Who is Eligible to take the Pelvic Therapy Practitioner Certification (PTPC) Exam?

The new PTPC exam, the first certification that recognizes specialized skills for

providers of pelvic rehabilitation, is available to the following activelylicensed practitioners:

  • Physical Therapists (PT)
  • Occupational Therapists (OT)
  • Physician (MD, DO, ND)
  • Registered Nurse (RN)
  • Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner (ARNP)
  • Physician's Assistant (PA-C)

Applications from other providers will be reviewed for approval on a case by case basis to determine eligibility. The basic premise is that a provider must have a license that allows a provider to complete the appropriate examination and intervention techniques in order to sit for the PTPC exam. In addition to being a licensed provider, documentation of clinic hours must be included on the application. A minimum of 2,000 hours of clinical experience with pelvic therapy patients must have occurred over the last 8 years, with 500 of those hours occurring within the last 2 years. This patient care experience must be "direct" meaning that the provider is involved in processes that will have a direct influence on the patient such as examination, evaluation, designing or modifying plans of care, and interventions for pelvic conditions.

Conditions that relate to pelvic dysfunction may include, but are not necessarily limited to, the following conditions:

  • Pelvic pain (dysfunctions of ligaments, bones, joints, connective tissues, organs)
  • Pelvic girdle dysfunction
  • Bowel dysfunction
  • Bladder dysfunction
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Abdominal dysfunction
  • Thoracolumbar dysfunction
  • Lumbo-pelvic-hip dysfunctions

The hours of direct patient care may include time spent with patients of various ages (elderly, adult, pediatric) or with patients of any gender. Please check out our page on the website that lists other frequently asked questions, and contact the Institute with additional questions. You can download the PTPC application here. The first exam will be given at the start of 2014!

Continue reading

Pelvic Therapy Practitioner Certification (PTPC): Now Taking Applications!

The Herman & Wallace Pelvic Rehabilitation Institute is pleased to introduce pelvic rehab providers to the Pelvic Therapy Practitioner Certification (PTPC) application process that is now available on-line. The PTPC is the only certification that addresses specific knowledge and skills in the field of pelvic rehabilitation of men and women. The Institute has been working with Kryterion, an expert in exam development, since 2011 to accomplish the detailed and rigorous steps that go into a certification test. First, a job task analysis (JTA) survey was created with the work of subject matter experts (SME's) over a long planning weekend together. Many of you (403 to be exact) completed the lengthy survey to complete the development of this step. Through the JTA the Test Blueprint was created, upon which the test will be based.

Items on the exam were written by physical therapists who are clinicians and educators. Knowledge of patient care scenarios is integrated into the exam along with evidence based practice. Once all of the items were written, each was examined by a team of experts to be sure that the question meets the high standards of psychometrics and best practices.

This exam will allow a pelvic rehabilitation provider to achieve recognition for the years of study and practice required to develop his or her expertise. In the coming weeks we will continue to update our community about the PTPC application and testing process. As always, contact the Institute with any questions.

Continue reading

My experience at Biomechanical Assessment of the Hip and Pelvis


Janna Trottier, PT, DPT, CSCS recently attended our Biomechanical Assessment of the Hip and Pelvis in Tampa, FL, taught by Steve Dischiavi, MPT, DPT, ATC, COMT, CSCS. Here's what she had to say about this course:

Last month I attended the course “Biomechanical Assessment of the Hip and Pelvis.” It was created and instructed by Steve Dischiavi, MPT, DPT, ATC, COMT, CSCS. I was drawn to the program because I was looking for an SI course that was comprehensive including evaluation and treatment as well as a functional application for treatments. It was advertised through Herman and Wallace.

I have been an orthopedic/sports physical therapist for 15 years and have been specializing in OB physical therapy for 6 years. I was interested in expanding my knowledge of core stability into functional movements. I was also intrigued that this “Women’s Health” course was going to be taught by a male who was a Sports Physical Therapist/Athletic Trainer for the Florida Panthers NHL Hockey Team as well as a private practice owner. There are also very few Women’s Health courses available in South Florida where I practice.

Immediately from his introduction, Steve drew the connection between myofasical stability and pelvic pain. All of the other course participants were female pelvic therapists with the exception of my husband who is an orthopedic sports physical therapist. This was fantastic because it allowed for great discussion about treatment techniques specific to Women’s Health.

