Integrated Therapy & Training (ITT)
  1. Why ITT?
  2. What is causing my pain?
  3. What is Active Release Techniques ® Soft Tissue Treatment (ART®) & Manual Therapy?
  4. Why use Medical Acupuncture?
  5. Will I be sore following an ITT treatment?
  6. How long is ITT treatment?
  7. Will I have to keep coming back?

1. Why ITT?

ITT combines the most effective, evidence-based treatment modalities and exercise techniques to create a personalized treatment plan just for you. This unique, individualized approach is on the cutting edge of physical medicine and personal fitness. SHAPE has assembled an unparalleled team of health care providers to implement our unique program, and ensure that you achieve your health and fitness goals.

2. What is causing my pain?

Depending on your personal medical history, physical structure, and activity level, there are a number of structures and mechanisms in the body that can cause pain. Furthermore, there are many chronic changes in function that, despite not causing overt pain, may affect the soft tissues of your body, limiting your physical performance, sleep quality, stress level, etc. Utilizing a comprehensive, total body approach, the objective of the ITT system of assessment is to determine the exact pattern of structural and functional problems that are responsible for your pain, or may be limiting your physical performance.

3. What is Active Release Techniques ® Soft Tissue Treatment (ART®) & Manual Therapy?

ART® and manual therapy are highly successful approaches to the diagnosis and treatment of musculoskeletal disorders. Muscles, tendons, ligaments, nerves and fascia, collectively known as soft tissue, can all cause pain. Soft tissue conditions often do not show up in radiographic studies. When soft tissue has been injured, or even chronically tight, it forms scar tissue. While necessary for healing, scar tissue may adhere to adjacent structures (forming what are called "adhesions"), restricting motion and potentially compressing nerves or blood vessels. Adhesions can cause numbness, tingling, or radiating pain, and can adversely affect muscle function.

ART® is a manual, hands-on technique that effectively breaks down scar tissue, and restores proper muscle length and muscle balance.

Joints and surrounding structures can also contribute to chronic functional conditions, as well as being directly injured in falls, motor vehicle collisions, sporting and recreational injuries etc. The goal of manual therapy is to employ specific joint mobilizations and manipulations as necessary to restore proper joint movement and function. Furthermore, joints are rich sources of nerves that regulate muscle tone and control movement, so it is important to address joint mechanics when treating any condition.

Our experience has shown that the combination of these techniques is the most effective way to address musculoskeletal pain. Releasing muscles using ART® prior to restoring the proper alignment through manual therapy ensures a comprehensive treatment for your pain.

4. Why use Medical Acupuncture?

Acupuncture is one component of Traditional Chinese Medicine which aims to balance energy in the body in order to keep it functional and healthy. It is a therapeutic method used to encourage natural healing, reduce or relieve pain and improve function of affected areas of the body. Acupuncture is safe and effective; it involves the insertion of very fine needles through the skin and tissues at specific points of the body. When combined with the knowledge of anatomy, physiology and pathophysiology, modern therapists can use acupuncture very effectively.

Although the exact mechanism or effect of acupuncture is still being elucidated, it is known that acupuncture stimulates the body to produce its own pain relieving chemicals called endorphins. The improved energy and biochemical balance produced by acupuncture stimulates the body's natural healing abilities, reducing inflammation, and promoting physical and emotional well being.

Medical acupuncture differs from traditional Chinese acupuncture merely in the goal of the treatment. While traditional Chinese practitioners aim to regulate the various organ and energy systems of the body using acupuncture needles, the primary focus of a contemporary medical acupuncture approach is to use needles at anatomically relevant points to help control pain and improve function. Ironically, despite the different approaches, many of the points used are exactly the same. The emergence of scientific evidence elucidating the exact effects of acupuncture treatments has provided support for the use of acupuncture for pain control in acute and chronic conditions.

At SHAPE, we utilize medical acupuncture during the first two to three treatment sessions if needed to reduce pain and inflammation of the injured tissues. As well, it can be used effectively to release trigger points within muscles that subsequently cause muscular tension and pain. Additional benefits include stress relief and normalization of the nervous system. We often include low and high-frequency electrical stimulation to some or all of the needles to further enhance the beneficial effects and provide an overall pain-relieving relaxing experience.

We have found medical acupuncture to be a useful adjunct to the other modalities we use in our Integrated Therapy and Training approach.How many treatments do I need?Typically two to six treatments are required to reduce inflammation, breakdown and repair scar tissue, and restore normal function. Subsequent treatments may be needed in order to functionally rehabilitate the area through muscle activation and stabilization exercises. Follow-up visits will be prescribed as necessary to prevent the condition from recurring, and enhance your optimal performance.

5. Will I be sore following an ITT treatment?

Positive results usually begin following the first treatment. However, the normal response may include some muscle soreness 24 to 48 hours following the first treatment. This is normal, and should not alarm you. Please keep your ITT therapist informed to monitor the muscle response.

An epsom salt bath should be taken following the treatments to help relax muscles and promote the elimination of muscle toxins. A personalized stretching and mobilization program that you can perform at home may be prescribed to enhance the results of the treatment.

6. How long is an ITT treatment?

The ITT approach requires treatments of approximately 30 to 60 minutes. We have found this time to be optimal, allowing us to utilize the appropriate treatment techniques discussed above in a relaxed, private, therapeutic environment. Once your pain has been reduced sufficiently, subsequent therapy and training sessions are approximately 60 minutes in length.

7. Will I have to keep coming back?

Once the injured area is treated, the tissues are as healthy as their pre-injury state. The doctors and therapists at SHAPE highly recommend a minimum six week strength and conditioning program with a SHAPE conditioning specialist to ensure that the injured tissues are strengthened and stretched properly to avoid future injury.

Monday - Thursday 6am - 9pm
Friday 6am - 6pm
Saturday 8am - 6pm
Sunday 9am - 4pm

416.929.8444 Toronto


SHAPE Health & Wellness Centre
Leslie & York Mills (35 Coldwater Rd.)


Information is for educational purposes and not medical advice, nor intended to replace the advice or attention of health-care professionals. Please consult your physician or book a consultation at SHAPE before altering diet or exercise programs, for diagnosis or treatment of illness or injury, for advice regarding medications or making use of information on this site.