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What is the Dorn Method and how does it work?

The Dorn Method is a very gentle and safe manual therapy which was developed to focus on the causes of common spine and joint pain.

The Dorn Method is a complementary therapy employing techniques which have been designed to correct misalignments of the spine and other joints using a dynamic approach carried out rather uniquely with full active participation of the patient.

The Dorn Method avoids unnecessary stress to muscles and ligaments and involves no jerky manipulation, no thrust moves or ‘clicking’ and ‘crunching’ of joints. The therapy is well accepted by human and animals.

It has its origins in South Germany and has been used now for nearly 40 years by thousands of therapists and a number of Doctors, it can now be found being taught not only in the UK, but also as far away as the U.S.A., Hong Kong, Australia and The Philippines; in fact the growth of Dorn has now continued into well over 20 countries.. The Dorn Method can now be found growing throughout the world including the UK where there are currently around 300 human Therapists. The Animal Dorn Method is well known in central and Eastern Europe.

What is the Animal Dorn Method Therapy?

The Animal Dorn Method (ADM) uses observation and gentle palpation to find tensed muscles, tendons, ligaments and joints which need some help to return to their physiological position. The therapist after observation works only by touch of hands applying gentle pressure of thumb, fist or palm. (Depending on size of the animal).

The therapy involves all joints of the body with focus on problematic parts. The therapeutic pressure, which is actually a counter-pressure from the patient side, is encouraging the bones to shift position in the same way it does naturally, the whole functional unit of bones-ligaments-muscles and other tissues is treated at the same time and have an effect on whole body statics and dynamics.

Although the Animal Dorn Method is an effective and gentle way how to balance a body, it is necessary to realize that any animal needs time to work with the newly gained information and learn again how to work correctly. So, be patient. These changes may take several days after therapy and keeping animal quiet is necessary.

When to use?

  • as a prevention to injury in sport and working dogs and horses, also over weight dogs with dysplasia predispositions and other joint problems
  • in young animals and puppies to ensure they are well ballanced
  • chronic problems in geriatric, under nourished and long term sick patients
  • acute traumatic situation – certain Dorn movements may be performed however whole therapy is done only after veterinary consultation

Contra Indication

  • Temperature above 39⁰C
  • Fractures
  • Open wounds, abscesses, ulcers
  • Tetanus
  • Acute Inflammation problems (guts, veins, joints, organs)
  • Acute rheumatism
  • Damage to muscle tissue, problem with function of muscle
  • Calcification of soft tissue (tendons in horses)
  • Pregnancy
  • Acute Viral Infections, Infectious disease
  • Cancer

What to expect from the first visit

-          Consultation

Standard way the potential client will contact the therapist is by the phone or email – via contact us

The first consultation involves gathering the basic information about the patient, including his recent health history to help to pin point possible contra indication and if nothing stay in a way of therapy the therapist and client will agree on the date of first session.

However the client may meet me through my veterinary work which at the moment I provide for Jane Callow Vets as locum (Tuesdays and Fridays).

-          What is needed for ADM therapy

If it is possible the therapy will be done at your own home, stable or livery yard in case of horses, so the stress of the patient is down to minimum.

In dogs the therapy is done on the floor, with little dogs, cats, ferrets and other small creatures even on client’s lap. It is a good idea to have ready some mat or a blanket which the pet likes. The animal cannot get cold during the session. Quiet environment is necessary for performing the DM to its best.

In horses it is preferred to do the session outside so the animal does not feel claustrophobic. Also active movement is sometimes needed

-          Meet the patient

After meeting with therapist for the first time, there will be the get to know you and your pet time. The therapist registers the way patients behave, stand and move around. Then the DM is explained to the owner, they fill up the patient card together. That includes: basic information of animal and its health status, signature of client of an agreement with DM therapy. It is a good time to ask all the questions at this point.

-          The Animal Dorn Method Therapy

Pets - The ADM is done on the floor in lay down or stands up position. It is necessary to make a patient as comfortable as possible. The therapy requires a quiet room; the best scenario is with the owner and the therapist only. The session lasts around one hour.

Horses – The ADM is carried out in a standing up position; some misalignments may be easier to correct while the horse is walking, some with just moving their leg while standing. The therapy requires concentration of both sides and it would be welcome to have full attention of the horse. Again usually an owner and the therapist should be only people present. The session last between an hour and hour and half.

The therapist works through all joints of the body missing none. It is important to realize that ADM is not sorting only problematic area but the body as whole. That is perhaps the biggest difference from classic veterinary work. It is a common knowledge that often the problematic area is not cause of primary problem. The therapist is carefully watching and feeling the reactions of the patient and any reduce movement of the joint or wrong positioning. These changes are then carefully noted in the patient card and if it is necessary the therapist will pay closer attention to affected areas in next visit and will carefully note any changes and improvements during the session.

During the therapy it may happen that some of movements will not be very comfortable for the patient especially if there is a problem. All these signals are noted by the therapist and respected. In all cases the owner should stay calm and provide comforting support to the patient. Any other behaviour may be very contra productive. The therapist reserves the right to ask the owner to leave the room if his/her behaviour is not acceptable in order to finish the session.

Check up and follow up procedure

After the therapy the therapist will inform the client of any problem found and the purpose of the follow up. The therapist will explain what has happened in the body of the animal and how the body can react to these changes. The ADM is quite hard work for the body and it will require quiet regime for the patient for next couple of days. The recommended after treatment plan will be discussed at this point. This is another time to ask any unexplained questions.


It is very beneficial for the therapist to keep in touch with the owner and to be informed about the progress of the patient.   If the client is not sure we can always go through the recommended plan of action again and fit it to the patient. In more serious cases the therapy may take 6 month or more.