I have been to many great SI and Women’s Health courses over the years and usually the goal is to take home 1-2 clinical pearls to use in your practice. However after this course with Steve, I felt as though I came away with an entire day full of “pearls”. I enjoyed that this course was not entirely pelvic floor based, butstill completely relevant to the Women’s Health population. He really focused on functional movement and evaluation for SI instability and lumbar core stability as well as incorporating many different treatment philosophies while blending his own.

The day after the course, I returned to my clinic and used his techniques on a 75 year old male patient with LE strength and stability dysfunction. Within the first treatment, there was marked improvement in his gait stability. After 2 treatments, he was able to leave his cane at home! It was really fantastic that I was able to utilize Steve’s techniques immediately in the clinic with rapid results. This was especially exciting since clinicians are encouraged to make fast improvement with declining visit limits. I have since been using Steve’s theories with many different patient populations – but especially our Women’s Health population. I would highly recommend Steve’s course to any practicing Women’s Health therapist as well as any orthopedic physical therapist.

Continue reading

Health Care Needs in the LGBT Community

Are the healthcare needs of patients who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT)different than those of patients who identify as heterosexual? Are we asking the important questions, providing the appropriate education in our treatment environments? Fortunately, these questions have been asked by researchers and medical providers, and there are increased resources to provide excellent educational content for those of us working in pelvic rehabilitation. There are some important distinctions among definitions and health care issues for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) individuals, and the references and resources are helpful in describing those differences. The following points represent some common health issues in the LGBT community:

• Screening for cervical cancer occurs less often in women who identify as lesbian, thereby increasing the risk of missing an early diagnosis. In a survey of more than 1000 women, only 62% were routinely screened according to Tracy et al., 2013, with participants citing lack of primary care physician or lack of physician referral for screening as barriers

Healthy People 2020 cites health disparities of those in the LGBT community to include the following: societal stigma, discrimination, denial of basic human rights, having high rates of psychiatric disorders, substance abuse, violence, victimization, and suicide

• Medical providers assume heterosexuality, this is often referred to as "heteronormative" behavior, and this is not conducive to useful communication. In a summary of a large survey of men and women in the UK, Fish & Bewley describe homophobic behaviors or lack of knowledge (about societal marginalization or sexual practices, for example) in healthcare providers. The referenced article emphasizes improving access to healthcare for all and improving knowledge of GLBT needs among providers

Now for the excellent and convenient resources we have that can assist our own educational process:

Heck & colleagues describe positive intake interview techniques and the importance of "starting from a place of positive affirmation" as many patients who have experienced discrimination or bias will not open up about personal health history unless the interviewer establishes an unbiased approach. While the article is written from the psychotherapy approach, the information is relevant for any health provider

ACOG May 2012 Bulletin titled "Health Care for Lesbians and Bisexual Women" is an excellent tool and states that women should be provided with quality care regardless of sexual orientation. Understanding the barriers as well as the importance of routine care and providing a patient with an overall positive clinic experience are outlined.

The Center of Excellence for Transgender Health has an excellent "Learning Center" complete with guidelines for patient care

Womenshealth.gov has a page devoted to lesbian and bisexual health issues, and there is a link to a PDF that you can freely download and use in patient education (or peer and community education) about the topics

As healthcare providers, we have a responsibility to serve our patients in a nondiscriminatory way. Often, we are not even aware of our own belief systems because they are developed at such a young age and influenced by our experiences and those around us. Providing the most comprehensive pelvic rehabilitation requires understanding of the health needs of various populations, including our patients who identify as LGBT. The more we improve our awareness of "heteronormative" behaviors and the value of avoiding such habits, the more empowered we can be as health care advocates and providers.
Continue reading

Fiber and Functional GI Issues

In the world of pelvic rehab, fiber is a big deal. Regardless of the diagnosis that brings the patient in to our clinic, bowel dysfunction is often a complaint that can aggravate or complicate any other diagnosis. Most of us are familiar with dietary fiber basics, but what do we know beyond those basics?

