Jan 16, 2012. The Economic Times
CoreFirst™ strategy is when the brain automatically engages your core prior to any movement or activity. This gives the big “mover” muscles of the body more strength and coordination
We take our bodies for granted – our arms, legs, torso, neck and head are there to take us through the motions (and emotions) we call life. It stands to reason then, that when some part is impaired through injury or misuse, our lives are also affected, often in subtle ways. Doctors and rehab regimens deal with immediate challenges such as acute pain or post-surgical recovery, but we so often resign ourselves to a reduction of the ambit of our lives, accepting infirmity or lack of mobility as inevitable.
Functional Manual Therapy™ (FMT), pioneered by Gregory and Vicky Johnson, is an effective evaluation and treatment system that promotes optimum human performance by enhancing total body mobility. The unique aspect of FMT is the integration of the mobility treatment with neuromuscular facilitation (ability to initiate the right muscles at the right time with proper strength and endurance) and motor control (the ability to effectively produce coordinated postural and movement strategies).
Whether people are suffering from chronic or acute pain, or recovering post surgery, or simply aspire to be able to do what they want to do (from running to the store to running the marathon!) FMT helps you get back to “full living” as Gregory calls it. It is actually a three-dimensional approach to the body: physical, spiritual and emotional.
“What’s important is how the body functions as a whole,” explains Vicky.
So, armed with in-depth knowledge of body mechanics, the Functional Manual Therapists first gather objective and subjective data on their clients via specific tests, besides observation and interaction. Then, as she puts it, “Our hands guide us.” Those skilled hands identify scar tissue, systemic dysfunctions or lack of mobility and go to work correcting the restrictions using Functional Mobilization™.
“There’s a unique moment that happens when you are working with someone, when it all comes together — when our clients realise that the human body is very complex,” Vicky reveals. “It’s important for the FM therapist to provide an environment that’s safe for someone to go through that process, and to discover how to allow themselves to heal as a whole human being.”
“There is a state in which all joints should be functioning efficiently…to accomplish the task they are after,” says Gregory. “Our observational skills identify the parts of the body that are no longer functioning efficiently, and through our hands we reinstate them to efficient movement.” But the key to total restoration is the Johnsons’ crucial CoreFirst™ strategy — getting the right muscles to activate or ‘fire’ at the right time, in the right way, so that every action is completed successfully without stressing the body.
“Everyone talks about using the core, but a lot of that is done volitionally,” says Vicky. “We teach our patients postural and movement strategies that allow their core to fire all day long. If everything you do during the day allows your core to fire, then you don’t need to lie down on the floor and do 45 minutes of core exercises, because you’ve exercised for 18 hours when you go to bed at night. So our job is to make sure that their life is, in fact, in itself an exercise!”
If you watch young infants go through normal growth and development, what you see is that they sit, roll and crawl — all very efficiently. But we, as adults, sometimes have lost access to that strategy. The mobility of joints and soft tissues is very important to allow for efficient movement. The ultimate goal of FMT is to provide an individual with the mechanical ability to become self-sufficient and more proficient in all areas of human performance. “We see a lot of high-end athletes.
We’ve had marathon runners take as much as 40 minutes off their marathon time by being treated with FMT. We’ve had swimmers take time off their swimming when they compete. We’ve had ski-racers take time off their racing when they compete because we’ve treated them with this approach of optimizing the function of their body.”
Given that there are less than 200 Certified FM Therapists worldwide, the Johnsons’ decision to come to India as their first venture outside the US — at VARDAN in New Delhi — is therefore opportune indeed. VARDAN is an initiative of The Times Group in collaboration with The Institute of Physical Art (IPA), USA. The IPA’s comprehensive and innovative FMT curriculum prepares the physical therapist to competently and intuitively integrate evidence and clinical experience with each patient. As Vicky says, “We have the potential to change an entire country’s perception of physical therapists, or better yet, change an entire profession’s perception of itself.”
The integrated approach at all levels of care at VARDAN, led by veterans Charles King and Jevene Summers, will also see the utilisation of healing and supporting techniques like Pilates and Yoga. The facilities at VARDAN will include a training area with specialised equipment, where clients can exercise to customised programs under the supervision of an FM Therapist.
The eventual idea, as Vicky puts it, is for the people to “take ownership of their body and hopefully, prevent issues from recurring.”
“Our observational skills identify the parts of the body that are no longer functioning efficiently, and through our hands we reinstate them to efficient movement.” — GREGORY JOHNSON
“We teach our patients postural and movement strategies that allow their core to fire all day long. Then they don’t need to do 45 minutes of core exercises, because they’ve exercised for 18 hours anyway! Our job is to make sure that their life is, in fact, in itself an exercise!” — VICKY JOHNSON
Make your appointment today at VARDAN by sending VFMT to 58888 or log on to www.vardan.in and experience how a Functional Manual Therapist can change your life!!