Massage Therapy Course in Austin -  Iler Method®
Photo by Tomek Baginski / Unsplash

Massage Therapy Course in Austin -  Iler Method®

I'm excited to share my knowledge and experience in our intensive weekend course with you all, and I look forward to fostering a community of therapists skilled in this method. 

Hello everyone! I'm David Iler, a licensed massage therapist, and I'm thrilled to share with you the journey and insights that led to the development of the Iler Method. This method is not just my profession; it's my passion, born from my experiences and discoveries in massage therapy.

Since becoming a massage therapist in 2004, I spent the first decade of my career, much like many others in the field, concentrating on treating tight tissues, trigger points, and adhesions with proficiency. My move to Austin, TX, from Southern California, in 2013 truly laid the foundation for developing the Iler Method, marking a significant shift in my therapeutic approach.

As an avid marathoner and ultra-marathoner in Austin, I quickly integrated into the Austin area's vibrant running community, drawing from my professional expertise and enthusiasm for an active lifestyle and long-distance running. To connect with this energetic group and grow my practice, I started offering free pain assessments at public-run clubs, exercise classes, and races around the city. 

Helping Good Therapists Become Better

The Iler Method is not intended to replace existing practices but to enhance them. It's an additional tool for those committed to lifelong learning and improvement in their craft.

Its integration into any therapy style allows practitioners to explore new dimensions in their practice, catering to a wide range of client needs more effectively. It complements and expands the repertoire of skills of any therapist, particularly those who value an eclectic and client-centered approach.

How is the Iler Method Different?

  1. Therapist Safety: Most modalities lead therapists to strain and injury due to their body-use requirements, particularly traditional effleurage and petrissage techniques that stress unsupported wrists and hands. The repetitive strokes also contribute to joint wear and tear in areas like the neck, back, and limbs, as therapists frequently stretch over clients.
  2. Chronic Pain Management: Traditional massage often leads to single-session client interactions, which may not be effective for chronic pain issues that require more sustained intervention. The Iler Method offers a structured approach to ongoing treatment.
  3. Strategic Approach to Bodywork: Rather than relying solely on palpation to determine tight muscles, the Iler Method provides a strategy for where to begin bodywork, allowing therapists to work more purposefully from the outset.
  4. Efficiency in Sessions: In contrast to the general full-body work taught in traditional massage school, which can be time-consuming and less focused, this Method promotes targeted therapy, making sessions more efficient.
  5. Client Feedback: Traditional massage techniques often aim to relax clients deeply, potentially limiting their ability to provide feedback. This approach encourages interactive sessions, valuing client input as a crucial part of the therapeutic process. 

*Sessions are conducted in well-lit rooms, promoting therapist alertness and client attentiveness to their bodies, ultimately facilitating effective pain treatment.

How I Discovered the Universal Pattern of Compensation (UPC)

While performing physical assessments, I discovered a consistent pattern of specific muscles that were always tighter on one side of the body than the other, regardless of injury or spinal curvature. This observation led to my realization of the Universal Pattern of Compensation (UPC), a key factor in the body's compensatory mechanisms that lead to imbalances and injuries.

Focusing on the UPC, I could effectively alleviate chronic pain and reduce the risk of both repetitive and new injuries. The Iler Method revolves around understanding and addressing these universal patterns. I identified two distinct posterior muscle chains within the UPC, one on each side of the body, which are crucial in our approach to therapy.

It's not just about treating the symptoms; it's about understanding the root cause of pain and addressing it to its fullest potential. The beauty of the method lies in its simplicity and effectiveness. I am proud to have chronicled this method in a textbook and now offer a course that shares these invaluable insights with fellow massage therapists.

This approach has reshaped how I work with clients, evidenced by the thousands who have experienced significant benefits with our 10-session program, showcasing the method's effectiveness and lasting impact.

The Iler Method offers a new perspective on treating chronic pain and preventing injuries in therapeutic massage & bodywork.

The Universal Pattern of Compensation (UPC)

The Universal Pattern of Compensation (UPC) is characterized by a musculoskeletal pattern in which twenty specific muscles consistently exhibit more significant hypertrophy. This excessive hypertrophy remains regardless of the client's conditions, such as kyphosis, lordosis, scoliosis, or even paraplegia.

These differences are evident when individuals are in motion or on a massage table. The UPC muscles manage the body's natural asymmetry during movement.

The UPC muscles are categorized into two muscle chains: the right posterior chain and the left posterior chain. Muscle chains are groups of muscles that overlap, have fibers in the same direction, span multiple joints, and work together synergistically.

