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Applied Anatomy & Physiology For Manual Therapists: Book Talk

Two of Discoverypoint’s founders and teachers co-authored the book Applied Anatomy & Physiology for Manual Therapists, which has since become a widely-taught and important resource for massage education. Our own coursework at Discoverypoint uses this text. Here’s a conversation with authors Patricia Archer and Lisa Nelson about their book.

What inspired you to write the book?

Lisa (joking): Pat made me do it.

Pat: Well, actually, we’d been teaching together for a long time at the Brenneke School of Massage, and we’d both been teaching different anatomy and physiology classes, and we’d found all the textbooks that we were working with to be disagreeable.

Lisa: The textbooks were either too in-depth or they’re so over-simplified they’re not useful. They don’t highlight the things that manual therapists need to know. There are things that therapists need to know only superficially—for example, they don’t need to know how to read an EKG, or all the steps and chemical mediators for mitosis, but they DO need to know a lot more information about fascia, which none of the texts of the time talked about sufficiently.

Pat: Fascia is the one body system that connects everything to everything else, and there has been a tremendous amount of new research that really confirms its importance for what we do as therapists. It informs everything—you need to have detail!

Why did you team up, and what did you each bring to the project?

Lisa: The team-up was easy. We’ve worked together for a lot of years—24 years. We both have a background in sports medicine, and came to the field from a similar place as certified athletic trainers. Our focuses have been slightly different in the way we engage. While we both are massage therapists and educators, as time went on my focus became more on education, and her focus stayed more on bodywork, so we have an emphasis difference. I see things from big picture and on down, and she sees a lot of detail, and if you put those two things together you get the whole spectrum.

Pat: When I wrote my first book, Therapeutic Massage in Athletics, I realized I am not good at long-range projections. Project management is not a skill I am gifted with, and Lisa is deeply gifted at that. So she became my project manager for the first book, and was so essential in that process to me. At the end, I said, “That’s it, I’ll never write another textbook!” and Lisa said, “Well, what if we wrote it together?”

What programs use this text in their instruction?

Pat: We don’t get a list of who is using our textbook, we just get numbers. But we became aware through some friends teaching there that the National Holistic Institute in California—they have about 10 campuses I believe—recently adapted the textbook.

Lisa: A lot of little programs here have moved to it as well.

Pat: I’m fairly confident that we probably have a small school or program using the textbook in pretty much every state.  We also have individuals who have been in the field for a long time, teaching in schools where their texts have been chosen for them owners or boards who are not therapists, telling us that they use our book as a primary reference because it says things to manual therapist that their textbook simply doesn’t tell them.

Are you going to do another one? 

Pat: Nothing completely new, but we’re working on getting our outlines set for a second edition of this one and my Therapeutic Massage text. We several new and interesting updates we want to get into the next versions!

If you’re thinking about massage as a career, wouldn’t you love to learn from two therapists who have helped design the curriculum nation-wide? Choose the PMP at Discoverypoint School of Massage! Pat and Lisa have been in the industry for decades, understand the nuances of massage instruction and the necessary knowledge base, and would love to help you pursue your LMP.

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