What the heck is this blog about?
Integrative Manual Therapy is an osteopathic, holistic therapy used to treat an infinite number of conditions, from low back pain to chronic infection to neurologic and developmental disorders. The practitioner uses very gentle pressures and works with rhythms in the body to restore the structural integrity of the body’s tissues.
Does that sound complicated? Think of it this way. Let’s say you’ve got a beautiful grand piano, and there is Frederic Chopin sitting down to play it–but the piano is out of tune. Now a well-trained musician like Fred would be able to make better music on that piano than someone who is a terrible piano player to begin with…but nevertheless, even the most talented musician in the world can only make moderately good music on an out-of-tune piano. In other words, the structural limitations of the instrument dictate its functional potential. We don’t get to hear truly beautiful music until we have both a perfectly tuned piano and a highly trained pianist.
Integrative Manual Therapy, referred to in this blog as IMT, is a structural therapy–it tunes the piano, so that the instrument offers the possibility of great music. It’s different than functional rehabilitation, which helps us use our bodies, or play the instrument. It’s different than allopathic medicine, which counteracts symptoms directly, like turning down the volume of bad music or blasting out better music over a louder speaker.
IMT is doesn’t work by treating the symptoms of disease, but by restoring the integrity of the body so that it has its best functional potential. Here’s the idea: we are designed with all kinds of systems that are meant to keep us healthy, including an immune system, digestive, lymphatic, nervous, and circulatory systems. When our internal defenses and doctors are overwhelmed or compromised, we get sick. If we can restore the structural integrity of the body, it will have the functional capacity to heal itself. An IMT therapist can do this with their hands, using very gentle but highly specific pressures and rhythms.
IMT is an intersection of a vast array of manual and osteopathic modalities, and was developed by Sharon Weiselfish-Giammatteo. It continues to be a growing and changing field, with great promise in the developing world. Manual Therapy requires no fancy props or equipment or gadgets at all–just a person with training–and can be used to treat chronic illness, maternal and infant health, falls and acute sickness, surgical conditions, or developmental and congenital disorders, to name a few. In rural Nepal, treatments for these conditions are limited, sub-par, and sometimes nonexistent.
We hope you will follow our journey to Nepal to begin practicing and teaching IMT in a village where one of our practitioners has been living and working for many years. Our goal is to create a model for connecting the IMT community with developing nations all over the world.