Join Joseph on Friday, April 17 at 10:00 am MDT for a 2-hour Manual Muscle Testing Redefined mini seminar on nervous system response. In this seminar you will learn how to vet the two false positives and negatives that are influencing binary MMT.
In February I had the honor of sharing my craft with a great group of practitioners. We had an international crowd. Physical Therapists, Chiropractors, movement therapists, and massage therapists all came together to learn how to appropriately assess and interact with the breathing apparatus.
Our host John Goldthorp works with accomplished athletes at Fix Your Run in Philadelphia. I met John 7 years ago at an Anatomy in Motion seminar in NYC. John and I have stayed in touch over the years, and when the opportunity to share Dynamic Neuromuscular Assessment, I was happy to come out and share my craft.
John and I share many of the same philosophies of movement and training. One aspect of this is how we interact with our clients to co-create an experience.
Here’s what John has to say about his experience:
“Recently, I had the pleasure of taking Joseph Schwartz’s excellent Dynamic Neuromuscular Assessment™ Module 1 seminar. To say there were a few a-ha moments would be a massive understatement; they kept coming, seemingly a few every hour. While that may sound overwhelming, the way the course was structured allowed for plenty of hands on time to synthesize the new information.
I personally experienced the power of this work during the course, having observed my body measurably change in the roughly 5 weeks since I attended, and would love to share with you my experience.
Two years ago, I experienced a ruptured appendix which required an extensive surgery and recovery period. This was certainly a major trauma to my body, but I have been able to recover and get back to – and even exceed – previous levels of performance thanks to the help of many of my movement assessment colleagues.
However, despite making quite a bit of progress in the first year post-surgery, I seemed to have plateaued in terms of my diastasis recti even though I’d been diligent with breathing and strength work.
As Joseph was teaching, I naturally began to wonder, “Is there a prime driver in my situation? Is there a reason my diastasis, although improved, was resistant to further improvement?”
DNA™ teaches you how to have a conversation with the nervous system so that you can determine the prime driver of a compensation.
Perhaps the biggest takeaway of DNA™ is that in order to assess accurately, one must “keep the container safe.” In other words, as my colleague Shannon Connolly so brilliantly stated, “you have to treat the central nervous system with respect. We have to remember that we all have developed coping strategies in order to protect ourselves. Just forcing a modality like a soft tissue release or specific movement/pattern onto someone just because it is “tight” or “feels good” when their nervous system is not prepared for it or cannot cope with that strategy can actually make things worse or keep driving the coping mechanism.”
A ruptured appendix – was it just a structural trauma? Of course not.
DNA™ enlightens us to become aware that a prime driver of movement compensation can be structural, physiological, or emotional in nature and each will affect the other.
During the course, I was chosen to be a breathing assessment demo for the class. Despite having a wealth of knowledge about breathing – and doing my best to breathe properly – I ‘failed’ a majority of functional manual muscle tests involving the breathing apparatus. Now, this wasn’t a huge surprise as I did still have a noticeable diastasis recti, but I couldn’t wait to find out WHY. What was my prime driver, the parking brake holding me back from making more progress?
During the assessment many tests improved when I touched (therapy localized) the scar, however, not all of them.
Assessment showed the prime driver in my case was a limbic association with the ruptured appendix experience. In fact, it was determined that it was the fear experienced after I learned I would need surgery which was the underlying limbic association. Think your breathing might change in response to fear? You’d better believe it. I was ‘stuck’ there, breathing inefficiently, ever since.
We cleared that association using a tool called ‘self rescue’ (just like releasing tight muscles, there are many tools useful for limbic associations) and retested. ALL breathing apparatus tests were now functional. I took my first truly functional breath in two years.
I’m excited and pleased to report it has been roughly 5 weeks since the course and I’ve seen the size of the diastasis recti decrease noticeably for the first time in about a year!“ — John Goldthorp
Thank you John for sharing your experience! I’d like to take a moment and share how The FiveTenets of DNA™ are so potent in providing the nervous system with the optimal environment for beneficial learning.
The Five Tenets of Dynamic Neuromuscular Assessment™
~ Keeping the container safe
Keeping the container safe is perhaps the most important aspect of the practitioner-client interaction. How we stimulate and tone down the nervous system of our client has a profound effect on the outcome of our interaction.
We utilize the premise that the nervous system learns coping strategies as a means for safety and survival. Those coping strategies have a purpose. How we determine if it is safe to displace a coping strategy with a more beneficial or optimal option is an important aspect of our interaction with the nervous system.
Technique-based therapeutic interventions do not consider whether it is safe to remove a coping strategy. Instead, the application of technique-based interventions is based on whether symptoms change or not. Without considering why the nervous system has utilized a set of coping strategies, can produce undesirable effects by trying to change them. For example, when our client’s return over and over with the same symptoms, or their symptoms worsen, this illustrates that the coping strategy has not been appropriately addressed.
There is an alternative to a technique-based intervention. This requires a specific process to identify the Prime Driver of the coping strategy so that the driver can be appropriately addressed.
~ Manual muscle testing can and will produce skewed results
This is the elephant in the room. Traditional manual muscle testing has some inherent problems. I’ve identified two false negatives and two false positives within the binary context of MMT.
However, there’s no need to throw the baby out with the bathwater. Instead we can employ a specific process to have non-binary conversations with the nervous system. This starts with autonomic nervous system response. We know that the receptor’s response changes when the parasympathetic up-regulates to the sympathetic nervous system. This becomes the first step in creating a tangible benchmark in movement assessment.
The ANS response is an indirect movement assessment. This is then combined with a direct movement assessment. These two aspects of the assessment process sophisticates the faulty binary approach to a more accurate non-binary conversation with the nervous system.
~ Global / Local / Global
Global movement engages feed-forward motor planning. This gives the nervous system the opportunity to utilize its preferred coping strategy. Once that coping strategy is stimulated by movement, we can dissect the individual building blocks of that movement. This allows us to go deeper and more effectively in the assessment process.
~ Secondary Compensation distracts us from the Prime Driver
Secondary compensation is the low hanging fruit we see in our clients symptoms. Our primary coping strategies require resources. The symptoms clients are experiencing have a correlation to giving up the resources needed by the prime driver. If we remove the option for those resources, we are creating a safety issue for the nervous system. This is counter to keeping the container safe.
~ Specific Adaptation to Imposed Demand, the SAID principle is our ally in efficiency
The SAID principle affects the outcome of corrective strategies. How the nervous system is cued with the symptom causation relationships, builds the internal kinesthetic picture of the nervous system’s coping strategies. When the dots aren’t connected for the nervous system, it may or may not be to make the connection between correlations and symptoms.
This is why the mapping process I teach in DNA™ is essential to honor these five tenets. In DNA™ Mapping, we derive the common denominator, the prime driver. We then evaluate the prime driver. We then can simply do one intervention that resets the whole paradigm of prime driver, main pair, and secondary compensations. In John’s experience, the combination of the limbic association and the structural adaptation from surgery had to be appropriately interacted with so that the nervous system had the opportunity to reset all the players in respiration. When the nervous system can respond appropriately, the structure can follow. The result is his diastasis recti can now mend more fully.