Structural Testing & Evaluation Procedure, S.T.E.P., was designed to help practitioners detect and correct dysfunctional movement. S.T.E.P. is based on the principle, to function properly there must first be structural integrity.
Restoring structural integrity is the main driving force behind S.T.E.P. and the integral component which separates S.T.E.P. from any other manual therapy.
When the body's structure is compromised, due to certain repetitive activities and lifestyle patterns, the body becomes unable to perform at it's peak level. S.T.E.P. first takes into consideration the skeletal system and finds where structural integrity is compromised.
When structural integrity is lost it causes neurological inhibition of the muscular system. In other words when the body's structure becomes dysfunctional it leads to muscles not working correctly, they become neurologically "turned off", inhibited. When a muscle or group of muscles becomes "turned off" it immediately causes an increased amount of stress to be placed on the surrounding tissues. When a muscle becomes neurologically inhibited it fails to function as it is designed. This results in decreased performance, increased muscular fatigue, pain and injury.
Neurological integrity of the muscular system is determined by performing functional muscle testing. This type of muscle evaluation pinpoints exactly which muscles are functioning properly and which ones are neurologically inhibited.
S.T.E.P. immediately corrects both avenues of bodily dysfunction. It first, restores structural integrity to the body which allows the neurological system to become re-activated. Second, S.T.E.P. removes neurological inhibition of the muscular system which immediately restores muscular function. In order for structural integrity to occur, both the muscular and skeletal systems must be calibrated together.
Restoring structural integrity allows for:
1. Take client through S.T.E.P. protocol
2. Restore structural integrity
3. Remove neurological inhibition from the muscular system.
4. Retest to insure neurological activation is restored
Most clients experience relief following the first treatment. However, to reset the neurology of the muscular system it usually requires multiple treatments over a period of time.*
S.T.E.P. protocol can also be used to decrease the chance of injury. Preventative protocol is typically 1 or 2 treatments per month.
*Treatment plans are determined case by case.
Frequently Asked Questions
What makes S.T.E.P. different from other manual activation therapies?
S.T.E.P. is the only manual therapy protocol to address BOTH the skeletal and muscular systems in the same treatment. Other manual techniques either look at one or the other. The limited number of practitioners trained to detect and remove skeletal dysfunctions, many times only look to the spine for dysfunction.
In fact many of these practitioners are not well trained in detecting dysfunctions in other joints other than the spine. This lack in extremity training leaves the joints of your feet, ankles, knees, hips, hands, elbows, shoulders, clavicles and jaw untreated. This lack of treatment can wreck havoc on an athletes neurology, muscular functioning and hinder the chances of making a full recovery. S.T.E.P. practitioners are trained to examine and treat the entire skeletal system.
S.T.E.P. also has a strategic protocol for examining the muscular system. A few techniques S.T.E.P. uses to determine where muscular inhibition is occurring is with functional muscle testing, range of motion and palpation of the muscle itself. By determining the functionality of both the skeletal and muscular systems a S.T.E.P. practitioner can detect the true root cause of an injury. If only one system is treated it can lead to short term relief, re-injuries and ultimately chronic conditions which derail performance.
What type of treatments does S.T.E.P. Protocol utilize?
Restoring structural integrity is composed of treating both the skeletal and muscular systems. As the two systems are radically different they also receive different types of treatments. In order to restore integrity to the skeletal system S.T.E.P. practitioners utilize low force, highly focused treatments, which are specific to a single joint. These treatments are as close to zero force as possible. Many of the treatments utilized in conjunction with S.T.E.P. have been used for over 100 years across the world.
S.T.E.P. does NOT use high velocity treatments to restore integrity to the skeletal system. There is no snapping, cracking or popping a joint back into alignment. The key is to restore function to the skeletal system without increasing the inflammatory process. The specific treatments utilized to restore structural integrity accomplish this.
S.T.E.P. utilizes many different types of muscular techniques to restore neurological functioning. These techniques are a blend of physical therapy exercises, manual therapies and traditional bodywork. However, all therapies used on the muscular system are done in the pain free zone. This is because if a client is experiencing pain during a treatment, the inflammatory process has been activated. This can lead to more tissue and joint damage, which is counterproductive.
Why does the skeletal system need treatment?
When a loss of structural integrity occurs within the skeletal system it results in a joint becoming “locked” in an abnormal position. Immediately after a joint becomes locked in an abnormal position the inflammatory process begins. The only way to restore structural integrity of a joint is through proper diagnosis and manual therapy techniques. S.T.E.P. utilizes specific, highly focused, low force therapy treatments, which restore proper motion to, locked joints, essentially unlocking them. This provides relief and proper functioning to dysfunctional joints.
After a joint becomes “locked” and the inflammatory process starts what comes next?
If a joint is left untreated the next step is usually fatigue within the connected muscular tissue. For example, if an athlete’s shoulder joint becomes misaligned the muscles of the shoulder will start to fatigue and performance will decline rapidly. After fatigue and decreased performance, the next symptom to arise is cramping and pain. If the skeletal system is not addressed an injury may occur.
Looking at our example above, an athlete with who has lost structural integrity of the shoulder joint will develop a tired shoulder and experience a decrease in accuracy and velocity. If left untreated this can be followed by tightness and discomfort in the shoulder, elbow or low back. These other areas become involved because the body is adapting to the loss of structural integrity within the shoulder joint and will distribute the workload onto other joints. At this stage the problem will magnify usually resulting in an injury to the shoulder, low back or elbow.
Is S.T.E.P. safe?
Yes! All portions of S.T.E.P. are designed around low force, non invasive testing and treatment options. S.T.E.P. does not involve yanking, pulling, popping or twisting the body back into alignment. Every portion of the testing and treatment protocol is gentle, yet effective.
If I am an athlete who is currently injured can I still be treated with S.T.E.P. despite my injury?
In most cases, the answer is yes. S.T.E.P. is designed to help elite athletes recover from injuries. In fact most athletes show an improvement following the first treatment. This is confirmed by re-testing the body following treatment.
What if other practitioners have treated me, will S.T.E.P. work for me?
The first thing that a S.T.E.P. practitioner will do is thoroughly examine your condition. This is to make sure you receive a proper diagnosis and course of care. By taking time during your first visit to thoroughly examine your condition it allows the S.T.E.P. practitioner to eliminate underlying medical conditions that may have been missed. This is done to ensure your injury is of a skeletal/muscular origin.
I am not an athlete can I still be treated with S.T.E.P.?
Absolutely! S.T.E.P. was designed to provide functional movement. If you are not moving as well as you would like, you might benefit from seeing a S.T.E.P. practitioner. Many people see benefit in other areas of their life once functional movement has been restored.