Put simply, there are 2 types of fiber: soluble and insoluble. According to Medline Plus, the average American eats 10-15 grams of fiber per day, when the recommended intake for older children, adolescents, and adults is 20-35 grams. (A high fiber fruit, a medium apple has 4.4 grams of fiber, just for perspective.) Soluble fiber, such as oat bran, nuts, seeds, beans, attract water and turn to gel during digestion. This helps to slow digestion, whereas insoluble fiber, found in wheat bran, vegetables, and while grains, speeds passage of food through the stomach and adds bulk to stools.

According to Eswaran & colleagues (2012), fiber is a crucial part of the digestive process. Any undigested carbohydrate that reaches the colon can be completely or partially fermented by the gut bacteria. Fiber fermentation can indirectly increase fecal bulking, and water retention (influenced by fiber type) can also affect bulk of stool. A potential negative aspect of fermentation is gas production that can cause bloating, discomfort, and flatus.The level of fermentation and solubility of different types of fiber varies based on chemical composition. For more details about the benefits of fiber related to fermenting and non-fermenting properties, click here for a full text article describing these processes.

In the article by Eswaran et al., the authors describe how insoluble fiber can have a laxative effect through mechanical stimulation/irritation if the fiber particles are sufficiently course and large. Soluble, viscous fibers can soften hard stool OR firm loose stool via its water-holding and gel-forming capabilities. While the authors point out varied types of fiber and the research about potential risks and benefits of each in patients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), the results of the research are often "mixed." This same phenomena can be seen in our patient populations: each person may need to tailor the amount and type of dietary fiber to her own body.

In relation to dietary fiber supplements, the highest level evidence(Level IIB)cited in the same article is for psyllium/ispaghula. While some patients consume psyllium that is recommended by a medical provider such as Metamucil, many patients choose to purchase the same product (minus the added preservatives) and add psyllium to their diet. While there are many studies that examine the effects of adding a fiber supplement, few actually study the effects of whole foods as the treatment.

One of the most important concepts to teach patients when they are adding fiber to their diet is to do so gradually, as a sudden increase can cause bloating, abdominal gas, and discomfort. If you are interested in learning more about pelvic rehabilitation for functional gastrointestinal disorders, come to PF2A, or attend the new-this-year Bowel Course happening next in November in California. Sign up early for the next 2A course, as the remaining 2013 courses have sold out!

Continue reading

PTPC Update - One Big Step Forward!

H&W is thrilled to announce that we have completed one more giant step in the process of developing our certification exam, the Pelvic Therapy Practitioner Certification (PTPC) exam.

Over the past few weekends, our team of Subject Matter Experts met in Seattle to painstakingly go through all 450 items (exam questions) for clarity, correctness and other conventions. This was a massive project and we are thrilled to have gotten over this hurdle.

Now that all items have been reviewed, we are only a few steps away from beta testing the first offering of the exam.

Stay tuned - as we will be making the application for beta testers available shortly!


The Pelvic Therapy Subject Matter Experts enjoy the Seattle sunshine!

Continue reading

Dry Needling Gets a Boost

Many therapists who are interested in the use of dry needling for patients who have pelvic pain are faced with the following questions:

  • is dry needling in my scope of practice?
  • how do I get trained in the technique?
  • how do I bill for the intervention?
  • is there research to support use of dry needling?
Fortunately, the answer to that last question just got a boost. In the recent Journal of Orthopedic & Sports Physical Therapy, Dr. Kietrys and colleagues published a systematic review and meta-analysis of dry needling for myofascial pain in the upper quarter. In the article, the authors conclude that dry needling,when compared to sham or placebo,has a significant and positive impact on upper quarter pain immediately after treatment. Trigger point dry needling is similar to acupuncture in the use of the needle which is placed into the site of a myofascial trigger point. There are ways in which dry needling are not similar to acupuncture, and you can find some of those differences explainedhere. The mechanism of the treatment effect, and the reason for the "twitch response" that is often elicited during the needle placement is still debated.
How does research about the upper quarter help pelvic rehab providers? Efficacy of dry needling has been described in other excellent research reports, including this free, full-text case report about a patient with low back pain. Pelvic rehab providers apply similar strategies when treating myofascial pain regardless of the site of dysfunction: education for pain theories and management of chronic pain, manual therapies, modalities, muscle lengthening and strengthening as appropriate, body mechanics, adaptations for work and leisure activities. Any research about dry needling that supports pain relief and improved function for patients assists our understanding of how to apply the modality. As pointed out by the authors of the systematic review on dry needling, further research with high quality study design are needed in general.
Pelvic pain providers who are trained in dry needling can contribute to the body of research.
For answers to some of the other questions above, we can look to the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) resource page about dry needling. Therapists are encouraged to bill the "manual therapy" code as the intervention addresses myofascial trigger points. Each practitioner needs to check state practice acts to find out if the technique is supported for your particular profession, and attending a specific training course is required. One of the course providers, Kinetacore, lists each state recommendations.
You may recall this blog postfrom the 2011 International Pelvic Pain Society Meeting that highlights a presentation from Dawn Sandalcidi, PT, and Nel Gerig, MD, about dry needling for pelvic pain. Dawn teaches the pediatric incontinence and pelvic floor dysfunction courses for the Institute, and she also lectured at the last Combined Sections Meeting of the APTA about dry needling for pelvic pain. (The next pediatric course happens in October in California if you would like to expand your practice to pediatrics.) As pelvic rehab continues to advance in the development of both evaluation and treatment techniques, therapists who use dry needling for pelvic pain have an exciting opportunity to offer patients another valuable tool.

