B.S. PT degree from Ohio State University (1984)
IPA instructor (1999-present)
MESA College Adjunct Professor (2008-2011 PTA program)
Community outreach lecturer and clinical instructor.
APTA (American Physical Therapy Association) Member (1986-present)
Delegate to Ohio State Senate (1985)
Getting Started in Physical Therapy
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. I was blessed to recognize that the medical profession granted me the opportunity to practice all of the things that I loved. Being an athlete and a dancer, I loved movement and exercise. I loved biology and learning how the body worked. And, as a lover of people, I really wanted to make a difference for folks one-on-one.
So, it was 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.
Gaining Invaluable Experience
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 physical therapy to a very effective, powerful and integrated approach that I have used to treat my patients ever since.
In 1999 (after 10 years of intense training), I became one of the first 25 certified CFMTs (Certified Functional Manual Therapist) in the United States 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—and practicing neurological rehab, pool therapy and management.
BUT, chronic pain and dysfunction has always interested me the most. It has always pushed me to keep learning and exploring higher levels and adopt new methods of treatment to help ‘suffering’ individuals.
After practicing 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 recurrences 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.
Hence, my study with JP Barral into the inner workings of the human body.
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 physical therapist 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.
Finding My Specialty
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, how the gallbladder 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.'
In a nutshell, Barral's work has been growing in clinical evidence since the 70’s and he was ultimately recognized as TIME Magazine’s Top 100 of health innovators of the next millennium in 1999. It is slowly gaining ‘street cred’ as research supports its mechanism of treatment as well as why it works.
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 Visceral Manipulation practitioner cannot prove anything just like the medical doctors cannot, but what a skilled therapist can do 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 Personal Journey
My exposure to what is known in our field as ‘visceral manipulation’ began following my SBO emergency surgery in 1986. Scary? Yes! 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, thus was determined to prevent any additional ‘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! So, needless to say, I was a believer and highly intrigued from then on!
Fast forward to May 2007, when I was hospitalized for four days to find ‘nothing conclusive’ to account for the intense pain between 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 laparoscopy, the surgeon commented on all the adhesions present and I/we concluded it had literally made the gallbladder 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!
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?
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 determined that each and every person who 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.