Free Press Article – June 29 , 2012

KIRK APT, RMT, GSI

Healing Horizons recently received an email from a patient telling us how encouraged he was with the prospect of improving his health now that he had an understanding of “the big picture.”

I think what he was talking about was the vision of collaborative and integrated health care that is the cornerstone of Healing Horizons. That is, instead of treating our patients’ symptoms and health complaints, the practitioners at Healing Horizons strive to help each patient achieve their health goals, and address the root cause of their symptoms by using more than one healing modality in an integrated approach.

As a practitioner of Rolf Structural Integration, I need to consider the big picture within my field of structural bodywork therapy. For example, low back pain is one of the most common complaints of the people that I treat. There are many causes of low back pain, but to get to the structural root cause, I usually need to step back from working solely on the site of the pain and get a view of the big picture.

I’ll begin by considering the patient’s entire physical structure, through what I can visually see and by listening carefully to what they tell me about their health history and how they use their body on a daily basis. Given this information, I might begin treating their low back pain by working to improve the flexibility of their chronic sprained ankle. Or, if I learn that they spend long hours at work in front of a computer, I might begin treating their low back pain by working to lengthen the muscles of the back of the neck that have shortened in response to their desk work. While either of these other issues is distant to the pain in their back, it might actually be the root cause when the big picture of their entire physical structure is considered.

Using this same concept of the big picture, I might recommend to the patient that we bring some other practitioners in to their treatment plan. I might suggest that low back pain is typically not simply a structural issue. When we consider the big picture, we might recognize how the interaction of body (structure), mind, emotions, and spirit can have an affect on low back pain. So, if during the course of Rolf Structural Integration treatment, I find the patient’s soft tissue to feel dry, inflamed, or not responding effectively to my work, I might recommend that they have an acupuncture treatment to receive an oriental medicine diagnosis to help determine why their body is not able to respond and heal, from an internal, physiological point of view.

Interestingly, we’ve found that often the combination of Rolf work and acupuncture creates a synergy that makes both therapies more effective than they had been alone. At this point, considering the big picture, we might also recommend a different bodywork therapy, a homeopathy consult, life coaching or behavioral health therapy, or some other therapy within or outside of our clinic.

Regardless of the specific treatment plan, all of the practitioners involved in a patient’s treatment will continue to monitor the patient’s progress, and make necessary adjustments, through our regular meetings and correspondence.

At Healing Horizons, we believe the big picture means taking complimentary medicine one step further by establishing a collaborative relationship between practitioners and patient. With each patient’s health goal as our target, we dedicate ourselves to finding the most effective therapies from conventional and complimentary medicine to promote the body’s natural healing process and help create unity of body, mind, and spirit.

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Kirk Apt is a certified bodywork therapist with more than 15 years experience. He utilizes many techniques such as traditional Swedish massage, myofascial therapy and Rolf Structural Integration. He can be reached at Healing Horizons Integrated Health Solutions, 2139 N. 12th St. #7, 970-256-8449.