“Trigger points” are highly irritable spots in muscles which take up residence in the muscle when it is damaged at any time in life, starting before birth. Accidents, sports, occupations and disease add their share. Trigger points become activated when undue stress, either physical or emotional, is present. An activated trigger point throws the muscle into spasm and spasm causes pain. Older persons suffer more than younger ones because they have had more time to acquire trigger points…NOT because of more years.
— Pain Erasure: The Bonnie Prudden Way
During a Bonnie Prudden Myotherapy session, the trigger points are defused by pressure and the newly relaxed muscles are then passively stretched to help return them to their normal state of painless activity. The average number of sessions is fewer than ten.
Bonnie Prudden using a crook.
Certified Bonnie Prudden Myotherapists are uniquely qualified to handle such diverse problems as back pain, headaches, carpal tunnel, accident and occupational related injuries and the swelling and discomfort due to a variety of diseases including M.S., fibromyalgia and arthritis. Bonnie Prudden Myotherapy has been very successful in the treatment of athletes, artists, musicians, singers, computer operators, to name a few.
Certified Bonnie Prudden Myotherapists train for 1300 hours. Having completed the program, students must pass Board Exams before they are granted certification. In order to maintain certification, Bonnie Prudden Myotherapists must update with thirty-five hours of training every two years.
Who is Bonnie Prudden?
The general public first heard about Bonnie Prudden in 1955, when the average American male thought that mowing the lawn once a week was more than enough exercise for anyone; the average American woman contented herself with a weekly sweep around the supermarket; and the average American kid spent most of his or her spare time in the flickering black and white light of the family’s 12-inch TV set.
For Bonnie Prudden, who’d begun giving daily late afternoon “conditioning” exercise classes for her two daughters and their friends in 1947 when she first realized how little physical activity the public schools were providing, the country’s indifference to physical fitness was an ongoing frustration. Convinced of the need for physical exercise, and determined to prove that American children were some of the least physically fit in the world, she launched the first of many campaigns to improve the public’s awareness about good health.
Using a test devised by Drs. Hans Kraus and Sonja Weber of Presbyterian Hospital in New York, Bonnie began testing children in Europe, Central American and the United States. The Kraus-Weber test involved six simple movements and took 90 seconds to administer. In Italy, Austria and Switzerland, the children tested exhibited an 8 percent failure rate. In Guatemala, the failure rate rose to 21 percent. But it was in the United States, the richest country in the world, the failure rate topped out at 58 percent!
Bonnie personally carried her test results to President Eisenhower in Washington D.C. Known as “The Report That Shocked the President” and “The Shape of the Union Address,” Bonnie’s report was not only responsible for the President’s Council on Youth Fitness (now the President’s Council on Physical Fitness, Sport and Nutrition), it was the beginning of the radical change in America’s attitude toward physical fitness. Today’s baby boomers with their running sneakers and their aerobic classes, their exercise machines and their emphasis on health and well-being can trace their beginnings to Bonnie’s determination to wake America up— to get it moving, walking, running, pushing up, sitting up and lightening up.
Bonnie not only wrote the first book on children’s fitness, she followed it up with 15 more! She’s created six exercise albums, hosted the first regular exercise spots on national television, had her own syndicated television show, and set up hundreds of exercise and fitness programs in schools, hospitals, camps, factories, prisons, mental institutions and social clubs.
Bonnie established the first active pre- and post-natal programs in the United States, the first diaper gym and swim program (more than 500,000 babies have learned to swim the Prudden way), the first coed exercise programs, the first exercise classes for the elderly, many of the first YMCA and Girl’s Club programs for girls and women and the first “dry” ski school. Bonnie established the first mother-baby swim-and-gym classes for infants.
In 1976, Bonnie’s life’s work took a surprising turn. While checking a woman who’d been receiving the trigger point injection therapy developed by President Kennedy’s former White House physician Dr. Janet Travell, Bonnie discovered that she could relieve the woman’s pain by applying external pressure to those same trigger points. Months later, after studying anatomy books and experimenting with friends, Bonnie introduced Myotherapy to the world. In her book, Pain Erasure: The Bonnie Prudden Way, published in 1980, she carefully outlined how Myotherapy could successfully eliminate 95 percent of all pain. Followed in 1984 by Bonnie Prudden’s Complete Guide to Pain-Free Living, and in 1985 by her Fitness Guide for the After 50 Crowd, it launched the next phase of her work.
In 1979, she opened the Bonnie Prudden two-year School of Physical Fitness and Myotherapy. After streamlining her Myotherapy techniques and making her training system more efficient and effective, in 1985 she announced a 1300-hour, one-year program for Myotherapy students. Though some graduates of the Bonnie Prudden Myotherapy and Physical Fitness Program have opted to work in hospitals and doctors’ and dentists’ offices, most have opened their own highly successful clinics.
Through the years, Bonnie and her Myotherapists have convinced a network of thousands of doctors and a medical profession all too often overly skeptical about anything new and “non-medical,” that Myotherapy is not only a new and viable way of treating pain caused by muscle spasms, but that it is often the ONLY technique, short of continual medication, available to relieve the intense pain caused by muscle spasm.
But perhaps most importantly, Myotherapy is based on Bonnie’s belief that the individual must not only want to get well, but that he or she must be able to take an important part in their own healing process. Patients are encouraged to bring a “helper” who can map and eventually target the necessary trigger points in the event of a relapse. They also learn how to exercise those muscles which through prior insult are prone to spasm under emotional or physical stress. As a result, most Myotherapy patients need less than ten treatments. For athletes and performing artists, relief is usually immediate and followed by enhanced performance.
A veteran of hundreds of workshops and scores of television programs, Bonnie Prudden spent her last six decades convincing people that they are capable of controlling much, much more of their physical destiny than they ever believed possible. Her seminars are designed to demonstrate to the most intransigent couch potato not just the potential for physical fitness, but the downright fun of it as well. Up until her death in December of 2011 Bonnie was still as full of energy and that indescribable “it” that compelled everyone from presidents to kids, from the emotionally or physically challenged to just plain everyday folks, to listen to her message. Whether she was lecturing about pushups or trigger points, Bonnie’s message has always clear, instructive and painless: YOU can get yourself well and YOU can keep yourself well. It is a message that alerted the country to the need for physical fitness in 1955, and it is a message that continues to bring relief from pain and the joy of physical well-being to thousands of Americans every year. More than inspiration, Bonnie’s seminars offer viable and rational solutions to problems that have all too often seemed insurmountable.