First of all we take a thorough history of your FMS. This will include any incidents prior to FMS starting. This can go all the way back to childhood and includes both physical and emotional traumas that you may have sustained.
Once we have your history form, we use gentle muscle testing to look for patterns in the body that have meaning to us. We then challenge different types of receptors, like stretching, or applying heat, or touching the skin with a sharp cocktail stick. How your muscles respond to this tells us what the faulty reflex is. We then simply stimulate these faulty reflexes and then elicit a new reflex elsewhere, like tapping on a tendon, or making you blink, which helps the brain to recognise the fault and reset the faulty reflex.
Treatment is very subtle, like all good therapies are, and minimally invasive but the changes are quite profound.
P-DTR is a post graduate technique, not a modality in its own right. What does this mean? Well a modality is what the general public would have heard of, like Physiotherapy, Osteopathy, Sports Massage, Chiropractic etc, which is basically a philosophy on how to work with patients’ problems. i.e. a Physio likes to treat with exercise and a Chiropractor likes to treat with spinal manipulation.
A technique is different from a modality. You are unlikely to have heard of Muscle Energy Technique, Mulligan, HVT, Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation etc. Yet, if you have ever seen a physio, osteopath or sports massage therapist, you have probably experienced any number of these techniques and more. P-DTR is another of these incredibly useful tools.
Each technique is like a tool that works on a different structure of the body, or the same structure but in a different way. Therefore, and this is where the general public gets confused, the modality is less important than the chosen technique that they use. So, for example, choosing to use spinal adjustments will be ineffective if the problem is in the patient’s muscular endurance. Giving them a few well chosen exercises will be far better. A good therapist works out what is going wrong for the patient then chooses the technique that best address this problem.
So it is very unlikely that you will ever hear of P-DTR unless you are an industry professional. But P-DTR is the technique of choice if the problem resides in the reflexive and threat protective systems of the body. And this, we believe, is the case for FMS.
We do not believe our work to be a cure. Our work is to help reorganise your nervous system, so that the energy you have can be used productively and reduce the ease in which you experience a flare up.
Despite the improvements we have seen in patients, why don’t we believe we can ‘fix’ FMS? We have all sustained multiple physical and emotional traumas throughout our lives yet most of us do not develop Fibromyalgia. Therefore, your nervous system must be set up slightly differently than that of other people. It is likely that your system is more sensitive than the average person. We like to think of this as a bit of a superpower rather than a curse, as strange as that might sound to you right now. Having this level of sensitivity allows you to notice many more situations that cause illness in all people. As you begin to get your health back through our work, you will learn when your nervous system is happy and when it is trying to protect you. You can develop the skill to literally feel the difference an environment or food can make in an instant. This will become such a valuable skill for life that the average person may never master. How great would it be for you to go from total confusion about your body to understanding exactly what it is trying to tell you?
We look to improve the exhaustion you feel in a flare up. Actually, we aim to reduce the flare ups themselves by making your nervous system more resilient.
Flare ups come any and every time you get overloaded. We’ve seen patients overload right in front of us to an almost insignificant stimulus. Other patients tell stories of how quickly they can flip from having a good day to having a flare – Like choosing between two products in a supermarket, which happened for one of our patients. This is because you have minimal resources to multi-task (to allow your nervous system to cope with several things at once). Once the brain runs out of space to run its processes, the system will crash. Just like your computer or phone!
We aim to help reorganise your nervous system so that you can multi-task. If you can multi-task you won’t be able to crash so easily. Simple as that. The fun thing with that is that any pain that is associated multi-tasking compensations will go away too. You’ll likely be left with very specific areas of discomfort that come from tissue damage, rather than such widespread pain, as nervous sensitivity improves. These, more specific pain areas, can then be worked on by more traditional methods.
Of course you are. However, this is what we are noticing in our ongoing research:
The worse your FMS, the more reactive you’ll likely be. So if you can flare up at any given moment then any intervention can trigger a flare up. Those in their early years of FMS tend to respond very quickly because we can do more work at one time.
Those who can barely get out of bed take longer because they flare so easily. Therefore it is a challenge to work with these people. That doesn’t mean you are not a good candidate though. It just means we have more delicate work to do and we must manage expectations accordingly. Just because one patient improves almost instantly doesn’t mean you will. But everybody can make some improvement with persistence.
Below is an image we copied from our most challenging patient to date, who has several other medical conditions other than FMS. The week before she gave us this we were discussing whether she had seen any improvement at all in the past 9 sessions. So she went home, looked at her activity diaries and scored each day based on what she was able to do. She was pleasantly surprised at the result, even though, in many people’s eyes, she was still in pain. The reality was, she was becoming more productive and spending more time getting out of the house. Imagine where she could be in a year if we continue to see similar improvements.
Red: Bed bound from pain & exhaustion and needs help from others.
Amber: Exhaustion lower so able to get out of bed and do things around the house despite pain.
Green: Enough energy to be able to leave the house and be relatively productive throughout the day.
The first 2 – 3 sessions usually tire out our patients. Sometimes these first sessions can produce a flare themselves.
Once we are starting to get you more organised most patients begin to feel more energetic and have no adverse reactions to a treatment session.
Treatment can’t produce more symptoms. The human nervous system follows a defined and well researched set of rules to achieve homeostasis. We are not changing your nervous system but instead resetting the reflexes it makes. For example, you have a reflex to dilate your pupil in a high stress situation. If the pupil is stuck in a dilated position and we are unable to reset that reflex at that time, then the pupil will just remain dilated. This is because you are either generating a reflex or you are not. Therefore we can only reset the reflex or leave it as it is. If you experience a flare up, that is because we were unable to clean up the reflexes before you became overloaded in your multitasking and you produced a flare up as you would in any other situation.
Because flare ups can occur to very minimal challenge, many patients find the first few sessions can produce a flare. This can be a flare in their pain or fatigue. But this is very normal and is to be expected.
This is why we ask you to commit to at least 6 sessions. It is very easy to quit before we even get started because of this flare. Those first few sessions are making progress regardless of how you feel after, because we are learning about how your nervous system is organised. Once we start to understand you, we usually start to see rapid improvements and minimal flare ups.
As much as people these days would like to believe this to be true, we do not have an ON/OFF switch for any kind of chronic pain. Pain is a complex set of processes and Fibromyalgia is far more complex that mere chronic pain.
So we ask for a minimum commitment of 6 sessions because it takes time to learn the complexities of your FMS. We liken it to playing that card game called pairs: All 52 cards are face down on the table. At the start of the game you take turns to randomly turn two cards over to see what they are. After a while of this you begin to create a map in your mind of where all the cards are, so you can match them up. Treatment is just like this. We have never met before, yet we want to know what is going on inside your body. So we need to learn how your system has become disorganised before we can start to match up all the pairs.
Treatment sessions are £75.
You should allow 90 minutes at your first appointment and 1 hour for each appointment thereafter. However, we take it session by session when it comes to the amount of time we use. This is because we have to be mindful of your reactivity. A very productive session can be ruined easily if we do too much work in one go and overload you. Therefore we tailor our sessions to each client. With Fibromyalgia, it is about the quality of work/research we do, not the quantity. After each session a great deal of my time is then put into mapping out what was learnt, in order to tailor each subsequent session.
Just light, loose fitting clothing it fine. Ideally not heavy materials though, like jeans, because some stimuli will not be felt through these. You will not be asked to remove any clothing unless absolutely necessary.
Yes you can but we always advise you have someone bring you to your first few appointments. It is hard to know what your reactions will be at the first session or two, so it is always safest to have somebody drive you if possible.
There are also several B&Bs locally to the clinic that you may wish to use to reduce the stress of travel.
Everybody has some level of anxiety when seeking new treatments, so some level of concern is perfectly natural. But treatment is only right for you if you are ready to commit to it. Your body is desperate to heal but our negative thoughts and beliefs can paralyse us into inaction. It is a brave thing to seek help and if you are not ready at this time, then that is ok. Sometimes it takes just the right timing to start a new journey. But if you are ready to have a conversation, then we are here to talk.
Yes. Please get in touch and tell us your circumstances. We have a small fund that we use to help those on benefits without additional support. We would be more than happy to talk to you about this.
At this time we can only see people that can make it to our clinic in Sussex. We have many B&B options around the clinic, all set in the beautiful Ashdown Forest National Park. It is well worth visiting us here just to see the open countryside and visit the birthplace of Winnie the Pooh.