Our Program



Functional Manual Therapy® is an integrated and artistic intervention which couples mechanical treatment of the joints, soft tissues, visceral and neurovascular systems with manual neuromuscular facilitation to enhance optimum motor control and human function.

The Institute of Physical Art is the sole provider for Functional Manual Therapy®.

PNF I: The Functional Link For Manual Therapists (no prerequisite)

Probably one of the least understood and most dynamic approaches to patient care, PNF trains the therapist to develop one’s palpation and manual facilitation skills to successfully evaluate and facilitate efficient neuromuscular responses and motor control. Too often, patients are asked to perform exercises or movements without the available proper muscle initiation or strength and or without the proper proprioceptive or kinesthetic perception. This results in abnormal postural and movement patterns. PNF trains the therapist to determine through palpation and resistance the given motor response and utilize techniques to facilitate an appropriate response. The focus of PNF I is the shoulder girdle and pelvic patterns interrelationship between the trunk and the extremities, specifically a CoreFirst® timing which promotes Dynamic Stability combined with Controlled Movement. An emphasis is placed on developing the facilitation skills necessary for Functional Mobilization™, as well as acquiring an understanding of the relevance of current research to motor control.

CFS: CoreFirst® Strategies (no prerequisite)

CoreFirst® Strategies presents a methodical and unique functional assessment and treatment program for spine patients. This approach, developed by Vicky Saliba Johnson, PT, FFFMT, FAAOMPT, trains the therapist to directly correlate the patient’s presenting posture and movement patterns to the patient’s symptoms and pain behavior. The therapist is trained in five principles of posture and movement which promote efficient posture, movement, and the automatic-not volitional-activation of the core stabilizers (ACE: Automatic Core Engagement).The revolutionary and effective training technique of Kinesthetic Comparative Training is utilized to better enhance the patient’s proprioceptive and kinesthetic awareness and ensure more efficient motor learning. All ADL activities such as sitting, standing, push-pull, and lifting are covered. To complete this dynamic approach to active functional rehabilitation, the therapist is trained in a progressive functional exercise program which addresses flexibility, coordination, strength, stability, and functional movement patterns. The course includes an extensive manual with over 200 photos of posture, movement, and exercise and an extensive bibliography and analysis of current literature related to motor control and low back pain.

Functional Mobilization™ Series

Developed by Gregory S. Johnson, PT, FFFMT, FAAOMPT, the Functional MobilizationTM (FM) series presents the dynamic principles and procedures of Functional Mobilization™ as an integrated evaluation and treatment component of the Functional Manual Therapy® treatment model. FM couples active and resisted movements with specific directional pressure to both assess and restore functional mobility. Optimum function depends on dynamic stability coupled with controlled mobility dictated by the variable demands of non-weight bearing and weight bearing positions. The premise of FM is that joints, soft tissues, viscera, and the neurovascular system demand variation in function depending on the total systems functional goals. FM offers a seamless progression from assessment to treatment of three dimensional mobility, maximizing the therapist’s efficiency and outcomes.

The FM Series is designed to progress the therapist through a systematic approach for the evaluation and treatment of the joints, fascia, nerves, blood vessels, and visceral tissues, as well as the muscular responses and motor control of each movement segment. This systematic approach couples the principles of PNF with one’s knowledge of joint, soft tissue, visceral, and neurovascular function and presents techniques specific to each body region to normalize identified restrictions and facilitate efficient functional movement of each segment. Treatment progresses to the efficient integration of the segment into the system as a whole with both neuromuscular and motor control training. Hypermobile segments are treated with prolonged holds to promote activation of the core muscles of the specific segment and the integration of that segment into the body’s function efficiently. Current research related to manual intervention and outcomes is presented in each FM course.

Functional MobilizationTM I: Tools for Structural Assessment and the Principles and Techniques of Functional Soft Tissue Mobilization™.  (no prerequiste) FM I was previously FO I: Functional Orthopedics I 

Gregory S. Johnson, PT, FFFMT, FAAOMPT, developed Soft Tissue Mobilization (STM) for the Physical Therapy Profession in 1978; offering the first biomechanical Physical Therapy course specifically addressing the fascial system. STM, as developed by Gregg went beyond friction and traditional massage, focusing on the structural role of fascia in the function of the dynamic human system. Through his studies of the histological and anatomical role of fascia in the human body, Gregg has developed specific STM techniques that continuously impact patient care throughout the Physical Therapy profession.

FM I trains the participant to view the human body as an interconnected dynamic system, stressing the interrelationship between the soft tissue system and the articular, neuromuscular, neurovascular, and visceral systems. Current anatomy and research related to fascia and its role in human function is presented throughout the course.

Functional MobilizationTM II (FM II) (prerequisite FM I)

Under the direction of Gregory S. Johnson, PT, FFFMT, FAAOMPT, the participant utilizes dynamic treatment strategies and Functional Movement Patterns (adapted from Feldenkrais™ ATM lessons) to evaluate and treat each region of the body, including viscera. Emphasis is on passive and active associated movements while performing soft tissue and joint mobilization (Functional Mobilization™) in non-weight bearing and weight bearing positions. These strategies provide avenues to study and comprehend the interrelationships of the kinetic chain and the effectiveness of enhancing function as a foundation for treating complex orthopedic problems. Cost of the course includes an extensive manual with over 250 pictures of techniques and an IPA plunger. Specific techniques are presented for the pelvic girdle, abdominal region, visceral treatment, lateral lumbo-pelvic girdle, posterior lumbo-pelvic girdle, anterior thigh, posterior thigh, medial lateral thigh, foot and ankle, Rib cage, shoulder girdle, cervical spine, and upper extremity.

Functional MobilizationTM Lower Quadrant (FMLQ) presents a step-by-step assessment and treatment approach for each segmental articulation of the pelvic girdle, lumbar spine, hips, knees and ankles. The treatment strategy progresses from non-weight bearing to weight bearing functional mobilization and neuromuscular reeducation.

Functional MobilizationTM Upper Quadrant (FMUQ) presents a step-by-step assessment and treatment approach for each segmental articulation of the sternum, rib cage, thoracic spine, shoulder girdles, cervical spine, shoulders, elbows, wrists and hands. The treatment strategy progresses from non-weight bearing to weight-bearing functional mobilization and neuromuscular reeducation.

(prerequisites for both FMLQ and FMUQ are PNF I and FM I)

Functional Gait (prerequisite PNF I)

Many aspects of function are impeded by motor control problems that are reflected in a patient’s gait and rolling patterns. The skill to observe and then affect a positive impact on a patient’s gait dysfunction is a powerful tool in the total rehabilitation of both orthopedic and neurological patients. Building on the foundational skills learned in other IPA courses, Functional Gait emphasizes component assessment and the governing structural and motor control factors which influence each component. Each gait component is self-evaluated, assessed by two partners, and then treated using PNF, CFS®, and FM treatment strategies.

Objectives are: Identify the principles which govern efficient gait. Identify and evaluate each individual gait component through self assessment and partner assessment, specifically the pelvis, hip, knee, thoracic, scapula and shoulder regions. Correlate structural and motor control dysfunctions of the above regions to gait and rolling deviations. Identify and apply appropriate PNF, CFS®, and FM treatment strategies to identified dysfunctions in the noted regions. Correlate current literature, anatomy, and physiology to course material.