How can physical therapists help you reach your health and fitness goals?

October 2013 — National Physical Therapy Month

How can physical therapists help you reach your health and fitness goals?

Many people think of physical therapists as healthcare practitioners to be seen after surgery, or for rehabilitation for an injury. While they fulfill both of those roles, many PTs are now offering a broader range of services, shifting their attention to both prevention of and recovery from injury and illness.

With wellness and exercise programs continuing to be in high demand, physical therapists are ideally suited to help people of all ages and fitness levels reach their wellness goals. PTs are the medical community’s leading experts in helping people improve the way their bodies work, feel and move. In fact, that’s what Physiquality is all about: connecting you with the most highly qualified therapists in your community to help you and your family stay healthy and active.

With that in mind, here are five Physiquality members who offer a variety of specialty programs across the health and wellness spectrum at their clinics.

Take Charge Fitness ProgramJoyce Klee, PT
Co-owner, Clinton Physical Therapy Center
Clinton, Tennessee

Clinton Physical Therapy Center launched the wellness programs now offered by the center’s Take Charge Fitness Program in 1995. Joyce says that patients would come to the end of their physical therapy treatments and realize they needed a structured environment in which to continue their home exercise programs. “We have always tried to keep the medically oriented focus at our clinic,” she adds. “Many of the people who come here need supervision that they can’t get at a health club. We can cater their exercise programs to specific health issues, whether they are orthopedic or neurological problems, or other issues, like obesity.”

Most of the fitness programs are available throughout the year and include aerobics, Zumba, line dancing, yoga (including chair yoga and yoga for seniors) and Pilates. (You can see a full list of programs at

The program’s fee schedule is simple: a one-time fee to join, and then a variety of monthly membership levels based on the type of classes one takes. When looking for a similar program in your community, Joyce advises making sure that any staff member offering classes is properly qualified; all of the fitness instructors at Take Charge Fitness have degrees or advanced training in their area of expertise. She reminds readers, “A PT degree does not necessarily qualify a person to create a fitness routine for the general public, and not every fitness instructor will know how to accommodate for a client’s physical limitations or needs.” The combination of PT oversight and fitness experts is the ideal situation.

Venise Mule-Glass, PT, DPT, OCS
Owner, Sunshine Physical Therapy
Commack, New York

Venise has been expanding the wellness programs at her physical therapy clinic for several years. Some of the programs were created with the help of qualified patients who developed the programs with Venise; a fitness program for obese teens and yoga classes for kids are two examples. Venise also has a massage therapist on-site, perfect for patients who need a sports massage now and then.

In addition, Sunshine PT gives patients the option to continue exercising with PT aides after their therapy sessions have come to an end. They can pay a small fee per visit to have the aides take them through their home exercises, and can sometimes ask their PT questions they might have about their program. As a certified Pilates instructor, Venise often works reformer exercises into these post-rehab programs, allowing customers to do reformer work for a fraction of the price of typical private Pilates sessions.

Treating lymphedema: Manual lymph drainage and soft tissue mobilizationSuzanne Cavanaugh, PT, DPT, CLT-LANA
Regional Director, Allegheny Chesapeake Physical Therapy
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

When her clinic’s owner approached her about starting a lymphedema treatment program, Suzanne had eight years of general physical therapy practice under her belt but no experience with lymphedema (an abnormal swelling of tissues). Only one other PT in western Pennsylvania worked with lymphedema patients; Suzanne would meet with that therapist on weekends to discuss their patients, what worked and what didn’t.

Now there are 28 PTs in the area that practice as certified lymphedema specialists, a certification Suzanne earned several years ago. The treatment is often used for people who have had chemotherapy for breast cancer, but it can also be applied to anyone suffering from edema, or swelling, especially in the legs.

Suzanne agrees that “physical therapists are the experts in movement and musculoskeletal problems. If the problem isn’t musculoskeletal, they’ll recognize that and send you for other treatment.” She encourages patients to look for PTs with the highest credentials and best experience. (To find someone certified to treat lymphedema, look through the therapists certified by the American Physical Therapy Association or the Lymphology Association of North America.)

