We are proud to have our practice featured in Seacoast Online discussing Integrated Manual Therapy. Healing Hands, written by Suzanne Laurent……
Joanna White said the only word that pops into her mind when describing Integrative Manual Therapy is “magic.”
Of course it’s not magic, but for the 54-year-old North Hampton woman, to wake up in the morning without pain is life-changing.
White suffers from Lyme disease, diagnosed in 2005, which causes episodes of vertigo. In addition, White has back and hip pain as well as jaw pain. She also has a hiatal hernia, a condition in which the upper part of the stomach bulges through an opening in the diaphragm.
White was referred to Lighthouse Physical Therapy in Portsmouth through her naturopath when more traditional physical therapy and chiropractic adjustments failed to alleviate her symptoms. Therapists at Lighthouse Physical Therapy utilize IMT as their central treatment tool. IMT is a hands-on method that uses specialized soft-tissue techniques and gentle joint mobilizations.
“I started coming in February,” White said. “During my first visit, I had a short treatment after my evaluation. I woke up the next morning without pain in my jaw.”
IMT allows therapists the ability to treat a broad spectrum of conditions, including those that would not tolerate a more traditional approach and diagnoses not normally addressed by physical therapy.
“Everything is connected,” White said. “If I had pain in one area, I noticed I was holding my body in such a way as to protect the part that hurt.”
White said she now notices she carries her body differently. She began treatments twice a week, and now goes every other week.
“This method is peaceful and relaxing,” White said. “It is very conducive to healing.”
David Burchuk founded Lighthouse Physical Therapy in 1995. He employs five physical therapists at the Portsmouth location and it sees an average of eight patients each during the day.
“They give the patient one-on-one attention,” Burchuk said. “This includes the IMT treatment and traditional exercises that some patients do during a visit.”
Burchuk said the most common complaint is lower back pain.
“We work with the soft tissue structure to get people moving again,” he said.
While it is a gentle approach that looks like the laying of hands done in Reiki, it is very different.
“Reiki is about energy,” Burchuk said. “This method gently works the soft tissue around the structures.”
Another patient, Deborah Cartwright of Newmarket, said IMT has helped her regain the use of her elbows.
“I had Lyme disease that went undiagnosed for years,” she said. “I ended up with tendonitis and nerve pain in both of my elbows. I couldn’t carry anything.”
Cartwright, 58, said she tried occupational and physical therapy, but she “didn’t get any better.”
“My physical therapist suggested Lighthouse,” she said. “It is a very powerful treatment.” She also said her recurrent jaw pain and neck symptoms have subsided.
IMT was developed 30 years ago by Dr. Sharon Giammatteo as a different approach to health care that addresses the needs of complex patients. IMT practitioners identify and address underlying causes of dysfunction using a comprehensive and holistic approach.
“A lot of doctors in the area are open to this alternative approach,” Burchuk said.
York Hospital in Maine also utilizes IMT in its in-patient physical therapy department. Eric Bouchard, a physical therapy assistant at York Hospital, has been learning IMT from therapists educated in the modality.
“I am humbled by my patients’ responses to this type of therapeutic intervention,” he said. “I plan to continue taking courses in this field to improve my techniques.”
By Suzanne Laurent
September 09, 2012