In a nutshell, Precision Muscle Balancing Technology (PMBT) is a unique, new therapy which Dr. Ric D. Alexander invented for the treatment of musculoskeletal imbalances. These imbalances cause tendinitis, bursitis, arthritis (also known as osteoarthritis), neuritis and other conditions such as scoliosis, hammer toes, and other distortions of the body. The first four problems encompass most of the aches and pains we all suffer from at one time or another. This therapy eliminates the cause of the pain so the symptoms go away. It also discovers and eliminates what caused the cause so the symptoms stay away. Dr. Ric Alexander developed PMBT after many conventional therapies had failed to provide relief from the pain of his numerous musculoskeletal problems. Since then, it has eliminated the pain and suffering of thousands of patients who had been told that nothing could be done for them. This therapy works extremely well on sports injuries like rotator cuff strains, and equally well on repetitive strain injuries like carpal tunnel syndrome.
The following is a question and answer interview with Dr. Ric which was published in Ms. Fitness Magazine. Read on, chances are you will no longer have to “just live with the pain.”
Q. What is PMBT?
A. PMBT stands for Precision Muscle Balancing Technology. It is a non-forceful method of realigning the bones of the body back to their normal positions, thus aligning the related joint(s) and re-establishing structural balance. No forceful manipulation is ever used.
Q. Is it important to have structural balance?
A. Yes. Since structural imbalances cause the vast majority of aches and pains people suffer from, I would say it is extremely important, especially if you want to enjoy improved health and a better quality of life.
When a joint of your body is misaligned, it throws abnormal stress on certain areas of the joint. If a tendon is stressed and irritated, you will develop tendinitis. If bursae are irritated, the result is bursitis. When a muscle is over-stressed, it accumulates damage, making the imbalance worse or creating another misalignment. Some misalignments cause the cartilage in a joint to wear out abnormally fast or certain areas to receive stress your body tries to protect itself from. This leads to (osteo)arthritis (a.k.a. Degenerative Joint Disease). Spinal misalignments usually cause inflammation and pressure on a spinal nerve. This causes weakness, tingling, numbness or pain or otherwise affects the normal function of whatever area of your body the nerve supplies.
Q. So, can PMBT help someone with tendinitis, arthritis and these other problems?
A. Yes. All of these problems can be greatly improved, and most can be eliminated. Even in extreme cases, (i.e. where hip cartilage is totally worn out) a great deal of pain relief has been obtained.
Q. What are some of the other problems PMBT has successfully treated?
A. The list is very extensive. Besides pain in the neck, shoulders, knees, elbows, hips, etc., here is a partial list:
1. Carpal tunnel syndrome (wrist)
2. Scoliosis and other abnormal curvatures of the spine
3. TMJ syndrome (jaw pain)
4. Vertebral disc herniations and disc degeneration
5. Headaches (tension and migraines)
6. Sciatic nerve pain
7. Arthritis (osteo) of hips, knees, fingers, spine and other areas.
8. Tennis and golfer’s elbow
9. Rotator cuff strains (tears)
10. Bunions and numerous other foot and ankle problems
A number of surgeries (especially spinal, knee and shoulder) have been prevented.
Q. How does PMBT work?
A. PMBT is a very precise deep tissue technique that breaks up scar tissue (fibrotic adhesions) in damaged muscles. Scar tissue in a muscle causes it to shorten. When a muscle accumulates enough damage, it becomes short enough to pull the bone it is attached to out of normal alignment. After each treatment, your body absorbs and eliminates the scar tissue residue and heals the muscle closer and closer to its normal length. This allows the misaligned bone to move back to its proper position and stay there. Flexibility and normal movement are also restored.
During each treatment, the involved bones and other structures (discs, bursae, muscles, ligaments) also receive a special treatment which provides neuromuscular re-education. This helps your brain and muscle receptors readjust back to normal.
Q. What causes this scar tissue to form?
A. When a muscle is injured, it often heals with scar tissue as a way of protecting it from further tearing. Muscle injury can occur from the trauma of an accident (e.g., whiplash, falls, etc.) or can accumulate gradually because of constant over-stress. (e.g., holding the phone between your shoulder and ear, using a cash register, typing, compensating for another unbalanced area, poor posture, bad sleeping positions, etc.)
Q. Why is it, then, that people get muscle injuries that seem to heal with no problem?
A. A muscle could be injured a few times or over-stressed for years and only feel tight. (Check your trapezius muscles between your shoulders and neck. Yes, there is a reason why almost everyone has tightness there, and yes it can be eliminated.)
