Grow your practice by becoming an OSTEOPRACTOR™.

An OSTEOPRACTOR is a physical therapist or medical doctor that has completed an evidence-based post-graduate training program in the use of high-velocity low-amplitude thrust manipulation and dry needling for the diagnosis and treatment of neuromusculoskeletal conditions of the spine and extremities. 

Learn spinal manipulation and dry needling from the experts!  The American Academy of Manipulative Therapy is dedicated to teaching physical therapists, osteopaths and medical doctors the science and art of thrust manipulation and dry needling.

The DIPLOMA in OSTEOPRACTIC™ is a 12 to 18 months post-graduate training program and is only awarded to licensed physical therapists, medical doctors, or osteopaths that have successfully:



  1. CERTIFIED in DRY NEEDLING (Cert. DN) by completing the DN-1 and DN-2 dry needling courses, and
  2. CERTIFIED in SPINAL MANIPULATIVE THERAPY (Cert. SMT) by completing SMT-1 to 4 of the OSTEOPRACTIC™ HVLA Thrust Manipulation Series, and
  3. Completed the EXTREMITY MANIPULATIVE THERAPY (EMT-1) course in OSTEOPRACTIC™ HVLA thrust manipulation of the upper and lower extremities.
  4. Completed the INSTRUMENT-ASSISTED SOFT-TISSUE MOBILIZATION (IASTM-1) for Spinal & Extremity Conditions: an Evidence-Based Approach course.
  5. Completed the DIFFERENTIAL DIAGNOSIS & MULTI-MODAL MANAGEMENT (DD-1) of Upper & Lower Extremity Spine Related Pain Syndromes course.

Can a Physical Therapist also be a Manual Therapist? So why not a Physical Therapist & Osteopractor? Being a Physical Therapist represents licensure awarded by a State Board of Physical Therapy; however, Manual Therapist is a title that is not regulated or licensed that has been issued by a variety of post-graduate continuing education companies for many years (and currently still is). One can certainly “be”, or put on one’s letterhead or business card, “PT & Manual Therapist”, or “PT & Orthopedic Manual Therapist” to advertise one’s specialized training and practice focus to the public and one’s colleagues. So why not “PT & Osteopractor”?

Being a “Manual Therapist” doesn’t mean you are a member of another profession; in fact, “Manual Therapist” is a credential or title, not a license, which various health professionals can attain through a variety of continuing education programs offered almost exclusively by private entities that are not regulated or accredited. Like “Manual Therapist”, osteopractor is not a new or separate profession, but simply represents “physical therapists or medical doctors that have completed an evidence-based post-graduate training program in the use of high-velocity low-amplitude thrust manipulation and dry needling for the diagnosis and treatment of neuromusculoskeletal conditions of the spine and extremities”.

Osteo- orginates from the Greek osteon (“bone”) and –practor orginates from the Greek praktikos (“to practice, do, or perform”).  Although the term osteopractor literally translates to “bone practitioner”, the most recent evidence-based practice guidelines for musculoskeletal disorders clearly supports a “multi-modal” approach; therefore, in addition to the joints (i.e. the bones), the direct treatment of myofascial trigger points, tendons, ligaments and fascia (all connected to the bones…) is certainly recognized within the osteopractic concept for optimal patient management. Likewise, a neurosurgeon doesn’t just operate on nerves during surgery, and osteopaths don’t just treat bone diseases.

The term osteopractor has nothing to do with the chiropractic or osteopathic professions; that is, the osteopractor concept is firmly focused on the management of neuromusculoskeletal disorders in an evidence-based fashion, not the treatment of other organ systems as the profession of chiropractic has traditionally engaged. More specifically, the osteopractic concept does not subscribe to the theory of the “Vertebral Subluxation Complex” as the primary cause of “dis-ease”. In short, osteopractors do not diagnose or treat all 10-organ systems as chiropractic physicians are trained and licensed to do, and they do not utilize medicine or surgery as osteopathic physicians are trained and licensed to do. Lastly, spinal manipulation and dry needling are shared procedures between many healthcare professions [no one profession owns these--see the recent 2012 SUPREME COURT RULING: ALABAMA STATE BOARD OF CHIROPRACTIC V JAMES DUNNING]; however, the philosophy, the clinical reasoning, and the conditions treated with these procedures dramatically differs between professions.

We teach the scientific principles AND the specific hands-on-skills necessary to achieve safe and effective thrust manipulation of the cervical, thoracic, lumbar, sacroiliac, and rib articulations.  Furthermore, we teach how to safely deliver very specific and highly effective thrust manipulations to the upper cervical atlanto-axial (C1-2) and occipito-atlantal (C0-1) joints and the "difficult to get" first and second rib articulations. 
 
Spinal Manipulation Institute teaches course attendees how to gain mastery over those difficult to manipulate junctional zones including the craniocervical, cervicothoracic, thoracolumbar and lumbosacral regions.  We teach the specific psychomotor skills necessary to become a specialist in spinal manipulative therapy.
 
Have you ever wondered what the audible "cracking" sound or "pop" associated with spinal manipulation really is?  What is the average number of "pops" that should occur from a successful cervical manipulation?  Is the "pop" or cavitation necessary to elicit the neurophysiological reflexive muscular relaxation of, for example, the scalenes or piriformis muscles?  How much pre-load force do I need before I thrust the joint, and is this different in different spinal regions?  How much peak force do I need to achieve successful manipulation in the upper cervical spine? 
 
How fast do I need to be, and will more thrust speed reduce the peak forces needed to achieve cavitation of the target joint?  That is, how high is the "high-velocity" in thrust manipulation of the spine? Is the acceleration of the thrust important?  How long do I thrust for?  Or what is the mean duration of a high-velocity low-amplitude thrust manipulation?  Do the vertebrae actually move or change position when I manipulate them, is there evidence for this?  
 
How much pre-manipulation rotation, lateral flexion....do I need?  Does pre-thrust de-rotation displacement correlate with thrust displacement, thrust velocity and peak thrust acceleration; and more importantly, does it have anything to do with your success rates?  
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All of the above are technicalities, we know.  However, on a Spinal Manipulation Institute two-day seminar, we strive to take you from where ever you are, integrate your existing knowledge with ours, fill in the missing links, and enable you to master the art and science of spinal manipulation.  We will demystify it for you. 
 
Lastly, we are committed to teaching all licensed practitioners (PTs, DOs, MDs) without having them first spend a lot of time and money on pre-requisite courses that may not be necessary or completely relevant.  In fact, we believe learning how to perform a muscle energy technique or perform a C5-6 grade IV mobilization does not augment the practitioner's propositional, procedural or tacit knowledge required to become a master at spinal manipulation.  Why spend years learning softball if your goal is to play baseball?  Furthermore, we think you have the knowledge base and learning abilities by virtue of your professional license; this is why we allow you to take our courses in spinal manipulation without any pre-requisite courses.
  To see a listing of course dates and venues click here.
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REGISTER ONLINE for the TWO-DAY COURSE entitled SMT-1: High-Velocity Low-Amplitude Thrust Manipulation of the Cervical, Thoracic, Lumbar & SI Joint at a location near you.