As Arthur C. Clark put it, "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."
Integrative Manual Therapy is advanced technology.
What do your back, movement, relationships, life look like at a perfect 10?
Integrative Manual Therapy (IMT)
Kimberly Burnham, PhD,
Integrative Manual Therapy Certified,
Matrix Energetics Certified Practioner
What to Expect in an IMT Treatment
Carl Jung once said if you knew the exact weight and measurements of all the pebbles in the jar you could compute a statistically average stone, and yet there might not be a single pebble in the jar that meets that average.
There is no average Integrative Manual Therapy (IMT) treatment, just as there are no average clients, but there are some things that typically happen in an initial evaluation and the first follow up treatment.
After contacting an Integrative Manual Therapy Practitioner for treatment, you can expect to receive an evaluation form requesting medical history and goals. Consider what would increase your quality of life.
You should wear comfortable clothes to the appointment, which is typically 1-2 hours. You will be treated with your clothes on. You may be in a private room with the therapist or you may be in a larger room where there are several therapists working with clients.
The therapist will ask for your goals. This is a very important step. It is your opportunity to ask for what you want for your health and well being. The therapist’s goal is to help you achieve your goals as quickly and easily as possible.
The therapist will evaluate your range of motion by asking you to stand or sit and bend forward, backwards or to the sides. The therapist may also move your arms and legs to assess your movement.
Then you will be asked to stand sit or lay clothed on a soft table while the therapist does assessment. As the IMT therapist is doing their assessment they are also taking note of whether there is any differences in the tissue in one area of the body compared to another. They are assessing the texture and quality of the tissue. They feel for sweatiness on the palms or feet, indicating a disturbance of the autonomic nervous system and gives a marker for how much stress is contributing to the problem. They are noting what areas feel healthiest, most flexible and strong?
After the evaluation the therapist will discuss a treatment plan with you. They will talk about the correlation between what they found in their assessment and your symptoms and the fastest way to improve your health and well being.
Treatment consists of the use of gentle hands-on pressure to normalize the way the joints function and move. A joint can be the knee or the meeting place of the bone of the upper leg with the bones of the lower leg. A joint can also be where the colon meets the hip bone or where the diaphragm meets the liver. All these areas should move smoothly and evenly for good blood flow and healing to occur.
The IMT therapist will also contact certain reflex point to assist in your healing and recovery.
They are skilled in working with different rhythms in the body such as the rhythmical movement of the heart, the lungs, the blood flow, and the expansion and contraction rhythms of the organs, nerves and bones.
Many Integrative Manual Therapy practitioners are massage therapists, physical therapists, occupational therapists, acupuncturists or chiropractors. They will each bring their own background and expertise to the table and assist you in your recovery.
At the end of the treatment, the therapist will often give you “self-care” or ways you can assist in your own healing.
The homework can consist of Neurofascial Process (NFP), which consists of placing your hands on two different places and keeping that connection for 20 minutes. The most common NFP homework is to place one hand on the low back over the ureters (the tubes between the kidneys and the bladder) and the other hand over the area of pain. Doing this homework can significantly decrease swelling and symptoms.
Other homework might consist of visualizations, strengthening exercises, activities of daily living and following a nutritional program.
Many IMT practitioners have extensive training in nutritional supplementation and may make recommendations on things you should eliminate from your diet, such as gluten or dairy, if you show signs of sensitivities or allergies. They will give advice on things you should add to your diet, such as fresh organic green leafy vegetables, blueberries and good quality loose green tea. They may counsel you in nutritional supplements, such as fish oils or essential fatty acids and vitamin B complex, depending on their evaluation.
At the end of the initial appointment you can book further sessions. Some clients fly in from a great distance and may book 35 hours a week for several week, then return home for a year or more. Other clients live nearby or within a 3 hour drive and they may come in once a week or once a month for one hour or a few hours at a time.
IMT practitioners work with clients with many kinds of joint pain and dysfunction, such as people before or after an injury or joint replacement surgery. IMT practitioners often work with nervous system disorders, such as, fibromyalgia, Parkinson’s disease and autism.
