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Transform Your Practice: Discover Motion-Specific Release (MSR)

Updated: Mar 9

Motion Specific Release Class

The Power of Diversity with Motion-Specific Release

MSR, or Motion Specific Release, is an innovative treatment system designed by Dr. Brian Abelson that merges the advantages of various multidisciplinary medical approaches. Its primary mission is to address and resolve musculoskeletal conditions.

MSR amplifies and refines the best of these methodologies to craft a superior therapeutic approach that delivers quicker, longer-lasting results. Now, let's delve further into this topic so you can understand why we often achieve such remarkable results!

Article Index:


History & Perspective

Over my three-decade-long clinical practice, I've been fortunate enough to learn from and teach various musculoskeletal treatment methods alongside some of the world's leading experts. The insights I've gathered from them have been invaluable.

However, over the years, I've noticed a fascinating pattern. Various techniques (encompassing chiropractic, osteopathic, physiotherapy methods, soft tissue modalities, and a diverse range of research-backed procedures) can often yield exceptional results for some individuals while leaving others with little to no improvement. I've observed that each approach has its unique benefits and drawbacks.

Connected Image of Diversity

The inference I drew from these observations was straightforward: the optimal solution for a musculoskeletal issue does not come from applying a single approach but by merging a diversity of modalities. Furthermore, by distilling and synthesizing the finest elements across diverse methods, you create a solution that surpasses the sum of its individual parts in efficacy and effectiveness.

Broadening one's view beyond a single perspective can significantly enhance a practitioner's objectivity and stimulate creativity. This shift in mindset encourages the cultivation of fresh, innovative strategies rather than adhering to predefined protocols that leave little room for improvement.

Undeniably, numerous forms of manual therapy have a history spanning hundreds, if not thousands, of years (acupuncture, massage, and ayurvedic). Assertions by some self-proclaimed gurus about pioneering an "exclusive technique" or establishing supremacy can never be substantiated. Every practitioner builds on the foundations laid by their predecessors. Claiming exclusive superiority can be likened to professing the invention of Italian cooking just because they created an outstanding new recipe in that genre.

To be an exceptional practitioner, you must embrace diversity in perspectives and procedures. Enhance your objectivity, retain the valuable aspects and discard the weaknesses. As the renowned philosopher Aristotle once stated, "The whole is greater than the sum of its parts." This axiom is particularly relevant in the context of treating musculoskeletal conditions. By integrating and merging the advantages of various treatment modalities, we can accomplish results that would be unattainable by using a single modality. (2)


MSR: A Fusion of Science & Art

Art is commonly perceived as the manifestation of human creativity and imagination. In contrast, science is the quest and application of knowledge and understanding of the natural and social world, pursued through a systematic methodology grounded in evidence.

By marrying the artistic elements of creativity with the systematic rigour of science, we craft a potent formula for addressing intricate issues that cannot be resolved when relying solely on a single methodology. The creative facet conjures innovative solutions, while the methodological logic introduces an objective lens to these novel solutions.

Dr. Abelson Teaching an MSR Class

The Science

Motion-specific release (MSR) courses provide an extensive, technically rich academic curriculum that blends rigorous medical science with inventive methodologies to devise efficient treatment systems.

Here are some of the study areas incorporated within the MSR Treatment Framework:

  • Orthopedic and Neurological Examination: Practitioners refine their examination skills with a focus on the musculoskeletal and nervous systems, which are essential for accurate diagnoses and effective treatments. To address common gaps in diagnostic proficiency, our MSR Pro section provides 70 succinct diagnostic videos for continual skill advancement.

  • Fascial Treatment Integration: Addressing practitioners' common challenge in incorporating myofascial therapies, MSR training embeds cutting-edge fascial research. This encompasses understanding fascia's influence on movement and its link to pain and dysfunction, providing strategies for fascial manipulation to optimize function.

  • Functional Kinetic Chains: Our curriculum delves into the dynamic interplay of direct myofascial connections, synergists, stabilizers, and antagonists, imparting an understanding of their collaborative impact on movement. Practitioners learn to detect and address movement compensations, crafting specialized corrective treatments.

