The Thompson Technique and Your Core Abdominal Muscles

By: Wayne Henry Zemelka, D.C.

Figure 1. The "Camel"

Figure 1. The “Camel”

Where to Begin

After all these years of adjusting and teaching others about the Thompson Technique, I really am pleased to have the opportunity to do a review article putting things together in an instructional follow-up format. The main topic for this article is the psoas muscles that have been the topic of numerous Chiropractic adjusting systems. I will use a few exercises that will help improve the patient’s well-being. B.J. Palmer mentioned numerous times in his lectures and publications that the tone of the muscle was an important aspect of maintaining good health. B.J. had a fully equipped exercise area located in his Clinic at 1000 Brady Street, in Davenport, Iowa. That’s how he felt about the importance of “Muscle Tone.”

Figure 2. The "Cat"

Figure 2. The “Cat”

The psoas muscle is important in the stabilization of the lumbar and pelvic region by virtue of its attachments and connection from the lumbar region to the trochanter of the femur bone in an effort to stabilize the lower back and pelvic region. Dr. Thompson and some of the earlier Chiropractors were aware that there was this connection, but then what to do to reform the area and stabilize the integrity of the lower portion of the body?

The Kinetic Chain is also directly contributory to the inclusion of the legs and feet in providing stabilization that affects the entire body in one way or another. Thompson included examination of the gastrocs in the lower leg which indicated muscle imbalance if there was a “boardiness” on either or both, and the posterior ischium was adjusted on the involved side with a P-A thrust and the drop of the pelvis and lumbar pads.


Figure 3. Stretching opposite arm and leg

Figure 3. Stretching opposite arm and leg

There is so much detail needed to follow through on the “Decision Tree” method of decision making that I will direct you to go through your anatomy books to familiarize yourselves with this important area of the body. The adjusting of the psoas, posterior ilium, and piriformis is also covered in the DVDs and manual found at, where you will find further information on the Thompson Technique. There are a number of publications that you can download if you wish to do so.


Starting any exercise program should begin with a discussion about your plans with your patient. Remember that if he or she has had knee or hip surgery, then doing these exercises is contraindicated.

The “Cat and the Camel.” Part one requires your patient getting down on all fours, and moving the spine up and down as shown in Figures 1 and 2. Spine up represents the “Camel” (Fig. 1) and spine down the “Cat” (Fig. 2). In part two, your patient stretches out one arm and the opposite leg (Fig. 3), to engage the inner muscles as well as the spine and pelvis. This stretching movement is repeated for the other arm-and-leg pairing.

Figure 4. The "Scissors"

Figure 4. The “Scissors”

The “Scissors.” This exercise is for the pelvis and low back. Lying on the back with feet together, with a small pillow under the head, have your patient do the following: Lift the legs 15 to 20 inches and then slowly spread them apart about 15 to 20 inches (Fig. 4).

Leg – Abdominal crunch. Have your patient bring up the legs one at a time and pull his or her back up off the floor, all the while tightening the abdominal muscles.. After doing the legs individually, have him or her do both together (Fig. 5).

Abdominal crunch (Not shown). With the knees bent and feet flat on the floor, instruct your patient to reach above the knees and stretch for the wall in an attempt to sit up, in order to tighten the abdominal muscles.

Suggested repetitions start with minimums such as 6 to 8 reps and 2 to 3 sets daily, until your patient can move with little or no problems. Increase reps by 2 or 4 at a time after the exercises have been done for a couple of weeks. It is best for your patient to use some ice on the sore areas such as the low back, and rub on some pain-relieving gel if minor muscle tightness persists, and reduce the reps. Remember, tell your patient to take it easy on his or her body. Work at it slowly – Slowly! May I point out that you must be able to do some of these exercises in order to demonstrate, or have someone in your clinic who can. It will work better that way in teaching people how to do the exercises properly.

Figure 5. Leg – Abdominal Crunch

Figure 5. Leg – Abdominal Crunch

There’s a lot of exercise information through Google, and that will give you ideas that you can expand on. We have our own 4-page brochure with the entire program laid out for our patients, and you can do the same with your camera and computer.