Neurovascular Integration addresses the neurological conversation between body and brain, and how the very power of our presence provides permission for the patient’s nervous system to explore change.
The basic physiological relay of any manual therapy is this: sensory input provided from the periphery by the therapist >> interpretation at spinal reflex level or through autonomic brainstem circuits >> output from the CNS that can range from “withdraw/protect” to “resolve” to “relief” to “spontaneous corrective movement.”
When we as therapists are present in the “balance zone” of our own Profound Neutral presence, we are in the dance between sympathetic and parasympathetic drives. We are modeling a safe sensory input for our patient’s nervous system to perhaps interpret our touch differently – safe to engage with rather than something to be defended against.
This exploratory output can manifest through signs of tissue relief (warmth, softening, flow, lengthening, etc) and/or the spontaneous corrective movements that are the basic expression of a healthy nervous system.
Neurovascular Integration is designed to illuminate familiar therapeutic interventions by dancing with the nervous system in its own language. The better we understand how our approach is being interpreted by the brain, the better we can encourage restorative outcomes.
No more wrestling with connective tissue, no more imposing confusion on an already disorganized nervous system… let’s find the common meeting ground through our presence and help our patients land in their bodies with ease.
Cathy Pliscof Holway, PT, DPT
Doctor of Physical Therapy
Cathy Pliscof Holway is an internationally recognized physical therapist, educator and author in the healthcare field of integrative manual therapies. She has taught and lectured throughout the United States to beginners as well as advanced students.
She received her BS and Certificate in Physical Therapy from Russell Sage College/Albany Medical College School of Physical Therapy, Troy, NY, in 1979. She received her Doctor of Physical Therapy degree from Boston University in 2008.
As Program Administrator for the Upledger Institute Intensive Programs, Dr. Holway directed a multi-disciplinary team of therapists, coordinating daily treatments for patients. Her work with medically complex patients led to her development of manual techniques for the mouth and throat, which grew into her own form of work, Sacred Spaces Bodywork, in 1998.
In 1999 she began teaching the Advanced Mouthwork (now Essential Mouthwork) class and founded Sacred Spaces Seminars. It was through this work that she developed the Profound Neutral palpation protocols and began her studies into neurovascular anatomy and physiology. Her commitment to establishing a science-based manual modality led her to graduate school.
She put the seminars on hold while she pursued her Doctor of Physical Therapy degree through Boston University, and upon graduation in 2008 founded the Neurovascular Institute, Inc. Classes in the Neurovascular Integration approach are now presented through The Neurovascular Institute, Inc. and the curriculum continues to synthesize outstanding, science-based medical education with the art and spirit of healing. We are approved continuing education providers for a growing number of governing licensure organizations and look forward to meeting and surpassing the continuing education needs of healthcare professionals nationwide.
Dr. Cathy continues to flow with the evolution of the seminars, integrating clinical work with research, development and instruction in Neurovascular Integration.
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Learn more about the story of Neurovascular Integration and how our therapies were developed.