Manual therapy + movement for the masses

The Single Best Way to Bring New Clients Into Your Clinical Practice…

The Single Best Way to Bring New Clients Into Your Clinical Practice…
February 10, 2017 Phillip Snell

…is not to get better at Facebook ads, giving away your services, or offering Groupon gimmicks. In the weight loss industry you regularly find promises that this new diet, this new supplement, this new workout will burn fat, shred abs and make heads turn on the beach. However, in your gut you know that being more active than you currently are and eating perhaps 200 fewer calories daily than you currently are, is about as sexy and cool as most (not all) people need to get the weight loss goals they want.

For massage therapists, chiropractors, physical therapists and personal trainers we chase this way and that for THE way to attract more people into our practice to pay for the looming debts from your training. So I’m going to suggest one radical way for you to accomplish those goals and you won’t need “3 EASY PAYMENTS OF $97”. Ready? Here goes…

‘Be better at what you do than most others in your community.’

If your results with the patients and clients you see are about as good as all of the other folks in your niche, then what compelling reason do others have to refer for your services? In the last 5ish years, several interesting trends have come together. An increasingly less active generation of ‘baby boomers’ are getting older. That wave of folks are needing help getting more active but too often pain gets in the way. They show up in their PCP’s office and the most creativity that our current medical system can offer is opiates and various ‘caines in an injection. The result is an epidemic of addiction and deaths associated with narcotic pain meds. Consider the sobering graphic below.

Pain neuroscience has shown us the effect of our culture, thinking and beliefs about pain and how those influence the actual pain experience in the individual.

Amidst the rabble of the literature on pain, one constant droning, boring but TOTALLY empowering refrain continues to lilt in the background…exercise will help…exercise will help. As much as the public would care to sing along, the above de-conditioned aging boomers find that they hurt when they move. The achilles tendinitis, the plantar fasciitis, that bad back/shoulder/knee keeps holding them back. That pain with movement is the wrench in the machine to so many exercise plans and our best counsel to date has been “No Pain, No Gain”. We can do better.

When pain interferes with movement, it’s difficult to move well. Some interesting trends in the literature over the past several years have suggested that perhaps the pain that many consider to be arthritis (read arthrogenic), may not be the pain gremlin we once thought it was. How else can we see that that “bone-on-bone arthritis” on the xray of the person with knee pain, might look the same on xray as that of the 70 year old marathon runner without knee pain? Something else is driving the pain.

Many years ago, Robin McKenzie offered us a new way of thinking about causes of back pain and possible mechanisms of nerve root involvement. Then expanding on the work of neurosurgeon Alf Brieg, MD, David Butler and Michael Shacklock improved our understanding of peripheral nerve “neurodynamics” and the role of poor mechanical interface of peripheral nerves with the structures they course through and around. Only recently, this thinking has been extrapolated to consider the same principles in the relatively smaller and previously unconsidered superficial cutaneous neurology. Each of us has experienced this first-hand with a paper cut that hurts like hell despite the seeming innocuousness of the injury.

Starting about 8 years ago, I started exploring clinically what I’d learned from the papers that were appearing on this in the literature. I took the most advanced bodywork classes out there and started “releasing fascia” and mashing trigger points. When my thumbs got tired, I reached for the best instruments to assist me in my soft tissue therapies. While these methods were the best we had at the time, I feel the need to publicly apologize to those folks for the discomfort that I caused unnecessarily. Now I know better.

The result of my curiosity took hold about 4 years ago and I started experimenting with ways to improve on the manual methods. I was surprised by how little of this new approach was needed to drop pain in my patients quickly. A little over 2 years ago, I began working with Dr. Justin Dean in my clinic. Aware that my confirmation bias was likely influencing my perception of what I was doing, I showed the process to Dr. Dean and asked him to see if he found similar benefits with his population of patients. He did, and was as amused as I was by the process. Patients talked, people came and we were busy. We explored other systems of thinking about neuropathic pain and began to map out the location of high pay off points for common clinical pain syndromes. We also began exploring the minimally effective dose. When it came describing the process to others, they wanted to know what it was called. We chose a flippant name to try to capture the ease of the process. We wanted to juxtapose that simple process against the currently available “systems” that involved stupidly expensive certifications, to essentially stretch a muscle a bit differently. We called our little thingy, YAP, which stood for Yank Away Pain. We knew that all clinically certifiable systems need to have a 3 letter acronym to call them by. 😉 We’re not the only ones that have puttered about with this methodology, but disappointingly, many others worked that certification path and now teach more stupidly expensive courses. SMH…hey that’s another acronym!

Spin the clock forward, and our little “manual therapy that could” grew up. Medical professionals sat up and took notice as YAP moved their surgical patients out of the surgical algorithm in a few treatments. Researchers wanted to perform case studies on the process. Ironically, our silly name, YAP, became an impediment to advancement of the knowledge base. So, in 2018, we changed the name to something less silly…DermalTractionMethod (DTM). Still a 3 letter acronym, though! 😉

Nudged by others, we put this site together to explain our process. Here’s the kicker, it’s not stupidly expensive, and you won’t have to spend a weekend away from your family to learn it. In fact, if you’re not a healthcare provider and wonder if it might help with your chronic pain issue, you will also find it easy to learn and apply on yourself. We recommend that you first talk to your doctor about your pains, though. Think of all the money you’ll save on lacrosse balls and exotic foam rolls!



On the site, we’ll post case studies and build a community of folks that truly offer a better solution to narcotic pain meds, steroid injections and joint replacement surgery. That capability will distinguish you in your community and people will talk about you just as they have for us. Local physicians who don’t want to prescribe opiates will seek you out. Come join us, and let’s do good work together to help folks that need us. Click HERE to join! Be well.


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