History of SMR
History of SensoriMotor Repatterning
I was first exposed to manual muscle testing in the Registered Massage Therapy course from my college days, thus I was well versed in many of the muscle testing techniques taught when I attended my first Neurokinetic therapy course.
I became obsessed with the nervous system and quickly became a fully certified level 3 NKT practitioner. I even named my clinic after NKT (ottawaNKT). Never content with the status quo I attended more neural-related courses, read many books on the subject, and experimented with ever more efficient ways of treating people.
Reading the old classic books of Applied Kinesiology gave me great insight into other ways of manipulating the nervous system. AK is the true founder of muscle testing as used in NMR, NKT, PDTR, and a host of other therapies. The work of Goodhart was indispensable.
Of great influence was a course taught and developed by Jordan Terry Shane. He had taken the work of Dr. Stone and evolved it into a method of detecting and correcting dysfunctions. Jordan’s courses are excellent, and I recommend them to anyone interested in the field (www.adaptablepolarity.com).
I modified Jordan’s Triple stack technique, then cross-wired it with a technique developed by Dr. Alan Beardall and Richard Utt. I found I now had a way to lock a dysfunction into the nervous system and search for related dysfunctions that could then be corrected.
Frustratingly with all previous therapies, I could never tell if I was about to make a low-level correction or a high-level correction. This was about to change when I created a method to test if I was working at the top of a dysfunctional chain, if I wasn’t I could move along the chain until I found and treated the top-level dysfunction.
By this time I realized I was no longer using NKT at all in my practice, the therapy that had given me great results for so long seemed so primitive in comparison. NKT was fixing low-level dysfunctions that I wouldn’t even bother to look for anymore. A dysfunctional deep longitudinal subsystem that previously took me 40 minutes to correct could be achieved in 2 minutes. I had found the constant root cause of this dysfunction and many others.
In part SensoriMotor Repatterning Therapy (SMR) was created out of frustration, PDTR was the course many of my peers would go on to do. But to complete the first of three levels meant traveling to another city for a weekend once a month, for five months, that would have cost me $10,000 just for level 1 knowledge.
I heard from peers that after doing the next level up of PDTR they never used a bunch of the techniques learned in the level below. I couldn’t fathom spending that much money on something that lacked efficiency. I vowed if I ever developed my own therapy every moment of that course would be efficient learning.
From my readings of PDTR, I understood that it tests for many different dysfunctional receptors, such as stretch, heat, light touch, deep touch, point-specific pain, broad pain, temperature, and vibration. Experimentation lead me to be able to identify and correct these dysfunctions within my developing system, and my reading of Neural Therapy (by Robert F. Kidd MD) gave me access to an efficient way to check for hypertonic muscles (muscles that won’t inhibit when the nervous system tells them to). Next, I started to search for and found an efficient method of identifying regions that were neurologically disorganized (switched). The yet-to-be-named SMR was becoming extremely efficient!
One of the courses I had taken along the way was taught to me by Perry Nickelston. He taught me how to assess and treat the lymphatic system, most importantly chronic inflammation. As I experimented with this therapy I learned much from it. I discovered how organs and the lymphatic system were much higher in the hierarchy of the nervous system than muscles and ligaments. If an organ is in distress, the nervous system will happily inhibit muscles as a way of redirecting the neural drive to the organs. Time and again I saw how a dysfunctional lymphatic system could shut down many muscles. Through experimentation I discovered how to identify the exact cause of inflammation and how to correct it with SMR, there were very few clients I couldn’t fix in just a few sessions.
All the while I was building a list of what I considered the most critical dysfunctions to check for and correct on all clients. When I put it to paper, I realized I had a system that therapists could apply to all their clients. They could deviate from it, but it was an excellent starting point. Instead of making a list of all inhibited muscles when a client first arrived, there were several fundamental dysfunctions that I would check for and correct before honing in on specifics of the clients' primary complaint. This would dramatically reduce the list of dysfunctional muscles and often have the client significantly better after the first session.
I had long been aware of how stress and previous trauma could have a massive effect on the nervous system (re. Dr. Sarno), and the functioning of muscles and had been on the lookout for a style of therapy that I could use to treat the effects of trauma/stress on movement patterns and pain modulation. I integrated many acupressure systems into SMR that can address mind-body issues without having to directly discuss previous trauma etc. this keeps me within my scope of practice, as I'm looking for muscle dysfunction (that is reflective of how the internal environment is) and correcting the muscle dysfunction with subtle manipulations of the acupressure system.
Experimentation leads me to spend less time with the client on the table and more time with them on their feet replicating real-life movements that brought them pain. If someone had knee pain when they lunged, I could have them lung, lock in the dysfunction that the nervous system registered, and reverse engineer the source. We would continue doing this until the pain was gone or significantly reduced. A few days later the tissue will normalize, and the pain is gone for good.
SMR to my knowledge is the only system that allows the therapist to reverse engineer the source of dysfunction via having clients move functionally. This has vastly improved efficiency in clients' recovery time from injury and has taken athletes to new heights in their sport. I am thankful for all the people and therapies that got me to this place and look forward to seeing how others take this therapy, put their spin on it, and make it their own!