Being involved in an innovative field is both rewarding and overwhelming at times. I’m referring to Integrative Neurosomatic Therapy or INT, which is the core of my pain-therapy practice on my home Bainbridge Island. I have confidence in what my teachers taught me and my success validates their wisdom. Recognizing problems others overlook is one of the most valuable skills I learned from them and has helped me address cases considered hopeless.

The caveat with innovation is that often, it is so new that there is no basis of comparison. We have the habit of overgeneralizing concepts to try to classify them, without realizing that doing so dilutes the essence of what it is trying to be portrayed.

Integrative Neurosomatic Therapy (INT) is not exempt from this unfortunately. This system for pain management and elimination - developed and constantly updated by Paul St. John and the team of Neurosomatic Educators in Florida - has been getting more exposure because of the tremendous results it produces and folks are talking. It is through word of mouth I learned about it and it is what helped me eliminate years of constant pain and musculoskeletal issues.

Its efficient and simple approach impressed me to the point where I made it my mission to learn it and make it part of my strength training practice. The Neurosomatic Educators team were wonderful teachers and made me contemplate the possibilities. As I started gaining experience, I could appreciate the tremendous power of their system to identify and alleviate issues. Even after learning and incorporating other treatment modalities, the INT thought process remains the core of my analysis and treatment plan.

My clients are grateful and love the results. Others hear the amazing stories and want to find out what it “exactly” is. I remember a phone conversation with a potential client who was referred by a friend who had seen her decade’s old shoulder issues vanished in two weeks.

- My friend told me about your work but I’ve never heard of INT
- Very few have, it’s been around for a while but not exposed.
- I want you to tell me what INT “exactly” is before I decide.

It is my duty to give a succinct answer without misrepresenting the principles of Integrative Neurosomatic Therapy, and it cannot be the oversimplified, linear digest most expect.

- Well, it’s a system to identify and eliminate the source of your dysfunction.
- That’s not what my friend told me
- What did your friend tell you?
- That you did some sort of massage, is it like deep tissue massage?
- Only if needed
- But is it massage?
- Not necessarily

The problem is not that I’m not being straightforward. The problem is that most people have already made up their mind about what INT should be and just want validation or something that will steer them towards validation. Anything different just won’t cut it.

- How do your work on your patients then?
- It depends on what their assessment tells me.
- Do you also give them exercises?
- Only if they are going to help
- So can you tell me what “exactly” INT is?

My answer went unheard because the caller wasn’t ready for it. I had to go over it again as she had a hard time visualizing it. She ended up seeing me and now thinks it’s one of the best decisions she ever made, however, some form of conversation resembling the aforementioned ensues frequently.

And INT is not difficult to understand, on the contrary! My clients are always amazed –as I was too- at how simple the whole approach is. When they finally stop trying to peg the system with other approaches and start seeing it for its own virtues, they realize they were blocking themselves from comprehending it.

So for those curious about it here is this article to help you clarify concepts and get an idea of what Integrative Neurosomatic Therapy is and is not.

What it is and what it is not

Integrative Neurosomatic Therapy (INT) is a system that kindles the thought process and guides the therapist to look at the obvious from an entirely different perspective. It involves problem-solving strategies, analysis of biomechanical clues, and analysis of neuromuscular patterns to connect the dots and get to the source of the problem.

It is not uncommon for the practitioner to perform work away from the complaint area much to the befuddling of the client (Why are you working on my neck? It is my feet that hurt!) Who cease their questioning when they get results. The practitioner sees the mechanical implications and knows exactly where work is needed and what could be perpetuating the problem. Frequently, the area in pain is not what’s causing the problem but rather, what’s paying the price.

INT provides the practitioner with an ample tool box. The practitioner learns to manipulate the many expressions of musculoskeletal soft tissue. Fascia, muscle, tendons, ligaments, organs, etc. are studied in detail to recognize their roles in the dysfunction of the patient. INT is NOT one specific technique. It is not trigger point, it is not fascia manipulation, it is not Swedish strokes, it is not Effleurage, or Petrissage, or Craniosacral work. It is rather, the application of all those techniques based on what the therapy demands for the condition and circumstances of the client.

INT is NOT massage! Even though many specific and effective techniques have been developed by the Team of Neurosomatic Educators, they are not the essence of the system. The effectiveness of Integrative Neurosomatic Therapy relies on the analytical abilities of the therapist and this point is made clear by the Neurosomatic Educators team when they are teaching their classes.

Many take the courses eager to learn “secret” techniques hoping it will solve stubborn problems without ever embracing the importance of developing the proper thought process. It is not the “massage” techniques that solve the problems, but rather the practitioner who knows why and when to apply a specific technique.

INT is not about massaging, is about creating the environment for healing to take place and in doing so, restoring mechanical efficiency.

Integrative Neurosomatic Therapy is not a passive system. It involves perseverance, discipline, and mutual cooperation between you and your therapist. It is not a one day solution, a one shot deal, or a short cut. You don’t get up from the treatment table and your problems are solved. You need to do your part to make sure your body acknowledges the treatment and sees a reason to continue holding to that feeling.

The take home message and one many don’t want to hear, is that INT demands as much commitment from the patient as from the therapist. The good news is that the simplicity of the approach makes it easy for patients to understand their role and how they are in charge of their recovery.

I hope this was useful to you. If you want more in-depth info, I encourage you to download the report “How I eliminated 35 years of back pain in 3 weeks” from my pain therapy site. It reviews one of my cases step by step to allow you a closer glimpse like never before.

Wish you the best, and a happy and active life.

I’ll see you on the exercise floor.

Author's Bio: 

Israel “Coach Izzy” Sanchez is a professional strength and conditioning coach and pain therapist with nearly two decades of experience. He is both a coach and an educator, leading courses and speaking engagements on exercise mechanics, injury treatment and prevention, kettlebell lifting, Olympic weightlifting, self-care, and other fitness topics.

His work has been published in Northwest Dive News, Exhilarate Magazine, Shape Magazine, Gotham, The Montclair times as well as numerous fitness websites. He was a regular guest in the TV Show "Health, Fitness, and Healing" and is the current exercise, health, and fitness advisor for Dive News Network.

Israel lives on Bainbridge Island, WA and you can find him at his pain therapy site Integrated Healing and Strength Systems or his blog Coach Izzy Talks Fitness