Evidence and Science-based Courses and Seminars

If you are looking for an evidence-based, or science-based course that will present current knowledge based on the latest research, look no further.

Below are the courses I offer in Critical Thinking and Pain Science, and below that a starter list of courses that are in Toronto or Canada or would be ideal to bring to Toronto and around Ontario for the evidence-informed RMT or manual therapist.

In order to attract these kinds of courses we need to show our interest and have a way to communicate and distribute the information.  I have started a mailing list that will not just be a way for you to keep up with knowing about the courses as they become available, but will also act as a way of enticing the course organizers to Ontario with numbers (this is not sharing the list, this is sharing numbers only).

Please sign on to show your interest in getting more evidence and science-based CEU courses for manual therapists.

I've also created a FaceBook Page that is for RMT's and manual therapists looking for upcoming continuing education courses like the ones below. The page will keep up to date information on the courses as well as encouraging discussion around what kinds of courses we'd like to see, how to get them here (it's going to be somewhat Ontario centric), plus reviews, critique and discussion around the courses themselves. 

Con-Ed Mailing List
for Therapists

Evidence Informed Chronic Pain Management for Registered Massage Therapists

Program Overview

This one day, in-person course will provide knowledge and practical skills for working with clients in persistent pain. The course provides the opportunity to learn how modifications of traditional massage therapy practices can increase success and improve outcomes for people in pain. It aims to decrease practitioner stress and provide confidence when working with chronic pain clients. We will thoroughly discuss the science of pain and how to incorporate effective therapeutic pain management approaches into daily practice. The course will challenge many misconceptions about pain as we learn the basics of incorporating a biopsychosocial framework between clinician and patient into daily practice behaviour.

Who Should Attend

RMTs interested in developing or enhancing sound clinical skills in the assessment and treatment of clients living with complex and persistent pain.

When and Where


Sun, 28 May, 2017 @ 9:00 AM – 4:30 PM EDT


Room 150 - University of Toronto Rehab Science Building / 500 University Avenue / Toronto, ON M5G 1V7

Description and Tickets

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Eric Purves, Presenter

Eric Purves, B.Sc., RMT has been a Registered Massage Therapist since 2006 and is the co-owner of Achieve Health, a multidisciplinary healthcare clinic in Victoria, BC. His area of therapeutic and research interest is in the treatment and management of persistent pain. He currently sits on the executive of the Registered Massage Therapists Association of British Columbia’s (RMTBC’s) professional practice group in pain management. The groups’ mandate is to provide education and evidence-based practice guidelines for massage therapists in the treatment and management for those who live in persistent pain. Eric is currently enrolled in graduate school taking his Masters in Rehabilitation Science at UBC. Eric has been researching everything he can find about pain and manual therapy and has authored a number of professional projects regarding the use of manual and movement therapy as a viable treatment option for people with persistent pain.

Courses I Offer

Currently I am presenting two courses via Sutherland-Chan Con Ed. Details are below. Course schedules and times will be updated as dates are added.

Critical Thinking: Fundamentals for Practice

ABOUT: Critical thinking is a concept of self and self-identity, but it also is a continuous self-directed and self-corrective practice. It is necessary in massage therapy to be able to ethically apply current and new knowledge to clinical assessment and treatment.

This course is an interactive, lecture-based presentation that will provide you with the tools, and some practice in deconstructing an argument and assessing your own assumptions and biases.

WHEN: Sunday, October 2, 2016. 9:30 am - 5:00 pm

WHERE: Sutherland-Chan School 330 Dupont St, Suite 400, Toronto

COST: Early Bird Pricing (includes HST) $197.75 (CAD) until September 12, 2016
Regular Pricing (includes HST) $224.87 (CAD)

JOIN: Contact - Robert Rodbourne

Phone: 416-924-1107 ext. 19 / Email: robert@sutherland-chan.com

Register Now

Introduction to Pain Science for RMT’s

ABOUT     : This course will provide a basic understanding of current pain science for manual therapists using a theoretical and discussion-based format. The research around pain and manual therapy treatment for people in pain is ongoing. This course will provide up-to-date science-based resources that help practitioners to incorporate treatment strategies for pain as part of a comprehensive treatment approach.

