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Our Approach to Integrative Manual Physical Therapy

Updated: Oct 25, 2023

"Movement is life" / Jules Verne /

Our approach. From the micro to the macro, movement is a vital feature of life. Micro movements of nutrients passing a cell wall, fluid dynamics of the vascular and lymphatic system, electrical impulses along a nerve pathway, all contribute to the macro movements of muscle contraction, neuro-vascular, myofascial, and joint mobility that build functional movements such as taking a breath and performing a squat.

At Motivity, we apply a combination styles / principles ranging from Osteopathic Neural and Visceral Manipulation from the teachings of French Osteopath Jean-Pierre Barral, to the ground breaking research and treatment of the fascial system through the approach of Stecco Fascial Manipulation and all the way to the most complete methodology (that we’ve seen) in the Manual Physical Therapy world which is Functional Manual Therapy

Each of the above styles seeks to identify and treat one of more of the following structures which come together to influence our movement and therefore our life.

  • Fascia surrounding:

    • Bones

    • Muscles and tendons

    • Nerves

    • Visceral structures / organs

    • Vascular structures

    • Lymphatic structure

  • Neuromuscular function

    • Neuromuscular initiation

    • Strength

    • Endurance

  • Motor Control Training

  • Posture

  • Movement Mechanics

Deeply embedded in the practice of Osteopathy is the belief that the body can heal itself if proper movement is present. French Osteopath Jean Pierre Barral began his career as a Physical Therapist and then went on to become an Osteopath and eventually developed the manual therapy he calls Visceral Manipulation which seeks to use hands on treatment of the body to influence the fascial environment of the internal organs. His work evolved to integrate the treatment of nerves, vascular structures, and the articular system (aka Joints) to provide truly holistic care to the whole body.

True innovators in the world of Physical Therapy (Gregg Johnson and his wife Vicky Saliba Johnson) are the co-developers of the approach known as Functional Manual Therapy ™. This approach was born in Northern California (Vallejo to be exact). Gregg Johnson spent 7 years training and teaching with Maggie Knott and Dr. Herman Kabat who were the developers of a treatment approach initially used for the treatment of people with neurological disorders (stroke, Multiple Sclerosis, Guillain Barre, ALS etc). This approach was called Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation or PNF for short. Concepts which founded PNF have gone on to allow the medical world to more effective interacting with and treating the neuromuscular system along with understanding the importance of the human movement developmental sequence, which countless treatment paradigms use to this day.

Gregg Johnson then went on to learn from other luminaries of the Manual Physical Therapy and Bodywork worlds. Studying with the likes of Ida Rolf, Moshe Feldenkrais, Judith Aston, Stanley Paris, Geoff Maitland, Judith Aston, and F. Matthias Alexander. Synthesizing the most effective portions of each approach from PNF to the rest. This synthesis became the start of the approach called Functional Manual Therapy™ or FMT. Over the last 40+ years FMT has evolved as an evidence informed practice using specific principles to have dramatic and life changing effects on the lives of the patients treated with it.

Stecco Fascial Manipulation is an examination and treatment methodology created by Luigi Stecco PT and further developed by two of his children Carla Stecco MD PhD, and Antonio Stecco MD PhD.

Stecco Fascial Manipulation (FM) seeks to determine how alterations to fascial connective tissue can affect human movement. Everything from pain nearly anywhere in the body, muscle weakness, balance and coordination issues, various neuropathies, to even digestive, reproductive, respiratory (breathing) and circulatory (blood flow) dysfunctions.

The FM treatment model revolves around how the alterations of fascial connective tissue (referred to as densifications) can disrupt movement of fascia and therefore hinder function. Through the extensive and meticulous process of understanding the interactions between fascial connective tissue, neurology, embryology, trauma and inflammation they developed a process to biomechanically assess the body as a whole and provide treatment to specific regions to help with human function.


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