Kimberly Burnham, IMTC, PhD Candidate

Essays and articles written by Kimberly Burnham, whose interests include Integrative Manual Therapy (IMT), CenterIMT, Neurodegenerative Disorders, Parkinson's Disease, Vision, VisionIMT, Eye Disorders, Travel, Languages, PhD Candidate, Westbrook University, Connecticut School of Integrative Manual Therapy.

Location: Bloomfield, Connecticut, United States

Saturday, January 15, 2005

Essay - A Way to Consider Integrative Manual Therapy

A Way To Consider Integrative Manual Therapy
by Kimberly Burnham, IMTC, PhD Candidate

Integrative Manual Therapy (IMT) is a hands on approach to healing and recovery from a variety of conditions. One aspect of IMT is the palpation and normalization of motilities or rhythms in the body. These rhythms are reflective of physiology (how the body functions) or pathophysiology (disease or dysfunction of body functions.) In the case of a heart attack, one way to describe CPR is: pressure in a specific location to improve a normal rhythm in the body. IMT Therapists treat many rhythms in the body. The work can be described as using precise pressure in specific locations to normalize the rhythms and the physiology, contributing to improved health and quality of life.

Sometime people ask, how can you feel these different motilities or circadian rhythms? It is not unlike the wine connoisseur who can taste a glass of wine and tell the kind of grapes, where they were grown, the bottler and the year. What are they doing? They are taking sensory information, taste and smell and translating it into something else: a date, location, or a winery. In IMT, the therapist takes sensory information: touch, sight and more and translates it into something else, a tissue type, an age, and a type of dysfunction. The therapist may say there is a bone bruise in the thigh or a compression in the anterior cruciate ligament of the right knee. If the client had an MRI, it would likely show the bone bruise or the damaged ligament, but is it worthwhile for the client to have invasive medical tests to confirm what the therapist is saying? Mostly no, so how does the client know if the therapist is correct? They feel, function and look better and at that point, does it really matter whether the theoretical basis for IMT is accurate or not?

Another way to view IMT is as a biomechanical approach where therapists uses pressure in specific ways to help the tissue and joint surfaces shift, decompress and unwind, allowing for more space and better movement. When the tension on blood vessels, nerves and other tissue is released, fluid and information flows better and facilitates recovery.

IMT Therapists also use reflex points to expedite healing. There are many different systems that use reflex points, including acupuncture, shiatsu, reflexology and Chapman’s points. IMT therapists use reflex points that are reflective of spinal cord level reflexes, brainstem level reflexes as well as reflex points considered to be influenced by the hypothalamus, autonomic nervous system and cortical parts of the brain. These points are contacted to create a change in the pressures and tensions in the tissue.

Most people would be able to tell which is the painful hip as they watched a man with really bad hip pain walk. They might not be able to articulate that the sound of his foot fall is heavier on the right or that he grimaces slightly as he lands on the left foot or that his knee doesn’t fully extend or his shoulder dips slightly more on the painful side. A person with left hip pain walks differently from someone with right hip pain. Most people can see the difference, but are still picking up the information unconsciously. The IMT therapist makes more of this information conscious and is able to articulate more of what they perceive. A person with a bone bruise in their right femur lies on the table differently from someone with a disruption of membrane in their femoral artery. The information is there for anyone to see, but it usually takes some training and practice to pick up this information, make it conscious and articulate what you see.

As Arthur C. Clark put it, "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." Integrative Manual Therapy is advanced technology.


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