Right medial posterior chain: This chain runs vertically down the center of the right side of the body and consists of 12 muscles, including the sternocleidomastoid, teres major, teres minor, rhomboid major, rhomboid minor, erector spinae muscles (3), gluteus maximus, piriformis, flexor vastus lateralis, and the lateral head of the gastrocnemius.

Left lateral posterior chain: This chain runs vertically down the left side of the body, slightly to the left of the center. It comprises eight muscles, including the levator scapulae, trapezius, quadratus lumborum, gluteus medius, gluteus minimus, iliotibial band (IT band tendon), biceps femoris, and fibularis longus

How Iler Method Techniques Standout

Iler Method® techniques deliver effective bodywork to clients while prioritizing the safety and physical health of the therapist. They are performed with clients in a prone position and do not require massage oil or lotion. 

They emphasize unique holding techniques that allow therapists to apply precise pressure to muscles, building strength in their hands, arms, and upper body over time. This approach ensures that clients receive consistent and high-quality bodywork while therapists maintain their strength and health.

To prevent fatigue, overuse, and injury, therapists use specialized manual techniques that are rotated while working in the same area. These techniques involve using different parts of the hand and arm, such as the ring and middle fingers together, straight fingers, hand and fingers over fingers, thumb over thumb, knuckles, open palm, ridge of the forearm, and elbow. 

Each technique is suited for specific muscle groups and provides therapists with a versatile toolkit for addressing trigger points, adhesions, and deep tissue needs. Proper posture and body mechanics are also emphasized to avoid low back pain and ensure therapist comfort during treatments.

How to Market Your New Skills

Therapists trained in the Iler Method® through an intensive weekend course complemented by a comprehensive textbook possess the skills to implement effective marketing strategies, a crucial component for developing a thriving practice. One such key strategy is the pop-up pain assessment. 

In this approach, therapists set up a massage table at a third-party business, providing pain assessments to potential new clients, including customers and staff. This innovative method allows therapists to establish trust with prospective clients in a familiar environment, attracting individuals who are already interested in and need manual therapy services.

Ideal locations for conducting pop-up pain assessments include any space where interaction with employees or customers is possible, such as group exercise classes, professional offices or personal training gyms, sports clubs, and health and wellness events. 

The essential equipment for these assessments comprises a massage table, cleaning spray, and towels or wipes. To further enhance these events, Iler Method® therapists utilize materials such as flyers, business cards, a display table with a tablecloth, and a sign-up sheet, facilitating additional engagement and opportunities for client follow-up.

Final Thoughts: Iler Method Massage Therapy Course in Austin

I deeply appreciate massage therapists who go above and beyond to pursue continuing education. It's not just about meeting the requirements for certification; it's about a genuine passion for learning and growth in their field.

This dedication to ongoing education is crucial, as it fosters a deeper understanding of therapeutic practices and enhances the quality of care provided to clients.

The commitment to continual learning among massage therapists has contributed significantly to the field's evolution. Over the past 50 years, their pursuit of knowledge and skills has led to the development of numerous innovative healing modalities. 

This advancement in the profession is reflected in the remarkable 138% increase in licensed massage therapists in the US over the last 25 years. It's a testament to massage therapy's growing recognition and value in holistic healthcare. 

I am hopeful that you will find the Iler Method® to be a valuable addition to this evolving landscape, offering new perspectives and techniques to enrich your practice and the wellness of your clients.

I'm excited to share my knowledge and experience in our intensive weekend course with you all, and I look forward to fostering a community of therapists skilled in this method. 

Iler Method FAQs

Where does the Iler Method course take place?

The Iler Method® course is conducted in Central Austin, Texas.

Can I earn CEUs upon completion of the Iler Method Course?

CEUs for completing the Iler Method Course are currently not available.

How long is the Iler Method course?

The Iler Method course is conducted over a weekend, spanning Saturday and Sunday, for 10 hours.

Will the founder, David, teach the Iler Method course?

Yes, the founder, David, will teach the Iler Method course.

Is the Iler Method Course online or in person?

The Iler Method Course is exclusively in-person, although the course book will soon be available on Amazon.

What kind of massage therapy is the Iler Method? 

The Iler Method is a form of alternative medicine in massage therapy.

Can I use oil or lotion when I give an Iler Method massage?

Yes, you can integrate Iler Method concepts into any modality of massage, including those using oil or lotion.

Can I use music when I give an Iler Method massage?

Yes, you can integrate Iler Method concepts into any massage modality, including those accompanied by music.