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Atlas Asymmetry the Overlooked Phenomenon

by M Amir(more info)

listed in anatomy and physiology, originally published in issue 155 - February 2009

Introduction to Atlas Asymmetry

Did you know that the Atlas, the first cervical vertebra, is out of equilibrium and dislocated in most of us, and that many chronic ailments, including headaches and backache, are possibly related to just this imbalance?

Image of balance

The award winning author of 'Correction of the Atlas-Fundamental discovery or hoax', Francis George-Perrin says: "It is difficult to stomach that a fundamental element of human beings' equilibrium has gone unnoticed for centuries in the auditoriums of academic teachings."

However, during my research I discovered that DD Palmer, the inventor of Chiropractic, discovered this anomaly towards the end of the 19th century. He discovered this amongst 97% of his subjects and, in fact, Chiropractic was started to correct just this one imbalance. Atlas correction has continued in some practices using a technique called Atlas Orthogonal. The tragedy is that this knowledge was confined to alternative practitioners. Mainstream medicine, always at odds with the alternative, has perhaps ignored this observation, or has not realized the impact on health of this irregularity and stormed on with medicaments that are mainly for palliative care. These only make the underlying problem more chronic. Steroid injections for shoulder pain, back pain, knee pain, are the order of the day while the underlying problem continues to worsen. This leads on to surgical interventions and a relentless attack on the coffers of health service funding.

I spent years with Chiropractic and Osteopathic practitioners of repute, but never once heard this fact mentioned until a few months ago, when I had the good fortune of attending an evening talk on the subject, and was astounded how amazingly well some patients had done with a newer form of this correction.

I felt that this would complement the work I have been doing for many years, which is correcting the Jaw joint and the teeth to bring about symmetry in the patient's head, jaws and body. Symmetry is a key to the proper functioning of our brain, the intake of nutrients, the intake of oxygen and the proper functioning of all the organs of the body. The body appears to require absolute symmetry. The work of Roger Sperry who won the Nobel Prize for brain research in 1981 comes to mind. He states that: "More than 90% of the energy output of the brain is used in relating to the physical body in its gravitational field. The more mechanically distorted a person is the less energy available for thinking, metabolism and healing."

Although I had been very successful alleviating many health problems, especially in those suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome, by achieving tooth and jaw symmetry, I was alarmed that the Atlas imbalance was possibly impacting the dental corrections as some patients took significantly longer to correct than others.

Very many children develop poor jaws and crowded teeth. Many patients have had extraction orthodontics and problems with their jaw joints. A lot of the answers come from the work of Dr Weston Price who, in 1939, published Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, a book that details a series of ethnographic nutritional studies performed across diverse communities.

In his studies he found that the plagues of modern civilization (headaches, general muscle fatigue, dental caries (cavities), impacted molars, tooth crowding, allergies, heart disease, asthma, and degenerative diseases, such as tuberculosis and cancer, were not present in those cultures sustained by indigenous diets. However, within a single generation these same cultures experienced all the above listed ailments with the inclusion of Western foods in their diet, such as refined sugars, refined flours, canned goods, etc.

His studies are fundamental proof that our western style of living has brought nothing but disaster to our health in general. Every family has to spend a substantial amount of their income and savings on health care. In spite of the knowledge imparted by Dr Price, which is now some 70 years-old, no government has done the slightest amount of work to eliminate that which is plain nasty. The general direction has been, and is, to ram raid humanity into a dark age of sickness and disease, and perhaps ultimately into oblivion as no amount of expenditure on health appears to be sufficient for the bottomless pit of what I must call – manufactured iatrogenic disease.

I do not think that Dr Weston Price was aware of the Atlas asymmetry, as it appears to also impact indigenous communities with indigenous diets. Perhaps it has the proclivity to very quickly affect these communities as soon as they take to a western diet, resulting in poor facial development. A lot of work needs to be done as to the exact mechanism that causes the poor facial development, but for now we can try and understand the physical impact of an asymmetric Atlas.