The real problems begin when the muscle damage accumulates to a threshold level causing enough tightness for bones to be pulled out of normal alignment. This explains why someone may wake up one morning with a painful knee, back, neck, etc. and not know why. The muscles in the painful area have been injured or over-stressed and are finally at the threshold level. The last straw has been added to the camel’s back. I have traced many chronic problems back to activities or injuries from years before.
Older people usually have tighter muscles, restricted movement, and more aches and pains simply because they have had more years to accumulate scar tissue in their muscles.
Q. Why has PMBT been so effective when many other “standard” therapies have failed?
A. Its effectiveness comes from one simple fact: PMBT eliminates the cause of the problem instead of just treating the symptoms. Treating symptoms is expensive and time consuming because only temporary relief is obtained; therefore, treatments are never ending. The worst part of this situation is the fact that the cause usually worsens with time. This leads to more frequent treatments, stronger drugs, surgery, or chronic pain and suffering. PMBT was actually developed because numerous “standard” therapies had failed to alleviate my own numerous joint pains.
Q. Why is it, then, that some people seem to get better from these other therapies?
A. My experience with many patients having severe and chronic problems has shown that in most cases this comes from the body’s power of adaptation. The human body is always striving for balance. If one area of your body is misaligned, causing undue stress or pain, your body (if it can) will shift other areas out of place to compensate, thereby, relieving the pain. This “illusion” of being cured very often leads to an eventual problem in the compensating area because of the constant stress it receives.
An example of this, I have seen many times, goes like this: Patients come to my office with chronic lower back pain. These patients have had a neck injury in the past. Most of them had received some form of conventional therapy while others had received none. Even in the cases where the patients received not therapy, the neck pain has gone away after a month or two. Their lower backs are now out of alignment and painful because of the years spent compensating for the neck imbalances, which are actually still there. Their lower back problem is not resolved with the other forms of therapy, or does not go away by itself, because their body cannot compensate effectively. There may be some relief, but because their necks cannot compensate, they end up with chronic low back pain. I treat and balance their lower back areas and the pain goes away. Now, guess what happens? You are right. Because the lower back is now properly aligned and no longer counterbalancing or compensating for their neck imbalances, their neck pain returns. Then I treat and realign their necks and their problems are resolved. To avoid this painful reaction, both areas are usually treated during each visit. Similarly, if a person’s lower back is the initial injury, their neck often compensates and becomes the chronic problem they seek relief from. Numerous similar situations have been seen.
In some cases, an injured muscle simply heals (usually with some scar tissue) but is not tight enough to create a structural imbalance so no immediate problem occurs. However, the muscle becomes shorter and tighter making it more susceptible to future injury or easier to over-stress with relatively normal activities. Even without a major re-injury the muscle will often develop into a problem in the future because of the excess stress it receives and the gradual accumulation of more scar tissue. This explains why many chronic problems begin as a tight, stiff feeling which gets progressively worse. This progression is why it is so important to receive proper treatment as soon as possible for minor injuries. Receiving PMBT treatments for a tight area or minor pain could easily prevent a serious problem, and perhaps, permanent damage from developing.
A few problems could have other causes and sometimes other therapies can eliminate those causes. Some therapies may even (usually accidentally) eliminate some of the problem-causing muscle damage.
(A WORD OF WARNING: If a therapy masks your pain, you may believe your problem is resolved when in reality it is becoming worse, perhaps to the point of irreparable damage.)
Q. How many PMBT treatments are usually required?
A. It is impossible to predict (so don’t quote me) because each case is unique, but the average patient is usually out of pain in about 6-12 treatments and back to normal in about 12-20. Generally, the more severe the problem or the longer someone has had a problem, the longer it takes to resolve it. Patients who have had surgery or a lot of forceful manipulations generally require more treatments. A knee or elbow problem may only need 4-6 treatments, while a severe disc herniation may require 15-20. This is fewer than most other therapies and especially impressive when you remember that we eliminate the cause, providing lasting relief, and treat problems many doctors believe impossible to help. Getting fewer treatments saves you time as well as money.
My goal is to get my patients well in as few treatments as possible but without stopping prematurely with the root of the problem still remaining. This will hopefully build the reputation of PMBT as being one of the best (if not the best) musculoskeletal therapies in the world. When this happens, it is hoped that many doctors will be encouraged to learn and practice it. This way PMBT can be made available to the millions of people who suffer needlessly from problems that can easily be corrected.
Q. After someone feels better, do they need continuing treatments?
A. No. Once the involved area is aligned back to normal and the patient is pain free, two or three follow-up treatments are recommended to eliminate any remaining muscle damage. At this point the muscles are essentially normal again and should require no further treatment. Even when there has been extensive cartilage damage, most, if not all, of the pain is usually relieved.
