Human beings are much more than the sum of their parts. The human body is an intricate and beautiful creation capable of things science has yet to completely understand, let alone measure. Its ability to heal and its mechanisms are a wonder to behold. Yet in our health care system of specialties and sub-specialties, patients are often seen as a disease, a number on a blood test, or a symptom. These are the things that get treated, not the individual. People often wait for months to see specialists who barely take the time to sit down with them and listen.
Because everything is connected, I treat the entire body, the whole person. My job is to facilitate the body's natural healing mechanism for optimal results.
Furthermore, I believe that listening is crucial. Time and time again, clients tell me that my focused listening is what motivates them to work with me. They recognize that I am committed to providing the best possible physical therapy, allowing for their return to a healthy, active and pain-free life. Together, anything is possible!
Growing up, I was interested in health, the human body and human potential, so it was natural that I decided to pursue a career in healthcare. I chose physical therapy and in 1998 earned my Bachelor of Science in Physical Therapy from Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario.
Upon graduating, I began treating patients, first in Canada and then in the United States. What I discovered shocked me. Everything I had been taught seemed to yield short-term results at best or no results at worst. I felt as though I was merely scratching the surface and that the root cause of most health problems was buried somewhere beneath our health care system's focus on managing symptoms.
In 2004, I experienced what it was like to be on the client end of the client-practitioner relationship when I sustained a herniated disc in my lumbar spine. All the physical activities I had enjoyed came to a screeching halt. There I was, a young man in the prime of life, barely able to get out of bed. Excruciating pain, numbness, tingling, burning, weakness and instability overwhelmed me, and many of these symptoms were in areas which seemed unrelated to my injury. And I was afraid!
It was at that moment that I understood what many of my clients were talking about when they reported seemingly unrelated symptoms that they believed were the result of a specific trauma or injury. I had dismissed their observations because I did not fully understand or appreciate what they were going through.
During my training, I remembered hearing doctors say, "It's in your head." But now I was experiencing these symptoms myself, and they were very real and getting worse! My injury was an important lesson in empathy, the ability to put myself in another person's shoes and understand what he or she was going through. An instructor of mine once said, that in order to understand clients, every health care professional should experience pain—not just for a day or a week but for a year or more—in order to see how it profoundly impacts quality of life. While I don't wish pain upon anyone, he had a point.
So I found myself at a crossroads in my own life, and I made the commitment to search for the answers to my problems, to find the true source of good health. I figured that the only way to help clients would be to walk the walk myself. My pain was now my motivation, not a curse. And what I found changed my life!
It was during this period that I discovered one of the most overlooked structures in the human body, the fascial system. Understanding it would change my clients’ lives as well as my own. (Click here
to learn more).
"The soul of man with all the streams of pure living water seems to dwell in the fascia of his body."
- A. T. Still, founder of osteopathy
The fascia is the "Web of Life". Often described as a liquid crystalline matrix, it is a dense, three-dimensional network of membrane-like connective tissue that surrounds and interpenetrates every structure of the body including muscles, ligaments, bone, nerves, vessels, and all internal organs. This intricate network, which has been shown to reach down to the very nuclei of individual cells, is the one human system that is continuous in nature from the head right down to the toes. It connects every cell in the body.
The fascia is composed primarily of collagen fibers, small hollow tube-like structures filled with fluid called ground substance. Macroscopically, the fascia provides protection and support to maintain the structure and posture of the human body. Microscopically, it provides the means for cells to receive information, energy, oxygen, nutrition and hormones, and to flush out toxins. Due to its liquid crystalline nature, the fascial system is able to carry electrical impulses much more quickly than the brain and spinal cord do. This characteristic has influenced many of the leading researchers studying fascia to propose that it is not the neurological system (including the brain) that fully controls the functioning of the human body. Rather, the neurological system is but a component of a much more vast and intricate network, which is responsible for the transmission of information and energy necessary to support the health and proper functioning of the body's cells and systems. This network is the fascia.
