Getting Started in PT
Growing up in small town Ohio, I knew I wanted to become a physical therapist when I was in the 9th grade. Some call it luck, I call it vision as I was blessed to recognize the medical profession that granted me the opportunity to combine all the things that I liked. Being an athlete and a dancer, I loved movement and exercise; As a lover of science I loved biology and learning how the body worked; and a lover of people I really wanted to make a difference for folks one on one.
So off to achieve my B.S. PT degree from The Ohio State University in 1984. My first job in Columbus, Ohio was an eye opening experience as I treated all types of patients that had sustained an injury at their job. Within a comprehensive multi-disciplinary team, the worst failed workers compensation cases of the entire state came to our facility. I got a different kind of education during those 2 years as I took away how an individual’s life can be altered by injury, pain, and loss of lifestyle. I still remember my first patients and their gratitude and how, over time, we saw that the majority of folks REALLY did want to get back to their lives, relationships, and their work.
Westward bound, I came to San Diego in 1986 looking for adventure and the chance to live in the finest city anywhere! In 1989 I began studying with The Institute of Physical Art which opened my world of PT to a very effective, powerful and integrated approach by which I have used to treat my patients every since. In 1999 (and 10 years of intense training) I became one of the first 25 certified CFMTs (Certified Functional Manual Therapist) in the US to pass this rigorous testing with honors.
Since that time I have grown my skill base by working in many different settings including Sports Medicine clinics, Managed-Care OP clinics, Acute Hospitals, Skilled Nursing Facilities, Hospital Outpatient departments, as well as practicing neurological rehab, pool therapy and management. BUT chronic pain and dysfunction has always seemed to interest me the most. I find it has always pushed me to keep learning and exploring at a higher level and adopt new methods of treatment to help these ‘suffering’ individuals. Hence my study with JP Barral into the inner workings of the human body.
Teaching: IPA instructor 1999-present. MESA College as adjunct professor 2008-2011 PTA program.
Community outreach lecturer and clinical instructor.
Professional: APTA (American Physical therapy Assoc) Member 1986-present; delegate to Ohio state senate 1985.
Having practiced traditional physical therapy for many years, I knew there was something missing in my approach. Often faced with patients who would get ‘almost’ better, or who would have recurrances of injury, or who had symptoms that could not be resolved, I knew there had to be more. Now, mind you I LOVED (and still do) the advanced orthopedic approach I learned as a CFMT, but there was still a void with some patients.
After studying with the Barral Institute and really connecting to this body of ‘work, I began to see these types of cases resolve. I began to treat only the high-level challenging patients and was happy to work alongside several physicians who were willing to give me a chance based on my reputation as a PT and the results they were seeing for their own patients.
“In 2012 I started my own practice, Alternative Physical Therapy, with the clear vision of treating those individuals who seek relief from challenging problems. Reaching beyond conventional treatment by applying advanced, state-of-the-art, effective therapeutic techniques I can offer patients hope and more importantly…..results! I am dedicated that each and every person that crosses my path will restore their quality of life through an improved state of health. I am devoted to each and every individual and will do
everything in my power to make that happen for YOU.”
This is where you enter the picture….what is your story? What is causing your undiagnosed chronic pain and/or dysfunction that disrupts your life?! Unfortunately with all that modern medicine has to offer the doctors simply cannot account for ALL the possibilities these highly integrated systems can produce. Medicine can test for basically one thing at a time…..e.g. how the stomach empties, how the gallbladder works, what the ovaries are doing. It cannot test for how the nerves work to those organs, cannot test how the GB or spleen are related to back pain or shoulder pain, or assess how the liver or lungs impedes
movement affecting your ability to turn and create back pain. Heck we aren’t even close to knowing how to test for this stuff! So how can we really expect our doctor/s to identify the exact cause of said problems and pain? Yes, there’s clinical intuition, but doctors are held to tight practice guidelines that do not allow them the freedom to act on these without ‘proof’. So here you are…..in pain, with a life-altering problem and little help to clear it. UNTIL NOW!!!!!!!!
In a nutshell, this work has been growing in clinical evidence since the 70’s and its creator, Jean Pierre Barral, D.O. ultimately recognized in 1999 as a TIME-magazine’s top 100 of health innovators of the next millennium. It is slowly gaining ‘street cred’ as research supports its mechanism of treatment as well as why it works. Well, based on what I’ve experienced, what I understand, and the results I have witnessed in my own practice I am of the firm opinion that it is a very viable option that is highly successful.
Now in all fairness an advanced VM practitioner cannot prove anything just like the medical doctors cannot but, what a skilled therapist can do, however, is offer you a gentle yet powerful method of treatment that addresses these mysteries. It is a system of integrated assessment and treatment that requires hours of study and practice as it is based ‘in science’: physics, embryology, anatomy, physiology, and others and applied in a clinical way to unlock the body’s own healing ability. This is
accomplished through reintegration of the nervous, vascular, visceral and musculoskeletal systems to work harmoniously together in a state of desired homeostasis (balance) called HEALTH! I realize it is difficult to grasp a conceptual treatment theory of any kind and this work is certainly not ‘usual’ and should not be compared to other interventions. Dr. Barral himself is still striving to better understand all the nuances and their applications even after doing this work for 40+ years and helping thousands of patients directly and probably millions as an extension of his undying dedication to pass along the education. The body is infinite! And so is the quest to understand it with the realm of science and art known as medicine
My exposure to what is known in our field as ‘visceral manipulation’ started following my 1986 SBO emergency surgery. Scary? Yes…but as you could probably guess, this blockage was directly caused by adhesions from an appendectomy 18 years earlier! For those of you who have been unfortunate enough to have also experienced an abdominal surgery of this magnitude, you understand me fully when I say I did NOT wish to EVER repeat this and thus, was determined to prevent any add’l ‘like’ procedures in
my future! As I was doing advanced training with IPA, I was fortunate to cross paths with my later-to- be mentor, Gail Wetzler, PT in 1989. She was beginning to really work with these treatment techniques and was very convincing in what they could offer me. It made logical sense although I had NO idea of how it all worked, I trusted her and her skills. Since that first treatment I knew this type of intervention was unlike any other I had studied or even know existed. It was very gentle, intuitive, and effective!
The result? I have had NO additional obstructions requiring emergency care or surgery! (note: % of patients have repeated abdom procedures once this occurs). So, needless to say I was a believer and highly intrigued from then on!
Fast forward to May 2007 when I was hospitalized for 4 days to find ‘nothing conclusive’ to account for the intense pain b/w my shoulder blades. I had no gallstones or prior history but the biggest suspect was the gallbladder. Since I could live without it I agreed to have it out. After all, who has time for these things?! Following the laproscopy the surgeon commented on all the adhesions present and I/we concluded it had literally made the GB work harder, thus setting the nerve impulses into overdrive and causing the intense referral pain to my back. Bottom line, it could have been prevented based on all that I know now about this work! “Live and learn” for all of us!
- Treatment Options
- Visceral Treatment
- Neuro-Meningeal Treatment
- Funtional Manual Therapy (FMT)
- Patient Info
- Referring a Patient