There are forms of alternative medicine that make use of massage to restore the natural balance within the body and promote self-healing. Integrative Manual Therapy (IMT) employs a combination of techniques to relieve pain and symptoms of disease.
How Does Manual Therapy Work?
Practitioners of IMT start by diagnosing the reasons for dysfunction in bodily systems so that they can correct those issues by using IMT massage techniques.
The therapy is performed on fully clothed patients while they are lying down
on a massage table. The therapist applies a slight pressure to each area of the body that was designated as a focal area during the initial evaluation. The objective is to restore balance to areas of the patient’s body that may be out of balance, because the imbalance causes pain and illness. The primary areas of the body that are typically out of balance are the muscles, heart and the area which surrounds the brain and spinal cord.
The treatment is divided into three parts:
- Treatment of anatomical problems- This is directed toward improving the body’s structure, like the integrity of bones, ligaments, discs, nerves, arteries, and veins.
- Treatment of physiological problems – This is the elimination of biological rhythms that indicate a breakdown in the body’s health.
- Treatment of psychological problems – The therapist uses dialogue and visualization techniques to decrease stress.
- Each session lasts for approximately 60 minutes, and the patient will need multiple sessions to continue receiving the benefits of this therapy.
How Did Integrative Manual Therapy Originate?
Sharon W. Giammatteo, Ph.D. developed Integrative Manual Therapy. Dr. Giammatteo
is a graduate of the Wingate Institute of Physiotherapy in Israel. In
addition, she holds an undergraduate degree in Advanced Health Sciences
and Medicine, a graduate degree in Clinical Neurosciences and a doctoral
degree in manual and cranial therapies for the neurologic client.
How are Integrative Manual Therapists trained?
The following explanation of therapist training is provided by the Integrative Manual Therapy Association:
“IMT therapists are trained in the specific diagnostics, techniques,
and protocols of IMT. These therapists often begin their IMT training
with prior degrees in the health care field, including Master’s
Degrees and Doctorates, and are accomplished in various fields including
Occupational Therapy, Chiropractics, Psychology, Acupuncture, and Cranial Therapy. In addition to their prior training, they all have an expertise within IMT, working with all client populations.
IMT practitioners and therapists seek to work with other health care providers to find the best answer for each client. In other words, the client is their own case manager. IMT practitioners believe that each client ultimately is responsible for his or her own health care process.”
Is Integrative Manual Therapy Safe for Cancer Patients?
This non-invasive treatment is considered safe for cancer patients because , in general, there are no health risks. However, as with any alternative therapy, the patient should consult their doctor before beginning to be sure there are no circumstances in their own medical background that would indicate that they are not a good candidate for this form of treatment.