Continue reading

H&W Founder earns distinction from ISSWSH

Hollis Herman, DPT, PT, OCS, BCIA-PMDB

Our own Holly Herman, DPT PT MS OCS WCS BCB-PMD, is adding two more initials to her credentials.

She has met the criteria for the International Society for the Study of Women's Sexual Health (ISSWSH) Fellowship and is approved to use the designation IF after her name, making her one of only three PTs in the world to hold this title (the others are H&W friends Amy Stein and Talli Rosenbaum).

Congrats to Holly for this achievement!

Continue reading

H&W in Chile - an update from the Road


We are glad to report that Institute founder Holly Herman arrived safe and sound in Santiago, Chile and just finished teaching Day One of our intensive Pregnancy and Postpartum course we are offering to therapists in the region.

This course is being offered in partnership with Francisco Eduardo Ubilla Benghi, PT, COMT, MOMT, a local therapist who worked with Herman & Wallace to put on this event.

Holly will be teaching the coures in English to an audience of Chileans (and a few participants from other South American countries) with the help of a translator. In Chile, people speak Spanish with a castellano dialect, which is wholly unique from the Spanish which Americans learn in high school (in addition to being a brilliant PT, Holly speaks Spanish).

It is thrilling to bring our Pregnancy and Postpartum series of courses to other parts of the world. In December, we will be returning to the country to offer a follow up course covering Male Pelvic Floor topics.

Stay tuned for updates on H&W's many travels!

Continue reading

Resurrecting the Dead Zone

This blog was written by Pelvic Rehab Report guest blogger, Richard Sabel MA, MPH, OTR, GCFP, who - along with Bill Gallagher PT, CMT, CYT - teaches the H&W course, Integrative Techniques for Pelvic Floor & Core Function: Weaving Yoga, Tai Chi, Qigong, Feldenkrais and Conventional Therapies as well as an online series of courses on the same topic.


RS: When considering the broad range of health issues that fall under the umbrella of pelvic dysfunction, we’ve observed that too many of our clients have PPA - poor pelvic awareness. Sure they’re cognizant of the pain, discomfort or distress associated with their particular issue, but in reality the pelvic region is, as Imgard Bartenieff described it, “the dead seven inches in most Americans’ bodies.” We’ve taken creative license here and call it “the dead zone.”

A lot happens “down there,” yet how many clients are attuned to the unique contribution this region has in terms of functioning? Most would identify elimination and sexual function (definitely biggies), but what about other key “happenings” such as the pelvis is home to our center of balance and femoral joints; or connect the intimate relationship of the tailbone and head in terms of mobility and flexibility; or realize that key muscles for postural alignment originate or pass through the pelvis? Not many.

How can we resurrect the dead zone? The antidote is awareness. We often think about strengthening weak muscles, stretching tight muscles and improving the coordination among muscles, however a missing component is helping our clients’ develop a better kinesthetic sense. This ingredient, added to the rehab elixir, is integral to lasting change. We live in our bodies, but most of us have major holes in our sensory awareness – what we call the “Swiss Cheese Effect.”