WHEN       :Sunday, November 13, 2016. 9:30 am - 5:00 pm

WHERE    :Sutherland-Chan School 330 Dupont St, Suite 400, Toronto

COST        :Early Bird Pricing (includes HST) $197.75 (CAD) until September 12, 2016
                  Regular Pricing (includes HST) $224.87 (CAD)

JOIN          : Contact - Robert Rodbourne

                  : Phone: 416-924-1107 ext. 19 / Email: robert@sutherland-chan.com

LINK          : Register Online

Courses and Seminars Incorporating Pain Science

Here are some suggested courses that would meet CMTO CEU learning outcomes and incorporate the most current research and knowledge about pain science and a biopsychosocial perspective in manual therapies.

Reconciling Biomechanics with Pain Science – September 24 and 25 in Toronto

Course Description

A comprehensive approach to using a traditional biomechanically based practice within a biopsychosocial approach.

This course teaches the therapist how to teach patients about pain science in a treatment framework that still utilizes specific/corrective exercise, general exercises and manual therapy. Therapists are taught a model of treatment that simplifies the assessment process and the treatment.

Toronto Course: Saturday September 24 and Sunday September 25 at Synergy Sports Medicine. To Register.


Course Description
"Treating the body as if the nervous system really mattered.

In this hands-on workshop participants will be introduced to the nervous system, current thinking on why it’s there, what it is, how it got there, what it does, what it needs, how to help guide it toward improved motor output and less pain. Participants will be provided with visuals and downloads that will familiarize them with all spinal nerves and neural plexuses of the whole body, and will be guided through a novel non-tissue based set of assumptions about human pain and physical dysfunction - assessment and treatment approaches for cutaneous and motor nerves of the upper body, from C1 to Co1, from the top of the neck to the ends of the toes."

Chronic Pain Management for Registered Massage Therapists

Hosted by Pain BC

"The course provides the opportunity to learn how modifications of traditional massage therapy practices can increase practice success, improve outcomes for people in pain, and decrease practitioner stress when working with chronic pain clients. We will discuss and practice effective therapeutic pain management approaches and current theories of chronic pain, including neuromatrix theory."

Next course in Vancouver in October. Register here.

Foundations in Myofascial Release Seminars

Course Information

"Foundations in Myofascial Release Seminars are designed for both beginner and experienced therapists. Massage therapists, occupational therapists, physical therapists, and speech language pathologists will all find value in these fast paced and enjoyable hands-on classes. ... Integrating a nervous system based approach creates entirely new openings for the therapist to follow."

Explain Pain and other courses – Neuro Orthopaedic Institute

Courses Offered

About Explain Pain:

"Knowledge is power. In the new series of Explain Pain courses delivered by Dr David Butler and the NOI teams around the world, cutting edge pain sciences are made accessible and understandable for all. The sciences are turned into metaphor and descriptive narratives, all on a framework of conceptual change science and the philosophy of emergence. Explaining pain is a two way process – the pain patterns, metaphors and stories from the patient’s viewpoint need reasoned analysis and are critical to meeting sufferers at their story."

Edge Work and Novel Movements: Applying Pain Science to Practice with Cory Blickenstaff

This one is sold out for September 25 and 25 in Victoria, BC. Hopefully we can get it next time around.

Course Details

This workshop will include a variety of clinicians from various professions learning together on how to apply pain science into manual therapy practice.  Enjoy a weekend learning from Cory Blickenstaff, PT, MS in beautiful Victoria, BC.  

Beyond Mechanical Pain – Headache Seminar. September 27, Toronto

Three hour evening seminar at University of Toronto by Alison Sim, that is "An evidence based approach to treating headaches and migraines. This three hour seminar is designed to help clinicians better understand the science behind chronic headaches and migraines and how to integrate this information into clinical practice."

Read more and register here.

