FDM Model

What the FDM is?

Fascial Distortion Model (FDM) – is a model developed in the 1990s by the American physician Stephen Typaldos DO. FDM is a medical view that attributes the cause of physical afflictions, functional limitations, and diseases to one or more common deformities of the fascial system. (Typaldos, 2002). The FDM model assumes that traumatization of the tissue causes deformation of the fascial system and the associated physical afflictions and functional limitations.
Patients most often interpret them as pain, neurological ailments and the motion range limitation.
S. Typaldos assumed that the tissue healing process is disturbed without the prior distortion removal. As we know, the body heals best with movement and load, as these are parts of the body’s self-regulation systems.


We can’t obtain such conditions when the distortions limit not only the range of motion, but also the functioning of the lymphatic system, muscle strength and tonus, which results in pathological tissue adhesions.


The tissue traumatization is often too severe for a body to conduct the full self-regulation process (restitutio ad integrum). We would rather expect the appearance of the adaptive disturbances in the form and function in a part of the system – we can treat those as an “internal” overload of the organism. As a result of this process, in areas distant from the original problem but existing on the same level, we can see the compensations arise. Those compensations are again responsible for changes in form and function of the system. Regulation, adaptation and compensation should be treated as processes of self-regulation for burdensome living conditions, which, of course, may include various types of injuries or deformations of the fascial system. We treat the clinical symptoms of adaptation and compensation as chronic, e.g. overlapping compensations and adaptations at the level of the lumbar region are often manifested in the form of a chronic pain. From the FDM perspective, “chronic” means only a tissue condition that we can always change to a greater or lesser extent – depending on the principle: “Purpose, function, structure.”


If we correct the deformations using strictly defined techniques of the FDM model, we will be able to observe an almost immediate decrease in pain and at same time increase in movement ranges, fluidity and dynamics of movement, improvement in proprioception and muscle pump, and often also the normalization of myotatic reflexes, tonus and muscle strength.


If there are no additional disorders of metabolic, hormonal, neurological nature, etc. then we can talk about the undisturbed process of tissue healing. The above description allows us to come closer to understanding the statement that: “Manual therapists do not heal, but they rather are responsible for creating an optimal environment for the body to heal itself.”

FDM heals when there are distortions of the fascial system, and after their effective therapy, the patient can perform full, painless ranges of motion and maximum loads.


The techniques of manual therapy with the highest therapeutic effectiveness, used by the FDM therapists, often resemble the gestures made by patients during the interview (indicating lines, points, etc.). Thanks to that, the therapeutic action becomes logical, measurable and understandable not only for the therapist, but also for the patient.


The application of the FDM manual therapy

The FDM model distinguishes between six deformations of the fascial system that disrupt the form and functions of the motor organ, as well as the process of its treatment. For now, the knowledge of FDM therapy can be successfully used in rehabilitation, orthopedics and traumatology, neurology, angiology, rheumatology, pediatrics, but also in aesthetic medicine and plastic surgery. In the fourth edition of the FDM Typaldos textbook (2002), Typaldos wrote: ‘… perhaps FDM will have the greatest impact, of all fields of medicine, on cardiology …’.


Each distortion is characterized by strictly defined symptoms that are assigned to a specific gesture (body language) and key words, such as “pulls”, “stings”, “tingles”. The diagnosis and effective treatment of a distortion obviously depends on: etiology, pathogenesis, the expected distress syndrome, additional objective findings of the therapist, prognosis – which is the natural course of the disease with and without treatment, the treatment approach – based mainly on pathogenesis, prophylaxis – mainly based on the etiology of the disease and the expectations and attitude of the patient as well as the skills and experience of the therapist.

The history and development of the FDM model

Stephen Typaldos, physician, D. O. – in 1991 discovered the “distortionary” body language that inspired him to create a new medical paradigm that is the cornerstone of the FDM (Fascial Distortion Model) / TMT (Typaldos Manual Therapy). In 1997 he published the book: “FDM Clinical and Theoretical Application of the Fascial Distortion Model Within the Practice of Medicine and Surgery”, in which he described the application of the FDM model in Orthopedics, Neurology, Internal Medicine and Rehabilitation.


S. Typaldos was the first one to understand that body language is the sign Esperanto (gestures) of all patients with pain in the whole world, and at the same time it is a brilliant diagnostic and therapeutic tool. Most of the new medical concepts are mostly the developments of older methods. McKenzie, Kaltenborn and Maitland were students of James H. Cyriax so the paradigm shifts are rare. Between 1992 and 1995, Typaldos introduced and published a completely new medical concept and called it the Fascial Distortion Model, a new medical paradigm that attributes the cause of physical ailments, functional limitations and diseases to one or more common deformities / deformations of the fascial system.


Like Ida Rolf and A. T. Still, S. Typaldos devoted his entire professional life to discovering and popularizing his way of perceiving diseases and ailments.

The origins of the FDM Model

In its original form, the FDM model was addressed only to physicians and osteopaths, but Typaldos always emphasized that it should also be addressed to physiotherapists with extensive experience in the field of manual therapy.

Physiotherapists owe the possibility of increasing their manual and diagnostic skills, in the field of deformations of the fascial system, to the German physiotherapist, osteopath and the founder of IFDMO – International Fascial Distortion Model Organization – Frank Römer. It was Frank who first decided to address the potential of the FDM model to physiotherapists.


We are proud that he is our friend, teacher, and the honorary president of GFDMO.

What the FDM therapy is?

“In the FDM therapy, it is the patient who is the authority and by using the key words for a given distortion and making an appropriate gesture, he “draws” on his body, in real time, a “map” of therapeutic procedure.”, R. Faryj.


Colloquially speaking, the patient shows the therapist where and at which tissue level the problem is, what anatomical structure it concerns, which technique in the field of e.g. manual therapy to apply, with what force and in which direction to act on the tissue. We can here actually observe how important the role of the patient’s authority is. It may seem that the therapist becomes only a tool in patient’s hands, but it couldn’t be further from the truth. The therapist classifies pathological deformation, on the basis of etiology, pathogenesis, body language, key words, palpation, muscle strength tests, ROM and also on the basis of his experience in the FDM model, and then subjects it to therapy. The therapist also performs an objective and subjective assessment of the pathological deformation, and on the basis of that, he plans further therapeutic treatment.


Due to the use of the FDM therapy, after a simple twisting of the upper ankle joint with partial damage to the joint capsule and the 1st / 2nd degree damage to the talofibular ligament, the patient can return to full load on the joint after 2-3 therapeutic units. In the above-mentioned case, the immobilization of the limb for several weeks is not consistent with the model of therapeutic management by an osteopathic physician Dr. Stephen P. Typaldos.

The advantages of the FDM therapy

Using body language (gestures) and the way the patient describes the pain, the therapist is able to immediately apply a tailored form of the FDM therapy, bringing, in most cases, immediate pain relief and improvement in functional limitations.


The FDM therapy works best with the pains occurring within the musculoskeletal system, but also with disorders of the visceral, vascular and nervous systems.


In many, so far known manual therapy-resistant diseases, such as Fibromyalgia, Sudeck’s syndrome, RA, we can not only effectively relieve the patient’s pain or create optimal conditions for self-healing, but also simply heal.


Just after completing the first course, an FDM therapist is able to effectively use the acquired knowledge in his professional life.


FDM is the fastest growing therapeutic model.

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