The Neuro Emotional Technique Is a Bizarre Hybrid of Chiropractic


During the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic in April 2020, a thought-provoking documentary titled “Stressed” emerged on YouTube, capturing the essence of the moment. As the film delved into stress intervention, it became evident that a significant number of individuals endorsing this approach held the title of “DC” or Doctor of Chiropractic. This observation sparked my curiosity, prompting a closer examination of the connection between chiropractic and a peculiar intervention known as the neuro emotional technique (N.E.T.).

The Birth of N.E.T.

The founder of N.E.T., a chiropractor by the name of Scott Walker, shared the story behind its inception in the documentary. Back in 1985, after realizing that some of his patients didn’t respond to chiropractic spinal manipulations, Walker hypothesized that emotional issues might be at play. His hypothesis was put to the test with a woman who had experienced fear during a car crash, leading to the creation of N.E.T.

Understanding N.E.T.

To comprehend N.E.T., let’s explore one of its protocols available online, specifically designed for individuals with trigger points. The initial step involves comparing the strength of a healthy muscle with and without applying pressure on the trigger point. Subsequently, the client’s palm is placed on their forehead, known as the emotional point, to assess the muscle’s strength. If the muscle strengthens, it is believed to indicate an underlying emotional issue from the past that has contributed to the current ailment, warranting N.E.T.

The Pseudoscientific Practice

N.E.T. incorporates a practice called applied kinesiology, which attempts to diagnose illness by evaluating muscle responses. It involves asking a person a question and assessing muscle resistance when pressure is applied. In practice, this technique can be exploited for parlor tricks, as showcased on an episode of “Dragons’ Den.” The questioning in N.E.T. resembles a spirit board session, with the practitioner posing specific queries and analyzing muscle responses to identify underlying emotions tied to the trauma. Acupuncture, without needles, is also employed during N.E.T., with specific points on the body pressed while the client contemplates their emotional experience.

Evaluating the Evidence

The ONE Research Foundation finances research and education on N.E.T., providing a library of published research. However, a closer examination reveals the questionable depth of evidence. Several papers consist of case reports or reviews of tangentially related topics. Clinical trials lack rigorous control groups, making it challenging to establish the true effectiveness of N.E.T. Further, the existing studies often neglect to account for the natural progression of the disease or the potential impact of other interventions.

Expanding the Scope

N.E.T. research is primarily supported by a small group of researchers at institutions such as Macquarie University and the Marcus Institute of Integrative Health. The proponents of N.E.T. seek to expand the scope of chiropractic practice beyond musculoskeletal conditions. They believe stress to be the underlying cause of various diseases and promote N.E.T. as a means to uncover the origin of this stress and correct the body’s response. This potential expansion of practice can lead to increased revenue for chiropractors.

The Legitimacy Question

Despite its aspirations, N.E.T. is founded on a multitude of unsupported beliefs. Chiropractic subluxations, acupuncture meridians, and the association of distinct emotions with organs lack scientific validity. Muscle testing, often considered a subconscious lie detector test, fails to provide comprehensive diagnostic accuracy. N.E.T. represents an attempt to gain legitimacy within the realm of integrative medicine, a movement that combines unproven therapies with evidence-based medicine. However, the efficacy of N.E.T. remains dubious.

The Boundaries of N.E.T.

Scott Walker posits in “Stressed,” “We haven’t found anything that [N.E.T.] hasn’t improved. We don’t know where the limits are.” Yet, within a poorly regulated space, the limits of N.E.T. appear to be defined solely by the number of clients willing to invest in this technique. As with any controversial interventions, it is crucial to critically evaluate the evidence before embracing N.E.T. as a viable solution.


The documentary “Stressed” introduces stress as a primary cause of illness and highlights N.E.T. as a potential intervention. N.E.T. combines chiropractic, acupuncture, and applied kinesiology to uncover past trauma by communicating with the body. However, research on the efficacy of N.E.T. often lacks proper control groups, making it challenging to validate its effectiveness. As with all pseudoscientific practices, a discerning eye is necessary when assessing the legitimacy of N.E.T.

Take-home message:

  • “Stressed” promotes stress as a significant contributor to illness, with N.E.T. proposed as a solution.
  • N.E.T. combines chiropractic, acupuncture, and applied kinesiology to identify past emotional trauma.
  • Research on N.E.T. lacks robust control groups, making it difficult to determine its true effectiveness.

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