In its healthy state, the fascia is fluid and pliable, allowing free movement and glide between all the structures it surrounds and interpenetrates. When an individual experiences any trauma (whether physical or emotional), inflammation, scarring (both surgical and otherwise), or simply the repetitive postural stresses of daily life, the fascial matrix loses its fluidity and pliability, as the ground substance becomes "stuck". The resulting loss can lead to excessive pressure on pain sensitive structures, the restriction of motion, the disruption of cellular function, and a variety of symptoms. The continuous, head-to-toe nature of the fascia often results in symptoms appearing in areas remote to the initial site of the injury (e.g., a patient experiencing migraines six months after a fall on the tailbone). In addition, if these fascial restrictions are not resolved, they can have a cumulative effect over time, leading to more severe symptoms and the inability of the individual to perform the functions and withstand the stresses of daily life.
Bearing these factors in mind, any manual therapy or exercise modality that does not address the fascial system and its restrictions will be incomplete. For a list of techniques I use with clients, click here
MYOFASCIAL RELEASE (www.myofascialrelease.com
Myofascial Release is a safe and effective hands-on technique that involves applying gentle sustained pressure into the myofascial connective tissue restrictions to eliminate pain and restore motion. The technique works through the piezoelectric phenomenon which states that gentle pressure (low load) applied slowly to a viscoelastic medium (i.e., fascia) will allow it to elongate. This elongation of restricted fascia allows it to return to its normal fluid state, thus relieving pressure on pain-sensitive structures and promoting the body's return to normal postural and structural alignment and balance. In this balanced state, the body is able to heal itself.
BOWEN TECHNIQUE/BOWENWORK (www.bowtech.com
The Bowen Technique is a dynamic system of muscle and connective tissue therapy. It involves a series of gentle moves on various points of the body's soft tissue structures (muscles, tendons, fascia, ligaments, joints, nerves) which have the effect of stimulating physiological changes and energy flow, empowering the body's own resources to heal itself. There are frequent and important pauses between each series of moves giving the body time to benefit from each. The Bowen technique is safe to use on anyone from newborns to the elderly and produces lasting relief from pain or discomfort, while promoting noticeable increases in functional mobility.
Ortho-Bionomy is a gentle, non-invasive form of body therapy which is effective in working with chronic stress, injuries and pains or problems associated with postural and structural imbalances. The practitioner uses gentle movements and positions of the body to facilitate the change of stress and pain patterns. This technique is beneficial in alleviating both acute and chronic pain and stress patterns by reducing chronic muscle tension, soothing the joints, increasing flexibility, improving circulation, and relaxing the entire body. Ortho-Bionomy stimulates the body's self-correcting and self-balancing reflexes by way of the proprioceptive reflexes located in joints and muscles. Movements and gentle compression are used to find positions of comfort, allowing the body to change the stress and pain patterns which are causing the discomfort.
CRANIOSACRAL THERAPY (CST) (www.upledger.com
CST is a gentle, hands-on method of evaluating and enhancing the functioning of the craniosacral system, a physiological body system comprised of the membranes and cerebrospinal fluid that surround and protect the brain and spinal cord. Using a soft touch, practitioners release restrictions in the craniosacral system to improve the functioning of the central nervous system. This technique produces a full body effect, allow the body to naturally correct physiological and structural imbalances, thus reducing pain, improving mobility, and enhancing wellness.
OTHER TECHNIQUES INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO:
- MCKENZIE SPINE PROTOCOL
- MULLIGAN TECHNIQUE (AKA MOBILIZATIONS WITH MOVEMENT)
Patients report relief from the following conditions and many more:
- Back Pain
- Birth Injuries
- Bladder problems (Urgency, Frequency, Incontinence, Leakage)
- Bone Spurs
- Bulging Disc
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Cervical and Lumbar injuries
- Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
- Chronic Pain
- Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) / Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD)
- Degenerative Disc Disease
- Diaphragm Pain or Tightness
- Digestive Issues (Crohn's Disease/Irritable Bowel Syndrome/Constipation/Colitis)
- Emotional trauma
- Frozen Shoulder (Adhesive Capsulitis)
- Coccyx (Tailbone) Injuries
- Gait Disorders
- Hammer toes
- Herniated Discs
- Interstitial Cystitis
- Jaw / TMJ Syndrome
- Leg Length Discrepancies
- Myofascial Pain Syndrome
- Pelvic Pain
- Postural Problems
- PMS or Menopause Symptoms
- Repetitive Strain Injuries (RSI)
- Respiratory Problems (Asthma/Bronchitis/Hayfever/Sinusitis)
- Sacral Pain
- Shin Splints
- Shoulder Pain
- Tennis Elbow
- Trigeminal Neuralgia
Before Your First Visit
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