  • Myofascial Manipulation: Students gain familiarity with many myofascial tissue manipulation techniques, including direct and indirect approaches, and how to weave these into comprehensive treatment strategies seamlessly.

Dr. Mylonas Explaining a MSR Procedure
  • Fascial Expansions: We use fascial expansions to tackle musculoskeletal conditions and develop an effective strategy that integrates up-to-date fascial knowledge, kinetic chain interconnections, and fundamental acupuncture or traditional Chinese medicine principles. This integration is where MSR truly shines and brings tremendous power to your treatment methodologies.

  • Osseous Adjusting and Mobilization: Various joint adjustment and mobilization methods are examined (the techniques each practitioner utilizes would be contingent upon that student's scope of practice).

  • Traditional Chinese Medicine: We share specific tenets of Traditional Chinese Medicine, including acupuncture points, acupressure, and other treatment modalities for musculoskeletal conditions.

  • Functional Exercise Programs: Students are trained to create tailored exercise programs that address specific musculoskeletal conditions and work to enhance overall functionality. This includes the integration of functional movements and exercises that incorporate principles of neuroplasticity and aid in boosting motor control and coordination.

By weaving these diverse methodologies into the MSR treatment scheme, you will obtain a holistic understanding of musculoskeletal conditions and the proficiency to diagnose and treat them effectively.


MSR Class

The Art

Many healthcare professionals are gifted with remarkable creativity. When such ingenuity is fostered, it can lead to extraordinary results. It may seem unusual, but introspection is a simple pathway to unlocking this creativity. This approach is commonly embraced in Eastern philosophy and is the method Dr. Abelson, the founder of Motion Specific Release, has practiced throughout his 50-year Tai Chi, mindful-meditation journey. Let me elucidate.

Thanks to an evolutionary process spanning millions of years, our species has been endowed with a phenomenal toolkit—our 'hands'—and neglecting to use them effectively would be a lost opportunity. Many of the most effective MSR techniques involve hands-on application.

Our hands can differentiate between anatomical structures and detect restrictions in soft tissue and joint mobility. Moreover, we can feel the obstructions that prevent one layer of tissue from sliding over another or feel a nerve traversing through these layers.

However, even with the remarkable capabilities of a clinician’s hands, there is still substantial scope for refinement. This is where the power of Tai Chi can help.

A group of people doing Tai Chi

Initially, some practitioners expressed skepticism when Dr. Abelson introduced them to Tai Chi. Their doubts dissipate when they see the research demonstrating how Tai Chi can enhance the tactile sensitivity in their hands to a level comparable to that of a blind person reading Braille.(3,4,11) Imagine the enhancement that could bring to a practitioner's palpation skills!

Moreover, considering that both Tai Chi and mindful meditation effectively reduce stress (lowering cortisol and other hormones), improve sleep quality, and increase nerve conduction (even in diabetics), there is every reason for practitioners to incorporate these potent tools into their practices. (3,4,5,6)

The Concept of Circumduction In Manual Therapy

Circumduction In Manual Therapy

The implementation of circumduction, a core component of Tai Chi, exemplifies how this ancient practice can augment the capabilities of a musculoskeletal specialist, leading to clinically impressive outcomes. Circumduction, defined as the execution of a circular motion at a joint or soft tissue structure, is an invaluable tool in manual therapy. It permits multi-planar mobilization of both joints and fascia, taking advantage of the sophisticated, multi-axial configuration of the fascial network.

The adoption of these principles in manual therapy, deriving from this time-honoured art, has the potential to yield significant therapeutic results. This approach reflects an understanding of the body as an integrated system, where movement in one part affects the whole. The rotational elements of these movements improve proprioceptive awareness and neuromuscular control, which are vital for maintaining balance and coordination.

Tai Chi's circular movements also engage the fascial system, a connective tissue network essential for force transmission and muscular coordination. The spiralling and twisting motions in Tai Chi promote elasticity and resilience within the fascial network, fostering a holistic approach to movement that enhances both physical and functional health. In our MSR programs, you'll notice that the principles of circumduction are intricately woven into many of our procedures, showcasing their vital role in our approach.

Circumduction is just one aspect that we have fused into our MSR procedures.


