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Testimonials from Patients

Integrative Care as the New Gold Standard in Physical & Occupational Therapy

Integrative Care as the New Gold Standard in Physical & Occupational Therapy

A look inside biopsychosocial care using comprehensive functional, integrative, and lifestyle medicine.

By Dr. Ginger Garner PT, DPT, ATC/L

Functional, integrative and lifestyle medicine (FILM) is fast becoming the gold standard for effective care in PT and OT. Expanding your professional toolbox to include these methods is critical when addressing the growing epidemic of co-and-multimorbidity in the U.S. population.

Chronic Disease has Reached a Tipping Point.

Chronic disease in the US has reached a tipping point.  According to the CDC, chronic conditions are the leading causes of death and disability in the U.S. They are the leading drivers for the nation’s 4.1 trillion in annual health care costs.

 The statistics are shocking:  

  • 81% of hospital admissions, 
  • 91% of all prescriptions filled, and
  • 76% of all physician visits are attributed to chronic disease management.1

Insurance spending for gastrointestinal disorders increased from $20 billion in 2004 to $135.9 billion in 20152

It is estimated that somewhere between 50-70 million Americans suffer from chronic sleep deprivation.3 Lack of sleep increases the risk of accidents as well as chronic conditions like diabetes and hypertension, and pain.  

By failing to address the intersection of chronic illness and rehab science, we diminish the possibility for effective and lasting outcomes. Moving beyond traditional movement interventions alone is necessary to remain relevant.

While the concept of whole-person care is not new, there has been a reluctance to incorporate even evidence-based interventions by the traditional medical establishment.

But that is changing. The movement toward therapists embracing the frontline role of primary practitioner has already begun. The APTA states, “Physical therapists play a unique role in society in prevention, wellness, fitness, health promotion, and management of disease and disability by serving as a dynamic bridge between health and health services delivery for individuals and populations.”

The AOTA has similarly long supported the evidence-based “gold standard” biopsychosocial model of delivery. 


Are You Addressing Whole-Person Health in your Practice?

We can effectively break the loop of chronic disease in this country by embracing whole-patient care.

In my clinic, we treat chronic joint pain, pelvic floor dysfunction, and hip pain using Functional, Integrative, & Lifestyle Medicine methods using a private pay model. We use the following tools to identify and address the unique root cause of each person’s pain or disease:

  • Stress management and mindfulness training
  • Physical activity prescription across the lifespan
  • Health and wellness coaching 
  • Diet and nutritional counseling 
  • Sleep and relaxation training 
  • Tobacco cessation and substance abuse screening and counseling 
  • Identifying environmental contributors, such as commonly known endocrine disruptors and pollutants 

Many physical and occupational therapists struggle with how to implement FILM treatment modalities in a time efficient manner, especially in non-supportive traditional settings.

Once you understand the why and how (evidence-based) of integrative methods, even small changes such as deep listening and assessing readiness to change can make a huge difference in patient outcomes and satisfaction.

I treat patients in fewer total visits overall while achieving better outcomes with longer lasting results. This ends up saving hundreds if not thousands of dollars for each patient.


Staying Focused with FILM

When it comes to efficiency, my patients help me stay focused.  For example, I had a patient fly from Hawaii to see me in NC for intensive integrative physical therapy for her hip pain. Talk about the need to be dialed in and ready to go!

Understanding how to manage your time properly to be completely present with this patient & listen to her challenges, while observing her movement impairments, past medical history, and current lifestyle in an effective manner is critical. In these situations, every second counts when you need to make significant, objective gains quickly. 


When happy patients visit and bring gifts!

Flash forward less than a year later, and she just completed her first half marathon! The Functional/ ILM approach is the key to her success. It works because I’m looking for the root cause, not just simply prescribing physical therapy exercise for movement, only

Our Functional/ ILM approach put her back in the race!

I have been practicing using variations of FILM for 25 years.  The field of PT is always changing and expanding and so is FILM which continues to inspire and motivate me year after year. 

Our methods encourage increased patient ownership in rehab and significantly lowers the burden of care, which is a leading cause of clinician burnout.  Without FILM, my patients would still feel lost in the system without relief and I’m not sure I would still be a PT.

What will you do with your one wild and precious life?

There are lots of options when it comes to expanding your toolbox.  I recommend doing your own research to find the program matches your core values. For me, lifelong is essential. l am so honored to have taught all ages from around the world. I firmly believe that it’s never too late to have a satisfying career.  American poet, Mary Oliver, sums it up best, “What will you do with your one wild and precious life?”


