In his recent book “The Talent Code,” Daniel Coyle identifies three major components that help turn ordinary talent into great talent, giving examples of artists, athletes, musicians and leaders of industry. The three components are: the ability to practice deeply, the need to be highly motivated (and be in the right place at the right time), and the close mentorship of an appropriate teacher or teaching facility.
I am going to use Coyle’s book to accentuate the massage industry. The talented massage therapist should practice deeply, be highly motivated and seek accurate information from gifted teachers. This is especially pertinent for manual therapists choosing to address myofascial pain and dysfunction, more specifically, pain derived from trigger points.
Historically, there are many inaccuracies and confusion surrounding trigger points. This November, clarity arrives when Myopain Seminars, named in honor of trigger point pioneer of Janet G. Travell, MD, launches a new certification course called “Manual Trigger Point Therapy” (MTT). This distinguished series will bring leading edge curriculum and precise instruction to our field. Originally designed for physical therapists to learn dry needling, the new MTT course incorporates a massage based approach towards musculoskeletal damage and repair. MTT combines the historical opus of Travell & Simons, with ‘hot-off-the-press’ evidence from research teams in Bethesda (NIH) and publications coming out of Europe, Asia and Australia.
Research has finally caught up to the theory of trigger points. Dr. Jay Shah (NIH) has sampled and analyzed the biochemical environment of active and latent trigger points and compared them to normal muscle tissue. Dr. Siddhartha Sikdar (also NIH) published study using a VSE Doppler technique revealing elliptical trigger points within muscle tissue in real time. Both researchers’ work accurately informs what is happening inside trigger points and what they actually look like! Massage therapists need to know these scientific details about trigger points to successfully and permanently deactivate them. We also need to use a medically accepted language to liaise with other healthcare professionals and educate our clients. The Manual Trigger Point Therapy courses will provide the science with advanced techniques for massage therapists to practice deeply.
Coyle’s second point for developing talent is self-motivation. It takes dedication and resilience to practice massage full time. A decade ago, Anders Ericsson proposed the “ten thousand hours theory’ where one truly becomes good at something only after practicing it for at least that amount of time. Applied to famous athletes and artists, this makes sense. Applied to full time massage therapists treating 20 clients/week, it will take approximately ten years to get those 10,000 hours! Where does the spark come from to continually motivate a practice? Within.
After almost twenty years as a massage therapist, my drive to keep developing my talent comes from helping people resolve long-standing, often enigmatic pain. And although I have my 10,000 clinical hours, I still don’t have all the answers for why muscle pain persists. What I can attest to, however, is that as talent increases, so to does treatment effectiveness. Integrating Myopain Seminars techniques into your practice will support a long and prosperous massage career.
Finally, let’s consider Coyle’s third imperative: having access to mentorship and educational resources. The Boston-based MTT program is going to provide easy access to teaching that Coyle mandates for talent development. There are already great teachers in the field of manual and neuromuscular massage therapy, including Paul St John, Judith DeLany and Leon Chaitow. The new MTT courses introduce Dr. Jan Dommerholt and Robert Gerwin, MD to our community. They are my mentors, and I have been honored to help translate their original Myopain Seminars curriculum for massage therapists.
Completing all MTT courses will lead to a new title of “Certified Myofascial Trigger Point Therapist” (CMTPT). Therapists with this certification will become a vital part of a developing network of highly trained, talented soft-tissue practitioners. Together we will be networking locally. Nationally we will be connected to other established myofascial pain teaching and research facilities around the country.
This my rally call! I am seeking students that want to further develop their talent with deep and deliberate practice. Mypain Seminars MTT courses will challenge you with the most contemporary information and resources available. Together, let’s put the New England area on the myofascial map.
Stew Wild CMTPT, CNMT, LMT
360 NeuroMuscular Therapy
Needham, MA 02494
If you are interested in finding out more about Myopain Seminars MTT courses or trigger points please visit: