structural energetic therapy

Many clients come to you for relief from chronic pain and other musculoskeletal issues—and massage is an effective way to ease their conditions; at least, until their next session. If you’re not achieving the long-term results your clients seek, the underlying source of pain and dysfunction isn’t being fully addressed. Structural Energetic Therapy® is a complete modality for rehabilitating the causes of your clients’ pain and dysfunction.


Spiral Twist

After 40 years of practice, I have realized that musculoskeletal problems that produce pain exist in clients’ bodies from the top of their heads to the bottom of their feet. There is a spiral twist that goes from the head to the feet, and in approximately 95 percent of cases this twist is involved in producing the dysfunction and pain that clients experience.

Evidence of this twist is verified by radiologist and author Terry R. Yochum, D.C., D.A.C.B.R., A.C.C.R., who noted in his textbook, Essentials of Skeletal Radiology, that in radiographs, even 1-year-old children show a significant rotation of iliac angles and acetabula angles of at least 20 degrees—and this rotation is considered normal. This is what I call core distortion, and it is easy to see that everybody has it.


How Core Distortion Causes Dysfunction

A functional kinesiology evaluation of a body’s strength and function in core distortion reveals that the imbalances at the joints including the spine—vertebral joints—produce dramatic weakening and dysfunction of at least 50 percent of the muscles attaching at every joint throughout the body. This spiral of core distortion is related to pain and dysfunction.

Since all people start out with this core distortion, they have weaknesses that will lead to further structural collapse and pain. Life happens and each person’s experience is different, but with core distortion it is usually only a matter of time until clients start having some form of musculoskeletal pain.

When clients present for treatment, effectively treating core distortion becomes necessary for long-term rehabilitation. As long as the core distortion that led to the pain developing still exists, most of the relief clients have will be temporary. This is inevitable, because once they stand up, the weaknesses of the core distortion are again put under stress.


How Structural Energetic Therapy Can Help

To effectively address core distortion, the spiral twist needs to be lessened, especially the anterior/posterior rotation of the iliums that creates a tipped sacrum, exaggerated curvatures of the spine, long leg/short leg, and distortions at every joint. This will rehabilitate the structural core distortion, a cause of pain and degeneration within the client’s musculoskeletal system.

Structural Energetic Therapy broke away from the 10-session myofascial body-restructuring model of the 1960s and 1970s to directly address clients’ areas of pain and dysfunction from the first session, as those areas related to core distortion. To do this it was necessary to develop a myofascial approach that allowed not only the surface levels but also the intermediate and deeper levels of soft tissue to be worked in the early sessions. Specialized myofascial release techniques were developed to allow this to be effective.

One of the biggest challenges was achieving long-term balancing of the iliums and bringing weight-bearing support to the sacroiliac joints. This was complicated by ligaments and connective tissue that were overstretched and would not support the structure at the sacroiliac joint.

What became apparent was the rotations of the iliums were mirrored by the sphenoid and occiput bones of the cranium. This led to the development of cranial/structural techniques to release soft tissue restrictions governing the distortions of the cranium, which resulted in a shift out of core distortion throughout the entire body. That shift brought long-term, weight-bearing support to the sacroiliac joints and a leveling of the sacrum, which initiated an unwinding of spinal curvatures, an equalizing of leg lengths, and a lessening of the distortions of every joint in the body. Kinesiology evaluation showed a dramatic increase in the strength of the previously weakened muscles at the joints due to the lessening of the structural distortions. The strengthening of the joints created function and pain relief and also helped the body maintain its improved structure.

There was now a supported structure that could further be brought into balance by addressing myofascial holding patterns, chronically shortened fascial bands, adhesions and scar tissue. By integrating cranial/structural core distortion release with advanced myofascial techniques, it became possible to release almost any myofascial soft tissue patterns anywhere in the body and have these changes supported by the positive structural changes.

This integration of cranial/structural techniques with specialized myofascial therapies is unique to Structural Energetic Therapy. Conditions such as degenerative disc disease, bulging and herniated discs, headaches, temporomandibular joint dysfunction, scoliosis, nerve entrapments, sciatic pain and joint degeneration throughout the body were given support and function from the balancing of core distortion. These outcomes are based on anecdotal evidence from clients and therapists. Many clients who had given up hope of ever being pain-free have now resumed their normal activities without pain.


Training in Structural Energetic Therapy

Clients talking about their improvements led to a dramatic increase in referrals and the need to train more therapists to keep up with demand. Structural Energetic Therapy is taught in three phases spread out over approximately 18 months. The process to become certified is available after completion of the three phases of training.

The integration of cranial/structural techniques, advanced myofascial techniques, and specific energetic healing techniques is a unique and very effective combination. Therapists who are trained in Structural Energetic Therapy experience similar results, in which clients are excited about their rehabilitation and being pain-free. They refer their friends and family to these therapists, who are becoming known for producing long-term results.


Benefits to the Therapist

During the economic hardship of the last eight years, many therapists who were trained in Structural Energetic Therapy saw their practices grow beyond their expectations. They were extremely successful because of referrals, while therapists who were not able to get their clients free of pain long-term struggled.

Therapists also note that a lot of their own musculoskeletal issues disappeared while receiving Structural Energetic Therapy in training. These therapists have said they experienced a significant amount of personal growth in their process of becoming highly trained Structural Energetic Therapists. This personal growth has led to an expansion of how they relate to their clients and clients’ problems, and also an expansion of their previous limitations as to how successful they could be.

They realize they are able to have longer, more successful careers—with the satisfaction of truly making a long-term difference for their clients.


About the Author

Don McCann, L.M.T., L.M.H.C., C.S.E.T.T., developed Structural Energetic Therapy and Cranial/Structural Therapy. In practice 40 years, he is a licensed massage therapist; continuing education provider; Structural Energetic Therapy and Cranial/Structural Therapy instructor; and lecturer and instructor for universities, conventions, schools and workshops. He has produced videos and published five books, and written for massage publications.