Q. Will someone’s problem ever come back?
A. A problem may eventually return if the “cause of the cause” is not eliminated. Let me explain: If it is determined that muscle damage, which created someone’s knee misalignment and pain, was caused by an ankle imbalance, then obviously the ankle problem must also be corrected or it will eventually recreate the knee pain. To truly solve any problem, the original root cause must be discovered and eliminated.
If it is determined that a poor postural or body usage habit created the muscle damage, it should never return if the patient follows the postural or body-usage instructions they are given. Therefore, a PMBT treatment also includes looking for and eliminating the “cause of the cause.” We also look for and correct minor structural imbalances that could cause major problems if left to progress.
Q. How long is a PMBT treatment?
A. The initial visit is 1-1/4 hours and includes a history, physical exam, and treatment. Subsequent visits are currently 30 minutes of hands-on therapy and 10 to 15 minutes of vibrational massage to reduce pain, inflammation and residual muscle soreness. No expensive machines are used simply to treat your symptoms and increase your cost. An ice pack can be used at home to reduce symptoms (generally pain and inflammation) until the cause has been eliminated.
Q. Since the treatments are so long, are the fees high?
A. No. In fact, many patients tell me my fees are too low. When the time spent per treatment is compared with many other therapies, the cost is well below average. However, the total cost to get well is the bottom line and what you should be concerned about. You could pay $45 for some form of therapy, receive 50 treatments and still not be well. On the other hand, you could pay five times that amount per treatment and be well in 5 sessions. Which is the better deal?
My goal is to make PMBT treatments available to the average person in need. Our policies allow us to keep our fees reasonable.
Q. How are PMBT treatments different from other deep tissue therapies?
A. There are a number of “deep tissue” techniques around, and they probably help more people than most other therapies combined. However, many are not effective at discovering or treating the “cause”, while others give the same non-specific treatment to everyone, every time. Still others do not determine and eliminate the “cause of the cause” so the problem is continually recreated and ongoing treatment is necessary.
PMBT treatments are specific to your individual problems and are constantly changing as your body is gradually realigned back to normal. First, a special test is used to determine where your unique imbalances are. Then the involved muscles are treated very precisely and for a specific reason. There is some discomfort as the scar tissue is being eliminated, but the pressure used is adjusted to each patient’s tolerance.
During your treatments, the misalignments you have are thoroughly explained to you. This allows you to understand your initial problem(s) and the changes you feel as your joints are realigned back to normal. This also helps us determine the past or current cause of the muscle damage. Most patients are relieved knowing why they are experiencing their pain and other symptoms.
Q. Are there any side effects from PMBT treatments?
A. Yes, all good ones. A number of patients have experienced wonderful, positive side effects. Besides the elimination of tingling, numbness, weakness or pain; high blood pressure has normalized, daily headaches have ceased, inflamed or spastic colons have healed and women have had babies after experiencing numerous miscarriages. Snoring has stopped, asthma has resolved, acid stomachs have returned to normal, allergies have ended, arthritic fingers and deformed scoliotic spines have straightened, and the list goes on.
I make no claims to treat high blood pressure, colitis, asthma, etc., but it is amazing how fast a human body can heal and begin functioning properly again after normal nerve flow between the brain and a problem area is re-established.
Your brain controls all parts of your body and almost all of this control is done through the nerves emerging from between your spinal vertebrae. This presents a vast number of possibilities for pain relief, improved body functioning and better health.
Because our bodies and minds affect each other, eliminating muscle tightness and imbalances can greatly reduce your overall stress level. Also, because pain and tension rob your body of energy, eliminating imbalances will give you more vitality for work and recreational activities.
Patients usually experience some muscle soreness for a few days after each treatment. It is similar to the soreness experienced after moderate exercise and is not harmful.
Q. Do you offer any guarantees?
A. Yes. Unfortunately, no one can absolutely guarantee that they can totally eliminate your problem. However, I do guarantee to always to do my best to realign your bones and joints. This usually results in pain relief, improved joint function, and more normal nerve flow. So far, PMBT treatments have succeeded for hundreds of patients; many who had given up all hope of permanent relief. I also guarantee to constantly improve to make my best even better. It is also guaranteed that if it appears your pain is coming from a non-musculoskeletal cause, you will be advised to seek help from the appropriate specialist.
Q. What if someone has had, or been told they need surgery?
A. Quite a few of my patients had one or more surgeries prior to coming for PMBT treatments. Had they came in prior to their surgery, many of them could have recovered without it. Unfortunately, they were still in pain and some were even worse than before the surgery. Here are some common surgical scenarios that explain why the results of surgery are so variable.
