Integrative Manual Therapy

Integrative Manual Therapy
Information provided courtesy of Gail Wetzler

Our purpose as animal care givers is to appropriately evaluate and suggest the combination of treatments that will support the animal to optimal health. Integrating the skills and knowledge of conventional medicine, chiropractic, acupuncture, physical therapy, homeopathy, herbs, and other forms of energy medicine is where health care is going in the 21st century.

Supportive modalities as ultrasound, electric therapy, laser, heat, cold and magnets are excellent for localized soft tissue dysfunctions. If soft tissue dysfunctions become chronic, the biomechanics of the body are compromised. As tissues can no longer adapt, compensations will occur throughout all the fascial systems in the body. In humans, the field of Integrative Manual Therapy has enhanced recovery, restoration of hope and regained purposeful co-operative participation in the healing process. Integrative Manual Therapy is a systems approach for structural and functional rehabilitation. The systems within this functional medicine model consists of:

  1. The biomechanics of anatomical relationships
  2. The musculoskeletal system
  3. The connective tissue system
  4. The central, autonomic and peripheral systems
  5. The circulatory and lymphatic systems
  6. The visceral system
  7. The dermis
  8. The system of mind/ body and protective reflexes

Integrative Manual Therapy can be used for rehabilitation and prevention in animal health just as it has been used in the human population. The techniques used for the systems approach are based on physical therapy kinisiologic and osteopathic procedures.

Treatment Procedures for Small/Large Animals

  1. Cold Therapy: Physiological benefits of cold therapy include decreased local circulation, local analgesia, and decreased tissue extensibility. Vasoconstriction reduces edema, hemorrhage and extravasation of inflammatory cells. Cold also decreases pain perception by presynaptic inhibition of pain stimuli and reduction of nerve conduction velocity.
  2. Heat Therapy: Physiological benefits of heat include localized vasodilation, pain relief, increased metabolic rate of the tissue, alteration of physical properties of fibrotic tissue (heat increases the viscosity of collagen), relaxation of muscle spasm, and increased capillary permeability.
  3. Ultrasound: Therapeutic ultrasound is a form of deep heat utilizing a piezoelectric crystal to convert electric energy into high frequency sound waves. Heat is transferred from the sound waves induced by the machine to tissues by conversion.
  4. Electrical Stimulation: Electrical stimulation is used primarily to enhance muscle reeducation, faciliate tissue healing, reduce inflammation and reduce pain. The following types of electrical stimulation have been used successfully in veterinary medicine: Acuscope, H-Wave, Neuromuscular Electrical Stimulation (NMES), and Iontophroesis.
  5. Hydrotherapy: Hyrdotherapy is an ideal form of active assisted exercise. The buoyancy effects of the water provide a gravity-eliminated environment that facilitates movement of affected hindlimbs/ forelimbs.
  6. Soft Tissue Massage/ Mobilization: The objective of massage is to increase blood and lymph flow through the massaged tissues. This will increase the delivery of nutrients to the area and hastens the removal of waste products and edema fluid.
  7. Joint Mobilization: Joint mobilization is defined as “the skilled passive movement to a joint”. A mobilization is the movement of one bone relative to another to affect the joints ability to glide in a necessitated direction in order to improve the range of motion obtained by the affected joint.
  8. Passive Exercise: (Passive Range of Motion): Passive exercise maintains the normal range of motion and prevents soft tissue contracture as well.
  9. Active Exercise: Active exercise helps to improve muscle strength, coordination, and cardiovascular function. In addition, repeated voluntary contractions of muscles in affected limbs may decrease synaptic resistance, thereby improving nerve impulse conduction.
  10. Client Education: All appropriate physical therapy techniques must be demonstrated to the owners. Owners should then be observed while they perform the physical therapy with their animals to ensure the techniques are being done correctly.
  11. Manual Therapy: Procedures consist of Muscle Energy techniques, Craniosacral Therapy, Strain-Counterstrain techniques, Visceral Manipulation, Mechanical Link, Lymphatic Drainage, Myofascial Release, Movement Re-education.
  12. TTouch: for horses and companion animals: (Coming Soon) Currently in education process of learning the TTouch Method of enhancing neural and cellular activity within the animal. These techinques promote optimal behavior and health that takes animals beyond instinct so they can learn the new way.