They may specialize in immune system problems such as Multiple Sclerosis, chronic fatigue and reoccurring sinus infections, allergies or flu symptoms. People with poor circulation or other cardiovascular diseases can benefit from IMT treatment.
The typical IMT client may be a newborn baby in for a well baby check up or a child with cerebral palsy or failure to thrive. The client might be an adult with back pain or a serious disease process. Many Integrative Manual Therapists treat athletes looking to improve their function and performance.
Most people seek Integrative Manual Therapy because they want to feel better and function optimally.
A Way To Consider IMT
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 followed by CPR, 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. They are taking sensory information, taste and smell and translating it into something else: a date, location, or a winery. A 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 has an MRI, it will 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.
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 be able to articulate what you see.
As Arthur C. Clark put it, “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”
Integrative Manual Therapy is advanced technology.
Integrating Science with Empirical Knowledge
Integrating science with empirical knowledge starts with recognizing the value of traditional therapies. According to Kerry Bone (Principles and practice of phytotherapy, modern herbal medicine), a remarkable phytotherapist/ herbalist, there are three essential elements of any traditional therapy.
1) A belief in the innate ability of the body to heal itself. This means that treatments are designed to support this innate ability.
2) Respect for empirical knowledge accumulated over a long period of time and experiences and based on the results of thousand of cases.
3) Treatment of the individual. The gold standard of scientific research is the double blind placebo controlled clinical trial, which is important, but loses sight of the individual.
Expressing a Sensory Experience, the Palpation and Treatment of Biorhythms
A stroll through a museum with an artist can result in a unique understanding of the paintings and art work. Artists see patterns and things that the average person simply doesn’t see or recognize.
“Isn’t that a beautiful painting by Claude Monet”, an artist will say from across the room when they can’t possibly see the label that tells most people the title and artist of the work they are looking at.
How do they do this? By recognizing the patterns of colors, brush strokes, type of subject matter from across the room. Is this magic?
According to Sherlock Holmes “Looking is not the same as seeing”. Similarly, touching is not the same as feeling. The ability to really see and recognize patterns or feel and recognize patterns is a learned skill that comes from study and practice.
A radiologist can tell whether a bone is broken or a space is compressed from an X-ray or from an ultrasound scan? They see and recognize patterns, the average person simply does not see and understand.
A skilled IMT practitioner can tell you the state and quality of the bones, muscles, organs tissues and more based on sensory information they are gathering and the patterns they recognize.
If a person has a heart attack, often CPR is an effective treatment. CPR can be described as the application of a specific amount of pressure on a specific location for the purpose of normalizing a rhythm in the body.
The clinical treatment of rhythms in the body can be described as the application of a specific amount of pressure on a specific location for the purpose of normalizing the rhythm. The outcome of the normalization of a rhythm or motility is improved function, health, sensation, physiology and performance.
The palpation or feeling of the rhythms and the treatment of the rhythms is easy. It is the verbalization of a sensory experience that can be difficult.
"It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see." said Henry David Thoreau.
What is an IMT Template?
A template is part of the information technology (or techniques) in the tool box of Integrative Manual Therapy practitioners. They are developed by Sharon W. Giammatteo, PhD, PT.
IMT practitioners use templates all the time to facilitate healing and speed up recovery.
Sometimes these hands on techniques are given to a client as self-care.
Components of a Template
Typically at the top of the page, there is the name of the template, the Connecticut School of Integrative Manual Therapy (CSIMT) course name and number from which it comes and the number of the template, which relates to the course or file.
Often it will say ANS Template. This reflects the fact that templates affects the Autonomic Nervous System (ANS).
Next there is the autonomic nervous system components - the sympathetic and parasympathetic components.
These are lines with a lightening bolt for the sympathetic (fight or flight part of the autonomic nervous system) and a moon for the two parasympathetic lines (rest and digest part of the autonomic nervous system).
In the bottom right corner there is often a box called Movement of Motility Template. The slinky-like lines represent the motility or rhythm of the sympathetic and parasympathetic lines. The internal and external rotation of the template can be felt along a superior and inferior line along or through the line of the template drawn on the sheet.
There are also three reflex points - the synchronizer, hypothalamus regulation mechanism (HRM) and the reference point.