What about therapist? We have an excellent knowledge of anatomy and kinesiology, but how many of us embody this knowledge? It’s hard to say, but we suspect not enough. A few years ago, we observed a therapist teaching students transfers. He described the body mechanics perfectly, but when he demonstrated the transfer, his lower back was rounded. Intellectually he understood what to do, but he could not sense the awkward position of his back. Frederick Alexander would describe this as debauched kinesthesia. It’s not surprising this therapist often complained about back pain.

That’s why the intention of our touch and the cues we give clients are so important. As Deane Juhan said, “Touching hands are not like pharmaceuticals or scalpels, they are like flashlights in a dark room.” When our touch and cues are clear, we guide clients toward a new sensory experience, which may alter how they feel and in time may influence how they think and act. This last sentence is a tweaked quote from Moshe Feldenkrais. He referred to his clients as students, which changes the dynamic of the therapeutic relationship and emphasizes learning over curing.

Our webinars and on-site workshops are designed to provide participants opportunities to embody the work. Some lessons focus directly on the pelvic region and others on integrated full body movement. Once we better understand the kinematic chain or kinetic melody, we have more options: we can focus on the structure to address underlying issues contributing to dysfunction, or we can use our knowledge of integrated movement to bring about change in the structure. In other words, we go both ways.

Just for fun, try the following lesson, which we call the Ferris wheel. You’ll need a chair with a solid seat and no armrests.

Be mindful of the following rules: 1) keep the movements small, 2) move slowly, and 3) rest briefly after each movement.

Start with a body scan

Sit toward the front edge of your chair, with your feet flat on the floor, hands resting comfortably on your lap. Observe your breathing. Where do you notice the movement as you breathe in and out? Observe the way a cat watches a bird outside the window. Shift your attention to the souls of the feet. Without moving, sense how each foot makes contact with the floor. Compare both feet and notice the differences. Be as specific as possible. Now bring your attention to the buttock. Is there more weight on one side? What about the lower back, is it rounded, arched or flat? Sense the shoulders. Is one shoulder higher than the other? Finally, notice the position of the head. Is the chin pointing up or down? Is the head turned to the right or left? Keep a “sensory snap shot” of the body scan, which will help clarify changes that might occur as you progress through the lesson..

Scoot left, allowing the left sit bone to come off the chair. If you need to, place the right hand on the chair for balance. Lower the left sit bone just below the seat of the chair, then gently raise it back to the starting position. This movement will create a gentle stretch in the muscles and ligaments of pelvic floor. Repeat the movement again, this time noticing as the sit bone is lowered, how the ribs may broaden on the left side and close on the right side. Repeat the movement and this time observe the head and neck. Do they move as the sit bone is lowered? Did the right ear, tilt toward the right shoulder? If not, the next time the sit bone is lowered, in a synchronized movement, allow the head to tilt slightly to the right. As the left sit bone rises, bring the head back to midline. Did this make the movement easier? Repeat this pattern 4 more times. Keep the movement slow and small. Breathe throughout the movement. Rest.

Lower the left sit bone and begin making small circles in the sagittal plane - like a Ferris Wheel. Make 6-8 circles and rest for a moment. Observe the movement in the ribs, neck and head. Repeat this sequence going in the opposite direction. Rest.

Imagine a pen is attached to the bottom of the sit bone. Begin writing your name on an imaginary piece of paper just below the sit bone. Play. If writing your name is too hard, make any pattern that comes to mind. Just keep the movement slow and easy. Rest.

Scoot to the right allowing the left sit bone to rest on the chair. Notice how the left side of the body feels compared to the right side. What differences do you notice? Be specific. Has your breathing changed? After the body scan, repeat this sequence on the right side.

After completing the right side, repeat the body scan done prior to the lesson . How have the points of contact and position of the body changed? Is the body more symmetrical? Are there any differences in the breathing? Stand. How does the body feel in standing? What differences do you notice in this position? Take a short walk. Does your walking feel different? Be specific about any changes you observe.

There’s a second version of this lesson in which the pelvic breath is coordinated with the movements. For that experience, you’ll have to join us at an on-site workshop or view our webinar.

In a follow-up blog, we’ll discuss the rationale for the lesson. In the mean time, before we bias your thinking, it would be great to hear from you. Post a response to your experience with the lesson and how you might consider using it with a client.

Continue reading

By accepting you will be accessing a service provided by a third-party external to https://hermanwallace.com/

All Upcoming Continuing Education Courses