Integrated Manual Therapy, IMT, treatment techniques are manual (hands-on), and generally involve gentle manipulative techniques to promote tissue repair, normalize structure and restore function. More specifically, IMT techniques generally put specific forces or torques into the tissues in order to create an environment within those tissues, which is conducive for tissue repair to occur. The goals of IMT are improving structural integrity, motor and sensory function.
IMT addresses both anatomy and physiology. The treatment of anatomy includes manual techniques for bones, ligaments, discs, nerves, arteries, veins, organs and more. To date, the founders of IMT, Sharon Giammatteo, Ph.D., I.M.T.,C., Dr. Thomas Giammatteo and their colleagues have developed thousands of techniques to improve these structures. Treatment plans incorporate these techniques as necessary based on diagnostic indications. The treatment of physiology, to promote normalization of biochemistry, uses both manual therapy and nutritional wellness programs. This may include treatments targeting hormones, sleep cycles, metabolism, stress responses, etc. IMT's body based psychotherapeutic approach involves specific techniques such as manual techniques, dialogue, and visualization to decrease emotional and mental stress in the body.
A unique feature of IMT, and one that sets it apart in the field of rehabilitation, is in the way it integrates structural and functional rehabilitation approaches. Traditional rehabilitation generally focuses on optimizing function (i.e. strength, balance, range of motion), despite the fact that a patient may have structures (i.e. ligament, disc, bone, blood vessels), which are compromised. While functional approaches play an integral role in the rehabilitation process, clinical results show that to obtain optimal healing and rehabilitation both in the short and long term, structural integrity should first be restored to the damaged structure, and then function can be optimized.
To illustrate the difference, functional approaches would address strength, balance, and movement to a leg following knee surgery for a torn ligament. IMT structural techniques, on the other hand, might first decrease the swelling at the joint, enhance the healing of the torn ligaments, improve blood flow into and out of the knee, and decrease the inflammation at the joint capsule prior to implementing any functional techniques. Once structural integrity has been restored to the structures at the knee, the potential for function of the knee, and the entire leg, will be much greater. Functional rehabilitation will build on structural improvements to optimize, for example, balance in standing, walking and running, and the strength of the muscles in the knee and leg. The distinction between functional and structural rehabilitation approaches is akin to tuning the strings of a piano before learning how to play the piano.
An example of an IMT treatment technique for fascia or connective tissue dysfunction is IMT's Myofasical Release Technique. The technique involves testing tissue glides on multiple planes and then manipulating those tissues on three planes, following the direction of least resistance. The practitioner then holds the fulcrum that these manipulations have created and monitors the tissues as they unwind under their hands. This technique attains an elongation of the fibers within the connective tissue as well as a normalization of the density and viscosity from within the surrounding connective tissue.
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