The synchronizer is a reflex point similar to an acupuncture point that works through the spinal cord to affect the muscles, bones, joints, and other structures of the body.
The hypothalamus regulation mechanism (HRM) works through the hypothalamus to regulate the physiology, fluid balance, temperature balance, inflammation, stress, shock and other physiological processes in the body.
The reference point is a cortical reflex meaning that it is affected and influences the cortex or higher brain
There are plates and axis on most plates, these represent other rhythms which help with healing.
Sometimes there is a drawing of the Physical Functional Medicine (PFM) associated with the template. The drawing represents the aberrant motility which can be felt if there is a problem in the tissues.
Sometimes the sheet will also have a Reflexogenic Home Base (RHB). This is a key area relevant to the process affected by the template.
There are sometimes other points, motilities and information on the template.
Sometimes there is a “Blueprint’ on the Template page. These are a series of paired connections, which facilitate a return to the blueprint or how the tissue was meant to function in the first place.
How to “Do” a Template
The simplest way to “do” a template is to put one hand on the main area of symptoms or the area recommended by an IMT therapist and the other hand on each of the lines, points or shapes. Each connection can be held for 15 minutes or more.
Each point or line may also be connected to every other point. (ie) one hand on the sympathetic line and the other hand on the synchronizer.
Using two hands this process might take several hours to complete. These hours don’t have to be consecutive, meaning you can do 15-30 minutes a day or you can do several hours in a row. Obviously the more quickly you complete all the connections the sooner you will feel better.
This process can be repeated many times.
A way to enhance the technique is to resist the motility of the sympathetic and parasympathetic templates, the plate, PFM’s, or any motilities felt in the area. Talk to your IMT therapist about this process.
The use of templates can also be enhanced by considering where each point is and what relationship it has with the main area of symptoms. For example is the point over the liver or in the area of the lungs, etc.
For therapists. These points can also be used to dowse to find areas that are contributing to the problem. These areas can then be given to the client to connect up to all the points.
Therapists can also nullify to find which of the Neurofascial Process Sites (NFP) are key areas in relationship to the Reflexogenic Home Base (RHB).
Related Biologic Disorders (RBD)
There are often templates for Related Biologic Disorders (RBD). These are treatment approaches for the signs and symptoms of dysfunctions that seem to come in waves or epidemics, affecting many people.
Why haven’t I heard of Integrative Manual Therapy (IMT)?
Developed by Sharon W. Giammatteo, PhD PT, Integrative Manual Therapy (IMT) is a unique form of health care treatment and diagnostics. It works on the joints (biomechanics), reflex points, and circadian rhythms in the individual.
Many Integrative Manual Therapy Techniques can be classified as (1) biomechanical (working on the joint surfaces, spaces and movement; (2) reflex point based techniques, which are different but have similarities with Acupuncture, reflexology and Osteopathic Chapman Reflexes; and (3) motility or rhythm based techniques with which the practitioners palpates, assesses and treats underlying conditions affecting the balance or homeostasis and circadian rhythms in the body. The work with the reflex points and circadian rhythms in the body engages every system of the individual in the process of healing.
Together we can make obsolete the question "Why haven't I, my doctor, my therapist, ever heard of IMT?"
This question crops up often, despite the fact that an internet search for the phrase "Integrative Manual Therapy" turns up over 20,000 sites and references.
A search on "Sharon Weiselfish-Giammatteo", the developer of Integrative Manual Therapy turns up several thousand references. Dr. Giammatteo and IMT are also mentioned in Wikipedia. Many of the sites refer to clinical books and easy to use self-care books, written by Sharon W. Giammatteo, PT, PhD and Thomas Giammatteo, DC for therapists and the general public.
The Burnham Review
The Burnham Review focuses on what the medical literature is saying about Integrative Manual Therapy, a hands-on approach with treatment techniques which address biomechanics (how the joints and musculoskeletal system move and functions), motilities and circadian rhythms reflective of the physiology or how the organs, the heart, lungs, glands, thyroid, adrenals, etc function and flow and reflex points including Synchronizers, Hypothalamus Regulation Mechanisms and Reference points which address the way the nervous system interacts and works with all other structures and tissues in the body.
