Thursday Thoughts: Recommended Courses | Modern Manual Therapy Blog

Thursday Thoughts: Recommended Courses

I often get asked what I think of commercial model x, or system y. While there are definitely courses I would recommend for novice clinicians, there are more that I would no longer recommend.

Recently, a reader had it "narrowed" down to two types of certifications, either a Mulligan cert, or a Manual Therapy cert (not sure which one). While both of these types of certifications will provide what most clinicians are looking for, namely more tools, it's not the tool bag that should be full early in your career.

There is no one commercial model out there that will get 80% of your patients better 

What novice, and indeed most clinicians need is an advanced framework and clinical reasoning that is based on evidence and science.  Sure the faculty of these various schools of thought may have amazing track records, but they also have years of experience, charisma, and are probably using placebo to it's fullest in their positive patient interactions. Essentially, unless you learn clinical practice patterns and make mistakes, you will not have the same success as your advanced and experienced clinician. You cannot rush experience.

What the traditional OMPT Cert offers is

  • too many ways to passively assess a patient
  • special tests or palpation based tests that have little to no reliability or validity
  • too many ways to treat a patient
  • too many options, or very little options for patient education
  • little to no pain science education
I gravitated toward a manual therapy certification as soon as I graduated from school because I thought manipulation was awesome (still do), but it is only in the proper context. Whether it's manipulation, IASTM, neurodynamics, or functional mobilizations, they're all just ways to hack into a patient's nervous system to change pain and movement thresholds. 

There are still courses that I highly recommend that will teach you both assessment and treatment, but as my clinical reasoning changes (and becomes more simple rather than complex), so do my recommendations. Turn in tomorrow for my Top 5 Currently Recommended Courses.

Keeping it Eclectic....


  1. This is an interesting post and I'm intrigued to see the top 5 - I graduated in May of 2013 and I'm having a heck of a time figuring out continuing education priorities.

    I've taken the SFMA certification course and will hopefully be able to take the level 2 course in the next year or two. I'm also considering McKenzie courses. As of now, I'm going to start the MTI manual therapy certification program because I want to advance my manual skill set (though I agree with your assessment of these tools as needing the proper context). I do a lot of back and forth on what I should or should not seek out. It's quite maddening.

    Looks like I'll have to stay tuned for tomorrow's post.

  2. It is tough to choose and I want others to learn from my mistakes. Stay tuned!

  3. IMHO ... No certification can make anyone great only lots and lots of evaluations. You need to see tons of the same "flavor" to know what manual technique or combo techniques to use. Think of a non belted martial artist who knows how to react to an opponent based on experience in real street confrontations versus a black belt with red tips and no street experience. The novice who gets certified has a theoretical framework of techniques but never applied it to a painful patient. Best is too take one soft tissue course master it. Then take a functional mob course and master it. Then just lots of clinical presentations and practice the evidence based approach.

    A solid clinical reasoning framework can be developed and enhanced by reading comprehensive case studies. Application of a solid Maitland subjective exam is step one. The answers are NOT in your manual therapy system nor your technique but what the patient tells you .

  4. Agreed, experience in the hands and mind of a great clinician can't be taught.