Terry Rehabilitation & Testing | Physical Rehabilitation and Functional Testing

Chasing “The Latest Thing”

I recently received a voicemail message from a former patient (whose son I had also treated) asking if I practice a specific proprietary, trademarked, and well-publicized technique. I responded via email, and then realized that this response could have been written a dozen or so times over my previous 17 years as a therapist, so I ought to just make a generic letter regarding all such techniques:

Dear _______,

I hope you and your family are doing well. ____ is a proprietary treatment approach that incorporates very good marketing resources, with very expensive tools and educational materials, and is a treatment technique very similar to many other techniques that have been used for tens, if not hundreds of years.


Despite the hype, _____ has yet to demonstrate it’s effectiveness as a technique above and beyond other techniques. I just checked their website (figuring that I would find the most favorable literature there) and found a list of published case studies, most of which were single case studies. That means that as a “new” treatment, it was published in a peer-reviewed journal or magazine, with the data from only one patient that was treated using the technique.

Although they tout a presentation they put on at a_________ meeting, that research has yet to be published in a peer-reviewed journal. I’m not sure it ever will. There is no date regarding what year the presentation was made.

They have an effectiveness chart for ______ that looks very impressive, but again, it does not compare the effectiveness of their technique to any other treatment, and in the fine print states that their outcomes include treatment that is comprised of other techniques with _______ being only a portion of the total treatment.

Other research on their site is included if it mentions _______ in passing, as a “new” or “alternative” technique for a particular problem.

Without any randomized control studies, nor any other comparative data to demonstrate effectiveness, I will not be taking their courses or touting their trademarked name or logo, unless someone offers it to me free of charge. The same treatment techniques have been taught to physical therapists (including me) for decades, but without the same expert marketing panache.

The generic term for this kind of treatment is _________ and does has proven effectiveness in very limited circumstances. I practice __________ on selected patients, based on evidence of effectiveness. I select a technique if can I get a better result with it, or can I get the same result as other techniques, but with fewer visits or expense for the patient.

Hope this clears some things up. Some physicians – especially sports medicine physicians – are perennially sold on the latest and greatest technique, only to move on to the next new thing a few years later. I wish that more would read the scientific literature, or simply find a therapist whose judgement they trust, rather than chasing after the latest fad. Unfortunately, many therapists have simply given in, and pay exorbitant fees for these classes, so that they can claim they provide a proprietary technique, even if they know it to be ineffective. It’s simply a marketing decision.

So….call me to ask if I can treat a particular problem, and ask me my opinions of the technique. Allow me to use my best judgement and the most current information, and I can give you the best outcomes possible. If things are not working out as planned, I have several “alternative” tricks up my sleeve as well that may be helpful, and I can route you to the person who can ultimately solve your problem if I cannot.

Terry Rehabilitation & Testing | Physical Rehabilitation and Functional Testing