate them at the same time and elicit a DTR, a deep tendon reflex, to recalibrate. This instantaneously corrects the faulty input and the output changes. In a majority of the cases, the result is seen and felt by clients immediately – elimination of pain symptoms, recovered range of motion, correct posture, etc.

Sounds complicated, right? It is and it isn’t. To make this a little more digestible, let’s go with this example: 

Each one of us probably has, at some point, hit their funny bone, right? What happens when we do that? We hit it and our body reflexively withdraws from the site of contact to protect us from further harm. To do this, the extensors in that shoulder contract to pull you away. At the same time, the flexors of that arm will reflexively inhibit to let the extensors do their job. This happens without us having to think about it. Normally, what we do is we rub it, the pain subsides after a few seconds and we forget about it. There is no damage to the actual tissue. But there can be a neurological leftover disturbance. If, for example, that pain receptor where you hit the funny bone does not calm down as it should but keeps sending too much signal to the brain your brain will react by continuing to inhibit those shoulder flexors. You will not be aware of it at first because other muscles will jump in and pick up the slack. Over time, though, they can fatigue and all of a sudden your shoulder starts to hurt. You say, I didn’t do anything to my shoulder. The pain came on overnight… But in truth it didn’t. In our example we would most likely find some dysfunctional Golgi Tendon Organs or some pain receptors in the elbow ligaments.

So, what does a typical P-DTR session look like?

  • First, I take a VERY thorough history.

  • Then I observe you in static posture and in active motion.

  • Next, I’ll test for 'Normal Autogenic Responses'. That means, I want to see if muscles in your body are typically strong and can inhibit when they need to.

  • Finally, using manual muscle testing and the P-DTR assessment I detect inhibition patterns that guide me to the location of the dysfunctional receptors.

  • And, lastly, I treat with the P-DTR protocol.

  • We then re-assess your range of motion and your pain level

  • I might recommend some corrective exercises for you to do at home

P-DTR is a very effective treatment method and its effects can typically be felt right away. My goal is to get you better with each session and you should feel considerably better after 3 - 5 sessions. 

That being said, some long standing, very complex cases may require more sessions. 

Some examples

Watch as we 'undo' therapeutic massage effects in seconds. 

... And then fix it (in seconds) 

P-DTR correction of vertebra subluxation complex 

In this video, Dr. Stephen Osborne DC diagnoses a vertebral fixation at the C3-C4 facet on the right. This vertebral subluxation causes a reduction in the patients’ cervical range of motion and causes weakness of his deep neck flexors.


After an adjustment of the C3-C4 facets joints on the right, full range of motion is recovered together with a recovery of strength to the deep neck flexors. 


But the subluxation comes back with just 1 stimulus on the head. Dr. Jose Palomar is able to demonstrate why in some patients the adjustment may not hold.


The P-DTR approach is concerned with finding the primary neurological information which causes the dysfunction and resetting it instantly.

More information can be found at:
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