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Dermoneuromodulation: Calgary, AB – October 2019

October 3, 2019 - October 6, 2019
COURSE FULL! Please email info@pelvichealthsolutions.ca to be added to the wait list.
Registration Information
COURSE FULL! Please email info@pelvichealthsolutions.ca to be added to the wait list.

Instructor: Diane Jacobs

Diane Jacobs graduated 1971, age 20, with a diploma in PT from University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon, and the ambition to become a manual therapist. In 1983 she encountered the world of osteopathic technique; she moved to Vancouver to be close to a small but good science-based manual therapy school near Seattle, the URSA Foundation, then attended for several workshops over the next few decades. She owned and operated a solo, cash-based private manual therapy practice from 1994 to 2009. She realized most traditional treatment models ignored neuroscience and modern pain science. In 2007 she conducted a small cadaver study of the cutaneous nervous system of the arm, and developed a new manual therapy approach from the ground up, from the inside out, to incorporate the nervous system, DermoNeuroModulation. In 2006 a pilot study of DNM commenced, at U of S., was completed and presented in 2010 at CPA Congress in St. John’s, Newfoundland.


In 2009 she left Vancouver to return to Saskatchewan; she lives and works in Weyburn, Sask. in her own practice, Sensible Solutions Physiotherapy. In her spare time she maintains an active online life writing, studying, moderating at SomaSimple.com, and administering a Facebook page for bringing pain and neuroscience to manual therapists. In 2008, a group of physiotherapists she helped to form into an interest group officially became the Pain Science Division of the Canadian Physiotherapy Association. She served as PSD executive communication liaison until 2013. She teaches DNM workshops internationally. Her book is available through Amazon.

COURSE FULL! Please email info@pelvichealthsolutions.ca to be added to the wait list.

Treating the body as if the nervous system really mattered



Manual therapy workshops tend to skip over the nervous system entirely; explanatory and treatment models tend to focus on tissue instead. The reality is that the nervous system manages 100% of everything, is only 2% of the human body, and uses 25% of available oxygen and glucose to do so, day and night. Another reality is that there are 45 miles/72 kilometers of nerves in the human body, each millimeter connected with the vascular system; everything we do, manually, affects that neurovascular array, and the nervous system of the conscious person we treat. Can we learn to interact favourably with nervous systems, and nerves themselves, in a treatment setting? Dare we?

In this hands-on workshop participants will be introduced to the nervous system, current thinking on why it’s there, what it is, how it got there, what it does, what it needs, how to help guide it toward improved motor output and less pain. Participants will be provided with visuals and downloads that will familiarize them with all spinal nerves and neural plexuses of the whole body, and will be guided through a novel non-tissue based set of assumptions about human pain and physical dysfunction – assessment and treatment approaches for cutaneous and motor nerves of from C1 to Co1, from the top of the neck to the ends of the toes.



Participants will come away with:

  • Increased awareness of the role the nervous system plays in pain production, and in response to manual therapy
  • Better ways of accessing and communicating with the nervous system on every level
  • Appreciation for the cutaneous nervous system
  • A science-based method of manual therapy handling that takes into account what has been learned in neuroscience and pain science over the last couple decades
  • Better palpation skill, and motivation to have manual therapy hands that are warm, slow, light, kind, effective, responsive and intelligent.



  • Introduction to the Neuromatrix model of pain, pain as biopsychosocial phenomenon
  • Overview of CNS and PNS processing (relevant to any kind of manual therapy) from a sensory processing perspective
  • Neuroanatomy and neurophysiology of the peripheral nerve
  • Overview of the cutaneous system
  • Examination of “tunnel syndrome”
  • Lab: strategic positions of comfort and skin stretch that have clinically been found to help a prepared nervous system to reduce pain output




Dermo -> skin

Neuro -> nervous system

Modulation -> change


Dermoneuromodulating (DNM) is a method for handling the human body and, most of all, its nervous system, in order to facilitate change, particularly in terms of its pain and motor outputs. DNM will not replace everything therapists have already learned, but it may provide a new conceptual container for it.  At the very least it provides the participant with a novel approach to handling that is patient- and nervous system-friendly.


Light and interactive, DNM ignores musculoskeletal structure and instead targets pain directly, by focusing on the nervous system, continuous from skin cell to sense of self, directly. The only “structures” considered in any depth will be skin and the cutaneous nerve, long ignored in manual therapy – participants will be exposed, perhaps for the first time, to the extensive branched system that innervates skin. DNM will provide participants with an expanded frame through which they can set up the all important treatment relationship, assess patients and their pain problems from the brain’s perspective, teach the patient about pain production without faulting them, recruit their cooperation for manual handling, and put them in charge of their own recovery.


DNM is based on Melzack’s Neuromatrix framework of pain as output, the most clinically useful pain model in existence from an interactive manual therapy standpoint. Persisting pain is the reason most patients come to see a manual therapist. DNM is a fully interactive treatment model: unlike a strictly operative model, in which, for example, biomechanical “faults” must be found, then “corrected”, DNM considers biomechanical expression as defense, not defect.  We put “pain” first; i.e., we put the nervous system of the patient (not their anatomy), and their own subjective complaint, their own interoceptive reality, front and center in the treatment encounter; we add a bit of strategic novel stimuli, then we wait a few minutes, and allow the nervous system to self-regulate.  Subsequent improvement in motor output is assessed and regarded as a sign that the nervous system now works with less intrinsic stress.

Audience: Open to physiotherapists, physiotherapy students, massage therapists, naturopathic doctors, osteopaths, nurses, midwives and medical doctors

Prerequisites: None


Thursday: 5:00pm – 8:00pm

Friday: 8:30am – 5:00pm

Saturday: 8:30am – 5:00pm

Sunday: 8:30am – 5:00pm

Registration begins on the first day 15 minutes prior to the start time