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Q & A

with Dr. Roy Sweat, founding father of Atlas Orthogonal
Roy W. Sweat, D.C., graduated from Palmer in 1950. He is the pioneer of the Atlas Orthogonal technique, which, according to SweatInstitute.com, "is a technically advanced, scientific, revolutionary procedure that has been refined over the past 60 years. Atlas Orthogonal Chiropractic differs from traditional Chiropractic with a gentle, light force instrument adjustment to the Atlas bone." Dr. Sweat and his son, Matthew Sweat, D.C., practice in Atlanta, Ga., at the Sweat Institute for Atlas Orthogonal Chiropractic Care.
Dr. Roy Sweats

Insights: You began your chiropractic career after leaving the Navy and serving your country in World War II. What was it that led you to chiropractic and then to Palmer?

Dr. Sweat: My sister, Etheleen, had migraine headaches and was taking phenobarbital and it was not helping. She decided to go to a Chiropractor, Dr. Wenton Hall in Waycross, Ga. Dr. Wenton was a Palmer graduate, and he adjusted her atlas. She took me to meet him on one of her visits, and he showed me the spinal nerve chart. He also encouraged me to go to Palmer College of Chiropractic.

Insights: You are known for the Atlas Orthogonal (AO) technique and really as its pioneer. Tell me how your interest in the upper cervical complex led you to the work that you've done, the organizing of the Society of Chiropractic Orthospinology, and, of course, the Sweat Institute.

Dr. Sweat: I started Palmer College in January of 1947 and studied under B.J. Palmer for four years. I was in B.J.'s Hole-In-One Program (or the Toggle-Recoil technique, in which the atlas and axis are adjusted very precisely and gently). I went into private practice in April 1950 with Dr. Vic Brooks in Decatur, Ga. In 1952, I decided to study with Dr. John F. Grostic (Palmer School of Chiropractic '33) and learn about the upper cervical spine. In 1957, Dr. Grostic asked me to assist him and teach the classes with him. He died in 1964, and we moved the seminars to Atlanta in 1965. They were called the Grostic Presentation seminars. Then I decided I wanted to design an instrument that would do the same thing as the hand adjustment. We went down to Georgia Tech and hired engineers to design our first Atlas Orthogonal adjusting instrument in 1980. (The engineers based the Atlas Orthogonal Percussion Adjusting Instrument on the way Dr. Sweat used his hands to perform the adjustment.)

Insights: It sounds like you are very involved in your community as well as in chiropractic associations. You have also been an instructor and have presented around the world. What are some of the highlights of what you've been involved in?

Dr. Sweat: I'm a lifetime member of the Georgia Chiropractic Association and have also served as president. I am a member of the International Chiropractors Association. I've been Kiwanis Club president and have been a member of Embry Hills Methodist and Mt. Carmel Methodist churches.

Insights: What are you favorite memories of Palmer College? Dr. Sweat: It was a pleasure seeing and hearing B.J. Palmer at Lyceums every year that he presented.

Insights: What would you like see in the future of the chiropractic profession?

Dr. Sweat: I think Chiropractors must improve all their adjusting programs. And we must have a leg check and scanning palpation instrument.

Insights: Do you have any advice for chiropractors just starting out or for those future chiropractors just starting their journey?

Dr. Sweat: My advice is to work as an associate in a private clinic with an Atlas Orthogonal doctor! God bless Atlas Orthogonal Chiropractic, and God bless Chiropractors!

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