I have been practicing and teaching Medical Massage in the USA since 1991and I had never heard of the National Association of Myofascial Trigger Point Therapists (NAMTPT). During all these years I also participated in many American Professional Massage Conventions and I can state with all confidence that the programs of these conventions do not even close compare to the NAMTPT 33rd Annual Conference.   

The level of presenters, quality of clinical and scientific topics raised during the conference, the level of expertise shown by presenters and what is even more striking, the knowledge, skills and understanding shown by all attendees surpassed everything I personally witnessed for years. The most puzzling thing for me is that despite NAMTPT’s 33(!) year history a relatively small number of American massage therapists know about its existence or have participated in its Annual Conferences.

NAMTPT was founded by students and colleagues of Dr. J. Travel, MD and Dr. D. Simons, MD. There were several therapists in attendance who personally studied and worked with Dr. Travel. From the very beginning NAMTPT established high standards for the topics and discussion during the conferences and the entire Association faithfully continues this practice all these years later.   

Finally, the organization for the conference was exceptional, from its excellent location (Rosemont O’Hare Hotel) to tasty and healthy food and interesting presenters in the Marketplace to an entertaining program in Chicago.

We highly suggest our readers participate in next year’s NAMTPT Conference if they would like to be on the front line of Massage Science where information presented to therapists is first quality medical science rather than someone’s personal opinion.  

Dr. Ross Turchaninov, Editor in Chief 


by Mary Biancalana, MA, CMTPT, LMT, Cert. Per. Trainer 

The 33rd Annual NAMPTP Conference (October 25th-29th, 2017, Rosemont O’Hare Airport, Illinois) was held in collaboration with the International MyoPain Society (IMS) and the Science of Massage Institute (SOMI). Our conference has been a tremendously successful event for 33 consecutive years, bringing together a varied collaboration of practitioners from all disciplines of medicine as well as massage therapists with a clinically-minded practice focus. We pride ourselves on having some of the most distinguished speakers in pain science, myofascial pain, cutting edge therapies, manual techniques and business topics, and we were thrilled to include Dr. Ross Turchaninov this year. In past years, we were most honored to have had as our Keynote Speaker on two separate conferences Dr. Jay Shah from the National Institute of Health in Washington DC.  

An important piece in the planning of this year’s conference was a collaboration between myself and Dr. Ross Turchaninov from SOMI. During our many phone meetings and in-person at my clinic in Chicago, it became clear that if we could coordinate the speakers’ topics and the presentation of the material, this would create a more comprehensive experience for our participants. I knew after reading Dr. Ross’ newsletters and viewing his comprehensive educational materials on SOMI’s website that the clinical massage therapy model would be a good fit for the NAMTPT as well as for those practitioners who are similarly clinically minded and scientifically based in the way they provide body work to their clients and patients. So, we were able to incorporate this “comprehensive web of thinking” not only into  the Conference program, but also in the ways in which each speaker referenced one another’s work supporting the overarching clinical reasoning.  

Using this framework as a “web,” any particular injury or case presentation could be treated with the same key steps in the same clinical reasoning. We are very happy to have with us Dr. Ross and his colleagues and students from SOMI who were able to participate in this year’s event, and we look forward to many more years of high-value collaboration.   


Our main conference programming began with networking and meeting of vendors at 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. This was a great opportunity for practitioners to meet each other and to become familiar with colleagues’ work from all over the country.   

First presentation of the day was by Mary Biancalana, MA, CMTPT. LMT. NAMTPT President and 10-time Conference Chairperson: “Myofascial Pain and Fibromyalgia; How Do We Create a Web of Integrated Treatment Strategies?”  

While current research is helping us understand more about the etiology and complex symptoms with both myofascial pain and Fibromyalgia, it is as important as ever to be sure that clinicians understand the concept of integrative treatment strategy to ensure the most positive clinical outcomes. This presentation bridged the gap between application of different somatic modalities and offering suggestions on just how to make that happen. 

