Why I teach like I do and what might you expect to learn at my workshops

by Walt Fritz, PT on January 21, 2018

I believe it to be important to be transparent when describing my course content. If you are expecting to be taught an approach to manual therapy that describe fascia/connective tissue as the primary target, then you may be disappointed in my workshops. If you are seeking a style of manual therapy that places a priority on accurate, up-to-date science to explain the potential happenings in the therapeutic setting, then I believe my workshops may interest you.

I call my work myofascial release not because I believe that issues within the fascia can be accurately blamed as the primary cause of problems, nor do I believe we have the capability to selectively and singularly target only fascia in our interventions. These are the beliefs of most forms of myofascial release. I call what I use and teach myofascial release as the term most accurately reflects the style of engagement that I have been doing with my hands for the past 26 years.

Therapists with a background in manual therapy and myofascial release have been subjected to compelling stories of how they are able to, as I just mentioned, selectively and singularly target fascial restrictions when engaging in their craft, which can be easily believed. Most education is accompanied by stories; stories which make the learning more interesting. Some are derived from personal experience (anecdotal evidence) while others are derived from using existing facts/science and manipulating them to appear to apply to the issue at hand. Still other stories are told to simply entertain, though when told in the setting of continuing education there are typically motivations to get the student to buy into the concepts being sold. I tell lots of stories in my workshops and I think they pass along how I came to view myofascial release/manual therapy as an evolving entity. I do give my students some personal anecdotes and case histories, like most educators and I recognize the bias that I represent when telling them.

If the reader has been actively involved with furthering their education through continuing education, they cannot help but notice the vast amount of options available to them as well as the huge variation in stories told. Stories that speak to the causes of pain and movement dysfunction, our primary motivators in therapy, each often describing very specific tissues, pathologies, or metaphoric pathologies that in, in turn, become the target for the intervention. Each path of education seems to try to move us down a rabbit hole of beliefs in order to justify selling you more workshops, books, and DVDs. Each work really does have nice efficacy, which keeps one from feeling like they need to escape from the rabbit hole, and the existence of a peer group of like-minded cohorts acting as cheerleaders for their teacher and the work keeps most therapist engaged. But if one pops their head out of their modality’s rabbit hole and looks around at other modalities, it becomes hard to see differences. Get up close and listen to what is being said and each brand or style of manual therapy seems distinct and unique, with each targeting different tissues and pathologies. But stand far away and there may be little apparent difference.

The approach I take to teaching manual therapy/MFR effects and techniques is to explore a hierarchy of plausibility. Strip away the woo and build a simple model. That is what you will learn, at least to start with.

Go back down your modality’s rabbit hole and you will see variations on the script, “the more training you take the more expert you will become”. You will be, in essence, taught to work from the perception of skill, education, training, intuition, etc., all which amount to working from an ego-driven perspective. Education, training, and experience all do build a skillset that can be relied upon, but there is one thing missing from an ego-driven model: I cannot know what my patient is feeling, thinking, or experiencing unless I ask them. I believe that without patient input my findings are less than meaningful. My approach to evaluation is to solicit and require feedback from my patients that directs my treatment. If through my touch, stretch, pressure, and/or engagement are not feeling a familiar replication of a symptom, then I need to move on or keep searching. Some forms of manual therapy encourage silence on the part of the therapist and patient, so as not to interfere with patient processing or accessing past memories. I understand the model and ideas behind it and support allowing processing on the part of the patient, but if such processing is sold as accessing hidden/buried memories or emotions, said to be stored in fascia, muscle, or the tissue of your choice, then I fear you are beginning to tiptoe over the boundary of your legal scope of practice. I am quite demanding of presence and participation in the evaluation and treatment process. My patients drive the process via there feedback and I accept nothing less.

In summary, you may expect to leave one of my workshop having your beliefs in your ability to singularly and selectively effect one and only one tissue to the exclusion of all else. You will also be coached in a model of patient-directed care in both evaluation and treatment. The rest is icing on the cake. We do lots of hands-on experiences that allow you to put the above principles into action, all presented in style of engagement recognizable as myofascial release. I will bore (or intrigue) you with scientific references and information. I will challenge your beliefs, or at least introduce some novel ways of looking at manual touch-based engagement therapy. I will also not teach you specific treatment protocols for specific conditions. While recipes can be useful, I try to encourage inquisitiveness and matching positive replication of symptoms via touch and engagement as the means to determine which/what treatment techniques to use, rather than list protocols. Lastly, I will not try to lure you down my rabbit hole of dozens of workshops, books, DVDs, and promises. If you want that, look elsewhere.

Cheers,
Walt Fritz, PT

Foundations in Myofascial Release Seminars.

I am a proud member of the Medbridge Massage team of educators. I have 8 online trainings, all presented from my updated, science-informed model of myofascial release. Take advantage of some pretty great discounts with a 12 month package of viewing, learning and CEUs with unlimited viewing of not only my (pretty great) courses, but also over a dozen of the top educators in the massage profession. Approved for CEUs for all US MTs. Use the discount code FRITZmassage for the $49/year price by using this link: Medbridge Massage.

I can also offer some pretty great discounts to SLPs, PTs, and OTs through Medbsidge Education. Click here to have the discount applied.

 

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

John Brown February 23, 2018 at 3:08 pm

How do I find practitioners in NYC

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Walt Fritz, PT February 24, 2018 at 4:30 am

Hi John,
Try this page of the website:
http://www.waltfritzseminars.com/myofascialresource/find-a-practitioner
Cheers,
Walt

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