I just passed my certification testing for the Postural Restoration Institute.  There was a day or two after the testing that I felt like the lead singer from Creed.  guy on a mountain  But before I had a chance to start singing that Arms Wide Open song and dancing on top of a mountain, I was back in the clinic.  It felt great to get back to work.

I had spent the last week out in Lincoln, NE at the Advanced Integration class for the Postural Restoration Institute.  The first four days were spent in class and the rest were spent testing.  There was a written and practical portion to the test.   I feel like I gained a great deal from it and met some amazing people in the process.

I first heard about the Postural Restoration Institute (PRI) at dental conference.  I was looking for a better way to integrate dentistry and physical therapy and was disappointed by what I had seen up until then on the physical therapy side.  I took my first class and was hooked.  This group has a great way of looking at the entire human body, and manual therapy compliments this approach very nicely.  It gave me a way to work with dentistry that made sense!

Let me give you the philosophy of PRI  in a nutshell…By design we have asymmetrical bodies.  While we look pretty much symmetrical on the outside (for example we have quadricep muscles on each side), our organs are asymmetrical.  Our heart is a little to the left, we have a 3-4lb liver on the right, we have a 12-14 ounce spleen on the left. These are just a few examples.  The other major factor that causes our asymmetry is our nervous system which tends to lateralize us to the right.  Asymmetry isn’t bad unless we get stuck there.  This means we aren’t able to move back and forth in a way that allows us to become asymmetrical on the opposite side.  We get stuck in one asymmetrical position.  This can lead to stress and strain on joints and soft tissue.

This is where PRI comes in, it looks at how these asymmetries cause pain and influences the ways we move.  The underlying principles can apply to an elderly person all the way to a high level athlete.  We can also assess someone before they’re hurting to help decrease the likelihood of injury.   We want to get someone moving correctly and then begin to retrain those muscles to turn on and off at the right time without having to think about it.  With this approach things work automatically, you don’t have to think about tightening up a certain muscle every time you take a step.  You won’t have to try to hold yourself in a strange feeling position in order to get things to work the right way.

I enjoy these types of classes and the certification processes that go with them because I feel there is always more to learn (guilty…life long learning nerd).  The more I know the more I will be able to help the person in the clinic sitting in front of me.  It’s a great job and continues to get more rewarding as time goes on.