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Myotherapists are Muscling in on New Opportunity

Most medical professionals work hard to keep their patients happy. Myotherapists try not to keep their patients at all. It is a myotherapist's goal to completely eliminate pain, so customers won't need to come back.

Molly Hogan, a registered nurse, suffered from migraine headaches and neck and back pain for 20 years. She had tried virtually every form of therapy, including aerobic exercise, massage, medication, physical therapy and other methods.

"Some of these methods helped some, some helped not at all, some made the headaches worse," says Hogan.

The only method that finally got rid of her headaches completely was Bonnie Prudden myotherapy.

"I found Bonnie Prudden myotherapy to be so far superior to any other method I had tried or heard of, and as a health-care professional for 30 plus years with an interest in 'alternative' treatments, I think I've seen all methods. I decided to become a certified Bonnie Prudden myotherapist in order to help other people get rid of their pain."

In 1976, fitness expert Bonnie Prudden developed myotherapy. It's a hands-on, drug-free and non-invasive way of soothing pain in the muscles. Prudden emphasized speedy, cost-effective recoveries and active patient participation to bring about long-term relief.

"Unfortunately, Bonnie Prudden never trademarked the term 'myotherapy,' so that others have used it to describe various methods, which may or may not resemble the method that Bonnie Prudden developed," says Hogan.

"Oftentimes, the term 'myotherapy' is used to describe massage therapy, which Bonnie Prudden myotherapy is not. Bonnie Prudden myotherapy is a medical treatment for pain using very specific methods, including corrective exercises from Bonnie Prudden's vast knowledge and many years, 50 plus, as a fitness expert."

In general, Bonnie Prudden myotherapists put external pressure on muscular trigger points. Trigger points are highly irritable spots that have remained in muscles after the muscle has been damaged.

This trigger-point therapy, along with the patient's participation in learned exercises, relaxes the muscles, improves circulation and eases pain in all parts of the body. It also increases strength, coordination, flexibility, stamina and energy. It goes even further to improve posture, gait, sleep patterns and work and play performance.

"Pain is, unfortunately, a growth industry in the U.S.," says Hogan. "Our sedentary lifestyle and jobs involving repetitive motion contribute greatly to the development of pain in a high percentage of the population."

Public awareness of myotherapy is slowly increasing as success stories spread and alternative medicine becomes more accepted. In fact, complementary and alternative approaches to health and medicine are among the fastest-growing aspects of health care.

According to Alternative Medicine Online, 74 percent of the American population wants a more natural approach to health care.

Janice Dunleavy is a Bonnie Prudden myotherapist in Michigan. She was first introduced to myotherapy when her husband was searching for relief from his college football-induced injury.

"At times, his pain was so severe he was put in traction and was eventually operated on," says Dunleavy. "His pain, however, returned. Someone gave me Bonnie Prudden's book, and I worked on him from the book. I couldn't believe the changes that took place almost immediately.

"The muscle released and he stood straighter. He is now pain free, golfing and bowling, everything the doctors told him he would never do. It was then I decided it was an incredible therapy, and I wanted to learn more," says Dunleavy.

Now Dunleavy's patients vary in age from teens to seniors. "I have worked on weightlifters and runners. Athletes usually love myotherapy immediately," she says.

Sandra Dirks is a Bonnie Prudden myotherapist working in Iowa. Originally, she was interested in a career in physical therapy after obtaining her BA in business.

"While living in Minneapolis and working for some physical therapists -- to see if that's what I really wanted to do -- Bonnie Prudden came to town to do a seminar," says Dirks.

"After going to her seminar, I decided to go for myotherapy. Patients at the PTs' [physical therapists'] offices kept coming back with the same problems. Bonnie's philosophy was, and continues to be, to help the client become as self-sufficient as possible through corrective exercise and self-help myotherapy."

Myotherapy has come a long way over the past few decades. Dirks has seen evidence of increased public awareness.

"I've been practicing myotherapy since 1985," says Dirks. "Alternative medicine is so much more accepted now than it was 15 years ago. Most people now have heard of trigger-point therapy and believe that it can help them before they come in for a treatment. Fifteen years ago, much of our efforts went towards educating the public as to what myotherapy was."

After observing a 15-minute myotherapy demonstration, Christina Godfrey was convinced of the method's validity. She is now a Bonnie Prudden myotherapist in New Jersey. Her patients are usually middle-aged people who are experiencing decreased function for the first time in their life. Around 40 percent are 60 years and older.

"Myotherapy is catching on," says Godfrey. "Unfortunately, there are not enough fully qualified Bonnie Prudden myotherapists to ensure the best techniques are passed along."

Currently, the minimum training to become a Bonnie Prudden myotherapist is 1,300 hours, with a mandatory 45 hours every other year. This training also qualifies the graduate as an exercise therapist.

With an increase in the popularity of alternative medicine and the definite need for effective and long-term pain relief, those interested in Bonnie Prudden myotherapy have an exciting road ahead.

"I have been a Bonnie Prudden myotherapist for over 10 years," says Dunleavy. "It is truly the most rewarding career I have ever had, and I will be forever grateful to Bonnie Prudden for the knowledge and training."


Bonnie Prudden Myotherapy
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What is a Myotherapist?
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International Myotherapy Association
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