Building Better Practitioners Image

Building Better Practitioners

Innovation understood as the generation of unique and functional ideas, can become an essential asset for musculoskeletal specialists. The need for this skill becomes highly apparent when navigating complex patient scenarios where more than traditional methodologies may be required.

The innovation process can lead to new treatment plans, adaptations to existing ones, or even the inception of unique therapeutic techniques. Thus, cultivating innovation within the realm of musculoskeletal therapy not only advances the progression of enhanced medical practices but also improves the quality of patient care by more proficiently addressing their distinct requirements.

Healthy Doctor Better Care

The timeless Greek aphorism, "Physician, heal thyself," encapsulates an essential truth that can often evade many medical professionals: their health is foundational for effective patient treatment. When this principle is observed through the prism of clinical innovation, it becomes evident that fostering our neuroplasticity - the brain's capacity to reorganize and adapt - is directly beneficial for patient outcomes. By embracing continuous growth and drawing knowledge from novel experiences, musculoskeletal specialists can hone their skills, enhance their diagnostic precision, and construct pioneering therapeutic methodologies.

Such an enhancement in cognitive agility enables a more profound comprehension of our patient's unique health conditions, facilitating the customization of treatments to their particular requirements. Moreover, understanding neuroplasticity provides us with the resources to enlighten and inspire our patients, illuminating how their brains can adjust and heal, thereby facilitating their active participation in their recuperation journey.

A Tai Chi Practitioner

Why Not Tap Into An Ancient Art

Tai Chi or mindful meditation could bolster brain architecture and functionality, acting as a natural defence against cognitive decline and strengthening crucial patient-care competencies such as focus, memory, and decision-making. Tai Chi and mindful meditation enhance mental and physical wellness among practitioners, encouraging heightened mindfulness and concentration during patient interactions. Hence, don't be surprised if we allot some time to familiarize you with the fundamentals during one of our MSR courses.

Dr. Abelson, a dedicated learner, practitioner, and teacher of Tai Chi, often discusses the deep-seated influence that Tai Chi and mindful meditation have exerted on his health and professional practice.


Power in Diversity Image

Conclusion - There is Power in Diversity

The Motion Specific Release (MSR) approach marks a transformative step in musculoskeletal therapy, blending multiple medical disciplines into a unified, effective methodology. MSR integrates a range of techniques, from orthopedic assessments to myofascial manipulation, along with traditional Chinese medicine and functional exercises, offering a deeper understanding of musculoskeletal treatments.

Grounded in scientific research and embracing a diverse array of methods, MSR transcends traditional limitations, combining fascial research, kinetic chains, and other scientific elements into a cohesive system. This innovative approach adheres to rigorous medical science and values the role of creativity and personal wellness, drawing inspiration from Tai Chi and mindful meditation. These practices emphasize the significance of the practitioner's mental and physical health in improving patient outcomes.


MSR Instructor Mike Burton Smiling

Join Us

Enroll in our courses to master innovative soft-tissue and osseous techniques that seamlessly fit into your current clinical practice, providing your patients with substantial relief from pain and a renewed sense of functionality. Our curriculum masterfully integrates rigorous medical science with creative therapeutic paradigms, comprehensively understanding musculoskeletal diagnosis and treatment protocols.

Join MSR Pro and start tapping into the power of Motion Specific Release. Have access to:

  • Protocols: Over 250 clinical procedures with detailed video productions.

  • Examination Procedures: Over 70 orthopedic and neurological assessment videos and downloadable PDF examination forms for use in your clinical practice are coming soon.

  • Exercises: You can prescribe hundreds of Functional Exercises Videos to your patients through our downloadable prescription pads.

  • Article Library: Our Article Index Library with over 45+ of the most common MSK conditions we all see in clinical practice. This is a great opportunity to educate your patients on our processes. Each article covers basic condition information, diagnostic procedures, treatment methodologies, timelines, and exercise recommendations. All of this is in an easy-to-prescribe PDF format you can directly send to your patients.

  • Discounts: MSR Pro yearly memberships entitle you to a significant discount on our online and live courses.

Integrating MSR into your practice can significantly enhance your clinical practice. The benefits we mentioned are only a few reasons for joining our MSR team.


