What to Expect
A typical treatment will start off with the client dressed in workout gear, or stretchy pants and a T-shirt. After discussing current issues and previous case history, I will have you perform some functional movement tests (called the SFMA) and then begin testing to find muscles that are not firing correctly, then search for a faulty sensory input that is causing the movement dysfunction. Often it only takes a few seconds of light pressure to alter the neural drive so that the muscles fire correctly. I always get the core muscles functioning correctly before I hone into your specific injury/goals and later on I'll check to see if the subsystems, such as the lateral subsystem and the deep longitudinal subsystem, are functioning correctly.
It is advised not to exercise for an hour and a half before a session, this is because fatigued muscles can give faulty test results.
How much does SMR Therapy cost?
Initial 1.5-hour session: $146.02 plus tax = $165
Follow up 1-hour sessions: $101.77 plus tax = $115
How long does a session last?
60 minutes. However, ideally the first treatment should be booked for 1.5 hours to get a head start on fixing issues with all subsequent treatments being 60 minutes. If budget or time is an issue a one-hour initial treatment is acceptable. I can normally have clients symptom-free in three sessions. It's advisable to book three sessions, a week apart, in advance as I am usually fully booked several weeks in advance.
Can I claim the session back from my health insurance?
Yes, if you have an insurance policy that covers Massage Therapy then you will be covered for SensoriMotor Repatterning sessions. This is because I operate under my RMT license, even though a session with me is nothing like a traditional RMT treatment. SMR is completely within my scope of practice as a massage therapist.
Many government employees have coverage of $80 per session for RMT’s up to a maximum of $300 per year, check with your employer or insurer for exact details. Some insurance companies require a Doctors note, stating that massage therapy is required.
Who is SMR suitable for?
Anyone can benefit from SMR. I have two separate types of clients; individuals with complex chronic issues that have not been resolved elsewhere, and athletes who want to get the most out of their performance. I treat many complex problems that others haven't managed to address and love the challenge of complicated cases. Every shape, age, race, gender, sexual orientation, and shoe size is welcome in my studio!
When should I book my next appointment?
Most people book one week between sessions, this allows us time to see how your body is responding to the treatments. Shorter periods are possible if recovery as soon as possible is required, or if you are traveling from out of town to see me. e.g. If you want to get better as fast as possible, three days between sessions are optimal. Longer periods, such as a month are also feasible, the corrections made from one session to the next will still hold for this amount of time (and longer).
How many appointments do you think I need?
This depends on the issue and your long-term goals, but three appointments is a good quantity to commit to, you should be seeing significant changes by then, many clients have a complete resolution after three sessions. My goal is to fix you as quickly as possible, and get you back out there! Every six months to a year it's good to come in for a checkup, I'll normally be able to get everything back to fully optimal in one session.
What should I wear?
Shorts and a t-shirt, yoga pants and a top, loose or stretchy jeans and a shirt, etc. It is useful to be able to get directly to the skin, but not at all essential. In short, wear what you feel comfortable wearing.
Do you treat children?
I can treat children from the age of around 12 onwards, prior to that the tests are too complicated for a child to grasp. Anyone under the age of 16 needs to be accompanied by an adult during the session. Though not essential, I also advise that the child-parent come for a session first so they can understand the process.
I believe that stress or previous trauma might have a role in my current symptoms, can you help with this?
Yes, I am a big believer in the mind-body connection (info here), and see direct examples of this daily in the clinic. I have spent much time developing techniques to allow the stress stored in the body to be released. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) does not see the mind and body as two separate entities, but instead as a complex whole system. TCM considers stress as being stored in the systems and organs of the body and seeks to balance or remove this stress using the meridian system. It is this system and the related acupoints that have been very effectively integrated into SMR therapy along with neural feedback to direct the specifics of the treatment.
Do you treat Concussions, TBI's, and Post-Concussion Syndrome?
Yes, I have extensive experience working with Post-Concussion Syndrome. I have three sessions worth of protocols that are concussion specific, on average I typically treat concussion clients for 4 - 8 sessions. I describe PCS as a hypersensitivity of the nervous system as a protective reaction to the injury, and I slowly help the nervous system relearn that various stimuli are safe. More info here
Are there any negative side effects from SMR?
SMR is a gentle and safe treatment. On a rare occasion, after the first session only, people get a detox that day and maybe even into the following day, which would present as tiredness and fogginess/headaches. If it happens at all, it will only happen after the first session.