Integrative Medicine approaches which include manual therapy techniques as well as nutritional and functional approaches are support by evidence based medical literature, The Burnham Review gathers those resources and information together for various conditions.
Osteopathic Manipulative Treatments (OMT) are being encouraged for infectious disorders, influenza, even potential Bird Flu epidemics and other pandemics. By encouraging mobility in the area around the spleen, liver and thymus as well as improving lymphatic drainage, holistic health care practitioners can complement each others treatment as well as allopathic approaches.
There is evidence that Yoga and Acupuncture as well as other manual therapy approaches can benefit people with seizures and epilepsy.
Consider the research into the benefits of Infra-Red Saunas (TheraSauna), Back, Disc & Neck pain and joint dysfunctions, so common in the United States, are well addressed by Integrative Manual Therapy and Complementary Medicine approaches.
Check out some of the Free Back Issues, including ones on the benefits of touch, Neurofascial Process and Integrative Manual Therapy.
Integrative Manual Therapy Practitioners are joining with other Complementary and Alternative Medicine practitioners to bring about Peace, using manual therapy as a Cultural Bridge to help people feel better, function better and make better choices for themselves and their communities.
IMT practitioners also address environmental concerns with Green Health Care approaches.
Practitioners are seeing shifts and changes with Matrix Energetics Frequencies and Rife Frequencies (BioSolutions) and more.
Develop better relationships and communication with Non-Violent Communication (NVC).
For more information on these topics see www.TheBurnhamReview.com.
Kimberly Burnham, PhD
Editor, The BurnhamReview.
Introducing Your Health Coach: Kimberly Burnham
I look forward to working with you and learning about your health needs and goals. Please feel free to contact me via email with any questions you may have. I'm here to support you in your effort to create the life you desire.
I have a diverse educational background which has allowed me to see as the Japanese say, “there many ways to get to the top of Mount Fuji.” I completed my PhD in Integrative Medicine in 2006 on "The Effect of Integrative Manual Therapy on the Symptom’s of Parkinson's Disease." and have done substantial research into the benefits of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) enabling me to understand the health concerns of my clients and work as part of a health care team, when desired, communicating effectively with my client as well as their health care providers.
In 1993, I graduated Sutherland-Chan Massage Therapy School in Toronto, Canada. An excellent education there prepared me for a move into the health care field. I also spent 5 years studying at the Canadian College of Osteopathy, which helped me each individual person in a holistic way. My training in cranial work, energy medicine, Brain Stimulating Method, Listening with the Whole Body, Clinical Hypnotherapy, and Non-Violent Communication has developed my ability to listen to the client and perceive shifts as they progress towards their goals.
I have been in private practice using Integrative Medicine, Manual Therapy, Matrix Energetics and Health Coaching for the last two years in West Hartford, CT as well as consulting in a number of physical therapy clinics across the country. Before that as the Director of Knowledge Management at the Center for Integrative Manual Therapy, I answered questions for clients, students and the general public about what non-surgery and non-medication related therapies can do for healing and health. Two of my favorite quotes around the potential of an integrative approach to health and consciousness are, "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." Arthur C Clarke, Science Fiction Writer and "Magic is the art of causing changes in consciousness at will" Dion Fortune.
My global perspective on health and good living is the result of growing up in Colombia and in Belgium and later teaching English and studying shiatsu in Japan. My favorite place in all the world to Scuba dive is the Red Sea off the coast of the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt. I agree with Albert Einstein that , “the most important decision we make is whether we believe we live in a friendly or hostile universe.." My world view is that we live in an abundant universe supportive of each of us having quality of life.
I currently live in West Hartford, CT with my partner and enjoy traveling, most recently working in Germany and touring Turkey, where I visited a memorial to Rumi, one of my favorite poets who said, "There is a field out beyond right and wrong. I will meet you there.".
I practice Tibetan meditation, Wisdom Healing Qigong and love growing fruits and vegetables in my garden. These activities center and calm me, allowing me to be more present for my clients. They also empowers me to change and reach my personal goals. As Richard Bartlett, developer of Matrix Energetics says, "Change now, while you still can. Change now because you can, change now because it is the right thing to do. Change now because there is no right, no left, no time left, no space left. Only you. Change"