Top Five Fridays! | Modern Manual Therapy Blog

Top Five Fridays!

Starting a new feature, Top Five Fridays! This week's is the Top Five Con Ed Courses I would absolutely recommend (in no order).

1) Institute of Physical Art - The FOI, FOII, BET, and PNF courses are all highly recommended! I am 100% positive the UQ and LQ FO courses are as well, but I never got around to taking them. These courses brought soft tissue work and functional movement based releases into my toolbag and my patient outcomes improved significantly. Many clinicians also do not learn how to integrate PNF into any population as it seems to erroneously be taught in schools as for "rehab" or neuro patients only. It is for anyone with muscles that need to be faciliated. Manual techniques are not only for stretching, but also assisting quality of motion and facilitating muscle recruitment.

2) NOI Group - I have taken variations of the Neurodynamics, Explain Pain, and Mobilization of the Nervous System. I have the Graded Motor Imagery Text, but have not taken the course. Hands down, these courses will not only make you think differently about individuals in chronic pain, but also give you a set of tools including explanation, education, and manual techniques that are appropriate in any population. Also, David Butler is not only an amazing speaker, he is hilarious and a real inspiration for out of the box thinkers.

3) The McKenzie Method - You all knew this was coming! Yes, of course I recommend this, and the entire system for a full understanding. Many clinicians make the mistake of not being assertive enough, not pushing the HEP, or being educational enough. THAT IS the SYSTEM. Without the constant reinforcement of self mobilization, postural correction, and self treatment, it doesn't work. The education, cause and effect and repeated motions are so simple and powerful that I feel sorry for clinicians who say "Posture isn't proven... to blah blah blah" Give me a break, it's so simple, why wouldn't you try it?

4) The SFMA - Here is another system, that streamlines your assessment. Do I use the entire SFMA on every patient? Not always in the first visit, but you better believe I use most of it on even my average TMD patient office worker, or my sedentary lower back patients. It's a fast way to see dysfunction and regional interdependence. Do the better clinicians already do something like this? Most likely, it's just a reliable, simple way to grade and document dysfunction across most of the body very quickly and efficiently. It gives you things to treat. What treatments you choose are up to you.

5) Rocabado's Craniofacial courses - Not to be confused with craniosacral! Taking these courses gave me a much better understanding of not only the craniomandibular system, but also the cervicocranial and cervical spines. Dr. Rocabado is also an amazing speaker, who can easily make 1 slide last two hours, and you will still be interested (this happened during our certification review). He even has radiological proof that certain manual therapy techniques plus postural correction increases joint space, because he takes scans pre and post treatments! Plus, since most PTs do not want to stick their hands in someone else's mouth, it is an easy niche to fill, and these patients are often more grateful than most because not being able to eat, speak, or even smile is socially and functionally debilitating.

These courses may change each year, but for now, they're my top 5! This does not include fellowship, but that's another top 5 in itself! What are your top 5 courses you would recommend?


  1. off topic, but if you ever get around to it I would love to see a post concerning informed consent for manipulations. in DPT school, our professors used a simple, "a slow stretch seems to be working well for you, so I think its time for a little bit faster one. is that alright with you?" i often wonder whether that is sufficient enough to be ethical in terms of risk/benefit, but also understand not wanting to scare them away from the technique. how do you handle informed consent?

  2. I 2nd the IPA courses! India Pale Ales vs. Institute of Physical Art? ...don't know which one wins but I am going with the Art. I am taking PNF I this weekend and have taken the FMs, BUT will take ALL of them...eventually;) I also believe in the SFMA and want to take them. As for the others...I have read a few articles/books but have not taken courses. Thanks for your input! Your website is awesome!

  3. Were you looking for only cervical thrust? I have a sample of that also, if you wanted thoracic and lumbar, I could film those for next week.

    If what you stated was indeed what you are taught, that is not informed, it is only consent. Informed goes over pluses, minuses, and what other options you may have. The patient can then make an educated decision.

  4. India Pale Ale is also awesome, and probably cheaper, but I think it would only falsely inflate your outcomes, and most likely short term. PNF really opens up how you use your hands, mainly because we think of them only for stretching/manipulation, rather than faciliatation. Have fun!

  5. I agree with the IPA being amazing. I have taken all their courses except FMUQ and FMII, both of which I am already signed up to take in the next 3 months. PNF was an amzing course because it made me realize how prolonged holds can be used to facilate contraction in muscles that have a hard time coordinating, thus when not being efficient sometimes the body will compensate to achieve a task asked of them. It seems an easy concept but hand postion and body mechanics make all the difference in the world. The gait class made me open my eyes and look at the whole body and use the PNF and functional release to improve the function of certain muscles and joint that I never even though of looking at in the first place. FMUQ was alot of material but I have so far included most of the material in my daily practice very well I think special when treating SI and knee pain. I plan on taking each course at least 2x, maybe lab assist a few and sit for the exam in 2015.
    I have read all the Butler/Mosley books ecept the new one. I am hoping NOI brings some of their course t the NY are soon. I read through Michael Shadlock's book and will be attending his 4 day couse in NYC in Sept. Really can't wait for that one.
    One thing I founf interesting is you did not list the Paris courses in your top 5 since you did go through the MTC certification. Do you not find it as usefull as some of the other systems? I understand you liking McKenzie since it is a system about gettign the pt moving and I believe getting the pt moving painfree is an important thing for treating pain that is backed by pain neuroscience research.
    Love the post and the blog as usual.

  6. Paris is up there, just not Top 5, especially for new grads or for those just looking to get into otho/sports. Any of the traditional systems, Maitland included give you too much assessment/treatment options and do not focus on a reliable system that leads to treatment, without chasing pain around. I didn't realize Shacklock was coming to NYC in Sept, I may see you there, but I was already planning on DNS as well, can't swing them both!

    Someday I'll get back to the IPA UQ and LQ courses, I was going to sit for their half cert a while back, not sure if they still have it, but I don't want to take the two MET based courses as I feel they don't work with my current system.

  7. As of next year the the osteopatheic courses (CPI & LPI) will no longer be a requirement for the half cert(FOC) or the full cert (CFMT). If you go for CFMT they replaced it with a class called foundations... new this year have not taken it. supposedly a class on differentail diagnosis w/ a manual component. I only take them if they are in the tri state area so i will wait for next year once they have something in NYC. If you are interested in the Shadlock course, hit me on email. Would love to meet up you you there, might even have to dust off Soul Caliber 2 if necessary.

  8. dear john .thanx a ton for writing such a nice description. I need some help among all instructor which is best instructor.Also what should be sequence of taking course can i take coupe of them together is it easy to imbibe.
    does they allow to take video in class session.Even i had never found any one sharing their course material .Is they have policy that they won't allow student to share their materials.