There has been a lot of differing supplements and treatment plans that have had their impact and place in my journey of recovering from Chronic Lyme Disease. Recently, I started visiting Therapeutic Enterprises, one of the closest “doctor appointments” yet to happen (thank you Jesus). Because it is hard to explain what exactly my therapy treatment consists of, I first must explain IMT.
What is IMT?
Integrative Manual Therapy first addresses the structure of one’s body, followed by the resulting function. It is common sense that if a machine is not put together correctly, it is not going to work right. This concept is also completely applicable to the human body. Therefore, through philosophy, art, and science, IMT leaves behind approaching health by using yesterday’s knowledge, in place for how tomorrow’s information can help us here and now. Sharon Giammatteo, PhD, initially started the Integrated System Approach in 1971, of which IMT has built upon. Both with the underlying philosophy of treating one’s signs, symptoms, and level of overall function, ISA and IMT believe the key to obtaining health is attainable through treatment of the entire bodily structure, not just one specific system like common, modern health practices. Instead, the mind, body, and soul of an individual is taken as a whole, allowing one to fully heal, recover, and thrive from the inside out.
Holistic vs. Modern Medicine
If there was a single, specific pill or medicine for all of the world’s health complications, no one would ever have to worry about being, or even the possibility of getting sick. Obviously, this is not reality, as everyone is made unique, thus making how their body deals with a disease and a given treatment different. Though all around we humans are made in the same way, the chemical make up, tissue and blood type, skeletal structure, and other biological features, are all independently special in each individual.
Yet somewhere in the past centuries, the individualization of each human being has been forgotten. Modern medicine tries to fit us all into a box, making diagnosis based off of how well one’s symptoms comply to the standard mold. Instead of looking for the root cause of one’s change in health, people are put on treatments to simply mask their symptoms. If something does not fit into a physician’s standard textbook or past teaching, a disease suddenly becomes deemed untreatable.
As a patient and advocate for Chronic Lyme Disease, I can attest first hand to how degrading Western Medicine can be to those that don’t fit into their narrowed approach to treating illness. It is those open to learning who approach health with an integrative state of mind, that are truly pioneering in the study of how untreated spirochetes manifest as both a neurological and autoimmune disease. People everywhere are diagnosed left and right with Fibromyalgia, Lupus, M.S, RA, IBS, clinical depression, and many others, all because their daily symptoms and signs fit into these preconceived, studied, medicinal molds the best. Regardless of if these health complications are caused by Lyme or not, treatment is often faulty, making for an unexplainable, untreatable condition that simply arose out of nowhere, that the patient will now have for their entire life.
However, this is the farthest thing from the truth, as the body only becomes unhealthy when the various systems comprised internally become dysfunctional (i.e. the immune system). For every outward health complication, there is an internal chemical equation responsible for the resulting, external symptoms. Despite how well scientists have been able to summarize some of these equations into definitions and diagnosis, the alterations found in every human being will ultimately produce a different effect. Therefore, once one realizes that everyone’s body is different, that they will react to a given stressor or event differently, and thus produce different symptoms, treatment ultimately needs to be tailored to that specific individual. By making one’s internal systems stronger, the body is able to become stronger and fend for itself, without the need of external, foreign, or synthetic support (drugs, medications, supplements, etc).
How Does IMT Work?
So how is this seemingly miraculous result accomplished? The answer, though not what one may be expecting, is simple; touch therapy. By learning the different functions of each internal system of the body, IM therapists are able to “connect the dots” through placing their hands on different spots in the body that naturally should be communicating. When one goes through any sort of illness, trauma, or shock to their system such as a concussion or falling off of a horse, there is much more to the resulting injury or disease than what manifests on the outside. Internally, organs, veins, arteries, muscle tissue, nerves, and bones, all respond to the situation differently. Instead of communicating and working as a whole, they curl up into a fetal position and strive to keep themselves protected. When this happens, not only does one externally suffer, but the systems inside one’s body become dysfunctional, sluggish, and inadvertently more of a burden to the individual than help.
IMT first teaches students the role of each system in the body, then how it should function, as well as the dozens of health complications that may arise if they are doing the opposite. Instead of applying force through surgery or masking the problem with a drug, integrative manual therapy allows the body to restore itself. By getting internal organs up and running, communicating with one another, and thus optimally working, the function of the body is then ready to thrive. Without this outside help from both the patient and therapist, those suffering from an ailment or disease struggle with complete healing, due to the internal structure never being corrected. However, once the organs, veins, muscles, tissue, and nerves (and many other systems) are communicating, they are able to reposition themselves where they were intended throughout the body and thus function as originally planned. When this happens, progress in one’s health is inevitable, thus proving that the body can (and will) heal itself, once given the right materials. By applying soft, yet deliberate technique to the myofascial tissue of one’s body, practitioners trained in IMT are able to find the areas quiet and (or) dysfunctional throughout an individual.
Who Can Benefit From IMT?
Naturally, every system in the body has its own energy and flow. However, when this is disrupted, whether through sports injury, chronic illness, or simply day to day stress, outward symptoms arise. Common conditions such as musculoskeletal problems (back, neck, food, ankle, hip pain , weakness, stiffness etc), visceral/fascial problems (menstrual cramps bladder incontinence, acid reflux, GI issues), overuse syndromes (such as tendonitis) and sleep apnea, can all be assessed, and thus fixed through IMT and the resulting self-healing attributes of the individual themselves. Chronic illness and disease, as well as their resulting effects, are also successfully addressed, helped, and ultimately healed through Integrative Manual Therapy from the root cause and up. IMT is not a weird, spiritual therapy, nor is it weak in supportive evidence that it works. Rather, this holistic approach to medicine is based firmly in both science and common knowledge. Whether you have a damaged shoulder due to working out, or migraines that even the greatest chiropractor can not fix, IMT is for you. If you suffer from a chronic illness, or simply cannot get out the cycle of the common cold, receiving integrative manual therapy treatment will be of incredible help to your health. There are many amazing testimonies of children with Down Syndrome being able to walk and talk from IMT, despite the pre-conceived odds of conventional doctors. Learning, mood, growth, and any type of inflammatory disorder, are just a few of the things that IMT addresses.
Though I have only been receiving IMT for a couple months now, every time I receive it, the results are amazing. One day I will walk in with severe kidney pain, only to leave with zero lower back discomfort. Like most illnesses, healing from Chronic Lyme Disease involves slowly peeling back the layers of an onion. Through integrative manual therapy treatment, my therapists and I are able to address the various, debilitating symptoms that are ultimately caused by dysfunction of internal organs. Because everyone’s bodies and condition of health is different, the amount of therapy one gets per week is dependent on how accepting they are to the treatment both mentally and physically. Most weeks, I receive an average of 3, hour long treatments, of which I am very tired afterwards. It is no secret that healing is much harder than getting sick, however, the small yet positive results after each IMT session are truly incredible.
Regardless of if you have a debilitating health condition or not, going to school for IMT is highly beneficial for those in the field of personal training, gym ownership, pilates and yoga instructing, as well as physical and occupational therapy, or any other job that involves the human body. All in all, schooling in Integrative Manual Therapy allows one to learn and study the body from the ultimate, hands on approach, not a limited textbook. Not only will becoming experienced in this field of medicine benefit your patients, but also your own body as well.
1 Chronicles 16:8 “Give praise to the , proclaim his name; make known among the nations what he has done.”