Now that I’m teaching Manual Trigger Point Therapy (MTT) many potential students ask me why they should attend my course when they’ve already got post-graduate certifications in Neuromuscular Therapy (NMT) or similar. There are a couple ways I reply. One is to direct them to to look up the course descriptions for each of the five modules of MTT to view the various components of the curriculum. They don’t need to waste their time or money if they already know most of that material.

The other way I reply is to say that back in the ‘90s I certified in a St John version of NMT in my native New Zealand, then certified again with the DeLany American version NMT, then, realizing that I still didn’t know my trigger point stuff well enough, from 2007-2009 I studied with and certified in Myofascial Trigger Point Therapy (CMTPT) at Myopain Seminars, a company based in Bethesda MD. Their deep and devious exam of seventy five MCQs was set by Jan Dommerholt and took me well over 2 hours to answer. After passing that I thought I could  relax. But wait. No. Just the other day I ended up double-certifying in CMTPT too!! Let me explain.

There is a body of highly skilled therapists that belong to the National Association of Myofascial Trigger Point Therapists or NAMTPT. I joined the association as a professional member only after attaining CMTPT status. I wasn’t able to do that with my CNMT qualification. I was later invited to speak at the 2010 conference in Chicago (see a previous blog). I felt like I’d finally found my family. Here was gathered a small but dedicated group of largely unheralded therapists, some of who had spent a lot of time studying directly with Janet Travell herself.  This happy cadre appeared to have attained trigger point Zen, both in shared knowledge and skill.

Time passed, then out of the blue, just two weeks ago, I got an email from a woman named Alyce DeChant from Albuquerque NM. She wanted to know if I would be interested in traveling to the Professional Testing Center (PTC) on Broadway, New York, to review new questions for the 2011 national certification exam in Myofascial Trigger Point Therapy as determined by an examination board. What? There’s a national exam? I had no idea. Who are these people? What are they up to? Why is this exam not publicized more?

Well, the correspondence went back and forth and had to include the Director of Myopain Seminars, my mentor Jan Dommerholt. With his blessing I went down to the big Apple. It had been agreed that I had better sit and pass the 2010 exam before I could review questions for the next one. So, after greeting the assembled reviewers and PTC staff (I’ll name them all in the next blog) I went off into the spartan PTC test room. I must say I was a bit nervous. I’d done no actual study (kinda busy on the home-front, what with Katie and me moving into our new business digs and the debut of MTT-1). Plus, I knew I was rusty on the words of Janet Travell contained in the pioneering book Myofascial Pain and Dysfunction: the Trigger Point Manual.

The exam consisted of 250 multi-choice questions and I had 4 hours to complete it. Four hours. Yikes! Obviously, I can’t tell you too much about the questions, suffice to say that it was a fair and balanced exam. But, like Fox News, it didn’t quite cover the whole subject.  But here’s the thing. That’s why they invited me.

Myopain Seminars approaches Trigger Point Therapy a little differently because of its Gerwin/Dommerholt or Neurologist/Physical Therapist roots. (If you have read Jan Dommerholt’s recent book Myofascial Trigger Points you’ll know what I mean.) The MTT branch of Myopain Seminars that I teach is an academically challenging course for the manual therapist, and that’s done on purpose. It is research-based, evidence-informed, fully comprehensive, completely up-to-date and will certify to an industry high standard.

I did manage to pass the  exam (score unknown, but I needed > 70%) that in 2010 had a 56% national pass rate. I was then able to help in the rest of the review process with the exam board. I will now be able to contribute questions to this board on many of the components that are covered in MTT but not yet in general usage. This will be the subject of future blogs.

Four certifications and counting.