Dr. Ginger Garner, DPT
ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dr. Garner is a passionate, unapologetic advocate of improving access to pelvic physical therapy, a mother to 3 sons, & a 25+ year veteran in Functional, Integrative, & Lifestyle Medicine-based physical therapy. She is the author of Medical Therapeutic Yoga, Integrative & Lifestyle Medicine in PT, founder & CEO of Living Well Institute, owner of Garner Pelvic Health, and loves making music and adventure seeking outdoors as often as possible.

Resources

(1) Anderson G, and Horvath , May 2004

(2) Peery et al, 2012, 2019 AHRQ 2006, Jones 2007

(3) Harvey R Colten, Bruce M Altevogt, NHLBI, 2003

Dr. Michelle Walendowski PT, DPT

Dr. Michelle Walendowski PT, DPT

Hello Ginger, I just wanted to write and tell you how much I enjoyed your six week Medical Therapeutic Yoga series!

I’m not sure if you remember me from the training in Aptos right before the world got “locked down”….but this weekly practice with you has been a huge gift. It has really helped me through this strange time and kept me inspired.

I’ve been practicing everything from your weekend Level I Certification on a (mostly) daily basis, and I have to say I feel healthier and just generally better than I have in years. And that’s during a worldwide pandemic!

Also, your new studio overlooking the water is gorgeous, and the song you sang at the end of the MTY class was wonderful. Thank you for everything you’ve been doing over the past few months to help everyone in our community find the light.

Dr. Michelle Walendowski PT, DPT
Gig Harbor, Washington
Dr. Dina Macs PT, DPT, OCS

Dr. Dina Macs PT, DPT, OCS

You are the elixir for which the world thirsts. I find myself feeling light, refreshed,  grounded, hopeful, pain free, rested, &  resilient after these classes. Who knew virtual Medical Therapeutic Yoga —in the right hands, like Dr. Ginger Garner’s — could yield such profound, restorative, immediate benefits! I’m delighted, (and not easily impressed, being  a nationally board-certified orthopedic doctor of physical therapist —& decades-long, certified professional yoga therapist — myself.) 

You are a trusted gem in a sea of on-line unknowns, Dr. Garner, and a gift to us all. Thank you for keeping us safe, evidence-grounded, & soulfully uplifted. I have not personally experienced a more nimble biopsychosocial rehabilitation guide. I am grateful for the grace of your teachings, virtual and face-to-face. You are a restoring healer, & a true Essential Worker in these challenging times. I am eager to continue this practice. Thank you for making it available here on the West Coast, while live-streaming from the East Coast. So grateful am I! Namaste.

Dr. Dina Macs PT, DPT, OCS
Olympia, WA
Kanchan Thakar, PT

Kanchan Thakar, PT

Ginger’s program is a gift for health care practitioners . It has fulfilled a deep desire for learning, for me. Thank you for creating it and keeping it flexible to let it evolve, with more research.

Ginger, you have empowered me as a PT to approach the clinicians and share this model in a language, they can understand. Experience of learning with PYTI is like having a sweet mango. One can go on and on with words to describe it, yet true joy lies only in actually having it.

Sincere gratitude to Dr. Ginger Garner and her team for a great learning experience. What a gift it is to be able to integrate Medical Therapeutic Yoga for self care and well being of healthcare community, as a physical therapist .

Kanchan Thakar, PT
Campbell, California 
Katie Estridge, PT, MPT, PYT

Katie Estridge, PT, MPT, PYT

I would recommend that everyone work with Ginger Garner. She is without a doubt the best physical therapist I have ever worked with. She understands the human body like no one I have ever met. She is an intuitive healer and is caring, kind, and knowledgeable. Ginger genuinely wants the best for her patients. She helped me to understand my own body more effectively so I could heal from my injuries. I would drive for hours to see Ginger as a patient. All of Ginger’s techniques are backed by the latest evidence based practice. She is an inspiration to me and so many others. If you want to feel your best I highly recommend you do yourself a favor and see Ginger Garner.

She has also been a mentor for me as a physical therapist since completing her Professional Yoga Therapist training program at Living Well Institute.

Katie Estridge, PT, MPT, PYT
Queen City Professional Yoga Therapy
Charlotte, NC

Dr. Sarah Talley, PT, DPT

Dr. Sarah Talley, PT, DPT

Ginger, I am so grateful for your program. I don’t know where I would be mentally, emotionally or physically today, especially during this last week (of dealing with COVID-19). Yoga opened doors within me that I forgot were there, and this has been a great gift I wasn’t seeking or expecting. If you ever feel in the coming days like you are talking into the void, know that people are hearing your message and appreciate you for sharing it!