The second presenter was Ross Turchaninov, MD (UKR), founder of The Science of Massage Institute: “A View From Above: Core Principals of Somatic Rehabilitation. Creating a Web from Which We Can Develop Clinical Reasoning.” 

The goal of the presentation was to unite all upcoming classes together and give therapists a comprehensive view of somatic rehabilitation ‘from above.’ By doing that we united all presenters in the web of information which led participants to better understanding and application of CLINICAL MASSAGE REASONING. 

M. Biancalana and Dr. R. Turchaninov at the end of the first Conference day


Round Robin Break Out Sessions: Hands-on Manual Therapy Techniques from Many Disciplines (Participants were divided into 4 small groups and each group rotated between 4 presenters of this day for 2-hour sessions during the course of Thursday and Friday morning via “Round-Robin Programming”.)   

1. Chuck Duff, MS. Founder of Thai Bodywork School, Evanston, IL: “Coaching the Body™ Techniques for Normalizing Scapular Positioning” 

This class demonstrated a highly efficient approach to normalizing scapular alignment that involves thoroughly understanding and treating the scapular stabilizers by applying therapy along predominant orientation of fibers. The treatment included Thai based Bodywork in combination with distractive percussion.  

2. NAT Practitioner, Michael Coffee, LMT: “Neil Asher Healthcare Adapted Treatment Sequence for Complex Regional Pain Syndrome Caused by Myofascial Trigger Points” 

We learned about the history of CRPS, its symptoms, how to evaluate tissue, and how to help our clients deal with this chronic pain syndrome.  Finally, we learned NAT techniques to aid clients in taking the edge off of their chronic pain.   

3. Mary Biancalana, MA, CMTPT, LMT. Founder of Advanced Trigger Point Seminars: “Advanced Trigger Point Therapy Techniques to Eliminate Hip, Low Back, Buttocks and Sacral Pain” 

Participants learned advanced Trigger Point Therapy Techniques to apply to the key muscles that refer pain to particular areas of the body. This treatment is only one part of a complete 7-Step Trigger Point Protocol which has the goal to fully lengthen the contracted sarcomeres and return muscles to full resting length and normal strength.  

4. Ross Turchaninov, MD (UKR), MMP. “Chronic Headache; Application Sequence Based on Ariel View of Clinical Massage Reasoning. What techniques to use depends on the patient / client presentation.”

This hands-on session was a continuation of Dr. Ross’ first day lecture and it used clinical cases of Chronic Headache to illustrate clinical reasoning and hands-on application of the MEDICAL MASSAGE PROTOCOL.


1. Kim Dupree Jones, PhD: “Making the Connection between Fibromyalgia and Myofascial Pain: Treatment Modalities for Physical and Emotional Release” 

Dr. Dupree-Jones, through her over 100 published peer-reviewed papers, has come to recognize the importance of psychological and emotional components in the clinical picture of Fibromyalgia and the necessity of their clinical assessment. 

2. Jim Fricton, MD: “The 80/20 Rule in Preventing Chronic Pain:  80% Of Your Success Is Based On Self-Management And 20% On Treatment” 

Dr. Friction discussed strategies to implement self-management of Chronic Pain as part of an integrative approach to somatic rehabilitation to dramatically enhance treatment success.  

3. Shannon Goossen, AP, LMT, CMTPT. “Electro-medicine Devices for Relieving Chronic or Acute Pain. What is out there?” 

This presentation gave an excellent overview of various types of electro-medicine devices currently available and their clinical applications in the fight against chronic pain.                            

4. Robert Gerwin, MD. “New Hypothesis on the Formation of Trigger Points”

Dr. Gerwin is Assistant Professor of Neurology, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore and Past-President of the International Myopain Society. His presentation was one of the highlights of entire Conference since Dr. Gerwin shared with therapists the newest scientific data on mechanisms of formation of active trigger points as a consequence of various somatic and visceral abnormalities. Dr. Gerwin’s lecture scientifically and clinically reinforced the theory of neurological origin and mechanism of trigger points formation. 

Dr. R. Gerwin starts his exceptional presentation


     Keynote Speaker and 2017 David G Simons Award Recipient: Jim Fricton, MD: “Implementing Transformative Care: Personalized Activated Care and Training to Prevent Chronic Pain and Addiction.” 

