What Is Primate Grooming

Nov 16, 2022 | Tips

Today we want to bring to you something that you can put into practice. It is something that we see around the world when we go to different seminars. Since what we do as chiropractors is all about touch, we need to have incredible hands that make people feel safe and connected – with no threat in their body. We can do this using something from science that is known as the primate grooming response.

The primate grooming response occurs when someone touches us with soft hands, using as much surface area as possible.  When we are touched this way, using the whole whole hand as opposed to poking and palpating using human eagle talons, it creates more safety and ease in our system and helps us feel safe and not threatened. 

Think about it like wearing high heels in the snow.  Just as the tiny surface area on high heels sink right though the snow, palpating with hands that are digging and poking is going to be uncomfortable, painful and feel like more of a threat to the person on the table.  This creates tension in our patient, which is the last thing we want. So what we want you to do is practice relaxing your hands when you are palpating and adjusting – shake them out and use a lot of surface area. You will actually perceive a lot more as well.

When people come to see you in your practice, they want to feel better- they want to feel good and they want to feel comfortable. We think as chiropractors that it’s about moving the bone or  the adjustment –  while this is definitely true, the adjustment starts when they come into your practice and your space. If we’re digging in with our fingers when we touch them, it transmits uncertainty, they will subconsciously know this isn’t what they want. But if when you first start touching them, you use a soft hand and a lot of surface area, you will transmit that peace that people really want to feel. 


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