Dr. Sarah Talley, PT, DPT
Raleigh, NC

Dr. Becca Ellis, PT, DPT, PYT

Dr. Becca Ellis, PT, DPT, PYT

Ginger, 

I just wanted to thank you for all you have done for me and let you know just how impactful you have been on my life. The past 5 years have some of the best and most stressed I have ever experienced. Because of you and the lessons learned at PYTI, I feel totally prepared for it all. 

I am practicing therapy the way patients deserve. I am happy working and the community loves MTY! 

My oldest son, Robert, was diagnosed with autism this year. I feel like all the training prepared me for this and he LOVES all the asana, pranayama, and vocal toning exercises we do. He is thriving and happy. 

Thank you for helping shape my life into this beautiful mess. I am forever grateful. 

Dr. Becca Ellisa, PT, DPT, PYT-c
Carla Weist, Singer/Songwriter

Carla Weist, Singer/Songwriter

I am a singer/songwriter and teacher, so my voice is of special significance in my life.  When I began to have severe throat and neck pain while speaking and singing, Ginger was recommended to me by a friend who had just attended one of Ginger’s vocal workshops.  At that time and for the next two years, Ginger’s practice was five minutes from my home.  As I met with her during these two years, she would listen attentively to my needs and concerns and respond with many helps.  Ginger prescribed therapeutic exercises for me to practice on my own and made certain that I knew how to do them correctly by giving a written explanation as well as providing videos for reinforcement.  In addition, Ginger referred me to other practitioners for systemic health concerns that I shared with her.  Ginger couples compassion and gentleness with diligent expertise in her treatment of patients.  Even though Ginger has recently relocated, I still enjoy the benefits of her treatment as I begin every morning with the exercises she taught me.  I am grateful for God’s provision of Ginger’s gifting to guide me through a season of pain into rest.  Thank you, Ginger!

Carla Weist, Singer/Songwriter, Emerald Isle, NC
Brittany W. Shipp, Swansboro, NC

Brittany W. Shipp, Swansboro, NC

It was easy for me to pinpoint the moment I knew I needed, and wanted, Ginger to be involved in my birth process from pregnancy to postpartum.  It was the second I was lead in to a small, sterile, dark room to watch a video, alone, on a small stool at a traditional OB/GYN. On what should have been one of the most special days of our lives, instead it felt clinical.  This was the day we went to our first appointment after the positive in-office pregnancy test.  

I didn’t even make it to the car before breaking down in tears and reaching out to Ginger.  I knew I wanted more from my care provider throughout my pregnancy. The holistic and all-encompassing approach Ginger takes in her life and her practice is second to none.  Ginger shared several options to look into that would provide more of the holistic type of care we wanted throughout our pregnancy and during delivery as well as the birth classes she provided.  

We met with Ginger for several sessions in the months leading up to delivery.  During that time she not only shared information with me about the stage of pregnancy and techniques to help mentally and physically prepare for the natural, drug-free, child birth we desired, but also with my husband. This was our first pregnancy and we both wanted to have all the tools we could to have a completely natural childbirth.  She suggested laboring positions for different stages and types of labor.  She also shared what to expect postpartum and with breastfeeding.  She shared a variety of answers to the many questions I seemed to have every visit.  

We felt so confident going into the birth knowing that Ginger had prepared us with all the tools necessary.  We are so genuinely grateful for the sessions we had with Ginger before, during and after the birth of our daughter, and son.  Oh and the ujyaii/victorious breath, I will forever be grateful for that breath Ginger helped me master… One doesn’t know the depth of a breath until you’re mid contraction! 

Thank you Ginger, for helping us navigate this terrifying and thrilling experience and for truly listening to and understanding our questions, thoughts and concerns about becoming parents.

Brittany W. Shipp, Swansboro, NC
Dr. Maureen Mason-Cover, MS, PT, DPT, WCS, PYT

Dr. Maureen Mason-Cover, MS, PT, DPT, WCS, PYT

Ginger is a wise and compassionate health care provider who blends medical yoga with rehabilitation programming, and she has an extensive background of patient care service. Her style is forward thinking towards patient education, empowerment, and optimization of function, and she works with other health care team members to provide a healing community of care. I highly recommend her.

Dr. Maureen Mason, MS, PT, DPT, WCS, PYT
Lane Harris – Emerald Isle, NC

Lane Harris – Emerald Isle, NC

Those of you in the Greensboro area, count yourselves blessed that Ginger Garner is opening her practice near you!  Ginger has gentle hands, a tender heart, and a head full of knowledge. She has successfully helped me recover from shoulder surgery, knee pain, lower back pain, and sacroiliac joint issues. There is no physical therapist, yogi, or Pilates instructor of her equal!! She cares for the whole body, and will make you feel both better physically and better about yourself. From personal experience, I can highly recommend Ginger. 