Dr. Brian Abelson, DC. - The MSR Developer

Photo of Dr. Brian Abelson

Dr. Abelson's approach to musculoskeletal health care reflects a deep commitment to evidence-based practices and continuous learning. In his work at Kinetic Health in Calgary, Alberta, he focuses on integrating the latest research with a compassionate understanding of each patient's unique needs. As the Motion Specific Release (MSR) Treatment Systems developer, he views his role as both a practitioner and an educator, dedicated to sharing knowledge and techniques that can benefit the wider healthcare community. His ongoing efforts in teaching and practice aim to contribute positively to the field of musculoskeletal health, with a constant emphasis on patient-centered care and the collective advancement of treatment methods.



  1. Abelson, B., Abelson, K., & Mylonas, E. (2018). A Practitioner's Guide to Motion Specific Release, Functional, Successful, Easy to Implement Techniques for Musculoskeletal Injuries (1st edition). Rowan Tree Books.

  2. Aristotle. (1984). The Complete Works of Aristotle: The Revised Oxford Translation (J. Barnes, Ed.). Princeton University Press.

  3. Kong, J., Wang, C., Kwong, K., Vangel, M., Chua, E., & Gollub, R. (2005). The Neural Substrates of Tactile Object Recognition: An fMRI Study on Braille Reading. Brain Research, 1088(1), 81-90.

  4. Wayne, P. M., & Fuerst, M. (2013). The Harvard Medical School Guide to Tai Chi: 12 Weeks to a Healthy Body, Strong Heart, and Sharp Mind. Shambhala.

  5. Larkey, L., Jahnke, R., Etnier, J., & Gonzalez, J. (2009). Meditative Movement as a Category of Exercise: Implications for Research. Journal of Physical Activity and Health, 6(2), 230-238.

  6. Li, F., Harmer, P., Fisher, K., McAuley, E., Chaumeton, N., Eckstrom, E., & Wilson, N. (2005). Tai Chi and Fall Reductions in Older Adults: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Journals of Gerontology Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences, 60(2), 187-194.

  7. Wang, C., Bannuru, R., Ramel, J., Kupelnick, B., Scott, T., & Schmid, C. (2010). Tai Chi on Psychological Well-being: Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 10(1), 23.

  8. Wayne, P., Walsh, J., Taylor-Piliae, R., Wells, R., Papp, K., Donovan, N., & Yeh, G. (2014). Effect of Tai Chi on Cognitive Performance in Older Adults: Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 62(1), 25-39.

  9. Zatorre, R., Fields, R., & Johansen-Berg, H. (2012). Plasticity in Gray and White: Neuroimaging Changes in Brain Structure During Learning. Nature Neuroscience, 15(4), 528-536.

  10. Wei, G., Dong, H., Yang, Z., Luo, J., & Zuo, X. (2017). Tai Chi Chuan Optimizes the Functional Organization of the Intrinsic Human Brain Architecture in Older Adults. Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, 6, 74.

  11. Kerr, C. E. (2008). Tactile Acuity in Experienced Tai Chi Practitioners: Evidence for Use Dependent Plasticity as an Effect of Sensory-Attentional Training. Experiential Brain Research 188, no. 2, pp. 317–22.

  12. Wang, C., Schmid, C., Rones, R., Kalish, R., Yinh, J., Goldenberg, D., & McAlindon, T. (2010). A Randomized Trial of Tai Chi for Fibromyalgia. New England Journal of Medicine, 363(8), 743-754.



The content on the MSR website, including articles and embedded videos, serves educational and informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice; only certified MSR practitioners should practice these techniques. By accessing this content, you assume full responsibility for your use of the information, acknowledging that the authors and contributors are not liable for any damages or claims that may arise.

This website does not establish a physician-patient relationship. If you have a medical concern, consult an appropriately licensed healthcare provider. Users under the age of 18 are not permitted to use the site. The MSR website may also feature links to third-party sites; however, we bear no responsibility for the content or practices of these external websites.

By using the MSR website, you agree to indemnify and hold the authors and contributors harmless from any claims, including legal fees, arising from your use of the site or violating these terms. This disclaimer constitutes part of the understanding between you and the website's authors regarding the use of the MSR website. For more information, read the full disclaimer and policies in this website.

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