The crowded teeth come from a poor swallowing pattern that children develop. I previously attributed this to the use of dummies, feeders, and open mouth breathing in the stuffy bedrooms in which children often sleep. Although this is still a contributory factor, it suddenly dawned on me that having an asymmetric atlas would affect the function of the nerve to the tongue – The hypoglossal nerve. The occipital condyles, through which the Hypoglossal nerve travels, actually rest in the first cervical vertebra, the Atlas, and if it is out of position it would physically alter the shape of the canal through which this nerve emanates, thus giving rise to poor swallowing function leading to poor jaw and tooth development, which is the root cause of most illness. There are variations to this conjecture and a lot of work remains to be done to further unfold the mysteries surrounding this subject.

Other Consequences Caused by Asymmetric Atlas

The rest of the neck vertebra rotate one way, while the lower spine rotates in the opposite direction, rotating the hips, ending with one leg shorter than the other. Neck, back, hip, knee and foot pains or numbness would not be uncommon. Analgesics or steroid injections are not the answer as the problem continues to worsen and leads to unnecessary surgery in later life. Hip replacements are a typical example.

skull and head bones

The cranium becomes unlevel leading to an asymmetry of the eyes and the back of the head, called the occiput, which physically alters the shape of the cerebellum, leading to problems with fine motor control of the skeletal muscles, and also causing problems like dyslexia that has been shown to be centred in the cerebellar area of the brain.

Neurological disturbances, other than the Hypoglossal nerve, affect a number of other important nerves:
  1. The Vagus and the Cervical Sympathetic chain: The effects of asymmetry here can affect the function of many organs in the body, leading to digestive and/or blood pressure problems;
  2. The Phrenic nerve: This nerve supplies the diaphragm. Disturbances here can cause reduced breathing capacity. After Atlas correction we have seen immediate improvement in the patient's breathing capacity in a majority of cases which is an absolutely phenomenal finding.
Other neurological effects have been discerned when patients have suffered whiplash injuries to the Atlas, and there is a lot on the worldwide web on this subject.

The vertebral artery traverses through the transverse process of the Atlas. The blood flow through it can be reduced, leading to a lesser flow on one side of the cerebellum than the other.

Spine and ganglia

Knowing how an asymmetric Atlas could affect life, and how one could improve matters. I embarked on a difficult journey to see how this could complement my treatment and to objectively determine if there was any validity to the claims being made. This objectivity needed that I conduct both treatments: Atlas correction and orthodontic evaluations and treatment. The orthodontic patients comprised some who had completed treatment, while others were at various stages of the treatment, with some on whom I had not yet embarked upon orthodontically.  Atlas asymmetry examination and orthodontic/TMJ evaluation was conducted at the outset and patients fully informed of expected outcomes.

Having treated over 100 cases, the results have been astounding for some and very positive for a large majority. Very few patients reported no immediate change. However, some of them, a few months on, are reporting benefits. This is probably due to the fact that some symptoms are intermittent, and when they do not recur for a few months the patient is confident enough to report the benefits.

We also discovered that ten percent of the patients did not need their Atlas corrected versus 99.9% needing treatment as claimed by the originators of this technique. The high rate of un-required Atlas correction can possibly be related to the fact that dragging the teeth and jaws into the correct position over a prolonged time possibly had corrected the Atlas, and points to an intimate link between the two; tooth jaw position and Atlas imbalance.

We discovered that for best results the tooth jaw relationship also needed attending to, and it was not possible to rely just on the correction of the Atlas. All new cases are now treated for Atlas correction and, if necessary, for jaw correction. The consequence has been a faster relief from symptoms than had been possible with just jaw treatment. The results as shown in the testimonials below, while unscientific, support the conjectures made in this article.

