Since graduating from Saint Louis University in 1984 with a degree in physical therapy, I have worked within a medical model that depends too highly on medications, testing, and surgery. This is reflected in our high cost of health care and poor outcomes. Our bodies are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139) and hold tremendous capacity for healing when approached appropriately and holistically. Our tendency in healthcare – physical therapy included – is to compartmentalize the body into specialties: orthopedics, neurology, gynecology/women’s health, urology/men’s health, pediatrics, internal medicine, ear/nose/throat, vestibular, and more. Each encompasses their own tests/measures, diagnoses, medications, and invasive procedures.  But the body knows nothing about our artificial compartments: there is no real division between the neck and the ear, the knee and the intestines, the foot and the bladder. They are all connected – left to right, front to back, head to hand to foot – by a marvelous connective tissue network. Understanding this network and how to best influence it has been the first part of my life’s work, and reflected in the countless hours of post graduate training I have pursued. The second part is in communicating this to anyone who will listen: patients, clients, and other providers of all disciplines. Such is the impetus for this website.

My vision is to transform health care. I’ve integrated alternative approaches for years in my own practice with the patients/clients I have seen, one person at a time. It has been truly a joy and a privilege to witness healing, hope, and encouragement being restored to those suffering. While this remains my calling, I am painfully aware of the many people still struggling to navigate the slippery slope of our broken health care system. My hope is to reach as many people as possible with education about their body and empower them with options. But the other aspect of this is to reach clinicians who are willing to expand their paradigm and be open to additional/alternative ways of assessment and treatment, if for no other reason than improving results. I love this quote by Neil deGrasse Tyson, astrophysicist and author:

“For me, I am driven by two main philosophies:  know more today about the world than I knew yesterday, and lessen the suffering of others.  You’d be surprised how far that gets you.”

I’ve been wanting to start this blog for a long time -I don’t know why I’ve been so intimidated!  That’s not usually like me.  I figure if I don’t do it now while Covid-19 has turned our schedule upside down then I may never.  So here we go. 

Every day I have these great (in my opinion…..) conversations in rooms with patients.  I like to think they are empowering and educational for them – I know they are energizing for me!  I love helping people understand more about their body, what gets us into trouble, and what we can do to help climb out of it and stay there.  Psalm 139 says it all for me:  We are fearfully and wonderfully made! 

I find that a huge part of what I do with each patient comes down to helping them better understand their body, their particular problems, and their options for handling them.   People seem to be subject to either bad information or a shocking lack of any information at all.  Neither is acceptable!  We have a lot of great information to share, and most of it is not on the internet – how we view physical problems often runs counter to what’s on the internet.  Shocking, I know.  I’m passionate about getting all this good information out to as many people as possible because I believe it can impact the choices people make about their healthcare. Hopefully this will help. 

So that’s where this blog comes into play.  Maybe through it I can share a conversation that I had with someone else that you missed, that you might benefit from.  Maybe you can share it with someone who wasn’t in the room with us, who may need to hear the information.  I have many hopes with this:  to awaken people to the options they have for reclaiming and maintaining their health and wellness; to keep them from revisiting the same problems; and perhaps, just perhaps, I can really actualize my dream of preventing people from getting into trouble in the first place.  Or at least not getting so far down the road that it’s harder to come back.

I have a lot of ideas that I can chatter about here.  Let me know if you have some topics you’d like to hear me ramble about as well.  No promises on where this will go or how often I’ll get to it, but I’ll do my best! 

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Published by Colleen Murphy Whiteford

I am a physiotherapist, graduate of Saint Louis University Class of 1984. I married my best friend and business partner, Bill, who is also a physiotherapist, in 1988. We have worked together all these years - an example of God's grace! Together we started Appalachian Physical Therapy which continues to thrive. I am a big believer in the power of touch, the manual therapies, and treating holistically. There are many alternatives to medications, surgeries, and testing, but people are often uninformed. My perspective emphasizes the role of the connective tissues including the fascia. Lack of attention to this structure is the source of many physical ailments - our bodies are truly fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139)! I am passionate about helping people of all ages and diagnoses maximize their health, and empowering them to understand their role in management and prevention of problems.

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