This week Alexa is joined by a physical therapist, whose approach to manual therapy has evolved to consider bio-psychosocial influences, as well as incorporating shared decision-making between clinician and patient, Walt Fritz. Walt is on Singing Teachers’ Talk today to tell you all about manual therapy.
Check out the BAST Youtube channel to watch Walt work with Alexa, offering her a series of patient-perspective, self-guided exercises to help relieve symptoms of a vocal difficulty:
- Manual therapy is essential for touch-based therapy although there is no perfectly defined answer. It could be osteopathic or chiropractic or even as subtle as massage therapy.
- Walt considers laryngeal manipulation as a very aggressive form of manual therapy. His approach is much more subtle and Walt works with his patients to work out what more nuanced and safe therapy is needed. He values the input of his patients.
- Walt uses none medical phrases to describe what he can feel in a patient in an attempt to not over-pathologize them. Instead of diagnosing someone, he speaks to them about how something feels and if it impacts them and in what way. What treatment feels good, like it will work for the individual.
- As a licensed physical therapist, Walt has the legal ability to touch his patients or clients. As singing teachers, you would need permission from your student before moving their shoulders for example or touching their throat.
‘Ask ten clinicians what manual therapy is then you’ll get twenty different answers’
‘I was trained that it was all about the connective tissues, then my evolution started’
‘Our work is not about what we do with the tissue, it’s about what we do with the person’
Relevant Links & Mentions:
- Singing Teachers Talk Podcast: Ep. 32 – The Bio-Psycho-Social Model with Stephen King: open.spotify.com/episode/4R13bvilWjwQnd9WOfTiVc?si=a40590fb79384bd4
- The Naked Vocalist Podcast: Ep. 57 – Walt Fritz on Vocal Massage, Manual Therapy, Nocebo: hu-hu.facebook.com/tnvquestions/videos/202759024499353/?comment_id=215605243214731
- Vocal Health Education: vocalhealth.co.uk
- Singing Teachers Talk Podcast: Ep. 63 – Developing a Singer’s Self Awareness And Clarifying Intention with Robert Sussuma: open.spotify.com/episode/11FNDp5koUAa7XkCf81pim?si=c7e17eda7c7e41ef
- Research Citations (used to support Walt’s work): waltfritzseminars.com/resources-2-2/research
- BAST Youtube Segment: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IfbgPNUpoJQ
ABOUT THE GUEST
Walt Fritz is a physical therapist from Upstate New York, USA. Since beginning work as a manual therapy educator in the mid-1990s, he has more recently evolved into teaching a unique interpretation of manual therapy for speech-language pathologists, registered dental hygienists, voice professionals, and related communities. This approach advances views of causation and impact from historical tissue-specific models into a multifactorial narrative, leaning heavily on biopsychosocial influences. His principles apply to a broad spectrum of intervention models using a model of evaluation and intervention that incorporates shared decision-making rather than clinician-as-expert. Unlike traditional laryngeal manipulation, Walt offers the clinician and patient a more subtle approach, aligning well with newer models and allowing the patient to frame the intervention from their preferences. Seeing the utility of manual therapy not as a standalone treatment but as an integral part of clinicians’ more extensive body of work, Walt makes his approach easily assimilated into those treatment protocols.
Walt presents his workshops internationally through his Foundations in Manual Therapy Seminars, WaltFritz.com, and maintains a physical therapy practice in Upstate, NY.