MTI Conference, Solihull, 2017

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This Saturday was the MTI Conference 2017 at the Solihull College & University Centre, this year celebrating and recognising difference. This was my first MTI conference and I really enjoyed myself. Solihull isn’t too far from Sheffield so I got the train meaning a 6am start. Could have been worse I guess! A pretty pleasant train ride to Birmingham New Street, or “Grand Central” as they seem to call it now (Isn’t Grand Central Station in New York?), a 5 minute walk across to Moor Street station, a 10 minute ride to Solihull and then a simple 10 minute walk and I was there. Really could have been a lot more difficult!

The conference was held in a large reception space split into roughly three areas; a large seating area for presentations, a marketplace-like stalls area with things to browse, buy and sign up to, and a seating area which was used for lunch and some later smaller workshops.

SCMT Class of 2015/16 meet up at the MTI conference 2017

At ten, everyone had got themselves seated for Earle Abrahamson, MTI Chair, to welcome us, explain the format of the day and to introduce us to Jane Langston, the keynote speaker for the conference.

Jane told us a story of her own journey into alternative therapy. Starting out as a Biomedical Scientist then letting a natural desire for teaching and a discovery of Amatsu lead her into her new career. I’d never heard of Amatsu, so spent a chunk of the keynote wondering if it was just me, but I got the impression afterwards that it was new to a bunch of people there. Her story rings close to heart to me really, coming from a hard science background but now working in alternative therapy.

After completing the keynote speech, we all dispersed to the first of the 2 workshops we’d booked in. My first was about the use of Muscle Testing for the lower back, which both Steph and Kenny who I trained with at SCMT had also signed up for. This workshop was hosted by Jane Langston and Earle Abrahamson and they took us through a set of ways on how to test the actions of 5 muscles involved in the lower back: Latissimus Dorsi, Gluteus Medius, Piriformis, Quadratus Laborum and Psoas. We started out with Latissimus Dorsi and speaking honestly, I wasn’t really sure what I was doing. Working with Kenny I couldn’t tell what I was supposed to feel. Then we swapped partners and was immediately rewarded with “getting it“. The person I was now testing did appear to have something preventing her left-side Latissimus Dorsi from firing correctly and using the tests we were able to feel it. It was a definite “penny drop” moment and I grabbed Kenny and Steph to make sure they could feel it as well. From that point it just all made sense. Later on I passed my details over to the Learn Anatomy team as I’d love to do a more intensive muscle testing course.

After a really really good vegetarian lunch (That quiche was brilliant!) we had our second workshop. I’d selected “Sciatica: Clinical Assessment”, which was presented by Tim Bartlett. After a bit of anatomy of the lower back, we discussed the differences between sciatica caused by disc prolapse and piriformis syndrome, and as per usual, I ended up being a demonstration body for a set of diagnostic tests for sciatica. All useful stuff! Sadly we ran out of time for any treatment suggestions, but it was a packed session so it wasn’t missed.

To finish up the day there was a session of MTI hubs, allowing us to wander around and talk to some of the people organising events and planning for MTI. I grabbed the chance to have a chat to Diana Newson who is part of with the MTIs research group. I’m quite interested in seeing if my old and rusty science background would be helpful to them. Then I went for a wander around the stalls and picked up a couple of things from SB Holistic. Sarah came to our training and talked us through different oil types for a day on our Massage course, so I fancied trying out some of her products. I picked up some Muscle Magic and Scar Magic to try out on my willing volunteers.

I also got a chance to catch up with Leora of webmistressofbath.com. We’d been chatting over email little over the past few months so it was great to put a face and a real person to an email address. We’ve come up with a couple of ways we can help each other out in future.

So, that was my first MTI conference. I had quite a lot of fun and I’m looking forward to the next one!

Closing conference group shot

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