Whether you just received your massage certification or are simply pondering a career in the field of professional massage therapy and bodywork, you may be on a quest to explore the different facets of this broad industry. For those who only recently graduated from a manual therapy school, the question of what is myoskeletal alignment therapy may be one you are asking as you consider a more specialized direction for your career. If you are wondering about Myoskeletal Alignment Techniques (MAT), which is another name for myoskeletal alignment therapy, prior to enrolling in your massage education, then you may be getting a head start in shaping a touch therapy career that is directed more toward medical massage than the relaxation model of massage that is taught in so many schools.
In order to find out exactly what is myoskeletal alignment therapy, the place to begin is not secondary sources but with the creator of MAT, Erik Dalton. Founder of the Freedom From Pain Institute in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, Dalton developed this rich, well-researched and thoroughly tested tool box of deep tissue massage techniques in an effort to help people better manage and alleviate all kinds of pain, particularly the stubborn pain patterns that tend to affect people for long periods of time and, in turn, take a toll on their quality of life. For example, MAT comprises specific massage techniques for back pain that can assist clients in gaining relief from this all too common and powerful type of pain.
As you look further into the question of what is myoskeletal alignment therapy, you will find that relief from back pain is just one in a long line of potential benefits that MAT can bring for client issues and conditions of all kinds. Among the many other scenarios Dalton has developed MAT techniques to address are sciatica, lumbago, scoliosis, dowager’s hump, rib dysfunction, carpal tunnel syndrome, rotator cuff injuries, forward head postures and thoracic outlet syndrome, to name a few. These breakthrough therapeutic approaches aim to treat soft tissue pain that spans the spectrum of conditions. MAT works to address these persistent pain patterns by mobilizing joints through muscle manipulation.
Of course, an answer to an inquiry that asks what is myoskeletal alignment therapy could not be complete without at least mentioning the fact that MAT also encompasses effective methods for assessing clients. A thorough and proper evaluation structure is crucial for the manual therapist who hopes to achieve results. After all, if one cannot identify or at least form a reasonable hypothesis or two for what is causing the client’s pain, it will be tough to bring any lasting relief. It is important for the professional massage therapist or bodyworker who practices MAT to be able to feel confident in finding the true source of the issue or condition, rather than be distracted by flashy symptoms that lead the therapist in the direction of temporary, rather than long term, solutions.
In order to continue gaining a better understanding of what is myoskeletal alignment therapy, it may be helpful to consider the contexts in which MAT may be used. This signature modality exists toward the more clinical end of the manual therapy spectrum. For example, many practitioners may choose to focus their education on MAT to build a practice that centers on massage for sports therapy or orthopedic massage. These folks may end up opening their own independent clinics or go to work for hospitals, physical therapists, chiropractors, orthopedic doctors and other medical professionals. The common thread for the MAT practitioner tends to be the nature of the clients who are coming in, whether on their own or through medical referrals. In general, these are going to be clients who are significantly motivated to find relief from their pain, often after exhausting several other avenues of both traditional and complementary care.
While this article provides only a small glimpse of an answer to the question what is myoskeletal alignment therapy, a tour through Erik Dalton’s extensive website or a look at his continuing education offerings should deliver a deeper understanding of MAT and its importance in the realm of manual therapy for pain management.