1st Pain UnConference – October 29 in Toronto

Put on by the CPA Pain Science Division

"Internationally renowned keynote speakers Adriaan Louw and Bronnie Lennox-Thompson will guide us in the Canadian Physiotherapy Association Pain Science Division's 1st Pain UnConference to more effective interventions when psychosocial factors hinder progress. There will also be engaging facilitated roundtable discussions based on questions/case studies that you provide.

Practice explaining pain and learn how to help your patient develop the skills needed to improve their function and quality of life at the 1st Pain UnConference on October 29th in Toronto!"  Read more about it and register here

There is also a post UnConference workshop on October 30 given by Dr. Bronnie Thompson.

San Diego Pain Summit

Pain Summit Website

Clinical Pain Management Conference in San Diego

The third year of helping physical and manual therapists learn ways to bridge the chasm between pain science and clinical practice. 

The summit has speakers, workshops and discussions. Here is the February 2017 schedule

Complex Pain; Theory & Practical Treatment Approaches – Fall 2016

Course Details

BC are really cutting edge on the pain science workshops for RMT's. This on is in October, in New Westminster.

This will be a packed weekend presented by an experienced interdisciplinary team. It is designed to give participants up to date understanding of pain science, pain assessment as well as practical hands on (dermoneuromodulation) and hands off (education, mindfulness & relaxation) treatment approaches. The course will be open to Massage Therapists and Kinesiologists.


Started to help new graduates, as well as experienced therapists, keep up to date on all the important research and to contribute to the community of confident therapists that choose their treatment based on science.

Paincloud has paid membership for which it continues to update its members on the latest research in pain science, provides access to online presentations by "some of the brightest minds in pain science". Membership also includes attending those presentations live (online) with Q&A and being able to see the recordings any time.

Paincloud also has a blog, and a Facebook page.

NEW: A Paincloud Convention happening in April 2017 in Oslo. Tickets on sale now. The list of speakers looks fantastic. Read more and buy tickets here.

Simple Contact: Manually Managing People in Pain

Course Information

"This two day lecture and hands-on practicum includes what I've come to understand about manual care the past 30 years. It is neither basic or advanced, but simply a presentation of relevant research along with the manual techniques and exercises I employ daily. I'm convinced that all effective technique is the end result of an understanding of the materials, and that is what I teach." - Barrett Dorko

For more information about simple contact and ideomotion, read Barrett's essay Without Volition.


Other Resources

These resources might include things like websites, blogs, podcasts and forums that are discussing, explaining, debating, arguing about and presenting ideas, research, science and the like for manual therapists.

This list is representative, not exhaustive, but will be updated as new information comes to light.

Massage Therapy Blogs

I'm not going to duplicate resources that have already been collated, but I will share them.

From Bodhi Haraldsson, a BC RMT who has gathered a collection of blogs he considers to have good quality science information. 


Paul Ingraham is a former RMT from BC turned science journalist and now plumbs the depths of manual therapy science and myth. A go-to source for the science-based RMT.

"What works for stubborn aches, pains, and injuries? And what doesn’t work, and why? PainScience.com reviews your treatment options and the nature of the beast: hundreds of self-help articles, plus several big tutorials about common musculoskeletal pain problems, routinely updated, and readable enough for anyone but heavily referenced for professionals. (There’s also a huge pain science bibliography.) I serve up the science of pain with some sass — I try to have fun taking this subject seriously." ~ Paul Ingraham, publisher

Massage and Fitness Magazine


"A science-based magazine for massage therapists that blends the world of touch and fitness together. Their mission is to bridge science and research with hands-on and practical work among massage therapists and personal trainers by fostering critical thinking, ethics, and effective communications."

This is a US-based on-line magazine with very reasonable subscription rates and writers from all over. As well, the magazine puts out frequent articles on current topics through their website


This is the short description - "A safe place for skeptical physical and manual therapists". Go to the About section on the Facebook page for the long description.

Somasimple.com is a discussion forum for manual and physical therapist, and I'm pretty sure it plays a founding role in many of the science-based manual and physical therapy forums out there now. 

Go there and type in any manual/physical therapy topic, modality or profession you are interested in. There will be at least one discussion that will not just be worth reading, but will be necessary reading. Take a day. Go. You won't be disappointed.