Our bodies are amazing and are designed to HEAL. They can heal from illness, physical injury, and emotional injury. It’s remarkable. And as a physical therapist who has made it my life’s work to aid in the healing of others, I have constantly immersed myself in the pursuit of healing and thriving for myself, my clients whom I guide and care for and my family.
As a young physical therapist, I was focused on one major aspect of the healing process. The physical. So much so that my professional focus was exclusively on this aspect of healing as a result of my education and training. And while all of the physical measures taken to help a person heal are helpful and can contribute to significant healing, I found myself looking for more as I began specializing in pelvic health. Pelvic health patients were MUCH more complex than most orthopedic issues. We were addressing organ AND muscular and skeletal systems at the same time.
Over the years, it became clear that the path to healing for my patients and even myself HAD to involve other layers. Patients trying to heal from pain would often report feeling a pain increase during a stressful week or event. Or they would be talking about constant GI issues, constipation or chronic fatigue, brain fog, and more. Often, we would be limited in the ability to work on exercise because of their other issues that would take precedence.
As I began to learn from health practitioners who were naturopaths and functional medicine providers, I began to learn about key elements that I was missing with my own health. The tipping point was when my mother and step mother were diagnosed with cancer at virtually the same time. Coping with this reality included diving into research on lifestyle and holistic measures to help those living with cancer as well as how to prevent cancer. It has been an eye opening journey into the world of foundational healing and reducing toxins we are exposed to was a major part of it.
I have come to now know after many years of learning and researching that healing HAS to address the PHYSICAL, CELLULAR, AND LIMBIC systems. Everything is connected. Each area impacts the other two.
For example, muscles and connective tissue require a balance of minerals to be able to 1) contract well 2) relax 3) knit together. No exercise alone can resolve a mineral imbalance in the body.
Mental stress and activation of the fight or flight system will lead to an increase in cortisol (stress hormone) release and contribute to elevated inflammation in the body and lead to exacerbation of physical pains.
Knowing that we are a composite of all three areas at the same time allows us to move towards healing in a more holistic way. Guiding clients towards habit and lifestyle changes that positively impact their CELLULAR and EMOTIONAL/LIMBIC systems will get them MUCH closer to meeting their PHYSICAL goals.
What would this look like for a patient coming to Pinnacle?
- First, listening to our patients and their stories.
- Looking for clues of imbalance in basic lifestyle issues such as sleep, hydration, nutrition.
- Assessing for patterns of fight or flight being in overdrive in the body (inability to breathe well, muscular restrictions in areas chronically held tense when stressed).
- Assessing alignment and muscular imbalances in the body from head to toe.