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There Are No One-Size-Fits-All Medical Massage Therapies:
Students too often ask me why I don’t teach specific recipes for treating individual pathologies. The reason is that it’s just not that simple.
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Hello I’m David Morin for Health Matters Seminars

There are so many variables specific to each client’s pain or dysfunction, that to follow any pre-scripted, step-by-step recipe just does not serve the best interest of the client.

Instead, to be able to deliver true client-centered, clinical care, we teach the full range of treatment concepts. Our graduates are then competent to apply their own professional discernment to craft a customized treatment program to address each client’s specific issues in ways that achieve the best possible results.

In all cases, our clinical process starts with taking a client history, assessing and documenting Active Range of Motion to determine which muscle groups are involved.

Therapists need to know what muscles do which movements so limitations in active range of motion can reveal the affected soft tissue. Special testing, as well as posture and gait observation, may also be necessary to determine indications and contraindications for our client.

We also assess muscle tone, and as we touch, monitor how much pressure we can apply to bring them to the edge of discomfort. It is VERY important to know each muscle’s origin, insertion, action and possible trigger point locations.

If the condition is not acute we might apply moist heat to soften the fascial tissue and bring circulation to ischemic areas.

We can then apply a broad range of manual therapies; classic Swedish strokes of gliding, kneading and friction, myofascial skin rolling and lifting, jostling and shaking, muscle energy techniques, active engagement, therapeutic stretching, trigger point therapy and joint mobilization, all with appropriate pressure guided by our client.

Then more hydrotherapy; perhaps cold. And at the end of the session, we discuss what behaviors the client can modify or exercise they can do to help improve their condition.

As to targeting specific muscles groups, or structural elements to treat for any given pathology, our protocol is to be supremely thorough and requires specific knowledge of anatomy, pathology, and kinesiology.

Let’s use Carpal Tunnel Syndrome as an example. Although we do teach a specific technique that’s very effective for treating the wrist flexors and extensors we would seldom stop there.

Pain in the wrist may be caused by trigger point referrals in remote muscles like the subscapularis or may be from entrapment of the median nerve at the pronator teres, or part of a double crush syndrome involving neck pathology.

Because we don’t initially know what is causing the pain, we want our client history and evaluation to be thorough, and our treatment based on those findings.

So there is a general flow to every session, yet to lay out a specific recipe for each individual pathology, as I said it’s just not that simple.

The feedback we get from our students is that after immersing themselves in our approach, they feel fully competent and confident, knowing what to do and what not to do with anything that comes in the clinic door without a specific recipe from me tacked to the wall, because we taught them how to think.

I’m David Morin for Health Matters Seminars.

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