What to Expect from Aligned Through Awareness Physical Therapy
Q: How do I know if Aligned Through Awareness Physical Therapy techniques will work for me?
A: As with any mind-body connection method of healing, it has been found that people who are open-minded, curious, and willing to look inward tend to be more likely to have breakthroughs. In this approach, the tools for healing are commensurate with learning to be attentive to gut feelings and being mindful of bodily signals such as sensations in the joints and soft tissues.
Q: How long does it take to see improvement after beginning my treament?
A: At the end of the very first session, a client usually has a pretty clear impression whether this approach will be suitable. The techniques used to treat the physical symptoms result in an altered state of awareness described as feeling simultaneously exhilarating yet tranquil and where the physical discomfort that needed treatment melts away from awareness. This state of consciousness, akin to that experienced in meditation, is believed to bring about healing.
Q: How long does it take for me to develop the ability of placing myself into this altered conscious state so I can help in my own healing?
A: Aligned Through Awareness Physical Therapy focuses on clients becoming capable of self-healing. Techniques that work on both the physical and psychological avenues help clients learn to re-experience awareness of their movement. This is a process of awakening the senses to become aware of self-use patterns of movement and is an area that is unique for every individual. In general, it takes about six to eight weeks for a person to begin finding ways to reach the altered conscious states.
Q: How frequently should I expect to come to the Aligned Through Awareness Clinic?
A: Frequency of visits will be unique for each client depending on the symptoms. For example, if the client is at the sub-acute stage after an injury--such as a sports injury, or whiplash injuries after an auto accident--initially twice per week visits for two weeks is recommended, tapering off to once per week. For other types of neuromuscular and orthomuscular issues, such as chronic neck/shoulder pain, low back pain, posture improvement, or soft-tissue overuse syndromes, once per week is recommended.
Q: Do I need a physician to refer me to Aligned Through Awareness?
A: In Maryland, patients may self-refer to physical therapy services; it is not necessary to for a physician’s referral to seek treatment at Aligned Through Awareness Physical Therapy. You may want to share this information with your doctor in soliciting his/her input on your treatment using these innovative approaches to medical treatment. Under the auspices of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine has information readily available on their website http://nccam.nih.gov/health/whatiscam/#manipulative.
Q: Does my insurance cover my visit to Aligned Through Awareness Physical Therapy?
A: The client pays at the time of the visit and will be directly reimbursed by the insurance company based on the type of coverage the patient has with the insurance company. While Aligned Through Awareness Physical Therapy does not participate in any health insurance program, as a courtesy, our office will bill the client’s health insurance company.
Q: At Aligned Through Awareness Physical Therapy, what can I expect to be the same and different compared to conventional physical therapy?
A: It can be answered in several different aspects.
1) At Aligned Through Awareness Physical Therapy, you have one-on-one attention from your physical therapist. You are the only person on the therapist’s schedule at that time. There is no waiting while your therapist works on another patient simultaneously.
2) You can expect the same physical therapy maneuvers for differential diagnosis for various injuries and symptoms. However, your Aligned Through Awareness physical therapist looks deeper into how your habitual movement and mental patterns of thinking contribute to the problems you have. The diagnoses are not limited to only physical structures.
3) At Aligned Through Awareness Physical Therapy, you take an active role in your recovery. In a conventional setting, a physical therapist manipulates a patient who is in a passive role and waits for results to happen. At Aligned Through Awareness Physical Therapy, the client is the active participant. Using our techniques, the changes that occur within the client are because of the client’s effort and willingness to process cognitive as well as physical changes. Willingness to utilize different patterns of behavior to approach problems with structural issues avails the client of new freedom from constrictive ways of movement.
4) While the client is in the Aligned Through Awareness Physical Therapy clinic, the client and the therapist are working on activities that can not be done by the client alone at home. At Aligned Through Awareness Physical Therapy, the physical exercise programs focusing on muscle strengthening and tissue stretching are given as home exercises that the client can do without assistance. To see results, however, the client must be diligent in home practice.
5) Last but not the least, at Aligned Through Awareness Physical Therapy, the clients’ over-all wellbeing is the focus of every session. The therapist does not use the conventional approach of focusing solely on the illness or the injury as the focal point for treatment. The Aligned Through Awareness physical therapist views you holistically. [Merriam Webster refers to the holistic approach as relating to or concerned with wholes or with complete systems rather than with the analysis of, treatment of, or dissection into parts]. In terms of your personal history–you are someone involved with people and interacting with life forces around you within a specific life phase and your injury is part of the focus rather than the sole focus.
Q: I heard that before any hands-on happens at this clinic, the client is asked, “What would you like to get from this session?” Why is it set up this way?
A: The question “What do you want to get from this session?” is based on the practice of Zero Balancing®. (http://www.zerobalancing.com/) It is meant to call the attention from your subconscious mind to work for you. While it has been proven that our conscious mind can work on only 7 items of information at the same time (plus or minus two), our subconscious mind has the capacity to work on unlimited issues at one time. When the goal(s) are clearly specified, the subconscious mind starts working at full speed. If the unconscious process is given time, the clients almost always feel a tremendous shift in their being and feeling. (Wen-Li Lu is a Certified Zero Balancing® Practitioner.)
Q: What role does the Feldenkrais Method® play in the sessions?
A: Dr. Feldenkrais’ most significant contribution in the study of human movements is on calling people’s attention to “Awareness”. He used to say, “If you do not know what you are doing, you are not able to do it better.” Dr. Feldenkrais taught that habitual patterns residing in every person are the fertile grounds for discovering the possibilities and launching more efficient mechanisms to address our difficulties in movement.
Wen-Li Lu is a Guild Certified Feldenkrais PractitionerCM (GCFP). Throughout a client’s sessions, self-awareness and self-use are always at the foreground. For further information, please visit http://www.feldenkrais.com/.