About Robin McKenzie, the McKenzie Method® and Original McKenzie® products

In 1956 in his clinic in Wellington, New Zealand, the late Robin McKenzie® OBE CNZM, observed an accidental treatment success which was to change the way patients are treated worldwide for low back pain and associated disorder. A patient, Mr Smith, with acute and debilitating low back pain and sciatica, was accidentally left on a treatment table with his back in an extended position, considered to be medically dangerous at the time. On discovering his patient in this position, McKenzie was astonished to learn that the patient felt better than he had in weeks!

Mr. Smith reported that the pain had left his leg, centralised in the low back, was reduced and, on repetition of the exercise over the next few days, disappeared entirely. This serendipitous event triggered McKenzie to question established medical thinking and so began his lifetime of research. He set about systematically evaluating the effects that simple movements and positions had on his patients’ pain responses and, through his detailed collation of data from over 1000 patients per year, a clear assessment and treatment process gradually emerged.

This process, now known globally as the McKenzie Method® of Mechanical Diagnosis and Therapy® or MDT®, is a reliable and research-proven biopsychosocial system for the mechanical assessment and treatment of acute, sub-acute and chronic musculoskeletal conditions of the spine and extremities. The Method is reliant upon patient education, empowerment and active participation. Viewed as radical at its inception, even rejected by the medical wisdom of the day, the McKenzie Method® is now one of the most studied diagnostic and treatment systems for musculoskeletal pain and disorder in the world; has since received international recognition and acclaim; and, might legitimately be described as the prototype for the ideal non- invasive treatment protocols, as promulgated in current international Clinical Guidelines.

Incensed by sufferers’ expensive dependency on clinicians and the over-use of injections, surgery and pharmaceuticals, McKenzie sought to educate his patients in the process of self-treatment, the existence and recognition of common ergonomic stressors, and the importance of postural maintenance. He was passionate about the need to empower the patient by providing them with the necessary education and skills to both understand their problem and to treat it themselves. To that end, in 1980, McKenzie wrote and published himself the first in a series of self-help books, the “Treat Your Own” Series, which includes Treat Your Own Back®, Treat Your Own Neck, Treat Your Own Shoulder, Treat Your Own Knee and Treat Your Own Hip.

In these charmingly written, easy to read, patient handbooks, McKenzie sought to distil the essence of his ‘method’, as taught to medical professionals globally, so that it would be accessible direct to the sufferer, without recourse to a clinician. Since initial publication the books have been translated into some 18 languages and are consistently global best sellers. A cursory glance at the customer reviews on Amazon bear lay testament to the books’ efficacy.

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In the process of developing his ‘method’, McKenzie also came to realise that correct spinal supports were “vital for my patients, if they were to remain pain free”. Initially McKenzie designed a lumbar roll that his wife, Joy, “made on our kitchen table”, but with numerous patients confirming their benefits, he then set about designing and developing a specialised range of portable spinal supports, which would cater to different needs. The original McKenzie® range of rolls have recently been refined and re-engineered to better complement modern day living, and our new Signature Range is Certified New Zealand Made. They are the only lumbar supports approved for use with the McKenzie Method®.

For further information on the books and rolls and how to acquire them, please refer to www.mckenziemethod.com

By the 1980’s Robin was being invited to lecture and demonstrate his methods all over the globe. He soon realised that if he was to achieve his ultimate vision of bringing the benefits of MDT® to the masses, further education of clinicians and professionals was urgently required. Accordingly, in 1982, Robin founded the Mckenzie Institute International®, to ensure the orderly development of education and research into his methods. The Institute, a charitable trust headquartered in New Zealand, has since grown into an august and highly respected post-graduate educational body, with branches in some 28 countries worldwide, and which teaches its stringent educational programme to doctors, physiotherapists and other approved healthcare professionals in a further 12 countries.

The Institute is governed by an International Board of Trustees and the International Education Council ensures that the courses continue to reflect all recent advances and research into MDT®. Only professionals who have become credentialled (Cred MDT) or diplomaed (Dip. MDT) in this highly specialised field are able to promote themselves as qualified practitioners of the McKenzie Method®.

For more information on the Institute, to find a course or a clinician near you, please refer to: www.mckenzieinstitute.org

Fundamental to Robin’s vision was that every person suffering mechanical musculoskeletal disorder and related ailments should be able to access: ‘effective, affordable self-treatment for life’.

For more information about Robin McKenzie and his community projects, please visit mckenziemethod.com.