As an RMT I can't diagnose, but I can say that testing may be indicative of a down-regulation of the lymphatic system. I correct this on the first session, which in turn can temporarily increase the number of toxins in the blood, meaning the liver has to work harder for roughly 24 hours (causing tiredness), and some of those toxins may cross the blood-brain barrier, (causing fogginess/headaches). It's hard to predict who may have a detox effect, however, if you have had a deep tissue massage in the past and got off the table feeling tired and foggy-headed, this may be indicative of a sluggish lymphatic system temporarily speeding up via massage and might put you at higher risk of detox after your first treatment. Drinking lots of water will help flush the toxins.
Do you treat females who are pregnant?
As a precaution I do not treat females in their first trimester, I do however treat females in their second and third trimesters.
Do you treat Acute Injuries?
If you have a chronic issue, such as neck pain, but this has significantly flared up in the last few days, SMR is not the best immediate treatment. Your muscles are likely spasming and shortening in a protective mechanism and need to calm down before an SMR treatment. This is because with SMR we are deliberately testing to see what muscles are dysfunctional, and then correcting them. But in an acute situation, this may cause further aggravation to your neck, lower back, etc. Instead, I would suggest finding an RMT who does traditional gentle massage, to calm the acute pain down (I don't do any traditional forms of massage), once your range of motion has returned to what is normal for you, then we can treat you with SMR, and stop those acute situations occurring for good!
My friend recommended you and said it was pretty crazy what you can do with the nervous system, is this true?
Yes, my clients sometimes jokingly refer to me as their "voodoo guy" or "the wizard", etc. I am neither, and I assure you I don't do tricks, I'm not telepathic, nor have I any special powers (though my kids would surely love it if I did).
But I do know how to interact with the nervous system in a very complicated and efficient way. Thus I can modify how your body works extremely fast. Indeed if you are in acute pain or have Post Concussion Syndrome, I will have to skip my usual slow introduction of how the nervous system can be modified and jump straight into some complex high-level pattern corrections.
If I were being treated by myself for the first time, I would be skeptical, because what can be achieved with SMR is so far removed from what science understands about the human body. I welcome skepticism, I approach everything I do with a scientific mind, and you will get a greater appreciation for this during our sessions. After being treated with SMR it's pretty hard not to come to the understanding that the mind and body are intimately interconnected, that the energy systems "discovered" by the ancient Chinese are not outdated. Ultimately we need to relook at western science, not through the lens of cherry-picked research, but to find theories that allow both western and eastern to co-exist, thus accommodating the growing body of evidence/research that is currently pushed aside.
Could I see an example of your treatment plan?
Yes, I have a standard SMR treatment plan, I will inform you if I need to deviate from this…
Goals: The goal is to decrease symptoms and increase muscle function both in isolation and in functional movement patterns.
The type and focus of treatment: Sensorimotor Repatterning, all other types of massage therapy will be referred to a suitable RMT if required.
Areas of the body to be treated: As SensoriMotor repatterning theory speculates that the body must work as one functional unit, no matter what the symptoms or goals are, the whole body is assessed and treated, the process will naturally hone into the symptom or goal area as manual muscle tests should indicate more dysfunction in this area.
Anticipated frequency and duration of treatments: 3 sessions roughly a week apart The first session is 1.5 hours long to allow for additional testing and discussion of goals and injury history etc. Follow-up sessions are 1 hour long. Each session includes the assessment of general muscle neurological function, via manual muscle testing, then working through the SMR protocol to identify why the muscles are dysfunctional.
Anticipated client responses to treatment: SMR is very gentle and a negative response is not generally anticipated. What is expected is a resolution of goals by the third session, or a move in that direction, with a re-assessment of how long it may take to achieve the stated goals, if they have not been met. If a referral to another practitioner is required, then this occurs at this time.
Schedule for re-assessment of the client's condition, and/or recommended remedial exercises: The clients' condition is re-assessed at the beginning of each session with a more in-depth re-assessment on the third session. Remedial exercises such as stretching etc. are only given if deemed necessary, sometimes remedial exercises are counter-productive, as it is hard to quantify if it is the therapy intervention or the remedial exercises that are making positive changes. For this reason, remedial exercises are sometimes not introduced until a better understanding of what SMR intervention is achieving, thus at a later stage in therapy. Remedial exercises are decided upon or avoided at the end of each session.
At the end of the third session, progress is discussed and a checkup session date range is identified (usually between 1 to 2 months). The client is informed that if their symptoms remain gone they can choose to postpone or cancel the follow-up appointment until the symptom or a new symptom appears. If the symptoms return earlier than the follow-up date, the clients are asked to contact SMR or book an earlier session to address the issue and re-assess. If by the third session there is no noted change, the client will likely be referred to another practitioner.