Lane Harris – Emerald Isle, NC
Dr. Sylvie Le, PT, DPT, PYT

Dr. Sylvie Le, PT, DPT, PYT

As a professional…

The benefits of Medical Therapeutic Yoga have stretched beyond both the clinical setting and mat for my patients. Patients who may have struggled finding relief with traditional PT, battle the psychological and emotional stress of anxiety, depression, and impatience in dealing with injury and functional limitations, or find it challenging to remain motivated to move and take care of their bodies, have found a safe and healthy avenue to care for themselves with a yoga practice. 

Ginger has helped to guide me in bridging the gap between traditional eastern and western medicine practices while using the latest research to treat people suffering from chronic disease and pain, and this has revolutionized the way I treat and care for patients. There is a larger emphasis on learning how to understand the role that our nervous system has on healing, and provides strategies and skills to address each patient as a whole. 

Patients are responding well and remain motivated to stay curious and dedicated to the lifelong process of taking care of their body, mind, and spirit using Medical Therapeutic Yoga.

Dr. Sylvie Le, PT, DPT, PYT-c
Read more about the PT Dr. Le provides through MTY: https://www.soptri.com/your-pain/yoga-for-chronic-pain/

As a patient…

Studying Medical Therapeutic Yoga under Ginger has transformed both my personal and professional life as a yoga student and therapist. The explanation of philosophy and guidance on how to bridge western and eastern medicine practices using the latest research has been revolutionary. I am now teaching weekly Medical Therapeutic Yoga classes twice per week to current and former patients from my Physical Therapy practice, and it has been rewarding to watch individuals honor and appreciate the process of healing and recovering from acute, chronic, and traumatic injuries. Some of the most common things I hear from students who attend classes regularly are improved self-awareness, sense of patience, an easier ability to make more conscious decisions and choices to take care of themselves, better stress management strategies, and feeling stronger both physically and mentally through regular movement and breathing. Many patients have even been in and out of doctors since attending, and report lower blood sugar levels, decreased blood pressure with the ability to wean off of their medications, and weight loss. The practice of Medical Therapeutic Yoga has given patient’s a secure sense of stability in consistently looking after the health of their body, mind, and spirit in a safe, supportive, and inspiring way. The benefits of this are immeasurable, but in short, have been life changing.  I am thankful for the practice of Medical Therapeutic Yoga in helping to guide clinical decision making, while also creating a health and wellness community that serves to foster growth, connection, and healing. 

Dr. Sylvie Le, PT, DPT, PYT-c
Lane Harris – Emerald Isle, NC

From a Patient in Eastern NC

I couldn’t recommend Ginger enough! She saved me from a second shoulder surgery. I am very impressed with the way she blends Western medicine with Eastern knowledge and techniques. She didn’t ignore the need for x-rays, and possible surgery; but worked with me on an anti-inflammatory diet and gave me appropriate exercises to try to bring function back to my shoulder. It worked!!! We were both diligent and after 6 months, I am happy to say I am pain free and have near full range of motion! What a wonderful experience. I am now a Yoga and Ginger fan! And, am on my way in learning about “clean eating”. It has all made a tremendous difference in my energy, health and overall quality of life! Thank You!!!

Patient, Eastern North Carolina
Lane Harris – Emerald Isle, NC

Postpartum Patient

Ginger is working with a postpartum mom with multiple conditions, including second degree tear, vestibulitis, dyspareunia, DRA, non relaxing pelvic floor, back and hip pain, chronic constipation and GI-related chronic abdominal pain.

Feedback from patient today received after a follow up visit:

 I just wanted to say thank you again. I feel empowered this morning after taking a little time yesterday to care for myself. And I feel more peace filled after the good vibes you have going on at your office.And I’m really looking forward to trying the head stand again!
Lane Harris – Emerald Isle, NC

Debbie Peel, Swansboro, NC

I couldn’t recommend Ginger enough! She saved me from a second shoulder surgery. I am very impressed with the way she blends Western medicine with Eastern knowledge and techniques. She didn’t ignore the need for x-rays, and possible surgery; but worked with me on an anti-inflammatory diet and gave me appropriate exercises to try to bring function back to my shoulder. It worked!!! We were both diligent and after 6 months, I am happy to say I am pain free and have near full range of motion! What a wonderful experience. I am now a Yoga and Ginger fan! And, am on my way in learning about “clean eating”. It has all made a tremendous difference in my energy, health and overall quality of life! Thank You!!!

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