Dr. Friction reviewed the background and goals of the PACT Program and Campaign for its further development and implementation to prevent chronic pain and opioid addiction.

2. Peter F. Demitry, MD, MPH and Shannon Goossen, AP, LMT, CMTPT: “The Future World of Healthcare: How Integrative Medicine will embrace myofascial trigger point therapy for better patient outcomes” 

These presenters demonstrated that therapists could provide nontoxic, low cost, safer interventions by moving towards an Integrative Healthcare model that incorporates myofascial trigger point therapists, medical massage therapists, NMTs and other highly trained practitioners. 

3. Renee Hartz, MD. “Adjunctive Measures for Diagnosing and Treating Myofascial Pain Syndrome; Including Differential Diagnosis of MPS, Neuropathy, Fibromyalgia, CRPS” 

Dr. Hartz outlined some of the key perpetuating factors in Myofascial Pain including hyperpronation at the subtalar joint of the foot/ankle as well as head forward posture. Dr. Hartz reminded therapists that they need to include assessment of these and other factors when creating a plan for the treatment of Myofascial Pain Syndromes and Fibromyalgia.

4. Kim Dupree Jones, PhD. “Update on Fibromyalgia Research: Resources for the Clinician as well as the Patient and Caregivers” 

An overview of the latest research in fibromyalgia. Understanding overlapping pain types and personalized treatments will allow us to better serve our patients. 

Awards Dinner hosted by the executive committee, thanking our distinguished panel of speakers and presenting the NAMTPT’s Dr. Janet G. Travell Award to Kim Dupree Jones and presenting the Dr. David G. Simons Award to Dr. James Fricton, and presenting the NAMTPT Excellence in Education Award to ‘Neil Asher Healthcare.’ 

Dr. J. Friction recipient of the 2017 NAMTPT David G Simon’s award



1. Angelique Mizera, DO, 2014 NAMTPT Janet G Travell Award Recipient: “Osteopathic Techniques to Eliminate Myofascial Pain” 

Dr. Mizera took us through manual therapy techniques as we apply them to each other. Describing the physiologic principles and demonstrating three types of techniques used in Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine: Muscle Energy, Counterstrain, Balanced Tension.

Dr. A. Mizera Presenting a Hands-On Lecture

2. Tasso Spanos, 2016 NAMTPT Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient: “Wisdom from a Long and Storied Clinical Practice: How to Relieve Most Causes of TMJ Syndrome” 

We learned some of the essentials of Dr. Janet Travell’s remarkable treatment techniques including which muscles can cause dysfunction of the joint itself, and which muscles, when harboring trigger points, can cause referred pain into the TMJ area. 

We invite all therapists to join our 2018 Conference. Our committee is currently working on the program of our next gathering and we hope that you will greatly enjoy its program! For all information about our NAMTPT and next year’s Conference please visit: https://www.myofascialtherapy.org

Mary Biancalana, Founder of Chicago Center for Myofascial Pain Relief, Trigger Point Sports Performance and Advanced Trigger Point seminars has excelled in the wellness education field since 1983. A lifelong athlete and exerciser, Mary possesses a unique blend of manual therapy skills and clinical experience that sets her apart. She holds a B.S. from DePaul University in Physical Education and a Master’s in Education from Northeastern Illinois University. She also holds four State of Illinois teaching licenses and is an American Council on Exercise Certified Personal Trainer, a Nationally Board-Certified Myofascial Trigger Point Therapist, and a Licensed Massage Therapist.

Mary has been Vice-President and is currently President of The National Association of Myofascial Trigger Point Therapists of which she has been a serving member for 16 years and Annual National conference chair for 10 years. Mary is currently a member of The American Academy of Pain Management, a serving Board Member of The International MYOPain Society, The American Council on Exercise, and the American Massage Therapy Association. To find out more about M. Biancalana’ clinic of somatic rehabilitation please visit: http://www.ChicagoTriggerPointCenter.com

Category: News