1. A patient has surgery for a problem but receives no relief. The surgeon and the patient believe the surgery failed. The patient comes to me and I find that the source of their pain is an imbalance in a totally different area. This area is balanced with PMBT treatments and the patient’s pain is eliminated. The surgery may have been totally successful but appeared otherwise because it did not fix the true cause of the pain.
2. A patient undergoes surgery and experiences a partial reduction in pain. Again, the surgery may have been totally successful. However, since the remaining pain is probably coming from a joint misalignment, the patient still suffers. This is because surgery rarely corrects imbalances and often makes them worse by creating more muscular scar tissue. After PMBT treatments to correct the imbalance, the patient’s problem is then resolved.
3. A patient has surgery to repair cartilage damage. This is commonly done for knee problems. The patient experiences total relief. Unfortunately, since the imbalance that caused the cartilage damage in the first place still remains, more damage begins to accumulate. A few years later the patient has developed enough cartilage damage to cause the same problem and is looking at another surgery. PMBT treatments can balance the joint, thereby eliminating the cause of the cartilage damage. This prevents the problem from returning. This is similar to why someone’s hip cartilage sometimes degenerates causing osteoarthritis. If left to progress, this leads to the need for hip replacement surgery. However, if the hip is realigned before the damage is excessive, this surgery can usually be avoided.
Of course, surgery is sometimes necessary to repair excessive cartilage damage, to reattach torn tendons or ligaments, or to repair certain other injuries. However, my experience has shown that PMBT treatments can very often prevent the need for surgery. In certain cases, surgery is necessary to repair damage and PMBT treatments are also required to prevent the recurrence of the problem. Usually for less than the cost of an MRI, PMBT can save you months of unsuccessful treatments, thousands of dollars and weeks of lost wages.
Q. How and when was PMBT developed?
A. The development of PMBT began in 1990. It was born out of necessity and a long-term search for pain relief. I had suffered for many years from the following chronic problems: left foot pain for 23 years; severe lower back and sciatic pain for 5 years from a disc herniation (two vertebrae surgically fused in 1980), lower back pain continued for another 10 years; pain in both knees for 22 years (surgery to one in 1980, the other in 1981), knee pain began again a few years later; TMJ (jaw) pain for 14 years; and bursitis of the left shoulder for 24 years. These were just the worst problems! Anyway, during all those years, a multitude of MD’s, osteopaths, chiropractors, therapists, and dentists were seen. I even had four different types of deep tissue therapy done. All of the treatments provided only occasional temporary relief.
My constant search for relief finally ended in 1990 with the birth of PMBT. All of my joints were realigned and all of my pains eliminated. Since then, thousands of hours of experience treating hundreds of different problems has helped develop PMBT into the most effective therapy for musculoskeletal and joint problems I have ever heard of, seen, or experienced.
I have studied exercise, nutrition, psychology, acupressure, reflexology, and numerous natural healing techniques for almost 36 years. I have worked as a personal fitness trainer and nutrition consultant for 10 years. I have also written and published two books and am currently working on two more. I have also completed four self-treatment videos. One for (osteo)arthritic hands, tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis), golfer’s elbow (medial epicondylitis) and another for carpal tunnel syndrome and tendinitis of the wrist and hand.
Q. Where are PMBT treatments available?
A. They are currently available only at the Institute of Precision Muscle Balancing in North Hollywood, California. So far, patients have traveled from distant cities (San Diego, Santa Barbara, San Jose, Palm Desert, Upland and more), from over 17 states, and from five foreign countries.
My goal is to make PMBT and what it can do more widely known and to begin teaching it to other doctors and therapists. This way it can become more available to those in need.
Q. Do you offer any other services?
A. Yes. Free testing for body fat percentage is available for patients once a month. Nutritional and exercise questions are answered free to patients. A few of the most effective health and bodybuilding supplements (SuperSpectrim vitamins and minerals, electrolytes, antioxidants, anti-inflammatory herbs, etc.) are available at competitive prices. Cervical pillows, lumbar supports and reusable ice packs are also available at discount prices. Self-treatment videos for (osteo) arthritic hands, tennis elbow, golfer’s elbow and carpal tunnel syndrome are available. These videos could save someone hundreds of dollars.
Personalized exercise routines are also available. These are written programs with personal instruction given on proper exercise performance. All fitness programs are designed for maximum efficiency (faster results) and safety. Complete nutritional programs are also available. My unique nutritional ideas are extremely effective for fat loss, muscle growth, internal cleansing, and much more. A unique nutrition book is currently being written.
If you have any further questions or would like to schedule an appointment for PMBT treatments, please call (818) 766-8555.
CAUTION: The therapy you have just read about is based on a simple concept. However, since the human body has over 600 muscles, which can move 206 bones in many different directions, complex reactions can occur. Someone lacking training and experience could cause your problem to worsen and not know how to correct it.