Janet Yamada Soto, PT, DPT, FAAOMPT
Owner, Berkeley Physical Therapy
Berkeley, California

Janet founded her clinic in 1984 to treat musculoskeletal disorders, so it makes sense that she offers foot orthotics for sale in her clinic: Structural problems with your feet can lead to poor body alignment and problems like neck and back pain, all from compensating for foot issues; orthotics can relieve pain and improve your alignment.

Janet recommends orthotics from VASYLI, a Physiquality partner vendor. “We love them,” she says, “because they are a good product and easy to purchase, both for us and our clients.” Patients are fitted for the over-the-counter orthotics at the clinic by PTs; they can take them home the very same day.

Video gait analysisChris Nawrocki, PT, MSPT, Cert. MDT, OCS
Chief Operations Officer, The Center for Physical Rehabilitation
Grand Rapids, Michigan

Chris and his staff are always looking for new programs for their clinics to help their patients stay healthy and fit. Everyone keeps their ear to the ground, taking suggestions from patients on what they need, and paying attention to new programs discussed at conferences and continuing education programs.

In addition to a gym program and personal training, The Center for Physical Rehabilitation offers more than 10 specialty programs among its four locations in Michigan. They include a variety of sports conditioning and injury prevention programs, such as TAP, a Throwers Athletic Performance program that uses video analysis to improve performance; a bike fit program, where the PTs fit cyclists to their bikes and prepare a personalized home exercise program to optimize performance and relieve pain; and Sportsmetrics™, a six-week training program designed to increase muscular power and jump height. Their staff can also do gait analysis, which uses a treadmill and specialized software to find abnormalities in a person’s walking and running gait patterns, allowing the PTs to recommend proper running shoes, posture corrections and exercises to strengthen the core and lower back.

The Center for Physical Rehabilitation also offers clinical specialty programs. Aqua therapy is available at three of their locations, allowing patients to start therapy sooner and reducing pain during exercise. And they have staff members who are certified in such specialties as women’s health and balance and dizziness problems.

The goal of most of these programs is maintenance and injury prevention. “These types of programs can really help consumers avoid injury and prevent repeated episodes,” Chris says. “For a nominal fee upfront, it can help people avoid significant setbacks and preventable injuries, which will help keep their long-term healthcare costs down.”

Want to know what types of programs are available in your community?
Search for a Physiquality clinic in your neighborhood.

Suzanne Cavanaugh, PT, DPT, CLT-LANA

Joyce Klee, PT

Venise Mule Glass, PT, DPT, OCS, CSCS

Chris Nawrocki, PT, MSPT, Cert. MDT, OCS

Janet Yamada Soto, PT, DPT, FAAOMPT

Suzanne Cavanaugh, PT, DPT, CLT-LANA, is a physical therapist and the the regional director for the Allegheny and Butler County offices of Allegheny Chesapeake Physical Therapy, a Physiquality network member with 10 locations in Pennsylvania. She is accredited by the Lymphology Association of North America as a Certified Lymphedema Therapist.

Joyce Klee, PT, is a physical therapist and a co-owner of Clinton Physical Therapy Center, a Physiquality network clinic in Clinton, Tennessee. She opened Clinton Physical Therapy Center with her co-owner Kelly Lenz in 1988 and has 24 years of experience working with spinal dysfunction patients, and a variety of neurologic disorder cases.

Venise Mule-Glass, PT, DPT, OCS, CSCS, is the owner and founder of Sunshine Physical Therapy, a Physiquality network member in Commack, New York.

Chris Nawrocki, PT, MSPT, Cert. MDT, OCS, is the chief operations officer for The Center for Physical Rehabilitation, a Physiquality network member with four locations in western Michigan. Chris has completed over 200 hours of courses at the North American Institute of Orthopedic Manual Therapy, and he is certified as both an orthopedic specialist by the APTA and in mechanical diagnosis and therapy by the McKenzie Institute.

Janet Yamada Soto, PT, DPT, FAAOMPT, is a physical therapist and the owner of Berkeley Physical Therapy, a Physiquality network member in Berkeley, California. She is a fellow of the American Academy of Orthopedic Manual Physical Therapists and a consultant to the Kaiser Hayward Physical Therapy Fellowship in Advanced Orthopedic Manual Therapy.

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The material and information contained on this Web site is for information only and is not intended to serve as medical advice or consultation.

Consult your personal physician before beginning any exercise program or self-treatment.