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Primal Reflex Release Technique (PRRT)

PRRT is the most innovative manual therapy technique for reducing pain quickly and relaxing muscles effectively throughout the entire body. Based on documented neurophysiological principles, PRRT is an effective way to eliminate chronic pain of the musculoskeletal system. People of all ages and with a variety of conditions respond very well PRRT and feel relief after just the first Metabolic Rx (managed weight loss) visit. It may take 2-4 visits to realize the full benefits of PRRT. Our therapists are trained in the most recent PRRT techniques and will discuss how they may be used to enhance your rehabilitation.

What to expect?

When you come to Brookside Physical Therapy, you may receive the One Minute NSR™ examination as part of your initial evaluation to assess if PRRT is appropriate for you. This exam consists of palpation (touch) of a series of specific points of your body from head to toe. A positive response includes pain, withdrawal, or grimacing when the areas are touched. If one or more of the areas has a positive response it may mean that your nervous system is “upregulated” or has a “hotspot”. These areas lead to pain or dysfunction and can keep you from getting better unless properly addressed.

How does it work?

To “downregulate” or relax the entire nervous system, the 7 Primal Techniques™ are first applied. These techniques are aimed at specific nerves that originate directly from your brain and have direct influence on pain and tension. The dura mater (often thought of as the Saran wrap of your brain) is the protective coating that surrounds your brain and nerves. It is easily irritated through stress, trauma, and/or poor posture often resulting in headaches, neck and back pain. It may also lead to visceral (organ) dysfunction such as high blood pressure and gastrointestinal problems. After the 7 Primals are applied, you will be reassessed for changes in response to palpation in the 14 specific points on your body. You may notice relief from just the first seven techniques!

If you continue to have positive responses during the reassessment, then specific local techniques are applied. These techniques are aimed at addressing the specific point of pain or tightness using gentle tapping or placing your body in precise positions. You may be provided exercises to perform on your own that you can use to control your pain and prevent further symptoms.

Developed by John Iams in San Diego, California, PRRT has been shown to work very quickly and effectively in the clinic for a variety of conditions. Research is currently being conducted to validate its efficacy clinically.

Associative Awareness Technique™(AAT™)

Depression and Anxiety and have tried multiple types of treatment without success? Do you notice your pain, muscle tension or symptoms increase when you are experiencing stress? There is great news to share about a new and innovative treatment that could improve function and restore hope and enjoyment back into your life.


Associative Awareness Technique™(AAT™) is vastly different from any type of physical therapy approach that you have experienced before. In the past, physical therapy primarily focused on the biomechanical aspects of the dysfunction to eliminate chronic pain and improve function.

AAT™ is a 6 step treatment regimen which targets all three levels of the brain which includes: 1) the brainstem, where automatic protective reflexes originate and control the level of  muscle tension in your body, 2) the midbrain, which is called the emotional brain and tells the brainstem whether to protect the body with a fight, flight or freeze response  and 3) the neocortex, where conscious awareness and thinking resides.  The goal of AAT™ is to get your brain to stop sending messages to the body to protect it. The treatment is gentle and when coupled with simple home exercises creates calmness, relaxation and lasting changes in how you feel from a cognitive, physical, and emotional perspective. The goal of AAT™ is to restore balance to your Central Nervous System (brain, brainstem and spinal cord), which will result in balance in your physiology and body.

During Phase I, the first 2 steps of AAT™ re-trains the autonomic nervous system (ANS), housed in the brainstem.  The ANS controls every system in your body and the ANS responds to painful chronic conditions with protective reflexes that results in the fight, flight or freeze response. When you have experienced trauma through injury, accident, abuse of any kind, stress (death, loss of job, divorce, illness) or any situation combined with a sense of helplessness, the ANS responds with protective reflexes.

With a fight or flight protective reflex, one may experience an increased heart rate,shortness of breath, muscle tension or spasms or muscle twitching/shaking, headaches/migraines or dizziness, clammy hands, dry mouth/lump in your throat, anxiety/insomnia or abdominal discomfort.  A freeze response can be characterized by marked muscle tension, fatigue, and lack energy to perform normal daily activities.

During Phase II, steps 3 and 4 of AAT ™ address the limbic system, or emotional brain, housed in the midbrain. The limbic system creates emotional associations to experiences and memories. Every emotion you experience has a physical response. There is a conscious component to the emotional brain, as well as an unconscious component. Steps 3 and 4 are designed specifically to break the negative emotional associations that may have developed throughout your life and resulted in the fight, flight or freeze response.

During Phase III, steps 5 and 6 help you to change the habitual patterns, historical memories and anticipatory expectations that influence both the limbic system and the ANS. This phase addresses the third level of the brain called the neocortex and is your conscious brain where thinking takes place.

By creating a balanced communication between all three levels of your brain, the three phases of AAT™ promotes the healing process and results in life changes for many people.  AAT™ actually treats the cause and not just the symptoms of your chronic condition!


The creators of AAT™ are Scott Musgrave, MSPT and Ernie Quinlisk, PT, who both reside in Colorado. The information in this article is taken from their course work and their website at .  Please go to their website for more detailed information and resources.

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