Case Study 1

Mr Jones presented with very severe backache, which was preventing him from being able to work without significant discomfort. He was unable to get into or out of his car without a huge painful effort. He could only minimally lean forward. Examination showed the presence of Atlas asymmetry and a deviation of his lower jaw towards one side. Atlas treatment took away 50% of the symptoms on the first day. He was fitted with a dental appliance the next day which very quickly corrected the jaw deviation, and his symptoms disappeared within three days. He also reported a significant improvement to his eyesight and cancelled his appointment with the optician for a new pair of glasses.
"Many thanks for fixing my back last week. Agony to bliss in three days isn't bad! I'm always amazed that such apparently abstract treatment has such an effect on wellbeing. Suffice to say I remain in your debt and will continue to champion your methods amongst my more sceptical associates until they too see the light!" – Mr R Jones 

Case Study 2

This patient had been undergoing orthodontic corrections for a year because of poor facial development following dental extraction orthodontics.  He had a poor posture which improved little until Atlas adjustment was carried out. The immediate effect was an upright posture that has held for many months now.
 "I have suffered with Thoracic Kyphosis and neck/shoulder problems for the last 15 years or more. This has been a major problem, not least of all because I have been a professional athlete and sports coach for much of that time. In that time, I have consulted with and practised just about every form of postural re-alignment and spinal procedure imaginable. None of it has fixed my postural issues. Yesterday I was treated by Dr Amir with his Atlas treatment and I have – for the first time that I can remember – had a normal posture, free of any neck pain and stress, free of any tiring forward head bend and free of any lower back pain. The treatment took 20 minutes or less, was painless and is quite simply the most miraculous treatment I have ever received. Even my posture when riding my bike and writing this at my computer has transformed and is pain free.  I will be sending all of my training clients and athletes to receive the atlas treatment without hesitation." – Mr M Weeks

Case Study 3

This patient had attended my office on and off for a couple of years for a severe orthodontic problem but unfortunately she could not tolerate any appliance for more than a day or two, and I was at a loss as to how to correct the orthodontic abnormality. Atlas adjustment was carried out and subsequently she has been able to tolerate the appliances and her orthodontic treatment is ongoing.

"When I was first told about this I was a little sceptical that it would be of any benefit to me. After all I did not suffer from any back pain or any of the typical symptoms it seemed to be instantly curing in other patients. [Having had the Atlas corrected] I was a little tired on the first evening as my body integrated the work, but that night I had a very deep sleep. The next day I felt nothing short of amazing – I definitely had more energy and was really proactive at work, and I know this is directly linked to my lungs suddenly being able to take in more oxygen when I breathe, but the biggest shift for me has been my digestion!!! For 36 years now my digestion and the foods I can and cannot eat have been a continual problem for me. I am often underweight and can't eat many food types without getting a foggy head and strong lethargy. I have paid a lot of money and spent a lot of time with various nutritionists. For the past two days I have been eating rich heavy foods that I would not normally eat and felt absolutely fine. Even at a work lunch today my colleagues commented on how much food I was eating. Normally I have a safe salad and a little bread as I get filled up easily. I was able to eat a proper three-course meal pretty much for the first time in my life. I cannot thank you enough for this treatment. I am bringing my whole family along to have this done as I know it will help each of them; my dad's digestion problems, mum's asthma, my sister's inability to conceive and my brother's sinus problems. This work is nothing short of amazing...thank you for taking the time and effort to train in it and bringing it to us. I Feel Great!!!" – Miss P Churchill


These testimonials support my conjectures earlier on. The success rate in alleviating illness has rocketed with the combined Atlas adjustment and orthodontic TMJ corrections according to the needs of the patients. Atlas correction alone has also benefited many to a point that they no longer need any other treatment. Patients appear to continue benefiting long after the correction.

©copyright Dr M Amir and Amident Inc. 1996-2009. This document is protected under International copyrights & US copyright law article 17. ©Cranio-facial Orthopaedics & Orthodontics & ©Cranio-mandibular & Skeletal Symmetry are also trademarks of M Amir & Amident Inc.


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About M Amir

M Amir BDS MSc (U. London) Dental Surgeon was a dental surgeon practising holistic dentistry in London. He specialized in the treatment of patients with medical problems emanating from the dysfunction of the jaw joint. He took particular interest in the field of body symmetry and its relationship to health He may be contacted on Tel: 0208 780 3433 (secretary);

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